Feb 26, 2013
Having a high sugar drink to boost energy can actually make people more sleepy, a study suggests.
Loughborough University researchers say the sugar rush gives a short respite.
But after an hour, people who had such drinks had slower reactions and more lapses in concentration than those who had a no-sugar, no caffeine drink.
Sleep experts say energy drinks help athletes, but sleepy drivers or others needing a boost should have a small amount of caffeine - and a short nap.
We live in a tired society
Dr Neil Stanley, British Sleep Society
In the Loughborough study, published in the Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental journal, 10 adults were studied to see what effect different drinks had on their wakefulness.
They had all volunteered to restrict their sleep to five hours on the day before participating in the trial.
An hour after eating a light lunch they were given either an energy drink containing 42g of sugar and 30 milligrams of caffeine, or an identically tasting zero-sugar drink.
They then performed a monotonous 90-minute test during the afternoon "dip" to assess their sleepiness and ability to concentrate.
The researchers found that for the first 30 minutes there was no difference in the reaction times or error rates.
But 50 minutes after consuming the drinks, the performance of those who had had the energy drink started to slip, and they became significantly sleepier.
'Have a cat nap'
Professor Jim Horne, who runs the Sleep Research Centre at the University of Loughborough. said: "A 'sugar rush' is not very effective in combating sleepiness - so avoid soft drinks that contain lots of sugar but little or no caffeine.
"A much better way to combat sleepiness is to have a drink that contains more useful amounts of caffeine and combine this with a short nap."
Professor Horne said people with low blood sugar would feel better after having an energy drink.
But he added: "Whilst there is good evidence that sugar intake can boost physical energy, there is little support for it having any benefits for a sleepy brain."
Drivers who are feeling sleepy are advised to take precisely those measures to help them reach their destination.
But Dr Neil Stanley of the British Sleep Society said the only thing your body needs when you start to feel tired is sleep.
"We live in a tired society - which is why these drinks exist."
But he added: "Energy drinks boost blood sugar. They are good for athletes. But if you're sitting still, you're not doing anything with that energy."
Dr Stanley said drivers and others who were feeling tired should turn to caffeine if they could not get the sleep their body wanted.
"As the Highway Code recommends, you should have a couple of caffeine drinks and a cat nap."
"But when you come down, you'll be back to where you were."
Retiring doesn’t mean staying put, living frugally, and stretching your investing dollar. If you’re more adventurous or not tied down geographically, there is an almost endless number of foreign destinations to consider retiring to. That said, some foreign countries are more suited to retirement than others.
While warmer climes, cheaper taxes, and cultural discoveries are major reasons why some Americans have chosen to retire outside the U.S., for many, the point of packing up and moving away after retirement is about finding a destination that offers something that’s become increasingly difficult to find here in America—a good quality of life for a reasonable price.
With the state of the economy, more and more Americans are looking elsewhere to park their retirement dollars—and for good reason. A recent report shows that Americans’ confidence level in their ability to retire comfortable is at an historic low.
Just 14% are “very confident” they will have enough money to live comfortably when they retire; on the other end of the scale, 23% say they are “not at all confident.” (Source: “The 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey; Job Insecurity, Debt Weight on Retirement Confidence, Savings,” Employee Benefit Research Institute, March 2012.)
American baby boomers nearing retirement could also be looking outside the borders. The same report shows that 60% of workers report that the total value of their savings and investments (excluding primary home and defined benefits plan) is less than $25,000. Almost 20% say they are “not at all confident” that they have done a good job preparing for retirement.
Roughly 60% of middle-class retirees will likely run out of money if they maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle and don’t cut spending by at least 24%. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for many to curb their spending and cut back on lifestyle choices.
Fortunately, there are some foreign destinations where those wanting to retire with limited income can lead very comfortable lives. There are countries where Americans can save thousands of dollars on world-class health care provided by English-speaking, U.S.-trained doctors. There are places where retirees can also find beachfront condos for under $100,000 and places to live for less than $1,000 a month (excluding rent). (Source: “The World’s Top Retirement Havens in 2013,” International Living, December 14, 2012.)
Granted, everyone has different priorities. For you, maybe warm climates aren’t important, but inexpensive health care is. Everyone needs to decide what the most important factors for moving are to determine any potential pitfalls or deal-breakers.
So, without further ado, here are the top-three foreign retirement destinations:
Thanks to the low cost of living, warm climate, and cheap property prices, Ecuador has ranked as the top foreign retirement destination for North Americans for the fifth consecutive year (2008–2012).
While its inexpensive real estate and warm equatorial climate are major draws to retiring in Ecuador, the real attraction is being able to retire well on a limited retirement budget, or even on a Social Security check alone.
Ecuador is home to modern hospitals, clinics, and well-trained physicians. All retirees are eligible to participate in the country’s Social Security healthcare system. And out-of-pocket expenses for doctor’s visits, procedures, and drugs are a fraction of what you would pay in the U.S.
A close second, Panama is home to year-round sunshine and warm weather; a low cost of living (even lower outside Panama City); and a tax system that’s geared toward foreigners—it’s possible for retirees to live and do business in Panama 100% tax-free.
Through a series of presidential decrees beginning in May 2012, Panama’s Pensionado Program makes it easier for citizens of the United States and other countries to obtain permanent residency status. While Panama’s official currency is called the “balboa,” it’s actually just the U.S dollar under a different name.
Panama also wins praise for its retiree discounts on medicines, entertainment, and restaurants, and its friendly people. Panama City is even home to the country’s new John Hopkins Hospital.
Malaysia may be further away, but it has similar draws, including a tropical climate, low cost of living, and cheap rent. Malaysia has a stable government and economy, and a rich cultural history. Unlike other nations in Asia, in Malaysia, retirees can buy freehold property, land, houses and condominiums.
Malaysia is also home to one of the best healthcare systems in the region. While the healthcare system is divided into public and private sectors, foreigners only have access to the private system. Even the private system is inexpensive compared to what you would pay in the United States.
The Malaysia “My Second Home” program allows foreigners to stay in Malaysia for as long as possible on a multiple-entry social visit pass, with an initial expiry period of 10 years, with the option to renew.
Although the country’s official language is Bahasa Malaysia, or Malay, the predominant language is English. Even the government’s web site is in English.
Thousands of Americans have decided to live their retirement years in another country, perhaps with a more moderate climate, more affordable standard of living, or a closer proximity to family and friends. Many do so year-round, while others spend a few months abroad at a time.
While retiring abroad isn’t for everyone, it is becoming a reality for an increasing number of people. Whatever your reason for wanting to retire outside the United States, it’s important to make careful preparations and understand tax laws, medical care, and residency.
IN his February 12 State of the Union speech to congress, President Barack Obama declared that American cyber "enemies" were not just stealing identities and hacking into personal and corporate email but also acquiring the ability to hack into the country's civilian systems such as power grids, financial institutions and air traffic control infrastructure.
Then earlier this week, US cyber-security firm Mandiant released an explosive report accusing the Chinese People's Liberation Army of funding and orchestrating an extensive program of cyber-espionage against American firms. Chinese state-backed news outlets immediately labelled the report groundless, but the growing weight of evidence means that Beijing's blunt strategy of denial is becoming less plausible. And Chinese industrial cyber-espionage will soon replace barbs over currency policy as the major economic bug-bear between the two economic giants.
The Mandiant report puts into the public space what government agencies, cyber-security firms and private companies already acknowledge readily but in private: China has become the leading perpetrator of industrial theft through malicious cyber activities originating from the country. The report goes way further than the broad-based accusations that are usually levelled against Chinese entities.
For a start, it traces the attacks to an entity named APT1, a single organisation of operators linked to four large networks in Shanghai, two of which are based in the city's Pudong New Area. Significantly the PLA's Unit 61398 - a secret unit engaging in "Computer Network Operations" for the military - is also located in the same group of buildings from which APT1's cyber-activity originates. Unit 61398 reports to the PLA General Staff Department, which in turn reports directly to the Central Military Commission, the country's peak decision-making body on military matters. If so, it is certain that China's top civilian leaders in the Standing Committee of the politburo would have intimate knowledge of the activities of Unit 61398.
Moreover, quantity matters. The Mandiant report indicates that hundreds of terabytes of data have been stolen by Unit 61398 from at least 141 American corporations spread across 20 sectors. Significantly, these sectors correspond to those that have been labelled "strategic" and "important" to current and future Chinese "comprehensive national power" by the country's leaders. For example, the four most targeted commercial sectors by Unit 61398 are information technology, aerospace, satellites and telecommunications, and scientific research.
The US administration has been reluctant to openly "name and shame" China as the major perpetrator of industrial cyber-espionage for fear of damaging an already fraught relationship between the two countries. There are a number of reasons to believe that this is about to change.
First, US firms are no longer fearful that their access to the Chinese market would be restricted if they make a fuss and are beginning to urge the government to champion the cause. The difference now is that the scale, sophistication and frequency of these cyber-espionage activities originating from China have become impossible to ignore.
American industry groups and intelligence agencies are beginning to quantify the collective value of lost intellectual property as possibly being in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Second, it is well known that newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry has a strong interest in this issue. In February last year, and as chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, Kerry openly announced that he would raise the issue of Chinese trade theft with Xi Jinping on the latter's first visit to the US as the putative president. Significantly, Kerry deliberately made a broader issue intellectual property theft by declaring that Chinese cyber-activity against US firms was an "egregious, palpable demonstration of the practice that we are deeply concerned about".
Finally, putting pressure on Beijing over its cyber activities plays nicely into the Obama administration's aim to use economic statecraft to further its leadership and influence in the region over China. In taking up the issue of industrial cyber-espionage against China, Obama will find growing support from countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India and Australia.
Governments spying on each other is fair game, but government entities stealing information from private firms in foreign countries is a different thing altogether. At stake is billions of dollars of intellectual property. More than that, it is about the world's second-largest economy not playing by the rules that has ensured its rise.
AT the risk of stealing Julia Gillard's thunder, there is only one poll that really counts, but all polls count for something, and today's Newspoll matters more than most. It confirms a dismal trend for Labor suggesting that leadership speculation will continue, and that the party's pain has barely just begun.
We offer no advice to the Labor caucus on the wisdom of changing leaders at this late stage in the electoral cycle, except to note again that almost all the problems with which the Prime Minister now grapples had their origins on Kevin Rudd's watch. It was not, however, Mr Rudd's decision to set the election date eight months ahead of time, a highly unconventional move for which Ms Gillard appears to be paying the price. More people have locked in their votes, making a recovery harder.
Barring the unexpected, any change in leadership will be little more than a footnote in political history, a few paragraphs in the chapter on Labor's crisis of identity at the start of the 21st century. Indeed, Labor's problems began long before that. They could never be fixed in three years, but few would have predicted that Ms Gillard's erratic political judgment might actually make things worse.
A leader with a surer touch would not have signed a deal with the Greens in 2010. Such a leader would have disowned Craig Thomson at the first hint of impropriety; ditto for former Speaker Peter Slipper, who would not have been Speaker in the first place. Voters have a low tolerance for sleaze. An adroit leader would not have ruled out a carbon tax and then introduced one. Either decision could have been defended separately but together they break the precious bond of trust. An accomplished politician would not have sued for peace with the mining companies; Wayne Swan would have been obliged to undertake greater due diligence, so that the government would not be saddled with a useless tax that eroded Labor's hard-won reputation for economic reform. A deft leader would not have pledged, time and again, that the budget would return to surplus in 2013 knowing that, short of breaking the shells one by one and pouring them yourself, there was no surer way to go into an election wiping egg off your face.
A leader with a better sense of Labor's history and its place in the modern world would have avoided standing shoulder to shoulder with comrades at the Australian Workers Union last week. It would have dawned on such a leader that unions today are a boutique product. Labor must talk to middle Australia, to the people who do not know the tune, let alone the words, to Solidarity Forever and were not hanging on their seats waiting for the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit. Labor's future will be as a social democratic party, the descriptor Ms Gillard rejected last week. It must become a party that recognises that government is not the answer to every question, that a healthy private sector is the driver of prosperity, and that individual responsibility strengthens the fabric of society. The circumstances of minority government and a volatile world economy do not change this cold, hard truth: different choices from those made by Ms Gillard would have ensured that her successor, now or after the election, did not have to start from scratch.