Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 2nd 2015 Contents A28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, October 2, 2015
Want to know what a supermoon is? Google has
the answer. Want to know what your friend had
for dinner? Facebook can fill you in.
It has never been easier to get information---it s
quite literally at our fingertips. We seem to be eager
to plug into the overwhelming information the digital
age has to offer us too: Facebook has over a billion
registered accounts and Twitter around 316 million
monthly active accounts. But it also seems to be one
of the biggest irritations of modern life---business
managers have previously complained the battle of
the inbox has decreased productivity and others have
raised concerns over the health impact of never
Now the latest findings by information analysts
Esri UK suggests it has all become too much, with
over a third of us feeling stressed by the reams of
information we are faced with.
According to the study, we are experiencing a "data
overload"---struggling to cope with the vast amount
of emails and social media through being constantly
connected to these channels.
This digital culture is affecting our sleep and rela-
tionships, 44 per cent conceded in the survey. The
most common effects include becoming restless,
anxious or unable to relax, as 36 per cent reported.
Paradoxically, the daily deluge has also made us
unable to absorb information as easily, as 34 per cent
acknowledged in the study of 1,000 adults across
The eternal battle of the inbox, the constant refresh-
ing of Twitter, have taken their toll. Around two-
thirds of those surveyed say that the need to read
and keep track of information from too many sources
is a major concern in their daily lives.
For many (44 per cent) the solution is to completely
switch off---14 per cent even said they hid their devices
to avoid checking them.
Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, a consumer and business
psychologist at UCL, says academic research has
Are long emails short-circuiting our brains?
Information overload can overwhelm our brains and
leave us feeling stressed and anxious.
shown this to be a real problem, but
believes the way information is dis-
played could have an impact.
He says: "Paying attention to a vast
amount of data requires multitasking,
rapidly switching attention from one
source to another, which has been found
to increase levels of the stress hormone,
But, he says, there is a solution:---
less text, more pictures. "Research has
proven that by visually presenting infor-
mation, data processing demands on
the brain can be reduced," he explains.
Our brains have to work less hard to
"We ve seen that from a lot of aca-
demic research we ve been doing at
UCL," says Dr Tsivrikos.
Does this spell the end of long, wordy
"I think we re moving towards that,"
he says. "With an image it s easier for
us to memorise and engage---we see
that with the younger generation."
Many people forget that alcohol is full of sugar.
Too much sugar is bad for your heath. Firstly, it
can make you fat. Being overweight can make you
more prone to long term health problems, including
life threatening illnesses such as heart disease. A
high-sugar diet can also lead to type 2 diabetes,
which occurs when a person s blood sugar levels
are too high. Sugar is also the main cause of tooth
Secondly, drinking alcohol can affect how your
body processes various substances. When a person
drinks alcohol, the body reacts to it as a toxin, and
channels all energy into expelling it. This means that
other processes are interrupted---including the pro-
duction of glucose and the hormones needed to reg-
ulate it. This is most noticeable in heavy drinkers,
as over time drinking too much alcohol decreases
the effectiveness of insulin, which leads to high blood
Thirdly, alcohol also affects blood sugar levels each
time it s consumed, causing an increase in insulin
secretion, which leads to low blood sugar (otherwise
known as hypoglycaemia). This causes light head-
edness and fatigue, and is also responsible for a host
of longer term health problems.
The effects of alcohol on blood sugar, in particular
hypoglycaemia, can make excessive drinking very
dangerous for anyone with diabetes. Alcohol can also
make hypoglycaemic medications less effective, mean-
ing those with diabetes need to take extra care when
drinking. (source: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk)
blood sugar levels
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