Livin' on the MDedge

Motherhood can get old fast, and snubbing can become phubbing


Killer babies and their aging mommies

The joys of new parenthood are endless, like the long nights and functioning on 4 hours of sleep. But those babies sure are sweet, and deadly. That’s right, little Johnny junior is shaving years off of your life.

mother with sleeping baby LWA/Dann Tardif/Getty Images

Investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that new mothers who slept less than 7 hours a night 6 months after giving birth were, biologically, 3-7 years older than were those who slept 7 or more hours. But hold on, that doesn’t mean mothers need to update their driver licenses. There’s a difference between biological and chronological age.

Biological aging is measured by epigenetics, which analyzes changes in DNA over time by determining whether coding for certain proteins is turned on or off. The process acts as a sort of clock, lead author Judith E. Carroll, PhD, said in a separate statement, allowing scientists to estimate a person’s biological age.

Although loss of sleep may accelerate biological aging and increase health risks, the researchers don’t want people to think that lack of sleep during infant care is going to automatically cause permanent damage. The jury is still out on whether the effects are long lasting. Instead, they emphasized the importance of prioritizing sleep needs and getting some help from others to do it.

“With every hour of additional sleep, the mother’s biological age was younger,” Dr. Carroll said. “I, and many other sleep scientists, consider sleep health to be just as vital to overall health as diet and exercise.”

So, new moms, fix that gourmet dinner after you go for that run because you’re already up at 4 a.m. anyway. It’s all about balance.

Me and my phone-y phriends

It’s been months since you’ve seen your friends in person. You got your vaccine and so, after all this time, you can finally meet with your friends in real life. No more Zoom. It’s a strange dream come true.

A teenager surrounded by her friends who are staring at their smartphones nemke/E+

The problem is that half your friends barely seem interested, spending much of your time together staring at their phones. Naturally, there’s a clever term for this: You’ve just been the victim of phubbing, specifically friend phubbing or fphubbing (we’re not sure there are enough “f” sounds at the beginning of that word), and it’s been the focus of a new study from the University of Georgia.

So who are these fphubbers? Researchers found that neurotic and depressed individuals are more likely to fphub, as were those with social anxiety, since they may actually prefer online interaction over face-to-face conversation. On the flip side, people with agreeable traits were less likely to fphub, as they felt doing so would be rude and impolite. Quite a bold stance right there, we know.

The researchers noted the complete ordinariness of people pulling their phones out while with friends, and the rapid acceptance of something many people may still consider rude. It could speak to casual smartphone addiction and the urge we all get when we hear that notification in our pocket. Maybe what we need when we see friends is the equivalent of those PSAs before movies telling you to turn off your cell phones. Then you can all go down to the lobby and get yourselves a treat.


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