Getting up in years is no excuse either: Researchers believe older people need just as much sleep as everybody else—eight hours. Sleep consists of four stages: light sleep, true sleep, deep sleep, and rapid-eye movement REM sleep. One round-trip through the four stages takes from 90 minutes to two hours.
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If your sleep is interrupted after stage two you will feel tired the next day. For this reason, naps should either be less than 45 minutes or a full two hours, to avoid disrupting the deep and REM sleep stages. If you get eight hours but still seem fatigued, you may have sleep apnea. Some 14 percent of adults have the syndrome, which involves the cessation of breathing for a few seconds during sleep, and is caused by the tongue or other tissue blocking the throat.
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You can identify it readily: Ask your spouse. Dropping a few pounds might help too; overweight people, especially males, are likely candidates for sleep apnea. Extreme cases may require surgery.
See a sleep disorders clinic for your options. Exercising regularly will improve the quality of your rest—so much so that if you take an hour to exercise every day you are likely to gain it back in increased productivity. The body requires about five hours to return to normal so you can nod off.
Caffeine stays in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours in some people. Limit coffee in the afternoon if you are having trouble falling asleep. Or switch to tea, which has about one-third the caffeine of coffee, for an afternoon lift. And chocolate hounds beware: Cocoa is loaded with a compound similar to caffeine called theobromine.
Avoid chocolate cake and hot cocoa for dessert unless you are on your way to a late movie. Various medications also can keep you awake, including cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine, thyroid and ulcer medications, bronchodilators, and beta blockers. Research suggests elderly people with insomnia benefit from a very small dose of melatonin taken before going to bed, although younger people get no value from it and potentially some harm. On the whole, sleeping pills are bad news.
They put you under but leave you with a wicked headache in the morning. Hypnotics, barbiturates, and antidepressants all work to varying degrees, but have pernicious sideeffects, including addiction. Even newer prescription sleep aids like zolpidem Ambien and zaleplon Sonata can have noticeable aftereffects. Everyone knows alcohol makes you drowsy. But consuming larger quantities of alcohol will disrupt your sleep cycle, making you fatigued the next day—even if you sleep off your hangover until noon. A glass of milk before bedtime might help.
Milk contains L-tryptophan, which is claimed to assist in sleep by producing seratonin, a natural hormone similar to melatonin. Aspirin and other analgesics before bed have no side effects and may provide more restful sleep. Kava, catnip, valerian, and other strange herbs are also marketed as sleep aids.
Do they work? Who knows. But the FDA wants nothing to do with this stuff. Perhaps the best way to fall asleep is the natural way. Think quiet thoughts. Put on some soft music. Repeatedly clench and unclench your muscles. If you are not dozing within half an hour, get up and read a book until you feel drowsy. Deal out solitaire hands. Watch the Weather Channel. Have a midnight snack. If nothing does the trick, try napping the next day after lunch when your body energy naturally drops.
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A minute nap is equivalent to drinking two cups of coffee and the effect lasts four hours. Extra work can be exhausting, time-consuming, and the pay stinks. On the other hand, extras get to rub shoulders with the stars, see a movie made from the inside, and, well, there is always that chance they will be discovered. Virtually every movie requires scads of extras. Generally speaking, there are two ways of getting hired as an extra: through a casting call on location, or through a talent agency.
Notices of upcoming filming sessions and extra requirements can be found in local newspapers, in trade publications, and on a number of Websites. Talent agency members have more opportunities to work. To register with one you need identification and proof that you are licensed to work in the United States. Agencies will take a photograph of you that is digitized and maintained in their database. You also must fill out a form for their database that includes vital statistics, any special talents you may have juggling, turning your eyelids inside out, etc.
The largest extras talent agency in the world is Central Casting in Burbank, California. Interested candidates may respond to postings either by telephoning or e-mailing the casting agent, who will pull up your image on a computer and decide whether you look the part. If you are chosen, you will be booked for the job and told where to go, when to arrive and what to wear.
The process for on-location auditions is essentially the same, except you will probably wait in line. Movies incur enormous fixed production costs and cannot afford downtime waiting for extras to show up.
Because turnover is so high among extras, if you want to work, the odds of eventually getting hired are good. Overtime rates can be up to double that, but you still make less than the average waitress, with tips. For extras, joining the Guild is a cumbersome process. If a union extra fails to show for a part and you are chosen as the replacement, you may receive a SAG voucher for working a full day.
The main reason for joining the Guild is to further your career as a serious actor, because you gain access to talent agents who are generally barred from working with nonunion actors and union parts. Although extras are usually well fed, there are few other perks. Autograph seeking and photography on the set are verboten.
Bothering the principal actors is also frowned upon. There is generally a lot of time on the set spent waiting around. Extras are expected to be patient and remain until the shooting is finished. Life as an extra is not all drudgery and boredom, though. During the filming of the remake of Planet of the Apes, star Mark Wahlberg had a close call in a scene where extras in ape suits were supposed to throw fireballs at him and miss.
The extras, however, had their own ideas. The bucks are good, too. There ought to be a big market: A recent Harris Poll found that 23 percent of Americans believe in reincarnation.
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If you live in rural New Mexico, Nevada or another area where UFO sightings are common like near an Air Force base , you may also want to consider enrolling in the companion Certified E. That skill alone should make the course worthwhile. Contact Dr. An estimated 40 million men in the United States are bald or losing their hair.
While your chances of having an extreme case of alopecia androgenesis male pattern baldness are one in five, the likelihood of a receding hairline or serious thinning is Research has shown male pattern baldness is inherited from both sides of the family. Baldness can lead to depression, loss of self-confidence and the constant wearing of hats.
The problems may not be all psychological either. One German study even found that bald men were significantly less likely to be hired for a job. Whether you are already follicly challenged or just curious about the future attractions of middle age, there are some things you should know about your scalp. The causes Scientists believe heredity accounts for over 90 percent of naturally occurring baldness. American researchers have identified genes they believe are responsible for certain types of hair loss, although a gene therapy cure for baldness is years, if not decades, away.
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