Good things are happening, so take some time to escape from bad news with these stories

NHS Scotland unveils policy for menopause and menstrual health

Following recommendations from one of the first studies in the world to look at both menstrual health and menopause in the workplace, a new NHS Scotland policy, aiming to create a supportive environment for all, has been announced.

The study, carried out by Professor Kathleen Riach from the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, looked at more than 6,000 NHS employees, to understand their menopause and menstrual health needs. Results showed that most employees continued to work without disruptions. However, for those who do struggle, cultural, structural, or institutional conditions can make those experiences worse.

In fact, 40% said that they had had an embarrassing or stigmatising experience surrounding menstruation or menopause in the workplace – highlighting how vital tackling bias and stereotypes is.

Following these findings, NHS Scotland announced the new Menopause and Menstrual Health Workplace policy, which will ensure employees are valued and supported, no matter their age or what stage they are in their reproductive lives.

Considering this announcement, Jennie Minto, Minister for Women’s Health, said: “This is a positive example of an employer taking proactive steps to reduce barriers to women’s health in the workplace, and we hope it promotes equivalent efforts across the public, private, and third sectors.”

Food is an integral part of our lives. And while we know that the food choices we make help us to stay nourished and keep us active during the day, new findings published in the Recipes for Wellbeing Report are shining a light on the profound link between food and wellbeing that goes far beyond just the nutritional value.

Across the globe, 1,000 people in 142 countries were asked about the satisfaction of the food they had consumed within the past seven days, including whether the food they ate was healthy, and whether they had choices in the types of food they ate.

Interestingly, it was found that people from Puerto Rico, Greece, and Norway had the highest scores in food enjoyment. Could it be that they have some culinary secrets up their sleeves that we could benefit from?

Well, when looking into whether the enjoyment of their food had an effect on wellbeing, those who enjoyed their food were 1.29 times more likely to be thriving compared with those who weren’t satisfied with their food. Meanwhile, those who had more choice in the food they consumed were 1.45 times more likely to have higher wellbeing.

Relationships with food can be complex things, but knowing this link exists globally, could encourage us to embark on a journey that cultivates a healthier relationship with food, allowing us to make better dietary choices, and be more mindful of our eating habits.

Snoozing your alarm won’t leave you feeling dozy after all

We’ve always been told that hitting the snooze button has negative consequences on the quality of our slumber and cognitive function, but according to a new study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, this may not be the case.

If you’re reading this as an avid snoozer, you’re not alone. In fact, the study behind the claim surveyed 1,732 people about their sleeping habits, and found that nearly 70% of people snooze their alarm each morning.

To delve deeper into the effects that might come from doing this, researchers monitored 31 snoozers on their ability to complete cognitive tasks under two conditions: one where they were allowed to snooze every 10 minutes for up to half an hour; and another where they had to jump out of bed as soon as the alarm went off.

It was found that those who were allowed to hit the snooze button performed slightly better on some of the cognitive tasks compared with when they had to wake up right away, suggesting that snoozing does not necessarily affect our cognitive function. Not only that, but their sleeping quality wasn’t significantly worse as a result of this.

The experts involved in the study believe that snoozing may actually help to alleviate the effects of sleep inertia – the groggy feeling you have when you first wake up – without significantly impacting your sleep.

Hospital’s music room hits all the right notes

Back in 2014, something special happened in the Teenage and Young Adult (TYA) unit at The Christie Hospital, a specialist cancer centre in Manchester. Following fundraising by former patient, Tom Buckley, who died age 24 in May 2009, a music room was opened and offered to patients as part of the TYA service.

Now, the Christie music room has reopened its doors after being refurbished, boasting a collection of guitars, keyboards, and other instruments – along with mixing desks and recording equipment – all set within an environment that offers patients a refuge during their treatment journey.

Patients are able to access the room at any time, and there is an emphasis on no prior musical expertise needed in order to explore their creativity. Family, friends, and caregivers are also encouraged to participate, and music sessions are held twice a week – the idea being that this time creates a sense of togetherness, and shared healing.

Mark Bradbury, AKA Rudosa, is a renowned DJ and producer who leads some of the sessions, and has seen first-hand the impact this space has had. “We believe in the power of music, and the new space will provide a cool and relaxed environment for people who are having treatment,” says Mark.

“Whether it’s compiling a mix with their favourite tunes, or sitting down to create beats in the state-of-the-art production suite, we believe we have taken the space into the modern era where there is something for everyone.”

In hard times, music can be a positive force. And this space is putting that on the record.