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Can Optimism Actually Be Bad For College Students - HER Week In Health

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In this edition of EmpowHER's, "HER Week In Health" for the week of December 2, 2011, Bailey Mosier discovers a study that finds that optimism may actually be a detriment to some college students. We'll also learn how much exercise may help you sleep better and finally learn that stress may pose an even greater health risk to working moms.

Hi, I’m Bailey Mosier. This is EmpowHER’s HER Week in Health.

When we think of optimism, we often think it will lead to a positive outcome, but in this week’s edition we’ll learn when optimism may actually serve as a detriment. We’ll also learn how much exercise can help you sleep better and if you’re a working mom who multitasks, researchers fear stress may pose a serious health threat.

A study presented at the International Conference on Positive Psychology found that the power of positive thinking affects female college students differently than their male counterparts.

In a sample of 174 business undergraduates, investigators found optimism motivated female students to study more and ultimately get higher grades than less optimistic females. Contrastingly, optimism in male students led to overconfidence, less studying and lower grades.

The research is preliminary and does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, but it may be something to think about the next time your son or daughter calls you from college, fretting over an upcoming test.

Researchers at Oregon State University measured activity levels of 2,600 men and women ages 18 to 85 and found that people who met national exercise guidelines reported better sleep and less daytime fatigue than those who didn't.

Those who met the guidelines were 65 percent less likely to report often feeling sleepy during the day and 45 percent less likely to report having trouble concentrating while tired.

The research doesn't confirm that exercise directly leads to improved rest, but more exercise in your weekly routine is a good first step toward better shut-eye.

In a study published in the American Sociological Review, multitasking stresses out working moms more than dads.

The research found working mothers spend 48 hours a week multitasking compared to 39 hours for dads. And women report feeling stressed when having to multitask while men don’t seem to mind it.

Researchers say the normative values of being a good mother have gotten so high that working mothers still feel the stress and pressure of being supermom while carrying a full work load.

The researchers warn this type of stress impacts the body and psychological state and the researchers hope multitasking will be recognized as a significant public health issue for women.

That wraps up your EmpowHER HER Week in Health. Join me here at EmpowHER.com every Friday for the latest in women’s health.

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