Better Sleep and Other Health Predictions for 2014

4 years ago

This past year was filled with health highs and lows -- from Michelle Obama reminding us about that simple idea of drinking more water to the whooping cough outbreak in Texas. We're looking ahead to see what will be hot this upcoming year in regards to your health.


Image: Roger H. Goun via Flickr

Talk about sleep started heating up at the end of 2013, and we're about to be catapulted into the Year of Better Sleep. More devices are coming out -- from Fitbit to Beddit -- which collect sleep information to help you learn to rest better at night. Sleep washes out your brain, leaving you better equipped to take in new information the next day, and a lack of sleep has been tied to many health issues. So grab some comfortable pyjamas, make a resolution to get in bed earlier, and put down those devices for a while right before bed to prepare your brain to rest.


Image: Melissa Ford

The American Heart Association issued new guidelines this year for treating cholesterol that would put a third of all adults on statins. Though the push back has already started, look for more research to come out this year to either prove or refute the widespread need for statins.


Image: © i-Images/

They're calling it the Angelina Effect: the rise in women undergoing genetic testing to find out if they carry the BRCA gene. But where Angelina Jolie differs from some of the women who are getting tested is that she had an existing, strong familial history of breast cancer. What can be a benefit for some people could actually be a drawback for others if they make decisions based on those genetic results without looking at the big picture. Look for clearer guidelines to emerge during this upcoming year to combat the rush of genetic testing that took place in 2013.


Image: Nosha via Flickr

The FDA already issued a warning to 23andMe earlier this year to stop marketing themselves as a genetic screening company. Look for more regulations in this coming year as companies that provide genetic information to consumers come under scrutiny. Especially coming on the heels of the Angelina Effect, there will be push back to ensure that consumers aren't rushing into medical decisions without truly understanding the information they've been handed.


Image: Tinisanto via Flickr

While it won't apply to all vending machines in the nation, under the new health plan, about 5 million vending machines will need to list the calorie counts of their offerings. This has been a trend for a while, with chain restaurants listing the nutritional information of their dishes and even schools getting in on the act to help students make good choices in the cafeteria. Putting the knowledge in the hands of consumers helps us to make healthier eating choices in 2014.

What do you think will make health news in 2014?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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