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Bad sleep can make you feel years older, and a new study supports eating an avocado every day: The latest health news

A woman is sleeping in bed, holding a pillow over her ears. Bad sleep can make you feel older. What to know.
Bad sleep can make you feel older. What to know. (Getty Creative)

Welcome to your weekly check-in on the latest health news you might have missed. This week, mifepristone is back in the news as the Supreme Court hears arguments about the abortion pill and whether or not access to it should be restricted. Meanwhile, cases of sexually transmitted infections — specifically, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — have more than doubled in Americans age 55 to 64 over the past decade.

There’s also a new study that finds people with a genetic predisposition to obesity may need to up their step count — taking as many as 14,500 steps a day. Research also reveals that alcohol raises your risk for heart disease — particularly if you’re a woman.

And on a lighter note, Yahoo Life took a look at the “sexy water” trend, which involves jazzing up a glass of water by adding various supplements to it. Want more health takeaways that could impact you? Keep reading.

😴 Not getting enough sleep can make you feel older

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that sleeping less can make you feel physically older. In one study, individuals who slept just four hours a night for two days claimed to feel nearly four and a half years older. A companion sleep survey also found that study participants felt an average of three months older for each day of bad sleep they had; conversely, those who didn’t report having a single night of poor sleep in the month prior felt, on average, almost six years younger than they actually were. Researchers also found that study volunteers who described themselves as “morning people,” as opposed to “evening people,” were especially affected by this disrupted sleep and more likely to age themselves up in post-sleep surveys.

🥑 Add an avocado to your diet

Researchers at Penn State’s Department of Nutritional Sciences found that those who included an avocado in their daily diet were more likely to stick to nutritional guidelines. Avocados are high in fiber and healthy fats, so consider spreading some on your morning toast, or sprinkling salt and a squeeze of lime on a slice for a mid-afternoon snack.

🐮 Dairy cows are sick — but should you be worried about milk?

Milk from dairy cows in Texas and Kansas has tested positive for the bird flu, according to news reports. The virus, also known as avian influenza, is affecting older livestock and causing them to produce less milk and have a decreased appetite. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture assures the public that milk is still safe to drink; only healthy animals are allowed to produce milk for the food supply and milk from sick cows is being destroyed. Pasteurization also kills bacteria and viruses that could make humans sick.

💉 ER visits could help people get a flu vaccine

People who don't see a primary care physician face struggles to get vaccine information and care, and are more vulnerable to complications from the flu. However, a new study from Thomas Jefferson University finds that providing education materials in an emergency room — such as a short video and educational flyers about vaccines — was effective in getting people to seek out their flu shot.

🧑🏽‍💻 Why a flexible, secure job is good for your mental health

Your job can have a major impact on your mental health, per a recent study out of Boston University’s School of Public Health. The study, which looked at National Health Interview Survey data from more than 18,000 U.S. adults, revealed that the more a job allowed the employee to adjust their schedule to manage their personal or family responsibilities, and the less concerned overall the employee was about potentially losing their position, the better it was for their mental health.

🐰 And finally, a tip for Easter

If your crew is celebrating this Sunday, you'll want to read this guide to dyed Easter eggs (and whether or not they're safe to eat after an egg hunt). And word to the wise: If you plan to feast on chocolate bunnies, cream eggs or jelly beans this weekend, remember that health experts say drinking lots of water, exercising and eating protein-packed snacks will help you bounce back from a sugar binge and the inevitable crash that follows.