- Describe your business in one sentence.
- How has your company evolved over the years?
- How important is customization? How has it enhanced your products or relationships with clients?
- What do you have planned for the upcoming year?
- Tell us about new products/innovations you’re introducing.
- What is your company’s process for creating new products?
Read the online magazine in the following link: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hd/201809/index.php#/0
(PULSE is on page 98-99)
Dr. Buijze, defend your research.Buijze: This is the first high-level evidence showing that cold showers can benefit your health. People who took them for at least 30 seconds for one month called in sick 29% less than our control group — and 54% less if they also engaged in regular physical exercise.
HBR: But why would cold showers make us less sick?This is a subtle but important point: Participants who took the cold showers actually reported feeling ill just as many days, on average, as the people who showered normally. But either their symptoms were less severe or they felt more energetic, so they were better able to push through the sickness and function anyway. The exact effect on the immune system is unclear, but we do have some knowledge of the pathway through which it works. Cold temperatures make you shiver — an autonomous response to keep your body temperature up. It involves a neuroendocrine effect and triggers our fight-or-flight response, causing hormones like cortisol to increase, shortly before we shift to a relaxation response. Moreover, cold temperatures activate the brown — or good — fat in the body.
What effect does that have?Brown fat doesn’t have any proven connection to immunity, but it does affect the body’s thermoregulation. When activated, it keeps the body warm by burning calories. It may also increase your energy and metabolism and help control your blood sugar. That could reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes.
Cold temperatures trigger a fight-or-flight response.
Couldn’t the cold showers just be producing a placebo effect, though? People feel tougher after starting the day shivering?We can’t rule that out, but even if this is merely a psychological phenomenon, that would be OK with me. The placebo effect has a negative reputation in medicine, but in life and health sciences, any salutary effect achieved by natural means, rather than a pill, is something to strive for. Placebos rely on neurobiologic pathways, too.
But what about so-called presenteeism? Shouldn’t people who feel ill stay out of the office?Not necessarily, especially if their symptoms aren’t bad. Most of us will try to work through a common cold, for example. But we should take the necessary hygienic precautions — washing our hands, covering our mouths when we cough — to protect colleagues from pathogens.
Why study cold showers instead of a more obvious health booster like exercise or diet?Previous studies have shown that physical exercise can strengthen the immune system, but I’m not aware of consistent evidence showing that any other daily rituals or habits do. Research on dietary supplements, for example, has yielded conflicting results. And while malnutrition can compromise your immune system, proof that superfoods boost it has been elusive. Cold showers interested us because there have been numerous claims — throughout history and across cultures — about their beneficial effects. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed cold baths for his patients. In ancient Roman times, one ritual involved moving through several rooms with increasing temperatures, then ending with a plunge in a cold pool — hence the Latin term frigidarium. You still see practices like this in spas around the world. Athletes take ice baths to reduce local inflammation and soreness and improve injury recovery times.
Two-thirds of the people who took cold showers continued them after the study.
So how cold is cold?We instructed our study participants to shower as they normally did — as hot as they wanted, for as long as they wanted — then to make the water as cold as possible for the prescribed amount of time. This took place in the Netherlands during the winter months, from January 1 to April 1, when the groundwater in homes’ wells was roughly between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius — which is really cold. It was a miracle that we had more than 4,000 volunteers, about 3,000 of which we enrolled.
The duration of the cold shower didn’t make a difference.
Were these people masochists? Or cold shower aficionados?Obviously, you can’t do a study on cold showers with people who would never consider taking one. But none of our participants had taken them regularly before. They were a mixed group of healthy adults, with no severe heart or respiratory problems. Some of them were probably inspired by the Iceman stories. Many told us they were afraid the experiment would make them miserable, and in the beginning it did. The vast majority found it uncomfortable, and some hated it, so they needed resilience to get through the month. As time went on, though, people started adapting and feeling less bothered. And when we asked if they would keep taking cold showers after the month ended, 91% said yes, and two-thirds did continue them. That, to me, is the most indicative sign of a beneficial effect — whether physiological or psychological. Taking a freezing cold shower is not something you do for pleasure.
And 90 seconds of cold didn’t produce a stronger effect than 30?No, duration didn’t matter. The reduction in sick days was the same across the 30-, 60-, and 90-second groups. It’s possible you could do less than 30 seconds, but for now we know that’s enough.
Were there any benefits beyond fewer sick days?Productivity while at work was the same regardless of cold showers or none, although theoretically the cold shower people were cumulatively more productive over the study period, since they were absent less often. And though we saw an early improvement in self-reported quality of life for that group, that effect disappeared over time.
Is it possible the sick-day effect would go away over time, too?Maybe. But I think that even if you became habituated to the cold water, so you felt less discomfort and shivered less, the neurobiologic effect would remain. Could I achieve the same result by moving to Newfoundland? I think not, because we modify our behavior to fit the climate around us. If you’re living in Canada with regular temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius, you heat your house, car, and office, and when you’re outside you layer up so your body stays at 37 degrees Celsius. Perhaps if you exposed yourself to the cold and created the same shivering effect, it would help, but we don’t yet have any data to support that hypothesis.
At what temperature do you shower?My preferred style is like that of James Bond in Ian Fleming’s novels. I alternate temperatures, starting with a steaming hot shower and shifting straight to freezing cold.
Have you noticed any changes since you started this regimen?My experiences have been comparable with those of the participants. Once you adapt and get resilient, it becomes an addictive energetic morning challenge. Whether you feel ill or healthy, a cold shower kick-starts the day!
By Alison BeardFROM THE MARCH–APRIL 2018 ISSUE
What is GPM?GPM means Gallons Per Minute. Also known as “flow rate”, GPM is a measure of how many gallons of water flow out of your shower head each minute. Since 1992, a maximum of 2.5 GPM is the federally mandated flow rate for new shower heads. This means no more than 2.5 gallons of water should flow out each minute. The GPM flow rate for shower heads has decreased over time. If your current shower head was made in the 1980’s or 1990’s, its flow rate could be 3.5 GPM or more!
Why is shower head GPM or flow rate important?Federal, state, and local governments regulate shower head GPM flow rates, because the potential for water and energy savings are significant.
- 260 billion gallons of water
- $2.2 billion in water utility bills
- $2.6 billion in energy costs for heating water
How do local governments regulate shower heads?To conserve resources and save money, some state and local governments mandate even lower GPM flow rates than the federal regulation.
- New York City adopted a 2.0 GPM standard in 2010
- California and Colorado adopted a 2.0 GPM standard in 2016
- California will move to a 1.8 GPM standard in July 2018
Source: https://www.waterpik.com/shower-head/blog/shower-head-gpm/December 27, 2017
Mind Your Mindless TasksResearch shows you’re more likely to have a creative epiphany when you’re doing something monotonous, like fishing, exercising, or showering. Since these routines don’t require much thought, you flip to autopilot. This frees up your unconscious to work on something else. Your mind goes wandering, leaving your brain to quietly play a no-holds-barred game of free association. This kind of daydreaming relaxes the prefrontal cortex—the brain’s command center for decisions, goals, and behavior. It also switches on the rest of your brain’s “default mode network” (DMN) clearing the pathways that connect different regions of your noggin. With your cortex loosened up and your DMN switched on, you can make new, creative connections that your conscious mind would have dismissed. That’s why the ideas you have in the shower are so different from the ideas you have at work—you’re a pinch more close-minded at the office. Thinking hard about a problem deactivates your default network. It boosts your prefrontal cortex’s control. This isn’t a bad thing—it tightens your focus and gives you the power to stop gawking at cat pictures and hit that deadline. But it can also dig you into a creative rut. Because when you’re deeply focused on a task, your brain is more likely to censor unconventional—and creative—solutions. Strange as it sounds, your brain is not most active when you’re focused on a task. Rather, research shows it’s more active when you let go of the leash and allow it to wander. Shelley Carson at Harvard found that highly creative people share one amazing trait—they’re easily distracted. And that’s the beauty of a warm shower. It distracts you. It makes you defocus. It lets your brain roam. It activates your DMN and encourages wacky ideas to bounce around. So when the lather rinses off, your light bulb switches on.
And Relax!But what makes the shower different from a boring board meeting? Doesn’t your mind wander there, too? Well, yeah. You probably have the doodles to prove it. But a shower is relaxing. It’s a small, safe, enclosed space. You feel comfortable there. (Comfortable enough to be in the buff!) On top of that, you’re probably alone. It may be the only alone time you get all day. It’s your chance to get away from any stresses outside. When you’re that relaxed, your brain may release everyone’s favorite happy-go-lucky neurotransmitter, dopamine. A flush of dopamine can boost your creative juices. More alpha waves will also ripple through your brain—the same waves that appear when you’re meditating or happily spacing out. Alphas accompany your brain’s daydreamy default setting and may encourage the creative fireworks. Wait! There’s more! The time you shower also plays into the equation. Most of us wash up either in the morning or at night—when we’re most tired. According to the journal Thinking and Reasoning, that’s our creative peak. The groggy morning fog weakens your brain’s censors, keeping you from blocking the irrelevant, distracting thoughts that make great ideas possible. It’s likely that your shower gushes during your creative sweet spot. There you have it. You’re distracted, relaxed, and tired. Your prefrontal cortex slackens its power as your default network switches on, your dopamine supplies surge, and your alpha waves roll. The shower creates the perfect storm for the perfect idea.
By Lucas ReillySeptember 6, 2013
A morning shower can help you wake up. But showering at night can help sleep arrive faster. What to do?
There were few greater sins in my childhood home than going to bed dirty, though I could sometimes appease my mother by just washing my feet before slipping between the clean sheets. Now, as an adult, I cannot bear to get in bed with the grime of the day clinging to my skin. And I’m not alone.We are the takers of night showers, and we stand in opposition to the takers of morning showers, a vocal many I’ve bickered with time and again.Don’t they feel rushed by the countdown to work or school beating down with the shower spray? Don’t they want to squeeze in every possible, precious moment of sleep? Do they really step outside on icy mornings with wet hair, or take even more time to blow-dry? There’s no rationale, or so I thought.
The case for a morning shower
People who love morning showers will tell you there is no better start to the day than by blasting away unruly bed hair and the crust of sleep, or for those who are particularly ambitious, wash off after a morning workout.
“Everybody in my house showered in the morning,” said Nate Martins, a writer from San Francisco. After the water heated up, “we’d all stack up like dominoes,” he said.
“Washing the sleep off, that’s something that I still do,” he said — much to the chagrin of his wife, Natalie, who’s a steadfast night showerer. “There have been times where she’s asked me to shower before bed, especially when I’ve spent a lot of time on public transit.”
For those who have a hard time waking up, a morning shower can make a big difference, said Dr. Janet K. Kennedy, a clinical psychologist and sleep expert in New York. It can boost alertness, she said, but she recommends a somewhat cooler, not cold, shower to avoid raising your body temperature dramatically.
The good and the bad for Team Night
For those who struggle with insomnia, Dr. Kennedy said she’d suggest showering at night, about 90 minutes before bed. “The body naturally cools down as bedtime approaches, in sync with the circadian rhythm,” she said. “Showering artificially raises the temperature again and allows for a faster cool down, which seems to hasten sleep.”
Showering is also a good way to unwind and release muscle tension, she said, which aids sleep.
But don’t get carried away. Those long, steamy showers spent unpacking the day and draining the water heater could damage your skin.
Dr. Gary Goldenberg, a dermatologist in New York and a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, recommends a maximum of 5- to 10-minute showers in lukewarm water for most people. Sad, I know.
“Very hot showers tend to take the oil off your skin, and tend to irritate your skin,” he said. “The longer you are in the water, the higher the chance it is going to dry your skin.”
That goes for baths too, he said.
But let us not speak of the bath people.
There’s a bonus to taking Dr. Goldenberg’s advice: Short, cooler showers are kinder to the environment — as is capturing the water that’s being wasted while you wait for it to heat up, said Mary Ann Dickinson, president of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. “There are products on the market to help people time their showers and to capture water,” she said.
The alliance’s water calculator can help you evaluate your water use.
While there’s no intrinsic environmental benefit to showering in the morning or at night, some electricity providers like Con Edison in New York have reduced rates for night use. “If water is heated using electricity, there could be opportunity for lower electricity bills,” Ms. Dickinson said.
Does the timing matter for cleanliness?
Dr. Goldenberg says that for most people, there’s nothing inherently wrong with showering in the morning, at night or both.
But he knocked fans of night showers down a peg: We’re not keeping our sheets as fresh as we think we are.
“Humans tend to perspire at night,” Dr. Goldenberg said. “When you wake up in the morning, there’s all this sweat and bacteria from the sheets that’s just kind of sitting there on your skin.”
So take a quick shower in the morning, he said, “to wash all of that gunk and sweat off that you’ve been sleeping in all night.”
Not to mention, he added, that a lot of people are intimate at night. “There are so many reasons to shower in the morning,” he said.
Dr. Goldenberg also stressed that most people don’t need to use “real soap,” like Dial or Lever 2000. A gentle, fragrance-free cleanser is best, he said.
And while some people, particularly those with shorter tresses, wash their hair daily to keep it from standing on end, there’s no need to do so unless you have a particularly oily scalp, Dr. Goldenberg said.
If you have allergies or sensitive skin, or are concerned about the quality of your water, you may want to have it tested, said Phil Kraus, of Fred Smith Plumbing in New York. For example, New York City adds “quite a bit” of chlorine, an irritant, to its tap water, he said.
Why not the best of both worlds? (Or neither?)
One possible compromise: showering twice a day.
Caroline Bottger, a content marketing manager from New York, says that while she usually showers in the morning, she will sometimes shower twice, a decision influenced by her father, who grew up in the tropics and had that habit.
Doing so twice a day is generally fine for your skin and scalp, Dr. Goldenberg said, as long as both showers are quick and you don’t have severe eczema or dermatitis.
If you go to the gym after work or if you work outside, “obviously you want to shower before you go to bed because there’s a lot of sweat — bacteria can cause acne,” he said. “And it stinks.”
Heath Williams, an associate marketing director from Brooklyn, regularly showers twice a day, a habit he developed after college, when he was a schoolteacher.
“So many germs are floating around schools, and you’re on feet moving around all day, so a shower after felt like a necessity,” he said.
And for those contrarians, there’s also a case for showering midday. If you live in an apartment building where the water temperature fluctuates wildly, you might benefit from showering at off-peak hours, said Mr. Kraus, the plumber.
I must confess, begrudgingly, that all this information may sway me to add a quick morning rinse to my routine. My reasoning about clean sheets and efficiency may not hold up to expert scrutiny. But one thing’s for sure: Working in a big city and touching more surfaces every day than I care to remember, I will always shower before bed. Can’t disappoint my mom, after all.