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Finland is the world’s happiest country, Nepal 101th

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Finland has overtaken Norway to become the happiest country on earth, according to to a UN annual report issued on Wednesday that found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer.

Burundi in east Africa, scarred by bouts of ethnic cleansing, civil wars and coup attempts, came bottom in the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) 2018 World Happiness Report which ranked 156 countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

The study also reveals that the US has slipped to 18th place, five places down on 2016. The top four places are taken by Nordic nations, with Finland followed by Norway, Denmark Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.

Taking the harsh, dark winters in their stride, Finns said access to nature, safety, childcare, good schools and free healthcare were among the best things about in their country.

Nepal was 101 where as Pakistan was ahead than Nepal with 75th among Sounth Asian countries followed by Bhutan with 97. Likewise, Bangladesh 115th, Sri Lanka 116th and India was 133rd.

Britain was 19th and the United Arab Emirates 20th.

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The UN, for the first time since it was started in 2012, also examined the happiness levels of immigrants in each country, and found Finland also scored highest.

Finland took top honors in that category too, giving the country a statistical double-gold status. The foreign-born were least happy in Syria, which has been mired in civil war for seven years.

 

“The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born,” said Professor John Helliwell of Canada’s University of British Columbia.

One chapter of the 170-page report is dedicated to emerging health problems such as obesity, depression and the opioid crisis, particularly in the United States where the prevalence of all three has grown faster than in most other countries.

While US income per capita has increased markedly over the last half century, happiness has been hit by weakened social support networks, a perceived rise in corruption in government and business and declining confidence in public institutions.

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Getting out of the bed early can keep the blues away : Study

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Middle-to-older aged women who are naturally early to bed and early to rise are significantly less likely to develop depression, according to researchers at University of Colorado Boulder and the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The study, that published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research included more than 32,000 female nurses, explored the link between chronotype, or sleep-wake preference, and mood disorders.

It showed that even after accounting for environmental factors like light exposure and work schedules, chronotype – which is in part determined by genetics – appears to mildly influence depression risk.

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“Our results show a modest link between chronotype and depression risk. This could be related to the overlap in genetic pathways associated with chronotype and mood,” said lead author Celine Vetter.

The researchers found that late chronotypes, or night owls, are less likely to be married, more likely to live alone and be smokers, and more likely to have erratic sleep patterns.

After accounting for these factors, they found that early risers still had a 12 – 27 percent lower risk of being depressed than intermediate types. Late types had a 6 percent higher risk than intermediate types (this modest increase was not statistically significant.)

Genetics play a role in determining whether you are an early bird, intermediate type, or night owl, with research showing 12-42 percent heritability. And some studies have already shown that certain genes (including PER2 and RORA), which influence when we prefer to rise and sleep, also influence depression risk.

“Alternatively, when and how much light you get also influences chronotype, and light exposure also influences depression risk. Disentangling the contribution of light patterns and genetics on the link between chronotype and depression risk is an important next step,” Vetter said.

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Vetter stressed that while the study suggested that chronotype was an independent risk factor for depression, it did not mean night owls were doomed to be depressed.

“Being an early type seems to beneficial, and you can influence how early you are” she said. “Try to get enough sleep, exercise, spend time outdoors, dim the lights at night, and try to get as much light by day as possible.”

With ANI Inputs

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