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NHS reliant on private ambulances, stay healthy with at least six hours sleep... but do it on your side

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

The NHS is becoming increasingly reliant on private ambulance services, the Telegraph reports, with spending jumping 156% last year as ambulance trusts struggle to provide enough paramedics to give safe care.

The £57.6m spend in 2014/15 funded 333,329 callouts by independent services, across nine of the UK’s ten trusts. London had the biggest increase in spend per callout, though total callouts by private services have dropped from 56,273 in 2010/11, to 2,301 last year.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘Private and voluntary ambulances have always worked with the NHS and help manage periods of increased demand. The use of such ambulances is a local decision.’

Sleepless nights could be hurrying you to an early grave, as research shows getting less than six hours a night can increase risk of early death, through health problems like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, by 12%.

The Independent adds that Public Health England has even begun promoting a good night’s sleep as part of its drive to get the public to make seven healthy lifestyle changes.

Public Health England said: ‘Only around 20%-30% of what we think of as “ageing” is biological; the rest is “decay” or “deterioration”, which can be actively managed or prevented.’

But the Express reports that there’s more to sleep-filled longevity than lying down with research that shows sleeping on your side can stave off Alzheimer’s by allowing the body to more efficiently clear amyloid proteins that build up in the brain.

Amyloid is responsible for forming the degenerative plaques that define Alzheimer’s, and the research, published research in the Journal of Neuroscience, found  - through MRI scans of rats - that the ‘glymphatic pathway’ which removes amyloid  works more effectively on one side, rather than on the back or front.

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