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Why Sleeping is So Important and How You Can Hack it



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The importance of sleep and its relationship to our overall health has for many years been a focal point for various research studies. Continuous findings from these studies are of great relevance to our increasingly sleep-deprived modern day societies. For example, surveys carried out in 2013 have shown that 40% of Americans sleep less than 7 hours a night on average. Yet statistics change fast nowadays considering lifestyle choices and their impact on our health are changing exponentially.

Behavioural Risk Factors

Healthcare professionals and practitioners have been emphasizing the importance of good sleep for years. It is no longer a friendly health advice anymore – it is turning into a public health problem. Lack of good sleep manifests in various degrees of health or behavior related effects. The most common ones we have all experienced at some point are: fatigue and exhaustion during the day, impaired memory & concentration, sour mood and decreased attention.  The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)  survey in 2009 had shown that 23.2% of the adult U.S population (49.2 million) had problems with concentrating on things due to insufficient sleep and 18.2% (38.8 million) had problem remembering things. 

Health Issues

Even more concerning are problems related to our health in general. These include a weakening of our immune system (thus making you vulnerable to respiratory problems such as common cold and influenza); Obesity and weight management problems due to a decrease of the hormone Leptin (signals the brain that we are full) and an increase of the biochemical Gherlin (stimulates the appetite) ; Sleep deprivation also prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat, increasing fat storage and the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes; Last but not least, sleep deprivation also increases the risks of cardiovascular problems since during sleep we restore our blood vessels and heart.

Why are we not getting enough sleep?

There are a whole list of reasons why we are getting less sleep, or equally important, decreasing the quality of our sleep. Most of them have to do with our unconscious lifestyles. Stress, improper diets, frenetic task-management and over-working are all common causes but other equally important factors have to do with how we actually sleep or rather put ourselves to sleep.

Here are a few important practical tips gathered from various sources that can be important aids or allies to your sleep routine. Do not be fooled by their simple appearance and even if you must have heard about some of them before, they are not to be ignored or taken for granted. These simple hacks can drastically improve the quality of your sleep, hence your health, whether you are insomniac or would simply like to sleep better.

Food, Herbs & Supplements

Diet has of course an impact on the quality of our sleep whether it is sourced from our daily nutrition or from supplementary sources such as herbs and non-prescription drugs.

Tryptophan-laden Foods: These are foods that either contain good amounts of Tryptohan or are helpful in processing it more easily in the body. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is metabolized into Serotonin and Melatonin – two neuro-chemicals that regulate our cycles of sleep and wakefulness. Such foods include: Walnuts, Pretzels, Tuna, Honey, Kale, Shrimp and lobster and chickpeas

Herbs: Some herbs have been used for centuries for their sedative or sleep-aiding properties. These herbs are typically made into a tea infusion and drank before sleep to calm the nervous system and promote better sleep. Some of the most commonly known herbs and flowers are: Chamomile, Valerian root, Lemon Balm and Passion Flower.

Supplements: Various supplements can be bought online or over the counter without prescription because of their having negligible side effects, if at all. Some of these supplements are either extracts from the above-mentioned herbs or contain amino acids such as tryptophan.  Some are also taken as both mood enhancers and aids for better sleep such as the popular New Mood by Onnit.

Bedding Equipment

Although we can obviously make the connection between good bedding equipment and better sleep quality, we often overlook its importance. A four-year-long study has once and for all cleared any doubts about this. Mattresses are of course the most important factor to consider when choosing your new bedding equipment.

Yet there is a lot of myths and misconceptions as to what makes a good mattress such as for example the idea that a mattress has to be ‘firm’ or ‘hard’ to support the back. In reality what supports the back is having the mattresses fit the natural curvature of the spine – something achieved by memory foam mattresses. New generation memory foam mattresses called Gel Memory Foam Mattresses have been recently launched by one company named Ghostbed. These gel memory mattresses offer even better support than ordinary memory foam and also contain ‘continually aerated foam’ for avoiding heat retention.


The general setting of your sleep space and environment can also be a determining factor as to whether you fall asleep effortlessly or stare at the ceiling for hours among tosses and turns. Some people consider preparation for sleep as highly important and it is often turned into a ritualistic setting thus creating the right mood for sleep.

There are a whole lot of objects and aids that can be used for creating the right atmosphere conducive to a good night’s sleep. The right use of light and sound are definitely the best-known tools.

Binaural Beats & White Noise: Most people like myself, use binaural beats to entrain the brain into entering slower brainwave states such as the Alpha and Theta levels that are needed for calming and eventually entering into sleep mode. Some of these binaural sounds also contain white noise which many people find as soothing or sleep-inducing.

Lighting: Light is also an important factor to consider before sleep. For instance, using electronic equipment before sleep can disrupt the circadian rhythm because of it emits ‘blue light’ which tricks the body into believing it’s daytime. Hence refraining from using such equipment a few hours before sleep definitely helps. Some lighting equipment such as Himalayan Salt Lamps are also said to have sleep improving benefits.

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3D-Printed ‘Suicide Pod’ Gets Legal Approval in Switzerland, Could Roll Out In 2022



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Switzerland is among a small group of countries, mainly in Europe, that allows for people to end their own lives under strict provisions through the assistance of a licensed physician.

However, one company in the Alpine nation is hoping to streamline legalized euthanasia by removing doctors from the process through a new invention that allows people to end their own lives quickly and painlessly. And now, the device has passed an important review by Swiss legal authorities.

Nonprofit company Exit International has produced a 3D-printed suicide chamber dubbed the “Sarco,” reports  Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. The 21st-century sarcophagus-like machine could roll out as soon as 2022.

Those faced with terminal disease and other excruciating physical conditions, as well as severe psychological pain, will be able to make a clean exit from this mortal coil by lying comfortably inside the small chamber. At the press of a button, the chamber will then fill with nitrogen gas, depriving them of oxygen and terminating their life in 30 seconds.

“There is no panic, no choking feeling,” said Philip Nitschke, the nonprofit’s founder who has been dubbed “Dr. Death” by media.

The chamber is also easy to transport, allowing people to end their lives wherever they choose – be it in a cabin in the forest, at the beach, or anywhere else they might choose.

The device is controversial, however, due to the fact that it removes medical professionals from the process of euthanasia. However, Exit International hopes that it can develop an AI-assisted online exam that can gauge the mental acuity of those who wish to use Sarco.

“We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves,” Nitschke explained.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide and live in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of helpful resources at Resources in other countries can be found here.

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Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People



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The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.

Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.

Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.

Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.

Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.

“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”

However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.

In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”

“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”

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Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say



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With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

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