A Heavy Blanket Helps People with Anxiety and Insomnia

A good nights sleep can make a world of difference to one’s health, getting that sleep can be hard though. A simple solution can help those who need more slumber: a heavy blanket. Sleeping under a weighted blanket kind of acts like a hug for your whole body – and everybody likes a good hug. This is a nice and simple way to help people who have trouble sleeping from insomnia, anxiety, or even PTSD.

A weighted blanket molds to your body like a warm hug. The pressure also helps relax the nervous system. It’s a totally safe and effective non-drug therapy for sleep and relaxation naturally. Psychiatric, trauma, geriatric, and pediatric hospital units use weighted blankets to calm a patient’s anxiety and promote deep, restful sleep. In a similar way to swaddling comforting an infant, the weight and pressure on an adult provides comfort and relief.

When pressure is gently applied to the body, it encourages serotonin production, which lifts your mood. When serotonin naturally converts to melatonin, your body takes the cue to rest.

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Positively Trolling Racists on the Web

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Racists aren’t smart, and recently their stupidity has been taken advantage of to make the internet a little better. The popular online community Reddit has some parts of the site occupied by racists and the larger contingent of the community got sick of it. Some members started to infiltrate those hateful parts of the community and take over moderation and posting. They deleted the hateful posts and replaced them with a hilarious take on the community’s name.

One of the first big examples of this new, decidedly wholesome form of internet trolling occurred on /r/Stormfront, a subreddit originally named after the infamous neo-Nazi website and internet forum. Thanks to some cheeky Reddit users who took the subreddit over, /r/Stormfront is now dedicated to discussing the weather. Any kind of “disrespectful, hateful or discriminatory comments on race, religion, ideology, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and sexual orientation are not allowed,” according to the page’s new set of guidelines.

“I love that people coming to Reddit to read about racism instead find themselves exposed to trends in severe weather,” Reddit user awkwardtheturtle, who has reclaimed a number of these racist subreddits, told Mic via Reddit private message. “It’s just such a funny twist.”

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A Little Bit of Exercise Goes a Long Way

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You don’t have to go to a gym to live a healthy lifestyle, you can work out while you vacuum. Recent research has concluded that even a mild amount of effort can improve one’s health and add years to one’s life. All you need as a minimum is 2.5 hours a week of being active. Being active can include chores around your house, going for a walk, or anything that gets your blood pumping from exertion. Obviously, gyms and working out more than 2.5 hours a week can greatly improve your health more than just vacuuming.

“I would dispel the notion of having to put out money to be active,” said Dr. Scott Lear, the study lead author and a professor at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences in Canada, in an email. “Our findings indicate that nonrecreational activity — work, housework, active transportation — is just as beneficial in reducing the risk for premature death and heart disease.”

So, yes, even vacuuming your house or walking on your lunch hour for a solid 30 minutes can help avert an early death and chronic disease.

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How the Shape of Cities Impact Public Transportation

Cities contain the majority of the worlds population and moving that many people is a challenge, to say the least. Each city has its own design and plan for public transportation and some are clearly better than others. Wendover Productions tackles this question and provides some nice insights into what makes a city a good place for public transit. The video ends with a nice snapshot of the kinds of success that public transit can bring to cities. One example is that Portland has seen an estimated 5 billion dollars in development thanks to their streetcar network.

Parkinson’s Research Using Massive Data Collected from 23andMe

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23andMe hopes to find a cure for Parkinson’s through data mining. Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological disorder that affects millions of people, and a cure is hard to find. The company collects gene samples from people who want to know their genetic lineage, which it then stores and uses for research. Along with submitting their gene users answer questions that allow researches to look into things that were previously too expensive. To properly do the the research 23andMe teamed up with Genentech for the analysis of data.

Which is why Genentech’s next step is to sequence the full genomes of 3,000 of 23andMe’s Parkinson’s patients. These volunteers have answered questions about their family history, how quickly their disease is progressing, what treatments they’ve tried and how well they’ve worked. By drilling down into all 3 billion base pairs, the pharma firm hopes to get past the most common traits of Parkinson’s—the ones that each exert a small effect to sum up to the heritability of the disease. Instead, they’re looking for those rare variants, which destroy more biological machinery than average, leaving a trail of rubble that’s easier to track.“ They’re the extreme breaks in the system,” says Rob Graham, a senior scientist in Genentech’s human genetics group, and coauthor on the Nature Genetics paper.

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