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Last Updated on January 2, 2018

What Has Science Taught Us In 2017?

What Has Science Taught Us In 2017?

Taking a tow down memory lane, the year 2017 held so much spectacular events. No, this is not about President Donald Trump’s twitter fights and all the unimportant confusions and contraptions we were all forced to deal with. The article The Top 10 Science Stories of 2017 by Andrea Gawrylewski gives us a breakdown of the most important scientific happenings witnessed during the year. While we are still trying to grasp many of these events, the list looks interesting and we hope 2018 comes with breathtaking, science happenings like the outgoing year.

The Many Faces Of The Science Events Witnessed in 2017 

Science events happened in several categories. In this article, Andrea Gawrylewski selected the two most important developments in five topic areas, based on editor’s top picks and the most popular articles at shared on Scientific American. It is interesting to see that the list covers:

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  1. Space and Physics;
  2. Sustainability and climate;
  3. Technology;
  4. Health;
  5. Mind and brain.

Scientists had a busy year in 2017. A delve into the events will reveal just how much they were busy.

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Spectacular Science Events As They Happened in 2017 

On August 21, 2017, the US witnessed a total solar eclipse that travelled through its entire city in 99 years. This event availed scientists with the rare opportunity to observe the sun’s chemistry, Einstenian relativity and other relatively uncharted waters in the study of our solar system. Many of the findings they will find will only be revealed in 2018, so it promises to be an exciting year for science. 2017 also witnessed the collision of two neutron stars by astronomers affiliated to the gravitational wave observatory. 2017 was also hurricane season and it aroused a challenge and call to action as regards our climate and peeling planet. The collection also includes President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord.

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AI Sets The Pace

In tech, Artificial Intelligence was a groundbreaking revelation and is set to be the next best thing for businesses. Yes, ISIS witnessed a 22,000-pound bomb dropped, when the US carried out a strike on her Afghanistan base. Who would forget the deadly Florida mass shootings? These events once again underscores the shaky grounds upon which the US gun policy stands and it shed light on the opioid crisis. Marijuana and the legal breakthrough in America and of course, the many concerns it still holds. The last was about Michael Shermer’s methods to convince people about cold, hard facts.

What Does 2018 Hold? 

Many science events happened throughout 2017 that did not make the cut. It will be interesting to see how much these topics would continue to be the subject of discussions in the New Year and how we will venture forward when new events starts to unfold.

Do you agree with this list or not? Moreover, do you accept that these were the most talked about science events in 2017? To read the full article, click here.

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on September 24, 2018

The Common Causes of Sleep Problems (And How to Fix Them Fast)

The Common Causes of Sleep Problems (And How to Fix Them Fast)

By now, the importance of getting a good nights sleep is settled science. While research varies on how much sleep is ideal, no one doubts that sleep is critical to optimal health, performance and mood.

That said, we don’t need research to recognize the benefits of sleep. We see it for ourselves. Without sleep we feel less energetic and alert. Our memories are poorer, reaction times slower. Some of us are less happy, more irritable and moody.

But a good nights sleep remains elusive for millions of people. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 1 in 3 adults don’t get the recommended amount of 7 hours per sleep per night.[1]

We’re going to show you 10 of the most common sleep problems, why do you have these issues and how to fix them without drugs or medication.

1. Anxiety

How many times does your mind lock onto a work or family issue, conversation you replay over and over again or challenge you face as you try to get to sleep. You lie awake desperately trying to rid yourself of the worry, but the issue plays in your mind over and over again.

Solution

There are several strategies you can employ to try to calm your mind.

First, get up and go to another room, keeping the lights off. Your anxious thoughts will usually disappear immediately. Then go back to your room and get to sleep.

Second, try reading a book until you’ve gotten your mind off your worries. Wait until you’re sleepy enough and nod off to sleep.

Another solution is to write a list of what you need to get done the following day, before you go to bed. Feeling disorganized can cause significant anxiety. Writing a “To Do” list will calm your nerves and help you tackle your day when you wake up.

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2. Snoring

Trying to get to sleep with a trombone in your ear is no easy task. Barring exchanging your snoring spouse for a non-snoring one, or sleeping in separate rooms, there are a few things you can do to return some quiet to your life.

Solution

First, ask your partner to sleep on their side. That may work long enough for you to get to sleep before they start snoring.

Second, try listening to sound cancelling white noise with headphones while you sleep. The challenge will be ensuring your ear phones stay in your ears while you toss and turn throughout the night. But if you can find a pair that stay snug, white noise works wonders.

Lastly, see if your partner can try a new pillow, losing wait, avoiding alcohol before bead, or breath right strips.

3. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea and snoring are night the same.[2] Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.

However, many people who have sleep apnea snore. It basically results in the inability for you to breeth freely while you sleep. It’s caused by a “floppy”, narrow throat.

When you have trouble breathing, you wake up. This can occur repeatedly throughout the night, making it difficult if not impossible to get uninterrupted sleep.

Solution

The most common non-surgical treatments are weight loss, oxygen, position changes and oral appliances.

The most common treatment, with the highest success rate, is called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Basically, an oxygen mask is placed over your nose and mouth and the air that is blown into you, keeps the airway from collapsing.

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4. Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is an involuntary urge to move your legs while your asleep or resting. It can also be accompanied by an uncomfortable feeling in your legs.

Restless leg syndrome can make it difficult for both you and your partner to sleep and stay asleep during the night.

Solution

Restless leg syndrome can be treated.[3] Aside from medications, too little iron can also be a cause of restless leg syndrome.

Give your doctor a visit, as you may want to get tested for iron deficiency and discuss the best way to increase your iron intake, whether through diet, supplements or intravenously.

5. Temperature

Too hot, or too cold and it’s difficult to get a good sleep. We all know the feeling of tossing and turning as our sheets stick to our bodies on a hot night.

Solution

Air conditioning is the obvious and easiest way to control the temperature while you sleep. But if that’s not available, fans can work remarkably well.

Have the right covers on hand. A duvet or warm blanket for cool nights and a lighter blanket or sheet for hot nights. You can also adjust your clothing, even sleeping in your birthday suit to keep yourself cool!

6. Raging Hormones

Mostly afflicting women during menopause, varying levels of estrogen and progesterone can play havoc with your sleep.

Even before hot flashes, you may notice yourself waking up in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason.

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Solution

To help, try sleeping in a cooler room and wearing lighter clothing. You can also try exercising earlier in the day and avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening.

If none of that works, you can speak to your doctor about hormone therapy.

7. Alcohol

We usually think alcohol make a good “nightcap”, helping us go to sleep. While that’s true for the first half of your sleep, research has shown that it actually contributes to disturbed sleep the second half of your night![4]

Moreover, the same research shows that people develop a rapid tolerance to alcohol, making it ineffective as a sleep inducer after only a few weeks.

Solution

The solution is simple, stay off the drink.

If you find that having some wine with dinner sits well with you, keep at it.

However, if you can’t figure out why you’re waking up in the middle of the night, see if cutting out the alcohol helps. Especially if you’re having a drink to help you go to bed.

8. Caffeine

Great for the morning. At night? Not so much.

You may find that as you get older, you get even more sensitive to the wakeful effects of caffeine.

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Solution

Avoid caffeine later in the day. In fact, with caffeine staying in the system for up to 10 hours, some people can feel the effects of caffeine from lunch!

While some like the calming effects of tea in the evening, try herbal teas or caffeine-free tea after dinner. Have decaf coffee for dessert after dinner.

Other caffeine culprits to avoid in the evening, colas, energy bars, many hot chocolates, some decaf coffee, energy drinks, sport drinks and chocolate.

9. Clock Watching

Nothing is more frustrating than telling yourself you want to sleep by 11:00, only to see 11:01, 11:02, 11:03…. showing up on your clock. Or what about when you wake up at 4 am and realize you only have another 2 hours of sleep before your alarm rings.

Stressful.

Watching the clock only makes you more anxious and frustrated.

Solution

Get rid of all the clocks, watches and phones by your bed. None should be visible or reachable from your bed. This will prevent you from catching a peak of the time in the middle of the night and rid you of one more piece of anxiety you don’t need.

Just close your eyes and go back to bed. Knowing the time won’t help you get more sleep. However, it more than likely will keep you up at night.

Conclusion

No matter which sleep affliction keeps you up at night, there are several things you can do to increase the odds of a good nights sleep:

  1. Exercise daily
  2. Use your bed for sleep and sex – no work, no TV
  3. Keep your bedroom at the right temperature for you
  4. Don’t eat too much before bed
  5. Don’t drink alcohol, caffeine or chocolate before bed
  6. Solve the issue that’s keeping you up at night. See a doctor if necessary.

Find out the reason why you’re having sleep problems and fix it with the suitable solution.

Featured photo credit: Zohre Nemati via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Center for Disease Control and Prevention: 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep
[2]Healthy Sleep Harvard Med: Understanding OSA
[3]Mayo Clinic: Restless legs syndrome
[4]National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Sleep, Sleepiness, and Alcohol Use

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