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How You Put Yourself To Sleep

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I think we all have nights where sleep won't come -- despite flipping the pillow and persistent rolling over, it just doesn't happen. What do you do when this happens?

Personally, I've developed only one good way to get to sleep: audiobooks. Now, I love audiobooks during the daytime, but sometimes I'll buy a book that's super-boring. For example, take the audiobook of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire -- immensely difficult to focus on during the day...but PERFECT for snooze inducement in the middle of the night! (If you don't believe me, check out the free preview of the 41-hour Volume 1, available on iTunes.)

The best part of the audiobook cure is that, even if you don't fall asleep, you might get some decent "reading" in. But aside from my own method, there are lots of great sleep aids suggested on the web. In fact, the Mental_Floss Blog has covered sleep medications, sleeping with pets, sleep disorders, why snooze buttons work for nine minutes, famous narcoleptics, and much more.

Blogger Mary Wheeler has suggested a series of cures for insomnia, including:

Sexing the alphabet: this involves going through the alphabet and assigning a gender to each letter. This was really interesting, yet sleep-inducing, to me the first 20 times I did it. [Note from Higgins: I think A is male and B is female. You?]

Sexing the numbers: Assigning a gender to each number. This is hard -- each number, for me, anyway, can easily be male or female.

Categorizing things by color: thinking of all the things I can that are one color or another. This is a lot like a kid's book, but is still harder than it sounds. I end up cheating and it will go like this: "trees, peas, pistacio ice cream, green tea, green book, green socks, green car ..."

Saying a fruit or vegetable for every letter of the alphabet. This has been my latest game and honestly, I don't think I've made it past "G" -- this is how well I've been sleeping lately!

So let's have it: what do you do to get to sleep?

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Beyond the Label: How to Pick the Right Medicines For Your Cold and Flu Symptoms
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The average household spends an annual total of $338 on various over-the-counter medicines, with consumers making around 26 pharmacy runs each year, according to 2015 data from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. To save cash and minimize effort (here's why you'd rather be sleeping), the Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding certain cold and flu products, and selecting products containing specific active ingredients.

Since medicine labels can be confusing (lots of people likely can’t remember—let alone spell—words like cetirizine, benzocaine, or dextromethorphan), the famous hospital created an interactive infographic to help patients select the right product for them. Click on your symptom, and you’ll see ingredients that have been clinically proven to relieve runny or stuffy noses, fevers, aches, and coughs. Since every medicine is different, you’ll also receive safety tips regarding dosage levels, side effects, and the average duration of effectiveness.

Next time you get sick, keep an eye out for these suggested elements while comparing products at the pharmacy. In the meantime, a few pro tips: To avoid annoying side effects, steer clear of multi-symptom products if you think just one ingredient will do it for you. And while you’re at it, avoid nasal sprays with phenylephrine and cough syrups with guaifenesin, as experts say they may not actually work. Cold and flu season is always annoying—but it shouldn’t be expensive to boot.

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Why You Might Not Want to Order Tea or Coffee On Your Next Flight
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A cup of tea or coffee at 40,000 feet may sound like a great way to give yourself an extra energy boost during a tiring trip, but it might be healthier to nap away your fatigue—or at least wait until hitting ground to indulge in a caffeine fix. Because, in addition to being tepid and watery, plane brew could be teeming with germs and other harmful life forms, according to Business Insider.

Multiple studies and investigations have taken a closer look at airplane tap water, and the results aren’t pretty—or appetizing. In 2002, The Wall Street Journal conducted a study that looked at water samples taken from 14 different flights from 10 different airlines. Reporters discovered “a long list of microscopic life you don’t want to drink, from Salmonella and Staphylococcus to tiny insect eggs," they wrote.

And they added, "Worse, contamination was the rule, not the exception: Almost all of the bacteria levels were tens, sometimes hundreds, of times above U.S. government limits."

A 2004 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that water supplies on 15 percent of 327 national and international commercial aircrafts were contaminated to varying degrees [PDF]. This all led up to the 2011 Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, an EPA initiative to make airlines clean up. But in 2013, an NBC investigation found that at least one out of every 10 commercial U.S. airplanes still had issues with water contamination.

Find out how airplane water gets so gross, and why turning water into coffee or tea isn’t enough to kill residual germs by watching Business Insider’s video below.

[h/t Business Insider]

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