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Lush Cosmetics North America
Lush Cosmetics North America

Insomniacs Are Swearing By This "Sleepy" Body Lotion

Lush Cosmetics North America
Lush Cosmetics North America

Insomnia can take a huge toll on the body. It's the most commonly reported sleep disorder—an estimated 10 percent of the U.S. population has it—and causes lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability, among other effects. And severe insomnia is usually chronic.

So it's understandable that people who have trouble sleeping are always on the lookout for a new treatment. Some people say they've found it in a lotion made by Lush. According to the Independent, insomniacs are calling Lush's Sleepy body lotion "magic."

Is it really a magic potion? No. Will it help you sleep? It's hard to say, but there's some research to suggest it could. It certainly isn't a panacea for insomnia, and people with severe insomnia probably won't see much effect from a lotion.

Lavender has long served as an herbal remedy to relax and soothe. A 2012 review of studies on lavender and sleep advised, "Early results appear promising, but they should be viewed with caution," since most of these studies are very small, and noted the results "suggested lavender oil may be of small to moderate benefit." For instance, a 2017 study on ICU patients found that inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 days increased sleep quality and reduced anxiety levels. A 2015 study on college students found lavender to be an effective sleep aid, particularly in conjunction with good sleep hygiene.

Making lotioning up a part of your nighttime routine could mean that you're placing more focus on sleep hygiene, which is a proven way to enhance your sleep quality. According to a report from India's National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, poor sleep hygiene can perpetuate insomnia. To get better sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends establishing a regular, relaxing bedtime routine, like taking a bath or reading a book. Applying lotion would count, too.

Plus, recent studies have found that even placebos can help insomniacs sleep a bit better. In a review of 13 published studies, participants who received placebos in sleep studies reported sleep improvements compared to people who took part in the studies but didn't receive any kind of treatment. So even if the lavender doesn't help—most studies on lavender have analyzed inhaling the essential oil, not rubbing a lotion on your skin—having a ton of faith in Lush's ability to cure an affliction that plagues millions of people might. At least a little.

[h/t Independent]

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3 Easy Ways to Curb Your Smartphone Addiction
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In the modern era, it feels virtually impossible to live without a smartphone. How would your friend tell you she's running late to meet you for lunch? How many life updates would you miss if you're off Instagram? How on earth do you find anything without Google Maps? Few of us are able to resist the siren call of cell phones and social media, and as a result, researchers say that smartphone addition is on the rise, causing greater levels of anxiety and depression, especially among young adults.

Even if you don't feel like your phone is making you depressed, you probably feel like you stare at it at least a little longer than you should each day. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 46 percent of smartphone owners say they couldn't live without their device. But there are ways to detach from your precious phone without having to totally disconnect. Here are three tips to help you back off your smartphone usage, no withdrawal pains necessary.

1. TURN OFF VIBRATIONS.

Let's face it: You probably look at your phone regularly, whether you know someone is trying to reach you or not. You know, just in case. A 2015 Gallup poll found that half of all smartphone owners look at their device hourly. Checking your smartphone is essentially a compulsion for many people, one that researchers say plays on the brain's dopamine circuitry to leave us always wanting more. To short-circuit that process, take away those intrusive notifications that derail your attention even when you're not looking at your phone. Trust us, you will rarely miss an important text message by waiting a few minutes to answer it, and you'll probably get rid of those pesky phantom vibrations in the process. Does it really matter if you find out now or in an hour that you have three likes on your latest Instagram post? We didn't think so.

2. DITCH THAT BATTERY PERCENTAGE NUMBER.

Checking your phone all the time doesn't just make you stress over whether or not someone is texting you back. The more time you spend on your smartphone, the quicker your battery dies, and the more time you spend stressing out over whether or not you'll have enough battery left to keep using your phone for the rest of the day. But knowing whether your phone is at 63 percent battery or 57 percent battery probably won't help. It's hard to judge exactly how long a phone will last even when you can see the percentage, and the constant downward tick of the numbers is only going to make you obsess more. So just disable the setting, hiding the battery percentage display altogether. You'll still be able to get a rough idea of how much charge your phone has left from the icon, there just won’t be a specific number attached to it. Because when it comes to actually using your smartphone, the difference between 54 percent and 53 percent battery is essentially meaningless, anyway. You might as well just ignore it.

3. MAKE IT GRAYSCALE.

This one is a recommendation from Tristan Harris, a former "Design Ethicist" at Google. He is a specialist on just how our phones hijack our attention, and how those random notifications keep us coming back to our home screens again and again and again. To break the pattern, he suggests making your phone’s shiny graphics look a little less interesting. Make them grayscale instead of color. Suddenly, your vibrant, colorful phone will look a little more drab. You'll be able to text and make phone calls and use Google Maps, sure, but scrolling through Facebook won't feel quite as rewarding.

This one seems a little extreme when you first try it, but it's pretty easy to switch back and forth between color and grayscale when you enable the setting. For an iPhone, go to the General tab in your settings, then Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters. When you turn on color filters, you should be able to select grayscale as an option, turning your phone drab. To switch back to color occasionally, go back to the Accessibility menu in your settings, then select Accessibility Shortcuts all the way at the bottom. Enable Color Filters in that menu, and you'll be able to switch back and forth just by triple-clicking the home button.

If you have an Android, the process is a little more complicated, and you may have to enable a developer mode to unlock it. (More instructions here.)

Once your phone is robbed of color, you'll be surprised at how much less powerful the rush of opening up your home screen is. It's like taking a sip of decaf coffee.

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The Best Ways to Avoid Germs While Flying
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The weeks you spent avoiding sniffling colleagues around the water cooler can seem all for naught the moment you board a plane during cold and flu season. But as Travel + Leisure points out, having a few of these proactive tricks in your arsenal could help you avoid other passengers’ germs.

As you pack, stash a travel-sized bottle of nasal spray in your carry-on. Mucous membranes in our noses protect us from infectious agents, but airplane air can dry them out, so remember to apply regularly while flying.

Once you're seated, an antibacterial gel or wipes will take care of the microbes chilling on your tray table. When beverages and snacks are served, wipe down the tray table's surface, which has been called one of the dirtiest places on the plane. And skip the possibly unsafe airline coffee or tea.

Air travelers are typically crammed into planes like sardines, but there are still ways to limit your close contact with others. For example, linger toward the back or front, away from dense throngs of people, while waiting in line to board. Once you’re on the plane, opt for a window seat if you have a choice. Aisle seats typically have more leg room, but they also expose passengers to more germ-rich people walking in the aisle.

One last tip for staying healthy while flying the friendly skies: After you're seated, switch on the overhead vent to increase air circulation. You'll breathe easier if you're not sitting in a spot where germs are concentrated.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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