Why Can't I Sleep In On Weekends Anymore?

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iStock

Sleeping in is one of the best parts of the weekend. After a long, exhausting work week, sometimes all you want to do is sleep. On Friday night, you slide under the covers, smiling in anticipation. Now you can finally catch up on your sleep.

Except you can’t. When you open your eyes Saturday morning, it’s still early. If this were a weekday, you’d be up before your alarm. So what’s the deal? 

We hate to break it to you, but you’ve pretty much done this to yourself. Your body is very good at recognizing patterns and adjusting accordingly. If you’ve got a 9-to-5 job, you’re getting up early five days a week. This effectively sets your body clock to wake you at a certain time each day.

Waking up may feel instantaneous, but it’s actually a pretty gradual process. About an hour before you wake, your blood pressure and body temperature rise, as do levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Minute by minute, you become more alert until you’re completely awake. You can shut off your alarm clock, but your body clock will just keep ticking.

There’s another reason that you probably don’t want to think about: You’re just not as young as you used to be. We need less sleep as we get older. Babies need between 16 and 20 hours. Teenagers should (but often don’t) get nine hours a night. Younger and middle-aged adults need about eight hours of sleep a night. In general, the older you get, the harder it is to snooze the day away. 

Even if you do manage to sleep in, you may never fully catch up on your sleep. If your body needs eight hours every night and you only get six or seven from Monday to Friday, you’d have to sleep an extra five to ten hours on Saturday to make it up. And experts say even that may not be enough

The bottom line: Sleep when you can, and enjoy those extra weekend morning hours. Who doesn’t want a longer weekend?

A Custom Wheelchair Allowed This Brain-Injured Baby Raccoon to Walk Again

фотограф/iStock via Getty Images
фотограф/iStock via Getty Images

Animal prosthetics and wheelchairs allow dogs, cats, and even zoo animals with limited mobility to walk again, but wild animals with disabilities aren't usually as lucky. Vittles, a baby raccoon rescued in Arkansas, is the rare example of an animal that was severely injured in its natural habitat getting a second shot at life.

As Tribune Media Wire reports, Vittles came to wildlife rehab specialist Susan Curtis, who works closely with raccoons for the state of Arkansas, with a traumatic brain injury at just 8 weeks old. The cause of the trauma wasn't clear, but it was obvious that the raccoon wouldn't be able to survive on her own if returned to the wild.

Curtis partnered with the pet mobility gear company Walkin' Pets to get Vittles back on her feet. They built her a tiny custom wheelchair to give her balance and support as she learned to get around on her own. The video below shows Vittles using her legs and navigating spaces with help from the chair and guidance from her caretaker.

Vittles will likely never recover fully, but now that she's able to exercise her leg muscles, her chance at one day moving around independently is greater than it would have been otherwise. She now lives with her caretaker Susan and a 10-year old raccoon with cerebral palsy named Beetlejuice. After she's rehabilitated, the plan is to one day make her part of Arkansas's educational wildlife program.

[h/t Tribune Media Wire]

Why You Should Never Shower With Your Contact Lenses In

belchonock/iStock via Getty Images
belchonock/iStock via Getty Images

Contact lenses offer a level of convenience for those with less-than-perfect vision that glasses can hardly compete with, but that doesn’t mean the daily struggle of taking them in and out of your eyes doesn’t wear on you. If you get a little lazy and decide it’s fine to leave them in your eyes during showers or pool parties, think again.

According to Popular Science, a 41-year-old woman in the UK lost sight in her left eye as a result of frequently showering and swimming without removing her contacts. The culprit was Acanthamoeba polyphaga, a protozoa that crawled into her eye and caused a cornea infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis. After two months of pain, blurry vision, and light sensitivity, the woman sought medical attention at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, where doctors discovered a ring shape in her left eye and a hazy layer covering her cornea. Upon testing her vision, they found that her left eye was now 20/200, which counts as legally blind in the United States.

Leela Raju, an ophthalmologist and cornea specialist at New York University, told Popular Science that the single-celled organisms “can be anywhere,” including pools, hot tubs, showers, dirty saline solution containers, and even tap water. Lens-wearers make up around 85 percent of those who get infected, and experts think it may be because the amoeba can latch onto a contact lens more easily than a bare eye.

Though Popular Science reports that Acanthamoeba keratitis only affects one or two people out of every million contact wearers each year, that’s no reason not to be careful. If you do catch it, you’ll likely need a cornea transplant, and even that won’t necessarily restore your eyesight to its previous state—after her transplant, the UK woman’s left eye now has 20/80 vision.

“It’s just a long road, for something that’s totally preventable,” Raju says. In addition to removing your contacts before swimming, showering, or sleeping, you should also refrain from reusing saline solution, make sure your contact case is completely clean and dry before filling it with more solution, and check out these other tips.

[h/t Popular Science]

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