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9 Scientifically Proven Ways to Prevent Motion Sickness

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Feeling dizzy, nauseated, and uncomfortable is never fun, especially when you’re traveling. Caused by sensory confusion—your eyes and inner ears get conflicting signals about the movement going on around you—motion sickness can affect anyone, in any type of moving vehicle. Because it’s easier to prevent motion sickness than to deal with its symptoms in the moment, here are nine tips to help ensure your trip is smooth sailing, even if the water is choppy.

1. DON’T TRAVEL ON AN EMPTY STOMACH…

Traveling on an empty stomach can make you more susceptible to motion sickness (even the Swiss Medical Services advise against traveling without snacking first). Try to eat something light 45 to 60 minutes before traveling. A small amount of peanut butter, crackers, pretzels, or turkey can help settle your stomach before embarking on your trip, making you less likely to vomit.

2. …AND CONTINUE TO EAT LIGHT, BLAND FOODS DURING YOUR TRIP.

Eat light snacks every few hours to keep food in your stomach. Whatever you eat should be bland and low in fat and acid: Greasy and spicy foods can trigger nausea, so it's best to avoid them before and during your trip. Likewise, avoid alcohol, which can act as a diuretic and lead to dehydration, another motion sickness exacerbator. 

3. CHOOSE WHERE YOU SIT WISELY.

Where you sit can make all the difference. According to the Mayo Clinic, it's important to try to get a seat where you’ll feel the least amount of motion: In a car, this means the passenger seat rather than the back seat (if you can’t be the driver). On a train, sit toward the front, next to a window, and face forward (in the direction that the train is traveling). If the train (or bus) has two levels, sit on the lower level. If you’re on a ship, aim to get a cabin roughly at water level near the middle of the ship. And on an airplane, try to sit in the middle of the aircraft so that you’re over the front of either wing.

4. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery recommends that people who are prone to motion sickness sit in a forward-facing seat and avoid reading while traveling. Instead, focus your gaze on the horizon or a stationary object in the distance, like a mountain or street sign.

If you notice that you’re feeling dizzy while scrolling through your phone, put the phone down and look into the distance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that you reduce sensory input by lying down (if possible), looking at the horizon, or closing your eyes. 

5. STRAP ON A WRISTBAND.

To combat nausea caused by motion sickness, it might help to wear a wristband that applies pressure to a specific spot on your wrist, the Pericardium 6 point. While current research fails to prove whether acupressure wristbands actually help nausea, the placebo effect of wearing one may be enough to keep you from getting nauseated. If you don’t have a wristband, you can press your wrist with your opposite hand’s thumb.

If you want something more high-tech, you could try the ReliefBand. This FDA-approved piece of wearable technology looks like a watch, but it sends electrical current through your wrist to fight nausea from motion sickness and morning sickness.

6. GET FRESH AIR.

Motion sickness can make you feel hot and sweaty, and the wind (or a vent of air blowing at you) can help you feel better. To stave off seasickness, stand outside (on the deck of the boat) in the cold air for a few minutes.

7. SWALLOW GINGER.

Many studies have proven ginger’s efficacy in preventing motion sickness. Whether you eat a piece of candied ginger, suck on a ginger-flavored lozenge, swallow a ginger root capsule, or drink ginger ale (a type that contains actual ginger), the spice might be your best ally. Peppermint candy or mint gum can also help quell motion sickness because it eases digestion.

8. TAKE MEDICINE.

According to CDC guidelines, antihistamine medications that cause drowsiness are the most effective medications to combat motion sickness. If you try an over-the-counter med such as Dramamine or Bonine, take it 30 minutes to an hour before you depart on a boat or train. If you suffer from severe motion sickness and are going on an extended trip (like a cruise), you can also get a prescription scopolamine patch to put behind your ear (this is recommended only for extreme cases, as it has not-so-fun side effects, like blurred vision).

9. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH.

If all else fails, and you’re caught in the throes of full-on motion sickness, focus on your breath. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one study showed that taking slow, calm, deep breaths in and out will distract you and center you. Tell yourself that you’ll be okay and relax as much as possible. Hopefully, you’ll be back on firm ground soon!

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Stop Your Snoring and Track Your Sleep With a Wi-Fi Smart Pillow
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Everyone could use a better night's rest. The CDC says that only 66 percent of American adults get as much sleep as they should, so if you're spending plenty of time in bed but mostly tossing and turning (or trying to block out your partner's snores), it may be time to smarten up your sleep accessories. As TechCrunch reports, the ZEEQ Smart Pillow improves your sleeping schedule in a multitude of ways, whether you're looking to quiet your snores or need a soothing lullaby to rock you to sleep.

After a successful Kickstarter in 2016, the product is now on sale and ready to get you snoozing. If you're a snorer, the pillow has a microphone designed to listen to the sound of your snores and softly vibrate so that you shift positions to a quieter pose. Accelerometers in the pillow let the sleep tracker know how much you're moving around at night, allowing it to record your sleep stages. Then, you can hook the pillow up to your Amazon Echo or Google Home so that you can have your favorite smart assistant read out the pillow's analysis of your sleep quality and snoring levels the next morning.

The pillow is also equipped with eight different wireless speakers that turn it into an extra-personal musical experience. You can listen to soothing music while you fall asleep, either connecting the pillow to your Spotify or Apple Music account on your phone via Bluetooth or using the built-in relaxation programs. You can even use it to listen to podcasts without disturbing your partner. You can set a timer to turn the music off after a certain period so you don't wake up in the middle of the night still listening to Serial.

And when it's time to wake up, the pillow will analyze your movements to wake you during your lightest sleep stage, again keeping the noise of an alarm from disturbing your partner.

The downside? Suddenly your pillow is just another device with a battery that needs to charge. And forget about using it in a place without Wi-Fi.

The ZEEQ Smart Pillow currently costs $200.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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Want to Fall Asleep Faster? Add This Tweak To Your Bedtime Routine
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There are countless reasons people have trouble falling asleep. It could be physiological, as in the case of airway-obstructing sleep apnea, or it could be because you’ve had too much caffeine too late in the day. But some of us experience delayed slumber for a different reason: Our racing minds can’t quite shift into a lower gear. If you fall into this hyper-vigilant category, there’s a side effect-free way to try and resolve the problem.

In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers found that subjects who were tasked with writing out a to-do list for the following day (or days) before bed were able to fall asleep more quickly than other subjects who wrote about only what they had done that day.

The test, performed at Baylor University, recruited 57 people between the ages of 18 and 30 and kept them overnight in a sleep lab. Those who wrote down their planned tasks could use bullet points or paragraphs and fell asleep an average of nine minutes faster than subjects who didn’t. The more specific the list, the faster they were able to crash.

Researchers believe that the act of writing down responsibilities might be one way the brain can let go of a person’s obligations. (Thinking of what you have to do won’t have quite the same effect.) It was a small study, but considering how non-invasive it is, it might be worth trying if you're experiencing a lot of tossing and turning.

[h/t Travel+Leisure]

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