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15 times politicians did the right thing in 2015.

You may not always agree with these politicians, but let's give credit where credit is due.

2015 has been a big year in a lot of ways.

The Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality and upheld the Affordable Care Act. The people of Ireland became the first country to grant the right to same-sex marriage by popular vote. There have been lots of good political things happening behind the scenes, but how about a few examples of positive things politicians did throughout the year?

1. World leaders came together and signed on to a historic climate change agreement.

Earlier in December, world leaders met in Paris to address an issue vital to the Earth's survival: climate change. And for once, the politicians in attendance got real about the need and urgency to take immediate action.


In the end, 195 countries signed on to the Paris Agreement, agreeing to reduce their carbon output as soon as possible in an effort to keep the planet from warming more than 2 degrees. It's not just good for the environment — the agreement took care to protect human rights as well.

A protester outside the COP21 talks. Photo by Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images.

2. Oregon's legislature took on some major issues, from police profiling to paid sick leave.

In 2015, Oregon banned police profiling, required body cameras on officers, criminalized revenge porn, passed a law requiring paid sick leave, and instituted automatic voter registration which will up the number of registered voters in the state by an estimated 800,000 people, among other achievements.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

3. A bipartisan bill put animal welfare ahead of profits.

Back in February, Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Mike Fitzpatrick introduced the Animal Welfare At Risk in Experiments (AWARE) Act. The bill would close a loophole that exempts farm animals from bans on animal testing. Though the bipartisan bill hasn't gotten much traction, it's a bold stand from these politicians against the powerful agriculture industry.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

“Allowing animals to be tortured in the interest of creating bigger profit margins — especially at taxpayer expense — is reprehensible, and we’re grateful to Representatives Blumenauer and Fitzpatrick for working hard to get USDA out of the business of animal cruelty and back to the job of animal welfare,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said of the bill.

“Congress’s swift bipartisan introduction of legislation reflects a strong commitment to ending animal cruelty wherever it happens.”

4. Hawaii Governor David Ige committed his state to using 100% renewable energy by 2045.

In June, Gov. Ige committed Hawaii to achieving the goal of 100% renewable power by the year 2045. In August, Hawaii opened the first fully closed-cycle Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant in the U.S. (That's a big deal.)

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

Hawaii isn't exactly chock-full of fossil fuels in the first place, so the swap to renewable energy is not only welcome, but necessary. Here's hoping some of the technology working its way out to the islands finds its way back to the mainland.

5. Lawmakers created Congress' first ever transgender equality task force.

Earlier this year, Rep. Mike Honda announced that he has a transgender granddaughter. Ever since, he's been a powerful, vocal ally to the trans cause, giving voice to the frequently voiceless. Honda now chairs the House of Representatives' first ever Transgender Equality Task Force.

"This is another much-needed step in our fight to ensure that the transgender community’s voice is represented in Congress,” Honda says in a statement on his website.

Rep. Mike Honda. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

6. Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a gender-balanced cabinet.

It may not seem like a big deal, and that's kind of the point. When a reporter asked Trudeau why his cabinet is equally balanced between men and women, he gave the perfect answer: "Because it's 2015."

"Because it's 2015." ¯\\_(ツ)_/¯

"It's an incredible pleasure for me to be before you today … to present a cabinet that looks like Canada," Trudeau said, noting a more gender and racially diverse cabinet than previous administrations.

7. A "pro-gun" lawmaker quit the NRA after the attacks in San Bernardino.

John Oceguera, the former Nevada Assembly Speaker, resigned his membership to the NRA following the attacks in San Bernardino. Oceguera, who is running for Congress, simply had it with the pro-gun lobby, pointing to its unwillingness to close dangerous loopholes. A gun-owner himself, Oceguera has become outspoken in his position of ensuring guns are only acquired after thorough background checks.

"Our country is facing a tragic gun violence epidemic, and we cannot ignore it," wrote Oceguera about his resignation. "Still, the NRA opposes any legislation that would help keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and the mentally ill, and spends millions to stop any action in Congress that could help prevent further violence. I cannot continue to be a member while the NRA refuses to back closing these loopholes."

Police in San Bernardino block off the crime scene at the Inland Regional Center where 14 people were killed. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

8. Outgoing Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear restored voting rights for nonviolent ex-felons.

In his final executive order as governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear took it upon himself to automatically reinstate the voting rights of nonviolent convicted felons who have served out their prison term.

Gov. Steve Beshear. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

"This disenfranchisement makes no sense," said Beshear during a press conference. "It makes no sense because it dilutes the energy of democracy, which functions only if all classes and categories of people have a voice, not just a privileged, powerful few. It makes no sense because it defeats a primary goal of our corrections system, which is to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes."

9. An Ohio state representative opened up about her rape and abortion.

During debate on a bill that would effectively ban abortion in the state of Ohio, Rep. Teresa Fedor shared a personal story in hopes of providing some important context to the effect such a bill would have on the women of the state.

Photo by TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images.

"You don't respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice," said Rep. Fedor, opening up about being raped during her time in the military and her decision to have an abortion. "What you're doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I've sat here too long."

The bill passed the House but hasn't been taken up by the Senate.

10. Science prevailed during the GOP undercard debate.

During an October debate, GOP presidential hopefuls George Pataki and Lindsey Graham did something that really shouldn't be considered controversial, but given the positions of some of the other candidates, it was. They stood up for science.

"I've talked to climatologists of the world, and 90% of them are telling me that greenhouse gas effect is real," Sen. Lindsey Graham said. "That we're heating up the planet. I just want a solution that would be good for the economy, that doesn't destroy it."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

"Too often we question science that everyone accepts," said Pataki. "I mean, it's ridiculous that, in the 21st century, we're questioning whether or not vaccines are the appropriate way to go. Of course they are. And it's also not appropriate to think that human activity, putting CO2 into the atmosphere, doesn't make the Earth warmer. All things being equal, it does. It's uncontroverted."

11. President Obama "banned the box."

In November, President Obama issued an executive order instructing the federal government to remove questions about whether one has a criminal record. Why? Well, for many employers, a "yes" answer gets applications tossed in the rejection bin.

By removing that question from applications, candidates can be evaluated on the basis of their skills and not on the basis of some potentially long ago transgression. Employers can — and likely will — continue running pre-employment background checks that will turn up convictions. Banning the box gives those convicted of a crime the chance to make a first impression before their record does.

Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images.

12. South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its post outside the state house.

In July, Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill ordering the removal of the Confederate flag from outside the state house. In signing the bill, she used nine pens, one for each victim of the June attack on Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

"This is a story about the history of South Carolina and how the action of nine individuals laid out this long chain of events that forever showed the state of South Carolina what love and forgiveness looks like," Gov. Haley said at the signing ceremony.

Photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images.

Other cities and states are considering similar action — Houston is in the process of renaming schools that honor confederate soldiers; Fairfax County, Virginia, is considering the same; and a Florida town recently renamed a Confederate-inspired highway after President Obama.

13. Germany's Chancellor Merkel showed, and continues to show, leadership on the refugee front.

In December, Time magazine named German Chancellor Angela Merkel Person of the Year. Why? In large part, because the country has taken on more than 1 million refugees in 2015 alone. In comparison, the U.S. averages around 70,000 refugees taken in each year.

"Germany is doing what is morally and legally obliged [to do for refugees]. Not more, and not less," Merkel said in September. Perhaps other countries (like, oh, perhaps the U.S.) could take a cue from Germany's humanitarian efforts.

Angela Merkel. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

14. Rand Paul filibustered the Patriot Act renewal.

No one really likes the Patriot Act. Or, rather, few would offer major public support for it. The whole thing basically gives the federal government the ability to spy on American citizens. And while most lawmakers are quick to claim it's needed in order to keep us safe from the threat of terrorism, the public is, at best, split on the matter.

In May, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul carried out a nearly 11-hour filibuster calling for the expiration of a number of key Patriot Act provisions, specifically having to do with government surveillance of phone records.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

In the end, the bill passed, but not before Sen. Paul brought it to the attention of the American people, and that's certainly something worth noting.

15. China lifted its one-child rule.

China put an end to its controversial "one-child rule." The rule, instituted in 1979, prevented an estimated 400 million births across the country. But as the country's population ages, the Communist Party has issued a statement allowing couples to now have up to two children. While this sounds like just a tiny step forward on a hugely controversial issue, it's a giant leap in terms of phasing out a regressive policy.

Under the one-child rule, for every 100 girls born in China, 120 boys are born, a higher ratio than any other country in the world.

Photo by China Photos/Getty Images.

You may not always agree with a politician, but it's good to give credit where credit is due.

Maybe you disagree with Rand Paul's economic worldview, or maybe you think President Obama's foreign policy is too hawkish. Even so, you can (and should) acknowledge good work when it's done, regardless of political party. It's easy to paint the world as being inhabited by people who are either 100% pure good or 100% pure evil, but it's simply not that simple.

It's about credit where credit is due and understanding that there's always a bit more nuance than we'd like to admit.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Woman refuses to change seats for mom and kids

Traveling with preteens and teens is a breeze in comparison to traveling with little ones but as a parent you still want to sit near your kiddos in case they need you for anything. If you've traveled on an airline in the last several years, you know it's much cheaper to chose the basic seats in the main cabin.

There's nothing different about these particular seats other than the airline sort of randomly selects your seat and if you're traveling alone, that's really not a bad deal. The risk gets to be a little higher if you're traveling with a party that you'd like to keep together - like your children. One mom took the risk and banked on a stranger accommodating...that's not quite how it played out.


People sit in the wrong seats on planes all the time, usually because they read their ticket wrong or accidentally sit one row ahead. Takes no time to double check your ticket and move along, but when Tammy Nelson did a double take at her ticket after seeing the mom in her window seat, she realized she wasn't mistakenly staring at the wrong row.

This mom boarded the plane with her older children and had taken it upon herself to sit in the same row as her children, essentially commandeering a stranger's seat. Nelson assumed it was a mistake and informed the woman that the seat was in fact hers but the response she received was surprising.

"She said, 'Oh, you want to sit here?'," Nelson tells Good Morning America. "She said, 'Oh, well I just thought I could switch with you because these are my kids.'"

That's an interesting assumption when seats are assigned and many people, like Nelson, pay extra to have the seat they prefer. Now, there's no telling if funds were tight and this was an unplanned trip for the mom and kids which caused her to buy the more budget friendly tickets or if she was simply being frugal and was banking on the kindness of a stranger.

Either way, Nelson specifically paid for a window seat due to motion sickness and though she paid extra, she was willing to sit in the other row if that seat was also a window seat. But it turns out, it was a middle seat.

Surely there's someone out there that loves the middle seat. Maybe a cold natured person that enjoys the body heat of two strangers sitting uncomfortably close. Or perhaps someone that doesn't mind accidentally sleeping on an unsuspecting passenger's shoulder. But that person isn't Nelson, so when the middle seat was offered in exchange for her bought and paid for window seat, she politely but sternly declined.

@myconquering

Having had only 90 minutes of sleep the night before and knowing I had to give a presentation to 500 people, I desperately needed some sleep, so I did not agree to switch seats. 🤷‍♀️ Before anyone comes after me… the kids looked like they were about 11 and 15 years old. And the mom was in arms-reach of both of them from the middle seat in the row behind us. The mom proceeded to complain for at least 15 minutes to the person next to her loud enough for me to hear. But the woman actually defended me – several times. It was so kind and I appreciated it so much because I was feeling really guilty. 🤦‍♀️ ##airplaneseat##seatswitching##airplanekarens

Her refusal to give in to the mom's seemingly entitled request for Nelson's seat has resulted in parents and child-fee people cheering her on after she posted the details on her TikTok page, MyCONQUERing. The video has over 3.4 million views.

"Nope. If it's not an upgrade it's a sacrifice," a commenter writes.

"You did the RIGHT thing. Folks need to plan their travel together. Lack of planning on their part does not constitute an inconvenience on yours," one person says.

"I have 3 kids and have sat in different rows when they were passed toddler age. I agree, book your flight earlier," another writes.

"You were right. As a woman with 3 children, I always pay extra so we're sat together," another mom says.

Nelson is also a mom so she knows how important it is to sit next to kids on flights. But since airlines have made that a luxury, as the parent, you have to plan to pay extra or accept that you likely won't be seated next to your children. Hopefully in the future, this unnamed mom is seated next to her children or pays extra to make sure it happens. In the meantime, people continue to support Nelson standing her ground.

This article originally appeared on 7.28.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

A school street in Paris, France.

The people of Paris have made a bold move by transforming their city into one that puts kids first. Under the leadership of the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, the School Streets initiative has a mandate to transform 300 streets into pedestrian walkways that cater to families walking to and from schools by 2026.

"About 180 School streets have been redesigned and completely pedestrianized. The idea, of course, is to cut the through traffic to get people to go to school on foot, children and parents," Paul Lecroart, Senior urban planner for the Paris Metropolitan region, said in a video by Streetfilms.


Streetfilms produces short films that show how intelligent transportation design and policy can improve places to live, work, and play.

Paris School Streets: Safe for Children, Safe for Everyoneyoutu.be

"You're creating a totally different experience for the students. You're reducing traffic noise, you're reducing traffic pollution, and you're giving the children a play space and a gathering space at the beginning and end, in the middle of their school days," says Marcel Moran, PhD.

The new streets are adorned with greenery and fun, kid-friendly designs. Some have large, red storage sheds filled with toys and games for kids and their parents to play after school.

School Streets are created in two phases. In the first, they close the street to cars to see if it negatively affects traffic or causes problems for residents. Then, if it works out, the city does the proper planning and design to turn it from a road for cars to a school street by adding lush greenery and repaving it for pedestrians.

Residents sometimes hesitate to shut down the roads in front of their homes. But many enjoy the new transition to a place that encourages community. After the streets are repurposed, what was once a dangerous road now becomes a place where families congregate and kids can come and go as they please in an area designed to promote safety and mental health.

Here's how to be 30% more persuasive.

Everybody wants to see themselves in a positive light. That’s the key to understanding Jonah Berger’s simple tactic that makes people 30% more likely to do what you ask. Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the bestselling author of “Magic Words: What to Say to Get Your Way.”

Berger explained the technique using a Stanford University study involving preschoolers. The researchers messed up a classroom and made two similar requests to groups of 5-year-olds to help clean up.

One group was asked, "Can you help clean?" The other was asked, “Can you be a helper and clean up?" The kids who were asked if they wanted to be a “helper” were 30% more likely to want to clean the classroom. The children weren’t interested in cleaning but wanted to be known as “helpers.”


Berger calls the reframing of the question as turning actions into identities.

"It comes down to the difference between actions and identities. We all want to see ourselves as smart and competent and intelligent in a variety of different things,” Berger told Big Think. “But rather than describing someone as hardworking, describing them as a hard worker will make that trait seem more persistent and more likely to last. Rather than asking people to lead more, tell them, 'Can you be a leader?' Rather than asking them to innovate, can you ask them to 'Be an innovator'? By turning actions into identities, you can make people a lot more likely to engage in those desired actions.”

Berger says that learning to reframe requests to appeal to people’s identities will make you more persuasive.

“Framing actions as opportunities to claim desired identities will make people more likely to do them,” Berger tells CNBC Make It. “If voting becomes an opportunity to show myself and others that I am a voter, I’m more likely to do it.”

This technique doesn’t just work because people want to see themselves in a positive light. It also works for the opposite. People also want to avoid seeing themselves being portrayed negatively.

“Cheating is bad, but being a cheater is worse. Losing is bad, being a loser is worse,” Berger says.

The same tactic can also be used to persuade ourselves to change our self-concept. Saying you like to cook is one thing, but calling yourself a chef is an identity. “I’m a runner. I’m a straight-A student. We tell little kids, ‘You don’t just read, you’re a reader,’” Berger says. “You do these things because that’s the identity you hold.”

Berger’s work shows how important it is to hone our communication skills. By simply changing one word, we can get people to comply with our requests more effectively. But, as Berger says, words are magic and we have to use thgem skillfully. “We think individual words don’t really matter that much. That’s a mistake,” says Berger. “You could have excellent ideas, but excellent ideas aren’t necessarily going to get people to listen to you.”


This article originally appeared on 2.11.24

Health

Want to fall asleep faster? People share their favorite hacks for nodding off quickly.

These mental and physical tricks may help you drift into dreamland.

Want to fall asleep faster? Try these tricks.

Sleep is a biological imperative for every human being, so it doesn't seem like it should be a hard thing to do. For some people, however, falling asleep is a challenge, no matter how tired they are.

Experts have some advice for good sleep hygiene that helps lay the foundation for falling asleep, such as keeping a regular sleep schedule, following a consistent before-bed routine, dimming lights, avoiding screens late in the evening, getting sunlight early in the day and basic health habits like exercising, eating well and avoiding smoking.

That's all well and good, but what about when you're actually in bed with the lights off and simply can't fall asleep because your body is buzzing or your mind is racing?


That's where some simple tricks to help yourself drift off to sleep can help. Some tricks are physical and some are mental, so what sounds helpful may depend on what's preventing you from falling asleep. As with most things, different things work for different people, so it's worth experimenting with a few, but here are some hacks people on Reddit swear by to fall asleep quickly.

Listen to boring bedtime stories

"On Spotify there is a podcast called 'Nothing much happens: bedtime stories to help you sleep.' Each episode is around half an hour but the storyteller tells the story twice and the second time she tells it with a slower pace. I am really curious how she tells the story slower but I was never able to make it to the second half. Sometimes I try to focus and promise myself that I will remember the story when I wake up the next morning. However, I can't recall anything. Nothing much happens, so it's extremely boring and my brains shuts down pretty quickly."

"There's also one called 'I Can't Sleep' where the host reads random articles from the internet, mostly Wikipedia pages. His voice is super soothing and I rarely make it past the first 15 minutes or so of an episode."

"'Sleep with Me' podcast by Scooter. Same concept as what everyone else said. But wow! There’s a lot of sleep podcasts!!"

Make up your own bedtime story

"I used to have bad insomnia when I was younger, and the only thing that seemed to work for me was imagining a story. I would set the setting, the premise, the characters, and start coming up with it. Basically, I was kick starting the dreaming process. I'd be asleep within a few minutes."

"This has been my trick for years…I’m not even that creative, I’ve probably restarted the same 3 or 4 narratives hundreds of times, but never get anywhere close to the end."

"I scrolled and scrolled because I knew I'd find something like this. I create crazy ass stuff in my head. Sea levels rise 100 feet and I built a bunker and have to save people I know. Lead singer of a killer band. Qb of a team. I invented a machine that does all your daily grooming as you sleep. Just weird shit. Usually out in a few minutes."

Create an alphabet-based list

"Trying to find 5 names with each letter. I usually fall asleep by K or L."

"I do this with animals: aardvark, antelope, etc. I usually fall asleep by B or C."

"Similarly I pick a category. Countries, cities, street names, etc and run through the alphabet."

"This one is foolproof for me. Never gotten the whole way through the alphabet."

Imagine you're on a boat or in a hammock

"The boat technique. A military buddy told me about it when he was stationed in Mali. Imagine yourself in a small boat, on a stream running through a forest with the canopy above you and the sun shining through, or drifting on a lake under a starry sky. Let yourself drift."

"I figured out the boat one myself as a child, except it was a raft on very gentle waves. And the Scooby Gang were hanging out with me."

"I sometimes picture myself in a hammock in a rainforest, with various animals snuggling around and on top of me. I love animals, so this is meant to relax me and make me feel safe. I use a weighted blanket, so I try to picture different animals draped over my legs to justify the weight of the blanket."

"Picture yourself on a hammock hanging between two palms on a beach at night, focus on the waves and electricity enveloping your body from each palm."

Breathe—but very, very slowly

"Breathing. Slow deliberate breathing. Count the same for in and out. And for every breath out, try and relax your muscles. I just keep doing that. Works most of the time."

"Came to say this. Breathing exercises have changed my life <3 started doing them after losing my dad and depression wouldn’t let me sleep. I read about it, was like uh whatever bullshit, but I tried it, and then… I woke up the next morning?! Been doing them for 7 years now. Even my man is like how the F do you pass out in 10min?! Breathe in……. Breathe out…. Think about nothing but the breaths, feel the oxygen in your blood increasing, think about your veins running alllll up and down your body. How your muscles relax into the bed… the pillow is so soft… breathe in… breathe out."

"My hack is similar as in I take the deepest breath I possibly can, then hold it for as long as I can, then release it as slow as I can. I never needed more than 3 reps of this to fall asleep. The heart rate slows down and the brain quiets down pretty fast with this."

"I breathe super slow to 10 and then force my left arm to relax and not move from now on like I shut it down. Then I do the same with my right arm, then left leg and right left. Then I do the torso and then finally try to shut off my head. I heard Marines use a similar technique to fall asleep."

More specifically, the 4-7-8 breathing technique

"When I really need to sleep, I use the '4-7-8' breathing technique. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, exhale for 8. Works like a charm most of the time"

"I swear by the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. Works like a charm! 😴"

"I use 4:7:8 breathing : inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds. Count at the speed you are comfortable, my understanding is that it's the ratio that's important, rather than the amount of time. This breathing pattern effects the oxygen levels in your brain in a way that brings you into parasympathetic activation (sometimes called 'rest and digest mode.')"

Tensing and relaxing your muscles (aka "progressive relaxation")

"Progressive relaxation. Tense your toes, breathe in for a 5 count, hold for 5, and then relax as you exhale. Then your calves, then your thighs, your butt, your core, etc."

"Focus on a muscle group. Be it feet, calves, thighs, and just work your way up. Flex your muscles as hard as possible, get that adrenaline going. And after a bit, relax. Slowly work your way up to your head and face. You can feel the waves of calm wash over each section once they relax."

"My dad taught me something similar. While reclined, imagine creating a wave with your body by gently imagining you are putting downward pressure on your sleeping place starting with your head, then shoulders, then back, then legs and then your feet. I sleep on my side so I go head, shoulders, hips, knees then feet."

Hopefully trying some of these tricks will help you find what works to help you fall asleep more easily and quickly. Sweet dreams, everyone!

Reid Thomas Wilson got the coveted Golden Buzzer for his AGT performance.

Ever since American Idol gave us the one-and-only Kelly Clarkson in its first season, modern talent competitions have become a staple of television viewing. We've seen so many incredible performers come through shows like "American Idol," "The Voice," and the "Got Talent" series, but there are still some singers who manage to surprise and delight audiences with their powerful, unique voices.

For instance, 14-year-old Reid Thomas Wilson.

Reid performed Lesley Gore's 1963 hit "You Don't Own Me" on "America's Got Talent," and it's safe to say no one expected the voice that came out of a boy from Alabama who's still in braces.


Gore was only 17 when she released "You Don't Own Me" and the song has been covered by artists such as Dusty Springfield, Joan Jett and Ann Wilson over the decades, but it's never sounded quite like this. It's no wonder Howie Mandel smashed that Golden Buzzer button, rocketing Reid to the live show round of the competition.

"Well, Reid, we weren't expecting that," said judge Simon Cowell. "You know, I shut my eyes for a moment when you were singing, just to listen to your voice, and then I opened them again and there's this sweet young kid."

Howie Mandel concurred. "I was bowled over because I was surprised…first of all, you're just a 14-year-old kid from Alabama, so I would imagine—I put myself in your position—you were very nervous. And you did come off incredibly nervous, that was a surprise."

As the judges and Reid's mother pointed out, Reid was very nervous at the beginning of the audition, but he ultimately knocked it out of the park.

When Cowell asked what singer he draws inspiration from, Reid said singing legend Aretha Franklin. "Your parents must have great taste in music," said Cowell, to which Reid simply and hilariously responded, "No."

Speaking of Aretha Franklin, Reid has had some experience with virality on social media for some of his at-home singing videos, including one where he sings Franklin's "Aint' No Way." Broadway great Lea Solanga commented on the video, "What on earth????? This kid is incredible!!!!!!!!" Another video in which Reid sang part of "The Impossible Dream" prompted a wave of big-name comments as well, such as Kristin Chenoweth telling him he should audition for her Broadway Boot Camp and Boy George commenting, "Write songs. Your voice deserves new songs."

People on AGT's TikTok of Reid's audition had nothing but praise for the young singer.

"The longer he sang ,the better he got!"

"His voice is very transatlantic vintage and it's AMAZING"

"Amazing voice control. This kid is going places!"

"You could see Simon listening closely and I love it when he does that. He’s picturing success I think."

"His clarity and control at 14 years old HOLY HECK!! he deserves that golden buzzer 😭"

Reid apparently comes from a talented family. His brother, Ryley Tate Wilson, was a competitor on "The Voice" in 2023 at age 16, making it to the semi-finals before being eliminated.

Reid is definitely one to watch, with this much talent at such a young age. Watch the full AGT audition and judges' comments here:

Reid Wilson Receives The GOLDEN BUZZER For "You Don't Own Me" | Auditions | AGT 2024www.youtube.com