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Wellness

Get a better night's sleep with these 10 products

Get a better night's sleep with these 10 products
Photo by Jonathan Fink on Unsplash

If you've ever lain in bed awake when you should be sleeping, staring at the ceiling counting the minutes of your life tick away, you know how annoying insomnia can be. Sleep is a basic biological need, but one that eludes far too many of us far too often. In fact, according to the CDC, one in three adult Americans don't get enough sleep. Since our bodies need sleep in order to repair, restore, and rejuvenate, getting a good night's rest should be a top priority for all of us.

Sleep experts recommend keeping a regular bedtime routine and creating sleep-conducive environment to help your senses shut down at night. Here are some products that can help.

Concave molded sleep mask

MZOO/Amazon

Our bodies are wired to be awake when it's light and sleep when it's dark, but that doesn't always happen automatically. Some people need absolute darkness to sleep, and a comfortable sleep mask can make that happen, even when there's some light in the room. A mask also forces you to keep your eyes closed, but this one leaves room for your eyelashes so you don't feel like your eyelids are being squashed to your face.

MZOO Sleep Mask, $16.99; at Amazon

Portable blackout shades

AmazonBasics/Amazon

There are plenty of blackout curtain options for your home, but what about when you're traveling? Sleeping away from home can be difficult, but bringing along your own portable blackout curtains may help. Simply suction cup them to the window and voila! Dark room. (Don't let the fact that these say they are for a baby deter you — they're less expensive than the best-rated non-baby version.)

https://amzn.to/2pTwaEu


Non-digital, non-ticking alarm clock

Tinload/Amazon

Modern life, with all of its lights and digital displays, can disrupt our sleep in many ways. If you're someone who tends look at the clock and calculate how much sleep you're not getting, perhaps an old-fashioned, analog alarm clock will help. This non-ticking clock can help keep your room completely dark and keep you from obsessing over the time.

Silent Analog Alarm Clock, $17.99; at Amazon

White noise maker

Adaptive Sound Technologies/Amazon

A quiet room is recommended for a good night's sleep, but that's not possible for some of us. If you live on a busy street or have loud roommates or regularly get woken up by your cats' midnight shenanigans, a white noise maker might be your best bet. Getting just the right white noise sound without annoying your ears can be a challenge, but with 20 different sounds to choose from and more than 4,000 5-star reviews, this white noise machine seems like a sure bet.

'LectroFan White Noise Machine, $38.96; at Amazon

Noise-canceling ear plugs

BRYSON/Amazon

If white noise isn't your thing, noise-canceling ear plugs might be your ticket to lalaland. This set comes with two pairs of ergonomic, washable, and reusable ear plugs, one with a noise-cancelling feature. One reviewer said that they perform as well as a $300 pair they own, so if sound keeps you up at night, these are worth a try.

Noise-cancelling Ear Plugs, $22.99; at Amazon

Orthopedic knee pillow

ComfiLife/Amazon

Aches and pains keeping you awake at night? According to a 2015 study, knee and low back pains are associated with short sleep duration and poor sleep quality. Sciatica also affects millions of people, making it hard to get comfortable enough to snooze. If you're a side-sleeper, this little knee pillow might help you get your hips and knees aligned for a better night's sleep.

Orthopedic Knee Pillow, $27.95; at Amazon

Cooling mattress pad

oaksys/Amazon

Sleep experts recommend keeping your bedroom at a cool temperature to sleep, but that's not always possible. And some of us are hot sleepers no matter what temperature the room is. This 100% cotton cooling mattress pad is breathable and doesn't trap your body heat beneath you.

Cooling Mattress Pad, $39.95 (queen size); at Amazon

Weighted blanket

Bare Home/Amazon

If anxiety keeps you awake at night, you might want to try sleeping with a weighted blanket. Many people swear by them, both for adults and for children, and their popularity has resulted in an explosion of styles — and thankfully, a significant drop in price. Several years ago, an adult weighted blanket would run you between $100 and $200, but this highly rated blanket comes in several sizes that are less than $50.

Weighted Blanket, $46.40 (prizes vary by size); at Amazon

Magnesium oil blend spray



Seven Minerals/Amazon

Read the reviews from the dozens of chronic insomniacs who swear this spray worked wonders for them. Magnesium has been shown to have a positive impact on sleep, especially for those who suffer from restless leg syndrome. And the manufacturer offers a full refund if you find that the product doesn't work on you, so what have you got to lose?

Sleep Well Magnesium Spray, $19.95; at Amazon

Good night essential oil

Edens Garden/Amazon

If aromatherapy floats your boat, check out this blend of Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Chamomile, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Key Lime, Lime, and Vanilla essential oils. With more than 1000 five-star reviews,Edens Garden Good Night aromatherapy oil is worth a try. Some people spritz a bit on their pillow, while others use it in an oil diffuser while they sleep. One reviewer wrote, "Better than any sleep aid I've tried, and I've tried them all."

Good Night Essential Oil Blend, $15.45 for 10ml; at Amazon

Here's to a better night's sleep for everyone.

*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.


Ask yourself: Could I live on this small of a full-time paycheck? I know what my answer is.

(And note that the minimum wage in many parts of the county is STILL $7.25, so it would be even less than this).

paychecks, McDonalds, corporate power, broken system

One year of work at McDonalds grossed this worker $13,811.18.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This story was written by Brandon Weber and was originally appeared on 02.26.15

Pop Culture

What is 'Generation Jones'? The unique qualities of the not-quite-Gen-X-baby-boomers.

This "microgeneration" had a different upbringing than their fellow boomers.

Generation Jones includes Michelle Obama, George Clooney, Kamala Harris, Keanu Reeves and more.

We hear a lot about the major generation categories—boomers, Gen X, millennials, Gen Z and the up-and-coming Gen Alpha. But there are folks who don't quite fit into those boxes. These in-betweeners, sometimes called "cuspers," are members of microgenerations that straddle two of the biggies.

"Xennial" is the nickname for those who fall on the cusp of Gen X and millennial, but there's also a lesser-known microgeneration that straddles Gen X and baby boomers. The folks born from 1954 to 1965 are known as Generation Jones, and they've been thrust into the spotlight as people try to figure out what generation to consider 59-year-old Vice President Kamala Harris.

Like President Obama before her, Harris is a Gen Jonesernot exactly a classic baby boomer but not quite Gen X. Born in October 1964, Harris falls just a few months shy of official Gen X territory. But what exactly differentiates Gen Jones from the boomers and Gen Xers that flank it?


"Generation Jones" was coined by writer, television producer and social commentator Jonathan Pontell to describe the decade of Americans who grew up in the '60s and '70s. As Pontell wrote of Gen Jonesers in Politico:

"We fill the space between Woodstock and Lollapalooza, between the Paris student riots and the anti-globalisation protests, and between Dylan going electric and Nirvana going unplugged. Jonesers have a unique identity separate from Boomers and GenXers. An avalanche of attitudinal and behavioural data corroborates this distinction."

Pontell describes Jonesers as "practical idealists" who were "forged in the fires of social upheaval while too young to play a part." They are the younger siblings of the boomer civil rights and anti-war activists who grew up witnessing and being moved by the passion of those movements but being met with a fatigued culture by the time they themselves came of age. Sometimes, they're described as the cool older siblings of Gen X. Unlike their older boomer counterparts, most Jonesers were not raised by WWII veteran fathers and were too young to be drafted into Vietnam, leaving them in between on military experience.

Gen Jones gets its name from the competitive "keeping up with the Joneses" spirit that spawned during their populous birth years, but also from the term "jonesin'," meaning an intense craving, that they coined—a drug reference but also a reflection of the yearning to make a difference that their "unrequited idealism" left them with. According to Pontell, their competitiveness and identity as a "generation aching to act" may make Jonesers particularly effective leaders:

"What makes us Jonesers also makes us uniquely positioned to bring about a new era in international affairs. Our practical idealism was created by witnessing the often unrealistic idealism of the 1960s. And we weren’t engaged in that era’s ideological battles; we were children playing with toys while boomers argued over issues. Our non-ideological pragmatism allows us to resolve intra-boomer skirmishes and to bridge that volatile Boomer-GenXer divide. We can lead."

Time will tell whether the United States will end up with another Generation Jones leader, but with President Biden withdrawing his candidacy, it has now become a distinct possibility.

Of note in discussions over Kamala Harris's generational status is the fact that generations aren't just calculated by birth year but by a person's cultural reality. Some have made the argument that Harris is culturally more Gen X than boomer, though there doesn't seem to be any record of her claiming any particular generation as her own. However, a swath of Gen Z has staked their own claim on her as "brat"—a term singer Charli XCX thrust into the political arena with a post on X that read "kamala IS brat." That may be nonsensical to most older folks, but for Gen Z, it's a glowing endorsement from one of the top Gen Z musicians of the moment.

Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of $100 In Each State

Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.


As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.


The map may not subvert one's intuitive assumptions, but it nonetheless quantities and presents the cost of living by geography in a brilliantly simple way. For instance, if you're looking for a beach lifestyle but don't want to pay California prices, try Florida, which is about as close to "average" — in terms of purchasing power, anyway — as any state in the Union. If you happen to find yourself in a "Brewster's Millions"-type situation, head to Hawaii, D.C., or New York. You'll burn through your money in no time.

income, money, economics, national average

The Relative Value of $100 in a state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

If you're quite fond of your cash and would prefer to keep it, get to Mississippi, which boasts a 16.1% premium on your cash from the national average.

The Tax Foundation notes that if you're using this map for a practical purpose, bear in mind that incomes also tend to rise in similar fashion, so one could safely assume that wages in these states are roughly inverse to the purchasing power $100 represents.


This article originally appeared on 08.17.17

Representative photos by Canva and Evelyn Giggles|Flickr

Mom hilariously demands to know secret to clean kids' rooms.

Kids' bedrooms can be a source of contention in some households. Some kids are just naturally more tidy than others while some are more like little tornados leaving debris wherever they go refusing to clean it up. Parents can be on different wavelengths when it comes to how clean a child's room should be.

You've got the parents who are huge proponents of simply closing the door. If you can't see the mess, then the mess doesn't exist. You've got some parents that do a weekly or monthly clean themselves in an attempt to save their sanity. Then you've got the ones that have daily room cleans as part of their child's routine, but not everyone can or wants to be at that level.

Ariel B. recently posted a video asking parents to explain how they get their children to clean their rooms as she pans to her daughters' rooms that are in complete disarray.


The exhausted mom starts off by explaining that motherhood is ghetto. In fact she surmises that the "hood" people are talking about when they say the hood is ghetto is indeed motherhood before asking how other parents are doing it.

"My daughters' rooms are so nasty, everything you are ever looking for in your house is in them rooms," Ariel says.

This frustration started when her kids couldn't find their field trip shirts for summer camp, which prompted her to go in their rooms to investigate. She then shows everyone the room where the shirt was lost, exclaiming, "You couldn't find Jesus in this room. You couldn't find common sense, humility, any decent soul in this room."


The room was strewn with clothes, toys and other things. Commenters not only pointed out the mannequin head looking distressed under the bed but related hard to what the mom was saying and supported her rant.

"The mannequin head laying under table looking stressed. Her face looks like it’s saying 'help me,'" one person laughs.

"I'm closing the door. I have an almost 3 & 6 year old and I'm 37 weeks today…I close the door. It’s no way y'all messed the room up like this and expect me to clean it. So, when they get back from Florida, they can clean it themselves," another says.

"You're cracking me up! I can definitely relate to finding wrappers. I said 23 times don't eat in your room. I'm not cleaning it," another writes.

"That last part gets me crackin up every time I watch this. I watch this on the daily to remind myself it’s not just my kid," one mom admits.

But if you watch closely as Ariel pans the messy bedrooms you'll notice there's something important missing from the bed frames...a mattress. One person inquired about the important missing item and the response is not only comical but makes so much sense.

"I flipped the mattress looking for the orange shirt after I stepped on a Barbie jeep and almost broke my neck," Ariel explains before following up in another comment saying the mattress is in the hallway—it likely made it much easier to clean under the bed. And while the mom did receive some advice in the comments, it's unclear if she will heed any.

Bill Gates in conversation with The Times of India

Bill Gates sure is strict on how his children use the very technology he helped bring to the masses.

In a recent interview with the Mirror, the tech mogul said his children were not allowed to own their own cellphone until the age of 14. "We often set a time after which there is no screen time, and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour," he said. Gates added that the children are not allowed to have cellphones at the table, but are allowed to use them for homework or studying.


The Gates children, now 20, 17 and 14, are all above the minimum age requirement to own a phone, but they are still banned from having any Apple products in the house—thanks to Gates' longtime rivalry with Apple founder Steve Jobs.

smartphones, families, responsible parenting, social media

Bill Gates tasting recycled water.

Image from media.giphy.com.

While the parenting choice may seem harsh, the Gates may be onto something with delaying childhood smartphone ownership. According to the 2016 "Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today's Digital Natives"report, the average age that a child gets their first smartphone is now 10.3 years.

"I think that age is going to trend even younger, because parents are getting tired of handing their smartphones to their kids," Stacy DeBroff, chief executive of Influence Central, told The New York Times.

James P. Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that reviews content and products for families, additionally told the Times that he too has one strict rule for his children when it comes to cellphones: They get one when they start high school and only when they've proven they have restraint. "No two kids are the same, and there's no magic number," he said. "A kid's age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level."

PBS Parents also provided a list of questions parents should answer before giving their child their first phone. Check out the entire list below:

  • How independent are your kids?
  • Do your children "need" to be in touch for safety reasons—or social ones?
  • How responsible are they?
  • Can they get behind the concept of limits for minutes talked and apps downloaded?
  • Can they be trusted not to text during class, disturb others with their conversations, and to use the text, photo, and video functions responsibly (and not to embarrass or harass others)?
  • Do they really need a smartphone that is also their music device, a portable movie and game player, and portal to the internet?
  • Do they need something that gives their location information to their friends—and maybe some strangers, too—as some of the new apps allow?
  • And do you want to add all the expenses of new data plans? (Try keeping your temper when they announce that their new smartphone got dropped in the toilet...)


This article originally appeared on 05.01.17