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I struggle with not getting enough sleep sometimes. Here's why that's bad and how to maybe fix it.

If you're not getting enough sleep ... well, things happen. To your brain.

We all need our Zzzzzs.

I've had bouts of insomnia. After trying some stuff prescribed by my doctor that made me freaking loopy, I found better ways to self-medicate that are helping a lot.

I find that my optimal sleep is around 8 hours, maybe 8 and a half. When I get that regularly, I can just tell. My wit is sharper, my senses are more acute, my problem-solving skills are top notch. And my temper is ... well, tempered.


Image from FunnyJunk.com.

The science on this stuff is in. And for those of us who don't get enough sleep at night (6 to 8 hours), the news is not good. Not good at all.

Here's an infographic from Visual.ly about it to get you thinking. (Click on the graphic to enlarge it.)

Image by Visually. Used with permission.


In short ... sleep deprivation makes you like this.

Or maybe this.

So ... because I know a lot of folks will ask about self-medicating for sleep, here are some ideas:

1. Exercise. Look, I'm not so good at getting it regularly myself, but it helps a lot in tiring you out both physically and mentally.

2. Use a noise generator app (my favorite is Simply Noise). I have several on my phone, and they are magical at drowning out ambient noises like kids, dogs, traffic, hotel doors, and more. Some will generate what sounds like waves of the ocean, rain in the woods, or the sound of a radio station that isn't tuned correctly, a.k.a. "white noise." It's gotten to the point that just the sound itself tells my brain to shut the heck up and head for La La Land.

3. If you can pull it off, a short nap during the day is magical. We have two adopted kids who went through a lot before they came to live with us, and their brains are totally evolving on a day-to-day basis, so naps are mandatory for them (or the world suffers). On weekends, we take advantage of the down time to nap, too, and it's heavenly! Adults and children both awake with a new outlook on life.

4. If you're in a state that has either medical or recreational marijuana as an option, and you want to try something else, look for a strain that is high in CBDs, which are usually the Cannabis Indica strains. Names like Northern Lights, LA Confidential, G-13, Death Star, Bulletproof, and almost anything with the word "Kush" in it. But if you're going to medicate at night, stay away from Cannabis Sativa and hybrid strains. Those will wake you up and give you energy — the exact opposite of what you want at bed time. If all you can get are Sativa strains, then use them during the day, because then your brain becomes tired when it wears off. (This is not medical advice, but I'm not going to suggest that you ask your doctor for such because parts of the medical establishment are opposed to self-medicating.)

In case you're still not convinced about that whole "needing sleep" thing, this clip from AsapScience might just wake you right up.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

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According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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