The son of an Iraq veteran created a brilliant app to help stop his dad's post war nightmares

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For many soldiers, the horrors of war do not go away when they come back home. Not even sleep can provide a safe haven from the unspeakable images that stain their thoughts. The Department of Veteran Affairs claims that 52% to 96% of those suffering from PTSD have nightmares, often several times a week, adding to the already daunting task of re-acclimating to civilian life.

In 2007, Patrick Skluzacek returned home after serving as a convoy commander for the United States Army in Fallujah. And the war came with him. As reported by NPR, when Patrick slept, his extremely realistic nightmares put him right back in Iraq. He tried to escape the night terrors with pills and vodka. As a result, his life started to spiral out of control. An emotional Patrick Skluzacek recalls to NPR, "[I] pretty much lost everything. My house, everything, my job, everything went." As Tyler witnessed the man who was once outgoing and fun, struggling to fend off horrific visions every time he closed his eyes, he knew he had to do something. Tyler wanted his father back.

While in his senior year at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, in 2015, Tyler headed to Washington, D.C. after hearing about a hackathon geared toward developing mobile apps to help with PTSD. Tyler's idea was to take the concept of service dogs waking someone up when they sense the unrest of a nightmare coming on and applying it to technology. He put together a team to help program an app for a Smartwatch that vibrates when it senses extreme motion or an elevated heartbeat. The challenge was to find the sweet spot of "just enough stimulus to pull them out of the deep REM cycle and allow the sleep to continue unaffected," Tyler recalls to NPR. Tyler returned from D.C. with the app ready to go. Patrick was not only the inspiration for Tyler's invention, he was also the test subject.


https://night-ware.com/

As with most trial runs, there are tweaks that need to be made. For example, knowing when the watch is reading a heart rate as opposed to an air hammer, as was the case when Patrick was in the other room doing some home improvement. Patrick remembers, "You thought I was having a heart attack because I had the watch on, and you thought my heart rate was 6,000 beats per minute," as the two of them chuckle. With Patrick wearing the watch around the clock, Tyler was able to perfect the app. "I was terrified. Watching someone's data 24/7, I feel like is a lot like having a baby. I don't have a baby. But you're suddenly very concerned at all hours."

As of last month, the app was approved by the FDA. A company called NightWare bought the rights to the app that works with Apple Watch.

Thanks to Tyler and Patrick Skluzacek, there is hope for those suffering from nightmares due to PTSD. Air hammers withstanding.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


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Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

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Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


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Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

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L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

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Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

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All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.