This Question Can Predict Whether You Will Be Alive and Happy at Age 80



“Is there someone in your life whom you would feel comfortable phoning at four in the morning to tell your troubles to?”

Via Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being:

Is there someone in your life whom you would feel comfortable phoning at four in the morning to tell your troubles to? If your answer is yes, you will likely live longer than someone whose answer is no. For George Vaillant, the Harvard psychiatrist who discovered this fact, the master strength is the capacity to be loved. Conversely, as the social neuroscientist John Cacioppo has argued, loneliness is such a disabling condition that it compels the belief that the pursuit of relationships is a rock-bottom fundamental to human well-being.


Vaillant’s insight came from his seminal work on the Grant Study, an almost seventy-year (and ongoing) longitudinal investigation of the developmental trajectories of Harvard College graduates…

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Can’t Sleep at Night? Check out These Simple Solutions!


Sleep is one of the most if not the most important thing you can ever do to your body. You can survive three times as long without food than you can without sleep. Along with the obvious reasons, a proper nights sleep is beneficial to your health, sex life and it can even help with body pain. But the sad truth is that around 40 million people in the United States have chronic long term sleep disorders and 20 million experience occasional sleep disorders. With these kinds of numbers its a surprise that anybody gets any sleep at all. Seeing these numbers made me start to wonder about what could cause all of these sleepless nights. Of course medical history has a large part of it, but many people with sleepless nights could remedy them if they just followed some simple steps, that is why I compiled this list of simple reasons why you could be getting those restless nights. Plus things that can fix them!

1. Your room isn’t dark enough.

Ideally, your bedroom shouldn’t have any lights on, especially light emitted from a TV or any electronic device. When your eyes are exposed to light during the night, your brain is tricked into thinking it’s time to wake up and reduces the production of melatonin, a hormone released by your pineal gland that causes sleepiness and lowers body temperature. Try covering up lights on electronics or even unplugging them.

2. Exercising too late.

If you exercise within three hours of trying to sleep, you’ll overstimulate your metabolism and raise your heart rate causing restlessness and frequent awakenings throughout the night.  Try to exercise in the morning or no later than mid to late afternoon, which will result in sounder sleep.

3. Drinking alcohol too late.

We tend to think of alcohol as a sleep inducer, but it actually interferes with REM sleep, causing you to feel more tired the next morning.  Granted, you may feel sleepy after you drink it, but that’s a short-term effect.  Here’s a great video at WebMD about alcohol and sleep.

4. Room not correct temperature. 

Your body and brain like to sleep at a certain comfortable temperature, so when your room is too hot or too cold it thwarts your sleeping process. Try keeping a fan in your room, that way if it is too hot or cold you can adjust your blankets to compensate plus the white noise will help drown out noise.

5. Caffeine still in your system.

The average half-life of caffeine is 5 hours, which means that you still have three-quarters of the first dose of caffeine rolling around in your system 10 hours after you drink it.  Most of us drink more than one cup of coffee, and many of us drink it late in the day.  If you’re going to drink coffee, drink it early.

6. Clock watching.

Though it’s hard not to do, don’t look at your clock when you wake up during the night. In fact, it’s best to turn it around so it’s not facing you.  When you habitually clock watch, you’re training  your circadian rhythms the wrong way, and before long you’ll find yourself waking up at exactly 3:15 every night.

7. Getting up to watch TV until you’re sleepy.

This is a bad idea for a few reasons. First, watching TV stimulates brain activity, which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen if your goal is to sleep soundly. Second, the light emitted from the TV is telling your brain to wake up (see #1 above).

8. Trying to problem-solve in the middle of the night.

All of us wake up at times during the night, and the first thing that pops into our heads is a big problem we’re worried about.  The best thing you can do is stop yourself from going there and redirect your thoughts to something less stressful. If you get caught up on the worry treadmill, you’ll stay awake much longer.

9. Eating protein too close to bedtime.

Protein requires a lot of energy to digest, and that keeps your digestive system churning away while you’re trying to sleep — bad combination.  Better to have a light carbohydrate snack.

10.  Smoking before bedtime. 

Smokers equate smoking with relaxing, but that’s a neurochemical trick. In truth, nicotine is a stimulant.  When you smoke before trying to sleep, you can expect to wake up several times throughout the night; much as you would if you drank a cup of coffee.

What do you guys do that helps you sleep at night? 

Happy Discovery

resources: Disalvo, David. “10 Reasons Why You Can’t Sleep And How To Fix Them.”Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

Swierzewski, Stanley J. “Sleep Disorder Overview.” – Sleep Disorders. N.p., 01 Jan. 2010. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

Every Teenager Should Be Required to Work a Grubby Job



There’s been a lot of talk about Wonder Bread bags since Joni Ernst’s State of the Union response. (Consensus among my colleagues, regardless of party, is that we wore them too, but over our socks and under our boots. Exterior bags must be an Iowa thing.) Less attention has been given to her part-time teenage job making biscuits at Hardee’s. Maybe that’s because everyone I know over forty, regardless of income, had a job like that. The most surprising thing was that Ernst tied her Hardee’s experience to modest income and humble beginnings. In college, I knew a debutante from Texas who had a real butler answer the door at her holiday party, but still got up every morning at four to make the salt rising bread in the student union bakery. Where I come from — meaning the distant past of the seventies — menial jobs were a…

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Balloonists Break World Record with Pacific Ocean Crossing



When Troy Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev land in Mexico on Saturday in their large helium balloon Two Eagles, they will have broken at least one and possibly two world records.

After setting out from Japan on Sunday and flying across the Pacific, the duo are on course to set new records for longest distance flown as well as longest duration in a helium balloon, the BBC reports.

Bradley and Tiukhtyaev needed to surpass a 1981 distance record of 5,208 miles by 1% (which put their target at 5,260 miles) in order to lay claim to the first record, which they did on Thursday according to a tweet from the team’s account. The record for longest duration, set in 1971, is 137 hours, five minutes and 50 seconds.

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A Note To My Readers


I’m going to be honest, this is the first time I have ever read any of your work. But I have just started my own blog after years of yearning to and I hope I achieve the connections with my readers that you have described. Good luck in your future endeavors.

The Dish


One of the things I’ve always tried to do at the Dish is to be up-front with readers. This sometimes means grotesque over-sharing; sometimes it means I write imprudent arguments I have to withdraw; sometimes it just means a monthly update on our revenues and subscriptions; and sometimes I stumble onto something actually interesting. But when you write every day for readers for years and years, as I’ve done, there’s not much left to hide. And that’s why, before our annual auto-renewals, I want to let you know I’ve decided to stop blogging in the near future.

Why? Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There…

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You Asked: Why Am I Cold All the Time?



Frigid weather isn’t solely to blame for your chill.

Of course, frosty outdoor temperatures aren’t warming you up, either. Even if you’re layered in cozy sweaters and toasty corduroys, your hands and feet play an outsize role in determining how warm or cool you feel, explains Dr. Mike Tipton, a professor of human physiology at Portsmouth University in the UK.

Tipton studies the human body’s response to extreme environments—like being dunked in icy water. He says the temperature of your hands and feet dominate your overall sensation of thermal comfort. “You can be warm, but if your hands and feet are cold, you will feel cold,” Tipton says.

This is problematic for many women, who tend to have colder hands than men. A much-cited University of Utah study found that while the average woman’s core body temperature is a smidge above the average man’s, her hands are nearly three degrees…

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