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Improve Sleep with a Weighted Blanket

Person sleeping in bed underneath weighted blanket

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Weighted blankets that provide a cozy, swaddled feeling have been big sellers during the trying days of the pandemic, and a new study verifies that they do provide mental health benefits. Researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska University tested 120 patients with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for four weeks. They found that a weighted blanket led to better sleep and reduced fatigue, depression and anxiety, and increased levels of daytime activity. Weighted blankets are comforters with tiny pellets or metal chains woven throughout so that weight is distributed across the body; researchers recommend using a blanket that is about 10 percent of a person’s body weight.

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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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