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Peeing at night could cost the United States' economy billions

Midnight nature calls cause unwelcome disruptions to sleep — but the costs may be even higher.

Filed Under Human Behavior, Money & Sleep

Amidnight pee break is an unwelcome disruption, costing you valuable minutes of shut-eye. But in March 2019, scientists discovered the true cost of peeing at night may be far higher than you could ever imagine — to the tune of billions of dollars.

Scientists call an urge to pee that’s strong enough to wake you up at night nocturia. And earlier this year, a team of scientists at the RAND Corporation, a non-profit think tank, reported that, if you add up all the people who have nocturia across the United States, two or more of these pee breaks per person could cost the US’ economy as much as $44.4 billion dollars. The results are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed, but they suggest that the sleep interruptions those bathroom breaks cause, which, in turn, affect productivity at work, may underlie the losses.

This is

on Inverse’s list of the 25 most WTF science stories of 2019.Peeing at night more than twice per night was linked to a three percent loss in work productivity the next day.

Marco Hafner a senior economist at RAND, told Inverse at the time that he wasn’t expecting to find any connection between peeing at night and workplace productivity.

“When we started this research, I thought, we probably wouldn’t find any effects on workplace productivity,” he said.

To start, the researchers estimated how many people wake up twice per night to pee based on surveys done in the United Kingdom and Asia, and then how much those disruptions would impact the way people felt the next day.

About 12 percent of the US population, about 27.5 million adults, wakes up twice per night to pee, they estimate. At least two nightly interruptions was correlated with workplace productivity the next day, according to the results.

Overall, peeing at night accounts for a three percent loss in workplace productivity the next day, the researchers suggest. Spread over the entire United States workforce, that three percent per person adds up to billions in lost profits.

The outstanding question is whether peeing does take as high a toll as this study suggests it does. Previous work has pointed to the effects of sleep loss on judgment and anxiety, but whether the minutes it takes to walk to the bathroom qualify as big enough disruptions remains to be seen. Still, it’s a problem many Americans can identify with, the researchers said.

“The more and more I got into this research, I realized that I had friends and colleagues who said ‘How interesting, I had the same problem’. “The more I learned about this condition, I thought, this could be a problem,” Hafner said.

Note: This research was funded by Ferring Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the drug Nocdurna, which treats nocturia.

As 2019 draws to a close, Inverse is counting down the 25 stories from this year that made us say “WTF.” Some are incredible, some are icky, and some are just plain strange. This has been

. Read the original article hereMedia via Shutterstock , Kativ / cako74 / Getty Images

Almost all near-death experiences have these visions in common — study

Deceased relatives and dark tunnels are just the beginning.

Filed Under 25 Most WTF & Death
Not many people have a brush with death and live to tell the tale. But those that have inched close to the void, even briefly, come back with eerily similar tales. To discover why that might be the case, a team of scientists took a dive into the macabre earlier this year.Continue Reading

3 reasons why being around pets can make you happier and healthier

"There is something unique about our relationship with animals."

Americans are pet-obsessed. As a collective, we own millions of them and spend billions on them. And while you may not realize it, we’re drawn to house-friendly animals for reasons besides that they’re cute.

Pets make us happier and healthier, and there’s science to back that up.

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6 science-backed New Year’s resolutions to boost mental health

Our New Year’s resolutions are typically going on a diet, joining a gym, or drinking less. But what about our mental health?

By Fiona Kate Barlow on December 31, 2019

Every new year we set about making New Year’s resolutions. Usually they’re related to our physical health: going on a diet, joining a gym, or drinking less. But what about our mental health?

Mental health is central to every part of our lives: how we interact with loved ones, how productive we are at work, and how we feel when we are alone. So here are six things science says you can do to improve your mental health in 2020.

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Australian wildfires have cloaked the country in a demonic red glow

As the new decade begins underneath a blood-red sky, the need for solutions is even more pressing.

Filed Under Environment, Reddit & Weather

In the last month of 2019, devastating fires have leveled Australia, leaving a scene of record-setting destruction under a thick blanket of smoke. Up in the sky, red light presides over the destruction.

Images from Australia that surfaced on Reddit and Twitter on Tuesday show a demonic reddish glow that has descended upon the country during certain sunlit hours. This December, Australia has been battling bushfires that have led some states to declare a state of emergency. In New South Wales, the state with the most fires, more than 900 homes have been destroyed and 12 people have died.

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The 25 most surprising stories of human potential in 2019

Here are the ways we learned to live better, happier, and longer in 2019.

Whether it’s via your Instagram feed, your mother, or the Reddit board r/TIL, we are inundated every day with tips to help us be better, healthier, richer, and happier. But not all of these pieces of advice are created equal. Some have zero scientific evidence behind them. But take heart: In 2019, Inverse studied the research for you.

We’ve picked 25 discoveries from 2019 that shine a light on all that humans are capable of — and offer a masterclass in self-improvement.

Did we miss something? Tell us. Email your suggestions.

Watch this space for more stories to be added throughout December!

25. Study: MDMA may have a surprising effect on our ability to learn

The drug may return the brain to a teenage “critical period,’ re-opening neural plasticity.

24. Turning back time: Humans can reverse their biological age

People can roll back the clock with three commercially available drugs.

23. 3 reasons why being around pets can make you happier and healthier

“There is something unique about our relationship with animals.”

22. Dating app “addicts” share these two traits

About 40 percent of people date online to find partners. But what if you can’t stop swiping?

21. How to hack your diet to fight depression

Just three weeks of chowing down on specific foods could improve your mood.

20. The scientific reason why working 9-to-5 is unfair to “night owls”

There’s a need to “create more flexibility in our society.”

19. Futuristic light therapy could help you get 43 extra minutes of sleep

“Flash therapy” could be the next big sleep aid.

18. Study: Math skills may depend on this one personality trait

The ability to compute numbers and make sense of problems will only take you so far.

17. For fecal transplants, not all poop is created equal

Are you a “super pooper” — and, if not, could you become one?

16. Grit may be the “secret sauce” for success

Passion and perseverance keep people performing, even when the going gets tough.

15. Study exposes anxiety’s roots in the brain — and points way to treatment

“We are getting closer to defining the cells and molecules producing or preventing anxiety.”

14. This is the best time to work out to form a habit

Can you HIIT it in the morning?

13. This may be the fastest way to learn something new, according to science

Perfection is not the ultimate goal of learning, researchers say.

12. Is intermittent fasting the longevity life hack we’ve been waiting for?

Diving into the science behind 2019’s favorite diet.

11. Scientists traced procrastination’s deep biological roots in the brain

Procrastination is not just poor time management.

10. Taking this one supplement could help fight depression

Research reveals the brain-boosting power of one common supplement.

9. Studies: One daily habit may help your brain beat the effects of aging

You can’t stop the passage of time, but you can do lots of crosswords.

8. Study pinpoints the limit of human endurance — and it’s impressively high

“The limits of endurance appear to be non-negotiable.”

7. Why you should start talking to yourself, according to science

Talking to yourself can help you achieve your goals — if you do it right.

6. Growing up in nature can offer lasting psychological benefits — study

For children, spending time in nature might safeguard their later mental health.

5. Study: Naps may actually save your life

This is how many naps you should take a week, according to science.

4. Before a panic attack strikes, stressed-out people can use this technique

This NAVY seal method could be the key to overcoming panic.

3. Study reveals why getting enough sleep may be critical to your health

A November 2019 study suggests seven hours may be the ‘magic number’ for ideal sleep.

2. Rat study hints at the benefits of psychedelic micro-dosing

Scientists are getting closer to unraveling the science behind all the hype.

1. Coming Soon!

Check back on January 1.

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Small study shows how quickly diet influences sperm quality

A diet laden in sugar has some strange effects on sperm.

Filed Under Biology, Health & Sex

It doesn’t take long for a sugary snack or a fizzy drink to burn through your body, but the effects of that sugar bomb linger. At least one team of scientists has early evidence that, within weeks, a diet laden in sugar has some strange effects on sperm.

A small study of 15 men conducted by a team of scientists in Sweden noted that when men ate healthy diets for one week and then sugary diets the next week, they saw strange changes in sperm motility — which is how well sperm swim, and is used as a measure of sperm viability. Counterintuitively, the team found that diets high in sugar tended to increase sperm motility over that short time period.

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Rat study hints at the benefits of psychedelic micro-dosing

Scientists are getting closer to unraveling the science behind all the hype.

Filed Under LSD & Neuroscience

Devotees of microdosing don’t view the practice as simply doing drugs. Instead, they claim that taking a very small dose of a psychedelic drug can [hold unexpected health benefits](( Microdosing may reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, or boosting one’s creativity. But the problem with all of these purported benefits is that there’s not enough research to back them up.

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Mutants among us: "Natural short sleepers" reveal the genetics of sleep

Understanding why some people need just 4 to 6 hours sleep a night could lead to better sleep for everyone.

Filed Under Genetics & Sleep

Humans spend about one-third of our lives asleep, but scientists still don’t fully understand how sleep works and why some people have different sleep habits than others. “Natural short sleepers” are a perfect example: The average person requires seven hours a night, but these folks only need about four to six hours of snooze time.

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Study reveals why getting enough sleep may be critical to your health

A November 2019 study suggests seven hours may be the ‘magic number’ for ideal sleep.

Filed Under Biology, Data & Health
Getting less than your recommended seven hours of sleep every night may do more damage than you just waking up cranky in the morning — it might be aging you prematurely. That’s the takeaway from a November 2019 study which suggests that a lack of a proper night’s sleep may be having an effect on your biological age.Continue Reading

The science-backed guide to intermittent fasting, 2019's most popular diet

In 2019, Inverse asked the experts what intermittent fasting actually does to your body.

If there was a diet to define 2019, intermittent fasting — skipping meals or squeezing all your eating into shorter windows — may well be it. But despite the diet’s popularity, we wanted to know: Does science back up all the hype? In July 2019, Inverse asked some of the world’s leading nutrition, physiology, and metabolism experts how intermittent fasting actually impacts your body, so you don’t have to.

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Put the kettle on and have a cup of tea: 5 health benefits

Around the world, tea is the most common drink after water.

By Clare Collins on December 29, 2019
Filed Under Food & Health

Growing up, tea drinking was reserved for my grandmother’s visits. Making it followed a strict and fascinating ritual. Take scalding hot water. Warm the tea pot. Add one spoon of tea leaves for each person and one for the pot. Cover with a tea cosy. Turn the pot three times to the left, three to the right, then three to the left. Leave to brew. Warm the cups; milk in first, pour through a tea strainer.

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The one crucial thing the sugar-free diet gets wrong about health

Just how good for you is it?

By Tara Leong on December 29, 2019
Filed Under Diets, Food & Health
Not long ago, fat was the evil dietary villain. Before that it was salt. Now the sugar-free diet has exploded onto the health and wellness scene – and seems to top many people’s list of New Year’s resolutions.

Sugar-free diets encourage people to avoid table sugar (sucrose), sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup, refined flours, condiments, soft drinks, sweets, and some fruits such as bananas. Some also recommend eliminating or restricting dairy products.

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3 reasons why we crave comfort food in the winter

You’re not imagining it. Our bodies really do crave macaroni and cheese as the temperature drops.

By Megan Lee and Jacqui Yoxall on December 28, 2019
Filed Under Food, Health, Psychology & Weather
It’s winter and many of us find ourselves drawn to bowls of cheesy pasta, oozing puddings, warming soups, and hot chocolate with marshmallows.

These and other comfort foods can make us feel good. But why? And why do we crave them in winter and not in summer?

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Two years of data reveal what people on Reddit are most worried about

Redditors' worries reveal some common — and unexpected — themes.

In December 2019, Mathias Nielsen posted a graph on Reddit with the title “What worries Reddit? What 1,000 people messaged me about over 2 years.” Less than a week later, he posted a new graph, this one including the data of 1,500 people. Another graph may be coming soon — Nielsen still has about 2,000 messages from users to sift through, and new ones come in every day.

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Why fasting for 16 hours a day may benefit the brain and body

A review of intermittent fasting studies suggests it's a genuinely healthy lifestyle.

Filed Under Diets & Health

Intermittent fasting could equate to a healthy lifestyle, a review article published this week in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests.

Until recently, most studies on caloric restriction and intermittent fasting focused on aging and life span. But the handful of studies on other potential effects indicate that, overall all, intermittent fasting has “broad-spectrum benefits” for health problems ranging from heart disease to neurologic disorders, the review finds.

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Growing up in nature can offer lasting psychological benefits — study

For children, spending time in nature might safeguard their later mental health.

For children, spending time in nature might be a necessity. Growing up in an exclusively urban environment could have long-lasting implications that show themselves years later. And the converse may be true, too: Growing up surrounded by nature may confer long-term benefits that safeguard mental health — and may even lower the likelihood of premature death.Continue Reading

How a "fussy eater" went blind from a junk food diet

This rare, devastating condition is usually only seen in war zones.

Filed Under Food & Health

When famine or conflict strike and food is scarce, people can lose sight and hearing abilities due to missing nutrients. But as Inverse reported in September 2019, a 17-year-old boy in England went blind despite suffering neither of those things — in this case, food was anything but scarce.

As a result of a lifetime of eating Pringles, fries, sausages and white bread, the young man lost his vision and had worsened hearing, according to a case report published at the time in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The name for his condition is nutritional optic neuropathy — a rare and devastating condition isn’t typically seen in places with abundant food.

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5 reasons why we overeat

We think we stop eating when our stomachs are full. Science shows otherwise.

By Jenny Morris on December 26, 2019
Filed Under Alcohol, Food & Health
We tend to think that we stop eating when our stomachs are full. Science shows otherwise. Here are five reasons we often overeat without realizing it.
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Why you should start talking to yourself, according to science

Talking to yourself can help you achieve your goals — if you do it right.

Filed Under Human Behavior
Sometimes the person you need to talk to the most is yourself. But some kinds of self-talk is better than others — basically, you need to put in the effort.

In August, Inverse spoke to the experts to get the low-down on how talking to yourself can benefit you in unexpected ways. They revealed that engaging in effortful self-talk, more of a mental conversation than an audible one, can hold big benefits — and even if you don’t habitually talk to yourself now, you can train yourself to capitalize on them, too.

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Pfizer study argues Viagra may improve an unexpected type of performance

Viagra's parent company tried to expand its empire from the bedroom to the office in 2019.

Filed Under Health, Medicine & Work
Before 2019, Viagra’s utility didn’t extend much farther than the bedroom. But in August 2019, new industry-sponsored research tried to expand Viagra’s empire into the workplace.

In a Pfizer-backed paper, scientists found evidence that erectile dysfunction is related to work absenteeism and “presenteeism” — that’s when you show up for work, but don’t perform your best due to underlying health issues. Pfizer is a maker of Viagra.

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Why it's easier to gossip at Christmas: blame "arousal"

'Tis the season to say things we later regret.

By Brent Coker on December 25, 2019

Christmas is a stressful time for many, so not surprisingly it’s also known as the season for arguments.

Some assume it’s because we share the time with family members, who we’re more likely to argue with because of bottled-up resentment or some other annoyance we’ve been secretly nurturing. Others put it down to alcohol.

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This Christmas spice could help reduce your blood cholesterol

Unlike many Christmas foods, this one might actually be good for you.

By Preethy D'Souza on December 25, 2019
Filed Under Christmas, Food, Health & Medicine

Cinnamon is a popular spice at Christmas time, used to flavor everything from mulled wine to pumpkin pie. And, unlike many Christmas foods, this one might actually be good for you.

Cinnamon, the bark of a small evergreen tree, has been used as a medicine for centuries, if not millennia. It is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating, among other things, acute traumatic pain and “weak digestion.” In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to treat arthritis, diarrhea, and menstrual irregularities.

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Long-lasting household chemicals could age the body from the inside out

A notorious class of chemicals could have invisible effects that take a toll over time.

Filed Under Environment
You may not remember the last time you sprayed a carpet to make it waterproof, but those chemicals are likely still floating around your home. A team of scientists in Belgium suggests that we should take notice of them. Chemicals that are often used to make fabric and furniture weather-could age humans from the inside out.Continue Reading

Study pinpoints the limit of human endurance — and it's impressively high

"The limits of endurance appear to be non-negotiable."

Filed Under Exercise
As limitless as we like to believe human resilience to be, biology really does impose a hard stop on how hard you can go. Which bigs the question: Where does the limit lie? In 2017, a brave group of endurance athletes looked the challenge square in the face. The data they generated has allowed scientists to pinpoint just where that breaking point is.Continue Reading

How Medieval Christians built the modern nuclear family

A centuries-old cultural shift still influences families — and you — today.

Filed Under Human Behavior & Religion

Many Americans are don’t consider themselves religious, but whether you are aware of it or not, one famous religious institution holds significant influence over your life.

In November 2019, researchers found evidence that the Western Church, a branch of Christianity which eventually became the Roman Catholic Church, sparked a seismic cultural shift more than 500 years ago — one that shapes families and social values today.

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The science of gift wrapping explains why sloppy is better

They say appearances can be deceiving. In the case of gift-giving, they might be right.

By Erick M. Mas on December 24, 2019
Filed Under Christmas & Psychology
They say appearances can be deceiving. In the case of gift-giving, they might be right.

Consumers in the US spend billions of dollars a year on wrapping gifts, in most cases to make their presents look as good as possible. This includes money spent on paper, boxes, ribbon, and pretty bows.

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Studies: One daily habit may help your brain beat the effects of aging

You can't stop the passage of time, but you can do lots of crosswords.

Filed Under Mental Health

Nothing can be done to stop the passage of time and the inevitable toll it takes on the body. But you can help to preserve your memory’s power by spending some time each day doing crossword or number-based puzzles.

Two studies — one published in November 2018 and another in February 2019 — show that making puzzle solving a daily habit can keep the memory sharp.

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Mutations in sperm are linked to diseases. Do fathers really want to know?

A new technique could "probably reduce severe childhood disease across the population."

Filed Under Diseases & Medicine

Before the advent of whole-genome sequencing, it was a mystery as to why otherwise typical people could parent children born with a condition or disease. Now, it’s clear that many of those cases are linked to de novo mutations. De novo mutations are mutations that are not inherited from either parent’s DNA, but are often present for the first time in the child.

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CDC officially links vitamin E acetate to US vaping-illness outbreak

Here's how the product found its way into the lungs of thousands of people this year.

Filed Under CDC, Medicine & Public Health
After months of searching, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally have an explanation for the thousands of cases of vaping-related lung injury across the country. The culprit appears to be a thick, gooey additive that made its debut on the vape black market in 2019 — vitamin E acetate.Continue Reading

2 self-care strategies for dealing with the "holiday blues"

"It's not your job to meet the expectations of anyone else."

The holidays are known as a time of cheer, which is precisely why this time of year can be so difficult for many. If you’re going through hardships, moving through a season where everybody is supposed to act happy all the time isn’t the best situation for your brain. However, there are steps you can take to make it through the holidays — the majority of which hinge on being kind to yourself.

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'Cats' is undeniably creepy, and there's a psychological reason for it

They're sexy. They're creepy. They live in the uncanny valley.

Filed Under Cats & Psychology

Cats are the latest beloved musical to be remade as a live-action film, and the result is terrifying. Released in theaters on December 20, the movie is a long, long way from the T.S. Eliot children’s poetry book that inspired Andrew Lloyd Weber’s 1981 musical.

When the trailer was released in July of this year, the internet erupted: Humanoid, all-dancing, all-singing cats are just too much. The reason for the disquiet: The cats in Cats belong in the uncanny valley, experts told Inverse at the time.

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Taking this one supplement could help fight depression

Research reveals the brain-boosting power of one common supplement.

Filed Under Food & Health

In the United States, 52 percent of adults take supplements every day — but despite their popularity, most supplements don’t live up to the miracle claims listed on their packaging. So what works, and what doesn’t? To find out, in September 2019 researchers published the world’s largest review of dietary supplements and mental health.

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3 psychologists give advice for getting over the "holiday hangover"

The "holiday hangover" is real, but it doesn't have to last.

Filed Under Self-Care & Work

The “holiday hangover” is the period of time after the holidays where you have to go back to real life. There are no more sugar cookies and no “I Love Sausage Rolls” songs. If the “holiday blues” sits on one side of the coin, the “holiday hangover” is stamped on the other.

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How healthy are non-alcoholic drinks? 2 surprising stats

Alcohol-free beer and wine are certainly healthier options. But does that mean they’re good for you?

By Ali Hill on December 22, 2019

Afew years ago, alcohol-free beers and wine were a rarity. And what was available was pretty execrable. Today, the market is booming and you can order a pint of alcohol-free IPA, with all its rich hoppiness, or a glass of “de-alcoholized” merlot that actually tastes like wine, not jumped-up grape juice.

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