Upgrade your sunscreen to SPF 50
Still think SPF 15 is totally fine? SPF 50 offers significantly better sun protection, especially over time. Sunscreen with SPF 15 allows 7 percent of UVB rays to be transmitted to your skin, while one with SPF 50 permits 2 percent of rays to pass through, says Steven Wang, MD, director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. This means that an SPF 15 sunscreen allows more than three times as many UVB rays as SPF 50, which makes a big difference when you consider cumulative exposure over months, years, and decades.
Fake a good night’s sleep
Believing you slept well—even if you didn’t—may improve cognitive function the next day, according to a new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. Researchers asked 164 participants how they’d slept the previous night, then hooked them up to a sham machine that purportedly revealed to scientists their REM sleep. People who were told they had above-average REM sleep performed better on cognitive and attention tasks than those who were told their REM sleep was below average, regardless of how they’d actually slept. So if you’re tired, try not to dwell on it, which could make you feel even more exhausted. Once you do get to bed, make a habit of doing these little changes that can help you sleep better in just one day.
Top your burger with avocado
After people ate hamburgers, UCLA researchers documented a harmful reaction in their arteries within two hours. When the people topped the burgers with a slice of avocado, the harm nearly disappeared. Nutrient-packed produce (even an avocado, with high fat content) seems to neutralize the inflammatory effects of meat. Try these other 12 tricks to make your guilty pleasure foods healthier.
Vent about your stress—to someone who’s also anxious
Unleashing your worries can make you feel better—but only if it’s to someone who feels just as anxious. Researchers from the University of Southern California tasked 52 women with giving a videotaped speech. Before speaking, the participants were paired up and urged to express their feelings. Researchers assessed the women’s emotional states and measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol before, during, and after the speeches. When each woman in the pair had similar emotions, discussing their feelings made both less stressed. But when one felt nervous and the other felt calm, communicating did not minimize the worriers’ anxiety.