Science: Update

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The Independent Culture
INSOMNIACS SHOULD try wearing socks and mittens in bed in a bid to drop off to sleep, scientists say in the journal Nature. They think it is easier to sleep if your hands and feet are warmer than the ambient bedroom temperature. Kurt Krauchi and colleagues at the Chronobiology and Sleep Laboratory of the Psychiatric University Clinic in Basel, Switzerland, found that one the best predictors for rapid onset of sleep is dilatation of the blood vessels in the hands and feet. This is because in preparing for sleep, the body's temperature-regulation system redistributes heat from its core to its periphery. A hot-water bottle on your feet could precipitate the body's usual sleep routine.


THOSE OF us who think we always end up in the slow queue are under an illusion. Cars in another motorway lane appear to be travelling faster, even when they are going at the same average speed. Donald Redelmeier, of Sunnybrook Health Science Center in North York, Ontario, and Robert Tisbshirani, of Stanford University in California, used computer and video simulations to show that vehicles spread out when moving fast and pack together when going more slowly. At slower speeds we spend more time being overtaken than overtaking. We are more aware of vehicles overtaking, because they stay longer in our field of vision.