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How to get a good night’s sleep

Five tips that don’t involve melatonin

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Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to staying healthy. Not only does it allow your body to rest, it’s also the time for your body to perform some essential maintenance on your memory, hormones, immune system, and other critical functions. Sleep also helps the brain’s ability to learn, help the body fight infection, and even lower blood pressure.

If you are looking to improve your sleep habits, it might be counterintuitive to look to your smartphone for help. Keeping electronics away before bed is always a good place to start, but there are a lot of tools and features on the iPhone that can get you to sleep better.

Track your sleep

Built into the Apple Watch and the Health app on the iPhone, using the Sleep app is a good way to start tracking your sleep. Sleep tracking will make sleep a priority alongside exercise and eating healthier.

Tracking your sleep can give you an overview of your sleeping patterns so you can make adjustments where necessary. Going to sleep one hour earlier or later can sometimes make you feel more well-rested.

The Apple Watch uses signals from the accelerometer to determine when you’re awake and when you’re asleep, so you can track how long you’re asleep each night and view your sleep trends over time.

Other sleep tracking apps you can try are Sleep Cycle – Sleep Tracker, Autosleep, Sleeptown, Snorelab.

Create a bedtime routine

Using the Wind Down feature on the Sleep app, you can create a customized bedtime routine. You can create a shortcut that includes etting up a specific scene in the Home app, listening to a soothing soundscape on Apple Music, or using a favorite meditation app before you fall asleep.

You can also set a schedule for time away from your iPhone screen using Downtime. This can help put a stop to doom scrolling your social media feeds past your bed time.

Other apps like Fabulous – Daily Self Care, and Mindvalley: Learn and Evolve can help you build habits, create routines for self care that result in better sleep.

Winding down can also be done by anchoring offline activities to bedtime. Changing into comfy pyjamas, doing your nighttime skincare routine, dimming the lights, diffusing lavender oil, journaling, or reading a few pages of a book can help your body know it’s time for sleep.

READ: How you can use your smartwatch to be healthier

Listen to ambient sounds

It’s not just your body that needs to relax before bed; the mind needs to calm down, too.

Meditation and breathing mindfully can help prepare the mind for sleep. Apps like Headspace, Calm, Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds, and Breethe: Meditation & Sleep have guided exercises to help you drift off at night.

Sleep-associated content consumption on Apple Music has been up since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple Music has a dedicated space entirely devoted to helping people unwind, relax and fall asleep. On the app you can find curated mood and activity playlists, nature sounds and white noise, radio stations and more.

The top playlists on Apple Music for relaxation and sleep include: Sleep Sounds, Piano Chill, Bedtime Beats, In My Room, Today’s Easy Hits, Acoustic Hits, Today’s Chill, Pure Focus, Piano Chill.

READ: 8 mindfulness apps to help you cope in this time of uncertainty

Try LumiHealth

In Singapore, the LumiHealth app is also helping to look after your sleep. Users can earn rewards of up to SG$380 with challenges that remind users to stick to a sleep routine, wind down before bedtime, or meditate for a good night’s sleep.

SEE ALSO: Apple, Harvard release preliminary data to help destigmatize menstrual symptoms

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Twitter expands character limit to 4,000 characters

But not for everyone

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Despite the traditional limitations, the platform’s users have always found a way to express themselves beyond Twitter’s character limits. Whether broken through extensive threads or third-party sites, strict limitations don’t exist anymore. Now, Twitter is essentially getting rid of the character limit by introducing its biggest expansion to date.

Announced today, Twitter will allow users to post tweets with up to 4,000 characters. That’s a gigantic leap from the original 140-character limit and the expanded 280-character limit in 2017. But, of course, some good things come with a price.

Not everyone will have access to the new feature. Currently, only Twitter Blue subscribers in the United States can create tweets of up to 4,000 characters. Besides original tweets, subscribers can also quote tweet with the same expanded limit.

Thankfully, the new feature will not inundate everyone’s feeds with an ocean of text. Any tweets going beyond 280 characters will be cut off with a “show more” prompt.

Through the past few months, the platform has changed a few fundamental elements before Musk took over. Most importantly, Twitter Blue, the platform’s paid subscription service is now much more expansive. Among other things, subscribers now get the coveted blue checkmark attached to their profiles. Now, they also get a massive boost in capabilities when it comes to tweeting.

SEE ALSO: Twitter is teasing an ad-free subscription tier

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Alibaba is working on its own ChatGPT alternative

Joins Microsoft and Google

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The United States isn’t the only country interested in language learning software. After the widespread success of ChatGPT, a few other companies — including Microsoft and Google — are developing their own versions of the popular software. Today, a new contender is joining the fray. Alibaba has officially announced the development of its own chatbot.

Reported by CNBC, the Chinese giant is currently testing its alternative to ChatGPT. Unfortunately, the announcement did not come with any more details or a timeframe for its release. However, the company does assure enthusiasts that it has been working on generative AI since 2017.

Within only a few months, ChatGPT created a maelstrom of hype for language learning models. The software can generate lengthy but comprehensible essays about any topic. Though there is some debate as to how ethical it is, remarkably intelligent software is slowly finding its niche in today’s world.

To compete with ChatGPT, Microsoft and Google have announced their own software this week. Microsoft is infusing the technology into Bing and Edge. Meanwhile, Google has its own software called Bard.

Also, besides Alibaba, Chinese search engine Baidu is also testing a chatbot called “Ernie bot.” With several companies working on generative AI, the technology is undoubtedly here to stay.

SEE ALSO: Google is working on a ChatGPT competitor called Bard

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Google will blur NSFW photos soon

Turned on by default

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When I search for “food porn” in Google, I’m looking for enticing photos of food to whet my appetite for dinner. Sometimes, Google has other plans and shows me more than what I bargained for. Finally, the search engine is implementing a way to save us from those awkward moments. Google will soon blur explicit images from search results.

For Safer Internet Day, Google has announced the feature to help protect users from accidentally seeing graphic images — including both gore and pornography — from a search. The feature, which will start rolling out in the coming months, will turn on by default. Instead of showing the images directly, users will face the blurred version and a prompt to view the image despite the warning.

If you don’t mind an accidental shower of NSFW imagery, you can turn the feature off at any time. Alternatively, as always, users can also choose to filter out all explicit search results, blurred or otherwise.

Though the feature is easily adjustable, Google will not offer the same flexibility to supervised accounts. Any accounts supervised by a parent or a school will not be able to change how they view explicit content. Parents can add supervision to the accounts of their children.

SEE ALSO: Google is working on a ChatGPT competitor called Bard

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