Even though they sometimes get on your nerves, brothers and sisters are good to have around. In “The Sibling Effect,” Time magazine science writer Jeffrey Kluger dissects sibling relationships, using biological and psychological studies as well as his own memories from growing up in a blended family, among brothers and stepsisters. Does birth order matter? Yes. For example, middle siblings tend to feel less connected to their families. Later-borns are more willing to take risks. Can unrelated children who are raised together bond into de facto brothers and sisters? It depends on ages and circumstances — but you should probably learn to get along. According to Kluger, sibling relationships are among the deepest that people ever have, and they are among the most enduring. “With Americans living longer, an increasing number of us will be launched into an old age in which we’ve outlived our friends, our parents, and even our spouses, while our children and grandchildren have scattered to distant cities,” Kluger points out. Who’s likely to still be around? The kid who grew up in the next bedroom.
According to Men’s Health, the average American employee loses about 11.3 days’ worth of productivity a year due to insomnia. Not because these workers are playing hooky or hitting the snooze button, but because it’s difficult to focus after a night of tossing and turning. To help, the magazine consulted Craig Schwimmer, from the Snoring Center, a Dallas sleep clinic, to get a few tips on how to perk up. Most of it is fairly easy stuff: Get sunlight in the morning, to reinforce your biological rhythms. Go for a quick run before your commute, to get your blood flowing. Avoid the vending machines. (Sugary snacks will bring on an energy crash.) If all else fails, sleep on the job, if only for a few minutes. “If you are sleep-deprived, getting some sleep — even small amounts — typically improves psychomotor performance, mental functioning, and job performance,” says Schwimmer.