To Sleep Or Not To Sleep Early

Sleeping early. These 2 words somehow elude many students, employees and professionals alike. Sleep deprivation has worsened to the point that some of us might be asking ourselves, “What is sleep?” I’ll do you one better – “Why is sleep?” Seriously, many of us now find the concept of sleeping early foreign. We actively forgo it for work, study and commitments, even though we knew all this while the consequences of doing so. Forgoing sleep has adverse impacts on our health in the long term and would reduce our ability to concentrate in the short term. Without the ability to function at peak performance, we are less able to learn and chase after success. Thus, I can safely say, to sleep or not to sleep early is to sleep early. In this article, we will be detailing why this is the case. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: Sleeping Early Keeps Your Mind Healthy

As you slumber, your body parts are working hard to regenerate themselves. New cells are regenerated and dead cells are removed, while your brain and other organs work hard to detox themselves. All in all, your body slowly recharges itself and prepares for a new day. This is especially important for the brain. During sleep, neurones decrease in size by up to 60%, increasing the space between them for waste and toxic materials to be washed away easily. In fact, the brain removes significant amounts of a toxic protein known as amyloid-beta, which is involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, science has shown that sleep and learning are closely linked. Here, new memories are processed and consolidated in the brain, as neurones in the hippocampus repeat the activation patterns that took place while the individual was conscious. This helps to transfer short-term memories held in the hippocampus to other parts of the brain, so as to facilitate the formation of long-term memories. Thus, missing out on sleep could cause one’s learning ability to decline by as much as 40%. That is something that you clearly want to avoid!

#2: Detoxification Of Body Parts

The brain is not the only that needs to clean itself. Sleep affects almost all tissues and organs in the body, from your heart to your skin. As mentioned above, your brain has something called a Glymphatic system which involves the shrinking of neurones so as to create room for toxins to be flushed out. Meanwhile, the body also secretes hormones, which decreases one’s breathing rate and promotes muscle relaxation. On the other hand, sleep deprivation increases inflammation levels, which restricts the body from effectively cleansing itself. The removal of toxic materials allows the unrestricted movement of essential substances and oxygen, which ultimately aids in the regenerative processes of the body. Missing out on sleep impedes the aforementioned processes, which may even cause the stunting of growth in children.

#3: Sleep Improves Immunity

Since sleep affects nearly every part of the body, it is no surprise that it also has a tremendous impact on our immune systems. Consistent sleep increases one’s immunity, while a lack of sleep increases the risks of diseases. When T cells detect an infected cell, they activate integrins, which allow them to adhere to and destroy the latter cells. The T cells of consistent sleepers have been shown to have higher levels of integrin activation than those of sleep-deprived individuals. Moreover, stress hormones may even restrict the functions of T cells in poor sleepers. High concentrations of these hormones may in turn decrease the ability of T cells to kill pathogens, thus weakening the body’s immune system. Another example is the fact that the body releases cytokines, in the presence of infection and inflammation, which help to fight diseases. Without adequate sleep, the body will not be able to produce as much of these cytokines and antibodies. During periods of sickness, the body utilises more energy so as to battle infections and eradicate diseases. This means that the body will have less energy on hand for other processes. During these times, sleep is of paramount importance as it helps to conserve energy and resources.

Conclusion

After reading this article, were you surprised by how important sleep is? Why or why not? Will you be sleeping earlier now? Jot down your comments in the comment section below! Thanks for reading! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more.

Here’s Why YOU Should Write

Writing is something we have been doing ever since our childhoods. All we had to do was pick up a pen or pencil and scribble away. Back in our younger days, writing seemed fun, even transcendent. Now, many of us find it a boring to do, even worse so when we don’t have the option to type. Technology has rewired our minds to prefer things that are more efficient, simple and elegant. We hate apps that have an obnoxious design. Meanwhile, tech companies are trying to make their devices and appliances thinner and lighter. Many of us fail to see the value of writing and dismiss it as a mere hobby or an ancient relic of the past. At most, we only write down what we need to get at the supermarket. What’s even funnier is that our vocabulary has gradually degraded overtime. In fact, I encounter many people who know no substitute for the word “happy” when chatting on WhatsApp. So why should we write then, given that technological advances have basically eroded the need for writing? In this article, I shall discuss this topic in greater detail. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: Writing Helps You To Express Your Feelings

Writing is a great way to release stress – a feeling we all know too well. We have become increasingly absorbed with our jobs and commitments, leaving us with little time for reflection. Many of us have become mindless robots, following a set routine – wake up, work, sleep, repeat. To many, the word “tomorrow” is no different to the word “today”. It’s all the same to them. Writing gives you a sense of time, a sense of what you have done in the present day and what you look forward for the next. This helps to break the monotony between days and allows us to better understand our deepest emotions. Often, we ignore these emotions, hiding them. And when they finally explode, our lives take a big hit. In summary, writing is a great way to understand your thoughts, thoughts that disappear and appear throughout the day. By penning them down on paper, you will be able to capture and study them.

#2: It Lets Your Creativity Run Wild

Much like drawing or painting, writing is a way to express your innate creativity. You can write anything you want. Love science fiction? Go ahead and describe the world of your dreams. It could even be something as simple as planning for your team project tomorrow. Point is, your paper (or text file, if you are using a computer or device) is an open canvas awaiting your ideas. Armed with ideas, a vivid imagination and your amazing brain, anything is possible. Meanwhile, writing activates both your left and right brain hemispheres. According to research, students who read and write extensively show greater creative performance than those who do not.

#3: It Improves Your Communication Skills

Those who write regularly are better able to understand their emotions and those of others. In fact, the ability to empathise is an essential skill in the social world. Furthermore, writing enhances your ability to organise and express your thoughts. This also leads to an increased fluency of speech. This will be useful in team projects of any kind, as you will be able to bring your messages across much more easily, thus allowing your subordinates and superiors alike to understand your ideas at a much deeper level.

Conclusion

Writing is something I would encourage all of my readers to try. Perhaps you could try to write a few lines or keep a personal diary. I hope that you did enjoy this article, and if you did, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading!

How YOU Can Improve Your Memory

Argh! I can’t remember what I’ve read yesterday! Ridiculous!” Ever experienced this? Sometimes we just find ourselves forgetting what we think we will never forget. Isn’t it annoying? So, what we can do about this? Is there anything that we can do to mitigate the process of forgetting? Or are we all destined to forget everything we have learnt? Well, both yes and no. In this post, I will show you how YOU (yes, you) can improve your memory. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter so you’ll never ever miss any new articles!

#1: Focus!

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In my previous articles, I touched on the fact that the brain is simply unable to multitask and that trying to do so will only kill your productivity. This applies to memory as well. Doing more than two things at once affects how your mind encodes information. Often, we find ourselves forgetting what we have learnt or read and we blame it on our mind’s inability to recall information. Let me ask you this question. How can your mind forget something that was not even stored in your brain in the first place? Well, stop blaming your poor brain. Instead, amend your bad habits. Let’s say that you want to study a chapter of Chemistry today. To facilitate a conducive learning environment, you should place all your electronic devices somewhere inaccessible, perhaps in a locked drawer. Furthermore, practice mindfulness when you study. This means staying focused and motivated with your work at hand. (No daydreaming!) This allows your mind to absorb information much more readily.

#2: Method of Association – Using Mnemonics and Acronyms

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The mind is an efficient machine. In other words, your mind will instantly delete anything it deems useless so as to ensure the healthy functioning of the brain. This also effectively prevents information overload as it allows the individual to only remember what he/she needs for survival. This can be both good and bad. Sometimes, your mind interprets what you think is useful as trash and the vice versa is true as well. Why is it that we can remember the embarrassing moments of the past without flaw, while we struggle to remember what we have read as recently as a day ago? This is because your mind places different degrees of importance on different memories. Let’s say you tripped and fell due to a plastic bag on the ground a year ago. I bet you will most likely recall this event today! In this case, this is because your brain has judged this memory as essential to your survival, thus effectively preventing you from making the same mistake again. Do you remember the times when people laughed at you? I can confidently say that you do as well! So why is it that your brain still retains such humiliating memories? In the early history of mankind, being part of a group was a matter of life and death. Being alone only increases one’s chances of being lost and being hunted by predatory animals. As a result, our minds have evolved to prioritise social cohesion and that aforementioned memory (the one about you being laughed to death by others) helps you to understand the minds of others and spurs you to fit in. Meanwhile, our minds have developed to appreciate humour, with the same purpose of helping one build friendships and social connections with other fellow humans.

So what does this have to do with improving our memory? To retain information much more effectively, we can learn to take full advantage of the evolutionary features of our brains. We can do this by using acronyms to represent lists or sentences. The funnier and weirder the acronym, the better the recall effectiveness. You could also utilise rhymes to remember certain information. For instance, “A knight on the rim is grim.” helps chess players remember that a knight is most powerful in the centre of the board.

#3: Taking Omega-3 Supplements

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Our brains are about 60% fat. The architecture of our minds are such that we require an adequate amount of fatty acids to sustain its performance. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in this. Research has shown that consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids, which include Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), help to build cell membranes and prevent inflammation in the body. Meanwhile, Omega-3 fatty acids are key components in the myelin sheaths of neurones, which insulates nerve fibres and increases transmission speed of nerve impulses. This boosts memory formation and increases the processing speed of the mind. In fact, the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to prevent certain psychotic disorders such as depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Conclusion

I hope that this article gave you insights into the inner machinations of the brain and how you can improve your memory. If you did enjoy this article or have found it useful, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more articles and thanks for reading!

Mathematics Is More Important Than You Think

Most of us have ended up hating Mathematics in high school. It’s probably because Trigonometry and Calculus got on our nerves, or because some equations were just plain annoying. In the end, we might have told ourselves that Mathematics is nothing more than a torture device. But what if I told you that Mathematics has a greater purpose? In this article, we shall discuss the importance of Mathematics and why it is of paramount importance to the world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter (enter your email in the newsletter registration section of my homepage). Without further ado, let’s begin the discussion.

#1: Mathematics Is The Foundation Of The Sciences

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There is a reason as to why you learn Mathematics before you learn Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Mathematics serves as the foundation for the sciences and helps to build up basic problem thinking skills, before you start tackling harder problems. For example, without a good understanding of ratio, you would not be able to understand the basic workings of stoichiometry in Chemistry. Furthermore, without the ability to solve equations and understand graphs, you would not be able to apply Newton’s Laws of Motion and the principles of kinematics.

#2: Mathematics Helps Us To Better Understand The World

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The universe is ours to explore, but without the right tools, it is simply impossible. Mathematics helps to make sense of the world around and create new inventions. As mentioned earlier, it is the backbone of Engineering, Physics, Biology, Astronomy and many other sciences. With an understanding of Mathematics, we will be able to build complex machinery, spacecraft and satellites which will help us to explore the universe. Even the computer you are using right now is a creation of Mathematics. Let us take Isaac Newton for an example. To express his discoveries, he had to make use of equations and even invent a whole new branch of Mathematics, Calculus. Mathematics is the common language for all people on Earth, thereby uniting the human race in the common effort for further discoveries and the exploration of our universe.

Conclusion

So this wraps up my 4th article for the week. I decided to touch on the topic of Mathematics in this article, as I frequently notice that many of my friends dislike Mathematics for its complexity and tediousness. Mathematics, of course, can be complex and tedious at times. However, it has so many uses and its benefits for the human race are simply astronomical. I hope that this article, albeit quite short, convinces you of the importance and usefulness of Mathematics, and I hope that this will spur you to enjoy it. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like. Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next article!

The Importance of Reforestation

Deforestation has adversely affected our environment and climate. In fact, it is one of the reasons why global warming is progressing at an alarming rate. However, all is not lost as reforestation can help to slow down the rate of global warming. The problem lies in the fact that the rate of deforestation exceeds the rate of reforestation. In this article, I will show you why reforestation is so important. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter.

#1: Reduction of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere

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Trees are famously known as the lungs of the Earth, and for good reason. Trees, being plants, take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen in the day. This helps to replenish oxygen levels in our atmosphere and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By lowering the level of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere, the rate of global warming is slowed down. However, reforestation efforts have not been very effective due to the fact that carbon dioxide levels have been increasing rapidly in recent years.

#2: It Provides Habitats for Animals

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In the process of deforestation, many trees have been burnt or chopped down. As a result, many species of animals which depend on forests for shelter and food face the threat of extinction. Reforestation provides new homes for these animals, thereby preserving wildlife.

#3: It Combats Soil Erosion

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The roots of a trees help to hold the soil beneath them together, thereby avoiding soil erosion. Deforestation, however, results in increased soil erosion, as soil is washed away by rain. This makes future reforestation much harder as the nutritious top layer of soil is washed away as well. Reforestation, on the other hand, helps to protect soil from erosion and restore soil fertility.

#4: It Helps to Avoid Desertification

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Forests play an important role in the water cycle. Using their roots, they take up water from the ground and give out water vapour through the stomata of their leaves. This helps to maintain precipitation levels in an area and avoid desertification, which is a consequence of deforestation. When an area is cleared of trees, a constant supply of water vapour needed for cloud formation is absent. Consequently, the aforementioned area becomes arid and dry, thereby becoming a desert.

Conclusion

As you might have noticed, this is a relatively short article. However, I believe these reasons are enough to enlighten you about the benefits and importance of reforestation. The world is changing rapidly, and unfortunately, for the worst. What we have is time and we must utilise it carefully. If this article was in any way helpful to you, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next article!

Why You Should Own a Pet

During this time of the year, with COVID-19 ravaging the world and forcing us to stay at home, having a pet can have untold benefits for your mental and physical wellbeing. For those introverts out there, having a pet will provide you with a great friend. Also, for those stuck and bored at home, owning and taking care of a pet will be a great experience. In this article, we will discuss why you should own a pet and whether or not they are worth your time. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. Let’s jump right in!

#1: You’ll Never Feel Lonely Anymore

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To own a pet is to have another friend. If you are feeling lonely and are in need of some company, a pet is the way to go. They help to provide companionship and improves your mood. In fact, owning a pet has been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve mood.

#2: They Bring People Together

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Believe it or not, pets are great catalysts for conversations. You will be able to form meaningful friendships with other pet lovers, too. In fact, research has shown that those who walked their dogs, were more likely to befriend someone they met through a pet-related connection.

#3: They Help You Keep An Active Lifestyle

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Having a pet helps to increase your levels of physical activity. Those who own dogs, for example, might find themselves walking with their dogs more often. If walking with your dog sounds boring, you could take it for a swim or even rollerblade together with it. In the long run, this will bring you numerous health benefits, including improved blood pressure, reduced risk of coronary artery disease and obesity.

#4: It Teaches Your Child How To Handle Responsibility

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Taking care of a pet isn’t easy at all. Depending upon the type of pet you own, you will have to attend to its numerous needs, including regular baths, feeding and grooming. Letting your child take care of his/her pet will teach him/her the importance of responsibility, a highly essential life skill.

#5: They Provide Unconditional Love

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Compared to humans, pets will not love you any differently every day. They won’t love you less just because you didn’t give it its favourite food or are unable to accompany it 24/7. They will always be unwaveringly loyal to you, even if you cannot reciprocate it.

#6: They Provide A Sense of Safety

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This builds upon point #1. Silence and loneliness can be quite unbearable for most people who live alone. A pet helps to fill that void, so you’ll always sleep at night knowing your little friend has your back. This is especially true for people who own guard dogs which provide you with protection even when you’re out for a run or walk.

#7: They Help to Reduce Stress

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There are days where we feel overwhelmed and pressured. Owning a pet will help to lighten your mood as you have fun interacting with it. They help to provide comfort and reduce anxiety. This helps to reduce the risks of depression and PTSD. If you would like to learn more about how stress can harm you, do read my article at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/11/is-stress-good-for-you/.

Conclusion

Sometimes, because of our hectic and busy lifestyles, our loved ones are unable to spend time together with us. During these times, we might feel abandoned and uncared for. A pet will help to ease these feelings and provide you with joy and fulfillment. I hope this article was helpful to you and until then, stay tuned for my next post!

How to Get Rid of a Bad Habit

Bad habits are indeed like a comfortable bed; easy to get into, but hard to get out of. If left untreated, bad habits can escalate into an addiction. It is therefore important to get rid of these bad habits before they go out of control. In this article, let us see how we can effectively eradicate these habits. Before you continue reading, remember to follow me and subscribe to the newsletter.

Tip #1: Make it Hard

Source: https://breakthrough-sales.com/2019/01/18/a-sales-managers-most-difficult-task/

The first step to breaking a bad habit is making it difficult to accomplish. To do so, you must identify and destroy your cues. For example, if you are looking to quit smoking, throw away all your cigarettes and never go near a shop selling them. Most people relapse from their bad habits as they think that it wouldn’t hurt to just see it. But that isn’t true. It’s the same thing as a gambling addict watching people gamble. By putting yourself in temptation, it makes it very easy for you to relapse. At the same time, write down the negative consequences of the bad habit you are trying to get out of. For example, you could write “Smoking can cause lung cancer and kill me.” or “Gambling will cause me to waste my hard-earned money and destroy my family.” Every time you feel yourself slipping back into it, remember what you wrote and that should deter you from doing it again.

Tip #2: Replace it With a Good Habit

Source: https://www.inc.com/james-paine/5-billionaires-who-credit-their-success-to-reading.html

Introducing another habit such as reading will distract your mind and keep you occupied. The previous bad habit suddenly becomes less pleasurable and addictive as your body focuses on the new habit. Try to engage in something you love. Your mind does not have time to think about the old habit anymore and naturally quitting it becomes much easier. If you want to build a good habit effectively, check out my article at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/11/30/how-to-build-a-habit-effectively/ to learn more.

Tip #3: Reward Yourself

Source: https://www.surveymonkey.com/curiosity/to-reward-or-not-to-reward/

By rewarding yourself for quitting a habit, you make it much more enticing to do so. These rewards inspire and push you forward even when your motivation and willpower is low. Give yourself something you like to eat. Give yourself a movie.

Tip #4: If You Relapse, Get Back on Track Fast

Source: https://www.aconsciousrethink.com/12042/follow-give-up-on-dreams/

You might be tempted to give up when you relapse. You start to doubt whether your efforts are working and giving results. The truth is, all of us slip and fall sometimes. It’s okay to make mistakes, but what’s most important is to pick yourself up and push on further and don’t give up. By doing so, you avoid derailing your hard work and become one step closer to success.

Kindle Oasis: A Review

The Pros:

  • Warm Light!
  • 7-inch screen
  • Page Turn Buttons!
  • Snappier Page Turns
  • Premium, sleek and aluminium body

The Cons:

  • Its battery is not as long-lasting as the other Kindles
  • It’s still uses micro-usb
  • It’s quite expensive

My Experience

I myself got the Kindle Oasis for myself a few weeks back. To provide some context, I had been using the 4th Generation Kindle Paperwhite for more than a year before that. I decided that I wanted an upgrade as I found that reading for long periods on the Kindle Paperwhite could give me eye strain and potentially headaches. Sure enough, the warm light on the Kindle Oasis was enough to entice me to buy it. Its warm front light is easier on the eyes and makes reading in the dark easier. You can adjust it manually or schedule it to change according to your timezone. The Kindle Oasis comes in 8GB or 32GB models and you have the option to choose between the Graphite or Champagne-Gold model.

Source: The Verge

The first thing that I noticed was that the lighting across the screen was more balanced and well-lit. This is mostly due to higher number of LEDs (25 LEDs) in the Kindle Oasis 3 compared to the current 4th Generation Kindle Paperwhite (5 LEDs). It was a joy to look at. Resolution-wise, both e-readers have the same resolution of 300ppi. It’s the highest resolution of E-ink on the market. Furthermore, the Kindle Oasis has a wider 7-inch display compared to the Kindle Paperwhite’s 6-inch display.

Source: https://biblebuyingguide.com/kindle-oasis-2019-review/

As a result, the Kindle Oasis is a great choice for reading comics. This is made more enjoyable by the fact that the Kindle Oasis has a pair of satisfying page-turn buttons. On that note, the page-turn buttons was such a great convenience to use. I never had to touch the screen to turn the page and I could read an entire book one-handed. That also means that I would never have annoying smudges on my screen, that is unless I need the services of the dictionary. By default, the top button, when pressed, flips your book to the next page while the bottom button turns it to the previous page. You can change this in the settings menu. Lastly, both the Paperwhite 4 and Kindle Oasis 3 are considered waterproof as they are IPX8 rated and can withstand immersion in water for up to 60 minutes.

The Catch: Battery Life

Since I am a voracious reader, I would say that the battery life of both E-readers are decent. However, as I pointed out earlier above, the Kindle Oasis’ battery life is not as good compared to the other Kindles. I could read for a week or two on my previous Kindle Paperwhite before requiring a charge. On the Kindle Oasis however, I would only be able to read for about 5 days or a week before requiring another charging session. This could be due to the fact that the Kindle Oasis has more LEDs than the Kindle Paperwhite. However, I am not sure either. Many reasons could be responsible for this phenomena, such as the fact that it has an aluminium body which causes it to feel colder to the touch and a higher number of LEDs compared to other contemporary Kindles.

Paperwhite or the Oasis?

Both are great E-readers and they provide an enjoyable reading experience for users of both devices. However, there are a few reasons as to why someone would choose the Paperwhite over the Oasis, or vice versa. This is summarised below.

Reasons to choose the Paperwhite:

  • It starts off at $129.99 while the Oasis starts off at a high price of $249.99
  • The Paperwhite has almost the same specs as the Oasis, despite the fact that the Paperwhite has a smaller 6-inch screen, no warm light option and no page-turn buttons. Hence, if you are on a budget, the Paperwhite will more than suffice.
  • The flat back of the Paperwhite may be more comfortable to hold compared to that of the Oasis for some users.
  • It is also IPX8 rated, which is not the case for the entry-level Kindle.

Reasons to choose the Oasis:

  • It has an adjustable warm front-light, a premium aluminium body and page-turn buttons, designed to give you the best reading experience possible. It also has a wider screen compared to the Paperwhite
  • Money is no problem for you.
  • It is the best E-reader available on the market and is Amazon’s top E-reader.

Conclusion

So, that wraps up this post. The Kindle Oasis has served me well in the past few weeks and I trust that it will do so in the future as well. I hope that this review has been of assistance to you. I will continue to post such content on this blog in the future so keep your eyes peeled! Happy reading!