Laura Barton

Pill-popping insomniacs need an urgent wake-up call

One in 10 Britons regularly take a drug to help them to sleep. But is it time to stop popping zopiclone, temazepam and other tablets?

Sanitisers score hand over fist

The popularity of saniters has as much to do with health as fashion and the jury is out over their efficacy, writes Laura Barton.

A world awash with germs

Only one in 10 people wash their hands after going to the toilet yet as a society we have never found the idea of germs more disgusting.

The truth about health drinks

They're big business, but not all consumers seem to be aware that some health drinks contain more sugar than a bottle of Coke.

Idle tittle-tattle not so idle

"Gossip," the grande dame of rumourmongers, Liz Smith, once noted, "is just news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress."

The business of sleep

The days following Heath Ledger's death have swirled with speculation, with tales of hard drugs and prescription pills, of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. Amid all the mutterings about heroin abuse and cocaine addiction, it is the sleeping pills that seem most startling. Ledger, plagued by the chronic insomnia that often accompanies depression, had apparently come to rely on medication to get him to sleep.

Murderous monk

Since its inception, the film adaptation of Dan Brown's conspiracy novel, The Da Vinci Code, has been the subject of so much anticipation and controversy, Laura Barton reports.

The big squeeze

Perhaps I shouldn't have had lunch. Indeed, to be in with even a cat-in-hell's chance of mustering the waspish proportions of Kylie Minogue, pictured on stage recently twirling a heavily corseted waist, one would surely have to forgo eating, drinking and probably all breathing whatsoever. Not to mention a few ribs. If you've ever been stuck in a lift, you will have a hint of what it is like to be laced into a corset.

From lonely heart to online tart

For Suzanne, it was also about sexual experimentation. ''I wanted to try out some things I’d never done before. Maybe I wanted to be a bit perverted, a bit dirty, but I didn’t feel I could do that within a relationship because a boyfriend would judge me.'' Thousands of women are turning to the internet in search not of love but of sex, writes

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