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How I Went From Insomniac to the Best Sleep of My Life

You’re reading How I Went From Insomniac to the Best Sleep of My Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Sleep. Some of us can’t get enough of it, while others are in a love-hate relationship. For many years after becoming an entrepreneur, I was the latter. Like every human, my mind and body needed sleep to function. The problem was, I had trouble actually falling asleep in the first place. Now, I will say that there are variances of how one would define an insomniac. I wasn’t suffering from chronic insomnia that could do serious damage to my well-being. However, there were many periods when I would only get two to three hours of sleep during the week. If mild and periodic insomnia is something you face, or even chronic insomnia, read on. As my work, relationships, and overall energy began to decline further, I took serious action to research and ‘self-experiment’ on fixing my insomnia for good. I won’t bore you with the full journey, but rather give you the top 5 actionable tips that had the most impact in my sleep quality. Hope it brings you value.

1. Choose your ideal sleep cycle

I had no idea that there were different sleep cycles you could experiment with. My entire life, I just assumed that people sleep 7-8 hours then remained awake for the rest of the day. I found that there are four main sleep cycles that are well-known:

  • Monophasic Cycle
    • Amount of sleep: 7-9 hours (one sleep cycle)
    • Best suited for: 9-to-5 workers
  • Biphasic Cycle
    • Amount of sleep: 5-6 hours within the day
    • Best suited for: Workers that can leave work early or work at home
  • Everyman Cycle
    • Amount of sleep: One 3.5 hours of deep sleepwithin the day; Three 20 minute naps during the day
    • Best suited for: Those who want to explore polyphasic without going extreme
  • Uberman Cycle
    • Amount of sleep: six to eight naps (20 minute each)
    • Best suited for: Those who want the most out of their day without being tired

In the end, I decided to remain in the monophasic sleep cycle, but I often experiment with biphasic cycle to see how I feel. You should see for yourself what’s right for you.

2. Invest in the right tools

Just like finding the right tools in your work can make you significantly effective, finding the right sleep tools help you sleep better, faster. a. Bluelight blocking glasses
Usage: During the day

Research show that we spend over 10 hours per day staring into our screens. Likely more if you’re in tech. Studies state that blue light exposure can negatively impact different parts of our brain and body. They include digital eye strain, headaches, and of course disruption of our sleep cycle. As an entrepreneur I spend late nights staring at my lap top screen. When I tried to sleep, my mind was still stimulated overflowing with thoughts and energy that made it impossible for me to sleep. I started wearing iGOTHAM’s blue light blocking glasses and have noticed reduction in my eye strain. I normally wear these when I’m working, and make sure to put them on at night before I sleep (since I can’t stay away from my laptop at night!). Some harmful effects of bluelight can be found here.   b. Blackout curtains
Usage: For the bedroom

Even a sliver of light that enters into our bedroom can impact one’s sleep. While I can sleep through some light coming into my room, there are other nights where I absolutely need total darkness. Using blackout curtains is the simplest solution, and installing it is pretty simple. c. Bonus: Hot shower Need I say more? All in all, taking a hot shower helps me relax when I’m stressed or stimulated before sleeping.

3. Leave any electronics out of the bedroom

A tip that has surprisingly been effective for me is: keeping all personal electronics outside of the bedroom. I know… it’s devastating. But I encourage you to try it for just one day.  Here’s what you do:

  • Just before you go to bed: Take your phone, computer, smart watches (and chargers) outside your room
    *If you don’t have any other space, then place it on the opposite end of where you sleep
  • Put all of your devices on silent mode (or turn if off completely)
  • Don’t check it until the next morning

Let me know how this goes!

4. The 90 minute rule

“You need 8 hours of sleep per day.” It’s one of the most common (and generalized) advice you get about sleep. Speak to professional sleep researchers and most of them will tell you that is baloney. Instead, the use the ’90 minute rule.’ This is based on the knowledge that our sleep cycle contains five distinct phases, divided into four stages of non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, followed by a stage of REM sleep (in which we dream). Each of these cycles takes roughly 90 minutes, followed by a brief interlude when we are relatively wakeful, before a new cycle starts again. This means that you will feel most refreshed when you awake at the end of a 90-minute sleep cycle because you will be closest to your normal waking state.  To maximize the chances of this happening, work out when you want to wake up, then count back in  90-minute blocks to find a time near to when you want to go to sleep. You can also use this sleep cycle calculator to make it easy for yourself. Let’s imagine that you want to wake at 8am and wish to go to sleep around midnight. Counting back in 90-minute segments from 8am would look like this: 8am > 6:30am > 5am > 3:30am > 2am > 12:30am > 11pm In this example, you should aim to fall asleep around either 11pm or 12.30am in order to feel especially refreshed in the morning. So next time someone tells you that you must get 8 hours of sleep, tell them about the 90 minute rule!

5. Change how you think about the bedroom

I used to work from my bedroom, and looking back. It was a mistake. Now, I only do two things in the bedroom: sleep and sex. That’s it. More importantly, there’s a few actionable things you can do today to transform your bedroom into the ultimate sleep cave. a. Go DARK And I mean DARK. Any sort of light that is seeping through can potentially disrupt our sleep cycles. That could mean

  • Shutting your curtains completely (or buying a better one that completely fills up your windows)
  • Pointing any electronics or alarm clock away from you
  • Turning off all warm lights

Then, when it’s morning time, you can start the day with bright lights and your body will be able to know that it’s morning time. b. Replace white light with warm light before bed  This option is great for preparing your body to calm down before bed time. Most of the bright LED lights trigger alertness when it’s turned on, and that’s the opposite effect we want before bed. You can find warm, orange light in just about any pharmacy store in your local neighbourhood. c. Light up a candle Similar to option 2, but the candle combines the warm lighting with a soothing scent. I recommend checking out the following aromas:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomille
  • Vanilla

d. Adjust your room temperature Sleep experts have shown that room temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the best sleep. A room with extreme temperatures leads to more frequent awakenings and lighter sleep. I hope this was useful for those of you that struggle with getting quality sleep in your life. As a fellow entrepreneur burning the midnight oil, sleeping better has been a game changer in my personal life and business. If these tips overwhelmed you in anyway, I recommend just starting with one of them. Once you notice the positive effects in your sleep, you can try another, and so forth. Best of luck and leave a comment below to share how it went!

You’ve read How I Went From Insomniac to the Best Sleep of My Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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About Darren Webb

Hello & Welcome to my blog. My name is Darren Webb and i'm on a magical successful journey and also helping others have a more stress free relaxed life. I truly hope that you find a lot of useful information on my blog and that it helps you through your life. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

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You're reading Scientific Studies Show How Nutrition Influences Our Creativity, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

 

It is widely known that eating a healthy diet benefits our physical health. But less is acknowledged about the psychological benefits. We have all tried exotic ingredients or foods that make us feel happy. But, how is our mood actually affected by what we eat? And, how can it end up influencing our creative thinking?

Pay attention to your body and your mind right now. Are you working at your maximum potential? Now recall what you had for lunch or breakfast and how it may be affecting your productivity. Now put this into perspective. Because this is something that is happening over an extended period of time and not instantly.

The role of glucose as our brain's fuel

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And this happens because "about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused and our attention drifts. This explains why it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach".

The problem is that our body does not handle all foods at the same rate. Renée Leonard-Stainton, qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, and Western Medical Herbalist, explains how our body processes glucose and how to eat for mental energy. "Eating foods with a low glycemic index (meaning that they release glucose more gradually into the bloodstream) may help you avoid the lag in energy that typically occurs after eating quickly-absorbed sugars or refined starches."

Turning fruits and vegetables into well-being

Research conducted by the University of Otago in New Zealand recruited 400 people aged between 17 and 25 years old, to try to define the association between fruit, veg and well-being. For 13 days, participants reported their consumption levels of fruit, vegetables, sweets, and chips, as well as their well-being, curiosity, and creativity. Researchers discovered a correlation between higher fruit and vegetable intake and higher average well-being, curiosity, and creativity levels among the participants. But what is more interesting, is that their fruit and vegetable consumption on one day, didn’t improve their well-being the following day. This therefore emphasizes the need to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet consistently.

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The studies mentioned before, prove that foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals promote well-being, curiosity, and creativity. But what specific foods should we consume to improve our productivity and consequently our creative thinking?

Vitamin C is an essential factor in the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that underlies motivation and promotes engagement. Foods with vitamin C are not only oranges but also strawberries, pineapple, mango, kiwis, papayas, brussel sprouts, bell peppers, and broccoli.

B vitamins influence feelings of vitality and engagement. You will find a source of vitamin B in tuna, Swiss and cottage cheese, shrimp, sardines, mussels, oysters, clams, salmon, crab, trout, herring, beef, chicken, turkey, whole-grain oats, and milk.

Antioxidants such as vitamins E help reduce bodily inflammation, improve memory, enhance mood, and may help prevent depression. Ingredients with vitamins E include almonds, spinach, sweet potato, avocado, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, butternut squash and olive oil, among others.

Finally, spices are such an important part of our daily diet. Cinnamon, for instance, makes your neurons stronger for a longer period of time. Research from the University of California at Santa Barbara shows that a sprinkle of cinnamon in your meal can help blood flow and stabilize proteins in the brain, improving blood glucose.

In conclusion, our creative thinking is affected by a number of external elements, but the food we eat is such an important part of it. Choosing a diet with ingredients that are gradually processed by our body are crucial to staying productive. At the same time, our diet will also affect mental energy and positivity, and the combination of these factors will determine our levels of creativity.

 

You've read Scientific Studies Show How Nutrition Influences Our Creativity, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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