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Your Guide To Better Sleep Habits

You’re reading Your Guide To Better Sleep Habits, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Nothing can be more frustrating than laying on bed at night and waiting for sleep that won’t come. There are many reasons why you’re having a hard time dozing off. You may be suffering from insomnia, experiencing immense stress or practicing unhealthy lifestyle habits. It’s also possible that you have an underlying medical condition that affects your ability to get good sleep. According to the sleep experts at National Sleep Foundation, an adult aged 18 to 64 should be sleeping for 7 to 9 hours each night. Older adults, aged 65 and older, are advised to get 7 to 8 hours of nightly sleep. If you’re not meeting these sleep recommendations, you’re jeopardizing your health. Studies suggest that sleep deprivation can cause “increased blood pressure, impaired control of blood glucose and increased inflammation.” It’s linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. People suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders are also likely to develop anxiety and depression. Here’s a guide to a healthy daily routine for better sleep. #1: Have a gadget-free sleeping area

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The blue light emitted by your laptop, tablet, and smartphone is interfering with your circadian rhythm. It suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin, stimulating the brain at any time of the day/night. This is why you could watch movies ’til dawn without feeling drowsy. Tip: Turn off your gadgets at least 1 hour before bedtime. Better yet, turn your bedroom into a gadget-free zone to help you fight the temptation of browsing social media at 11 p.m. #2: Make exercise a part of your daily lifestyle
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Fitness activities are good for your physical and mental health. Harvard Medical School considers exercise as one of the three pillars of health, together with nutrition and sleep. A healthy adult should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed that exercising has positive impact on attaining proper sleep even among people diagnosed of insomnia. In the study, the participants, mostly in their 60s, were sleeping at least 45 minutes more a night after four months of active lifestyle. Tip: Don’t have time to hit the gym everyday? Check out free fitness videos on Youtube on routines you can do at home. You can learn 15-minute exercises that don’t require any gym equipment. Schedule 15 minutes of exercise in the morning and 15 more at night on weekdays, and 30 to 60 minutes of vigorous routines in the gym on weekends. #3: Schedule your coffee time  
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Is coffee affecting your ability to sleep at night? It depends. You may have read a number of studies supporting the positive points of consuming caffeine. These include lowering cholesterol levels, boosting liver health, and reducing depression risk. It helps boost one’s mental performance and memory. But you should know that the effect of coffee can last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. So if you drink a cup of black brew late in the afternoon, you’d likely stay up past your bedtime. Tip: Enjoy a cup of coffee, not during breakfast when you’re energy is up, but at around 10 a.m. Your energy levels typically drops mid-day and again at around 3 p.m. Avoid caffeine after 4 p.m. #4: Practice mindfulness meditation
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Stress is a major cause of poor sleep. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 70 percent of those experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety have trouble sleeping. Their sleep problem, conversely, increased their anxiety. The solutions seem straightforward: reduce your stressors. But this is easier said than done especially when you’re living in urban areas where you’re exposed to congestion and various forms of pollution. Tip: The root cause of stress is one’s obsession with thinking about the non-existent past and future. The core of meditation, probably the most effective stress-busting activity, is to be present. Take a 3-minute break from working or studying every 2 hours. You can stay still on your chair or walk toward the window, then clear your mind. Think about nothing, just feel your surroundings. #5: Declutter your room
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Does your mind keep on running even during bedtime? This is a manifestation of stress. “Our bodies and brains evolved to relax and cool down after dark and to spring back into action come morning,” the American Psychological Association noted. But stress causes hyperarousal, wreaking havoc on your sleep-wake cycle. If not managed, stress can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, heart diseases, and cancers. Tip: Identify your stressors. If your desk reminds you of an unfinished task, you better find a new place for your work area. You can also clean up your desk and put away your laptop and journal. Declutter your room. The visual chaos can be a stressor that interferes with your sleep. #6: Eat light at night
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Your diet has a lot to do with your ability to attain proper sleep. Spicy and acidic foods for dinner can cause heartburn and acid reflux that might disrupt your sleep. Eating a lot before bedtime has the same impact. Is a carbohydrate-heavy meal bad for your sleep health? It depends on the time and volume of your meal. Carbs or not, if taken in large quantities and near bedtime, may keep you up all night. Tip: Eat a heavy breakfast and light lunch and dinner. For dinner, you can have sleep-inducing foods such as turkey, tuna, lettuce, and brown rice. Have a cup of hot chamomile tea before bedtime. #7: Create a conducive sleeping environment
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If you’re having a hard time dozing off at night, you should take a look around your own bedroom. Do you have a lot of stuff in your room? Is your bed mattress still comfortable or is it starting to cause muscle pain? Does your room have ample air ventilation? Is it cool throughout the night? The overall atmosphere in your bedroom can make a lot of difference to the quality of your sleep. Tip: Move your work desk into another room in your house, as well as your entertainment system. Keep the television and stereo in the living area. Keep all clothes in the closet and other items in storage. You may want to replace your old mattress with memory foam for optimal sleep quality. Keep your room dark and cool at night. #8: Decide to improve your sleep
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You need to change your mindset about sleep. It’s not an interruption of your daily activities. It’s an essential part of your life. Sleep is as important as healthy diet and regular exercise. It’s more important than accumulating wealth or earning fame. A healthy night sleep, sadly, is widely neglected in our fast-paced society. “The combination of a deeply misguided definition of what it means to be successful in today’s world—that it can come only through burnout and stress—along with the distractions and temptations of a 24/7 wired world, has imperiled our sleep as never before,” Arianna Huffington, business leader and author, wrote in her bestseller “The Sleep Revolution.” Make a real change in your life. Aspire to achieve healthy sleep habits.

You’ve read Your Guide To Better Sleep Habits, 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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Why Enabling Someone Is Never A Loving Act

You're reading Why Enabling Someone Is Never A Loving Act, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

When You Only Want To Help

Addiction is hard on everyone. If you watch your loved one continually abuse their body, you fear what they’re doing to their health. Abusing drugs and alcohol creates a potential for legal consequences and may interfere with your loved one’s ability to make a living. They make choices that cause unhealthy relationships and drain your bank account. When you see them make mistakes, your instinct is to protect your family from embarrassment and your loved one from pain. You want to help, but you end up making it comfortable for them to continue abusing their substance of choice.

Blurred Lines

Enabling often starts with the best intentions. As habits and behavior patterns become ingrained, it can be hard to separate what actions are helping from the ones that shield loved ones from the consequences of their mistakes.

Enabling means doing something for another that they should do for themselves or stepping in to handle penalties meant for them. For a parent, if their child is arrested for drugs or alcohol, they feel a protective desire to safeguard their future. For a spouse, when their loved one causes arguments or makes a mess, it feels compassionate to protect relationships by covering up what happened.

Examples of enabling behavior include keeping secrets to protect reputations, paying money for overdue rent or bail, or blaming circumstances when the individual gets drunk or high. Loved ones also enable when they threaten to enforce negative consequences for the bad behavior, but don’t follow through.

Enablers don’t start out trying to make it easy on their loved one. Oftentimes, in the beginning, they don’t realize the depth of the problem, and they only intend to offer temporary help. It comes from a place of good intentions, but spirals out of control. Over time, they become the person who the individual relies on to function in spite of their addiction. It actually will encourage and reinforce bad behavior, allowing it to thrive.

Enabling Isn’t Loving

Enabling is the opposite of loving, because it provides what’s comfortable, not what’s needed. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that in North America there are 23.5 million people ages 12 and older who need treatment for alcohol or drugs. At the time of the survey, only 11 percent (~2.6 million people) were receiving treatment at a specialized facility.

As individuals destroy their lives because of their addiction, their loved ones wonder why they don’t seek help. When they ruin so many family gatherings that they’re no longer invited, when they lose that job that was the opportunity of a lifetime, when they create one legal and financial disaster after another, it’s hard to understand why they don’t come to hate the substance that causes it. Often, it’s because enabling encourages toxic behavior.

Enabling keeps individuals from facing the pain they cause so they can continue to delay treatment. It doesn’t just encourage more substance abuse for the individual, but it also hurts everyone in a relationship with them. Siblings feel neglected when parents spend their time enabling a brother or sister. Children receive less nurturing from their parents and keeping secrets chokes outside relationships.

Understanding Codependency

Codependent relationships develop when one person has an unhealthy reliance on another to fulfill their needs. It can be especially complex in the parent-child relationship. Codependency usually involves avoidance, enabling, enmeshment or controlling behaviors.

Avoidance occurs when family members don’t want to face the problem. They tell themselves their child is just going through a phase or that dropping academic achievement will get better soon.

Enabling behaviors happen when parents realize their child has a problem, but they worry how it will affect their future, so they try to protect their child from consequences. They hide bad behavior and offer any necessary legal representation.

When parents draw their own self-worth or identity from their children, they often exhibit enmeshment codependency. They hide their own disappointment and sadness to keep their child from feeling pain.

Other parents respond by being controlling. They seek to regulate all their child’s activities to keep them from obtaining drugs or alcohol. The child never becomes responsible for their own self-control and often does not receive treatment.

How To Tell The Difference

Most people are raised to help those in need. It helps to find the line between helping and enabling by looking for telltale behaviors.

If you regularly make excuses for bad behavior, you protect your loved one from conflict. It’s better to allow them to communicate on their own. You may notice you often step in to do things they are responsible for, like picking up kids or gathering materials for school assignments. If you tell lies to your child’s teachers about why they didn’t complete their project or show up for rehearsal, you cover up their behavior and help them continue to make bad decisions.

Enabling can look different depending on your relationship and family dynamics. Try checking your behaviors against a codependency checklist for an objective evaluation.

Family First Intervention understands how difficult it is to wait for loved ones to seek help. We have accredited interventionists who help individuals seek treatment and find hope. We support family members throughout the process, with experts in every state.

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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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