1. Polyphasic Sleep: To Sleep Better Look at Our Ancestors

    April 26, 2014

    Polyphasic Sleep: To Sleep Better Look at Our Ancestors

    by Audrey  Hollingshead

    You’re tired. Dog tired. Just the simple thought of studying for your looming math midterm makes your eyes heavy. You need to study but you also need to get snacks ready for your kids when they burst through the door from school in an hour. Worse yet, as soon as their done you’ll have to rush them off to the neighbors so you can rush to work. If I just had one decent nap, you sigh to yourself, maybe I wouldn’t feel so dazed.

    Well, what if you COULD? What if a simple two-hour nap felt like eight AND refreshed you better then a reloaded webpage? Imagine all the things you could do!!!

    As unreal as it sounds this is totally possible.  You CAN train your body to put those power naps to good use. But how? By using the Uberman Sleep schedule, also known as Polyphasic Sleep.

    See, our brains LOVE sleep. It’s like a double stuff Oreo to them, with REM sleep being the creamy middles it just can’t get enough of, and with good reason. While many phases of sleep are beneficial, the phase with Rapid Eye Movements (And the dreams responsible for R.E.M.) gives us that well rested feeling. With a little training and patients anyone can learn to have R.E.M. filled naps any time, any day. If you think this sleep schedule is right for you, read on!

    Step 1: Go to bed at 9:00PM. Wake up at exactly 9:30PM. Do dishes, study, or relax.

    Step 2: Go to sleep again at 1:30AM for another 30 minutes. The times are not exact, but you SHOULD be sleeping 20-30 minutes every 4 hours for this to work.

    Step 3: Repeat this process for three-four days. WARNING: You WILL feel sleep deprived. This is NORMAL. By the fourth or fifth day your brain will give up on it’s old sleeping pattern and will kick into R.E.M. sleep the second head hits pillow. This means that any catnap you grab will leave you well rested and refreshed.

    Step 4: Once your brain becomes the R.E.M. master you should try to nap for at least two hours. This will give your brain enough time to get through a full dream cycle.

    So why does this work? Why does breaking up our sleep turn us into better sleepers over all? Because, according to one New York Times article, we’ve slept this way for centuries. Before Thomas Edison had the bright idea of improving artificial light many people used to sleep more then once a night. They’d go to bed around eight or nine, and then wake an hour or two later feeling tranquil and meditative. They’d use this time to pray, or, as the article most mentions, make love to their bedding partners. After an hour of quiet wakefulness they’d go right back to sleep for another four-five hours.

    What’s even more interesting is that the article mentions a study done at the National Institute of Mental Health where volunteers experienced more then 14 hours of darkness. Pretty soon everyone in the study was breaking up his or her sleep with quiet wakefulness before returning to dream filled bliss.

    So the next time you feel like you’re not getting enough from your sleep, try this method and see if it works for you!

    And remember,

    Dream Well! Dream Positive!!!

     

    Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tanaka/2436918835

     


  2. The Single Most Important Factor for your Mental Health

    July 5, 2013

    sleep and mental health

    by Mark Kislich

    What is it? Good, healthy, deep sleep. If you’re looking for a magic solution to improve your life…well: this is it!

    Sleep is grossly underestimated in it’s importance for a productive, happy life and for a sound, balanced mind.

    The statement “You can sleep when you’re dead.” is typical, and complete nonsense. It’s more like “If you don’t sleep properly, you’ll not live properly.”

    Think I exaggerate? Look at a small child. What happens when they’re tired? They get cranky, they cry. Well, the same goes for adults. They might not cry (or they might), but given a lack of sleep, even the most positive people will eventually get sour. A tired person is a frustrated person, then -if the sleep deprivation continues- depression can set in.

    This is not just an opinion: serotonin is an important neurotransmitter tied to sleep and mood. So it looks like good sleep and good mood are intimately related. Well what’s new.

    “When you’re tired, you get wired” Sleep problems often result in a nervous, jittery kind of behavior, especially when the tiredness is temporarily offset by caffeine.

    People who can’t stop talking and pacing around are likely very tired and running on coffee. This is also the time when anxiety sets in. “Why did they look at me like that?”, or: “They didn’t have to say it like THAT!”…

    If you ever found yourself feeling like this -overly sensitive to others and your surroundings, taking everything very personally- you’ve probably been sleep deprived.

    As if all the above was not bad enough, clumsiness and reduced reflexes increase the risk for accidents and injury.

    Positive thinking and motivation are seriously hampered by lack of quality sleep.

    OK enough of the bad stuff, here’s the good news: you can do a whole lot to fix this and ensure a perfect slumber every time. Following are a few tried and proven tips that will help you do just that.

    Always Wake Up at the Same Time
    Regularity is important: even when you had a late night (which should be avoided wherever possible), try and get up when the bell rings anyway. In the long run this is better than over sleeping and ruining your circadian rhythm for it.

    In that Vein: Go to Bed at the Same Time

    After a while your internal clock will be so fine tuned, you fall asleep on cue and wake up without an alarm clock.

    Try to avoid Daylight and Artificial Light during Sleeping Hours

    In Scandinavia, the midnight sun can cause problems. Other places, the TV and electric lights do about the same: Your body’s sleeping patterns get disturbed by it, melatonin production is reduced (an important hormone related to sleep).

    Keep It Quiet

    There should be no noise at all whatsoever, total silence is what you want. If that’s not an option, a good pair of ear plugs can come to the rescue.

    Wind Down towards the Evenings

    Exercising too close to bed time can jack up cortisol and ruin your night. Do something relaxing instead: a nice walk in the evening, some Yoga, a massage, a hot bath.

    Here’s some herbals that can help you relax:  Fever few, Reishi, Wild Lettuce.

    Get into Physical Training

    Having said that you shouldn’t train too close to bed, doing some exercise during the day can sure help get rid of steam, get in shape and you’ll be nice and tired at the end of the day.

    Take some Magnesium

    Magnesium is an important mineral that many are deficient in. It’s involved hundreds of biological functions and also helps muscles -and you- to relax. Best taken in the evening.

    Meditate

    Like I said above, it helps to wind down at nights. Meditation can calm your mind, so that brain won’t keep you thinking and worrying through those valuable sleeping hours.

    Don’t Drink Coffee too Late in the Day

    Coffee can stay in the blood for around 12 hours, so that’s a good time frame to shoot for: if you go to bed at midnight, have the last cup of coffee at lunch.

    Remember the last time you woke up in the morning, all by your self -no need for an alarm clock- and you were totally refreshed and recuperated, ready to take on a new day?

    The world looks a better place when we’re well rested. A positive mindset and a positive outlook on life – require one thing, more than anything else: good, deep, beautiful sleep. Don’t let anybody ever tell you otherwise!

    P.S.

    This is not about being selfish, and most definitely not about being lazy. If you’re cranky, you and those around you only suffer. That’s a lose-lose.

    So do yourself and your family and friends and coworkers a great, huge, great big favor…and sleep well.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian