It's commonly known that good-quality sleep is extremely important, since it supports our mental and physical wellbeing, stress levels, alertness, ability to think clearly and safety (for example, driving a car whilst tired is dangerous*)
During our sleep, our brain goes through sleep 'cycles', periods of alternating deep sleep then light sleep. When we wake up during a period of light sleep, we generally feel well-rested and energised. If we are woken during a period of deep sleep, we generally feel badly-rested, tired, possibly grumpy, exhausted and irritable.
If you have a smart mobile phone, there is a cheap and easy way you can improve your chances of having good-quality sleep using technology: there are various mobile apps which can monitor your movements, sounds, or both whilst you sleep and determine which sleep cycle you are in at any time whilst you are asleep. The app then gently wakes you up when you are in a 'light' sleep, at a time approaching the latest time you want to wake up by. In case you remain in a deep sleep or the app cannot detect it correctly, it will act like a standard alarm clock and play a sound to wake you at the time you chose before going to sleep.
The other advantage of these apps are to get a better idea of your quality of sleep over time: they typically show graphs and statistics about your sleep (longest sleep, shortest sleep, average sleep time, etc.), which may help you identify any issues which cause you to sleep poorly.
The app I personally have used for this and highly recommend (it has worked great for me) is called 'Sleep Cycle'. It is available on iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.) and Android devices – I have used it and it worked consistently well.
Note: if you are concerned about the radio-waves emitted by your smart phone and having these near your head at night, switch your phone to 'airplane' mode (which disables transmitting/receiving of radio-waves) before you sleep, and switch 'airplane' mode back off when you wake.
Thank you for reading.
I wish you a life of fulfillment, and good sleep.
* Article “Prolonged nocturnal driving can be as dangerous as severe alcohol-impaired driving” by Joris C. Verster, Jacques Taillard, Patricia Sagaspe, Berend Olivier and Pierre Philip
For each problem that we face in life there is often a small yet important change of behaviour which can make a huge difference in solving it.
There is a guideline in life called the 80-20 rule, which says: for many things that happen, about 80% of the results come out of about 20% of the causes. This means it is really important to identify which causes are within the '20%' to get the outcome you want, far more easily.
I'm here to share with you one very common–yet often overlooked–example of this today, that will help you live a life of fulfillment.
Do you think these are caused by different things?
Is there one thing you know to try first in all of these cases, rather than perhaps reaching for a snack, a pain relief tablet, or pushing through the tiredness?
Next time, try this:
Lack of water (dehydration): this one simple thing is very often at the heart of hunger, headaches and tiredness. Your body–especially your brain–is made up largely of water, so even the beginning of dehydration has significant effects on your feelings, health and wellbeing.
Here are some things to consider:
An example of this in action: recently, a workmate who gets migraines felt one coming on and I suggested he try drinking two or even three large glasses of water within about 15 minutes. He tried this and said that after half an hour, the migraine went away and stayed away for the rest of the day. Normally, he would have taken pain relief and whilst it would have reduced the pain, he would still put up with a lot of pain for the rest of the day. He was very grateful to see how a simple change of awareness and behaviour to address the real cause was able to relieve his problem, something difficult he has been 'living with' for a long time.
Learn to React Differently
Learning to react differently to these things will help improve your life with little cost. If this is not already second nature to you, I suggest you print the following, stick it up on the refrigerator or some other place you will see it regularly and say this to yourself each time you read it:
Fill your glass and drink to live a life of fulfillment
Even better than learning to react to the feelings of tiredness, hunger/thirst or headache is to be proactive about getting enough water.
The amount of water you need may be different than what I need since it varies based on your own body and also the climate/conditions you are in each day.
I find that a good basic level if (like me) you spend most of your day in a fairly sheltered climate (e.g. indoors or at least not out in the hot sun) is to drink a large glass of water (about 500 ml/17 oz) immediately after you wake, then a large glass of water every hour-and-a-half throughout the day.
To do this, I fill my (reusable, aluminium) water bottle before I go to bed and leave it on my bedside table. I have pre-set, repeating alarms on my mobile phone which go off at the following times with the message “Feel alert & alive: drink water” at these times:
Another idea is to identify any habits/routines you are already in which happen several times throughout the day (evenly spaced), and add drinking a glass/bottle of water to the existing routines.
There are also water reminder apps you can get for mobile phones – if you think these may work for you, please try them and see what works (I have not tried any myself, but would be interested to hear of anyone's recommendations – please contact me to let me know.)
As you become in the habit of drinking plenty of water regularly, so many things become easier: it helps with energy levels, alertness, digestion, happiness, strength, health, creative thinking and overall wellbeing.
Thank you for reading.
I wish you a life of fulfillment. Sometimes, filling a glass with water and drinking is all it takes.