Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do in the Morning, Afternoon and at Night

When you have a bad night’s sleep, you probably think back to the previous evening and try to work out what went wrong. You might wonder whether you went to bed too early, whether your room was too warm, or whether you need to replace your pillow. However, you might be looking for answers in all the wrong places. If you want a good night’s sleep, you need to lay the groundwork from the moment you wake up.

In this article, you will learn exactly what you must do in the morning, afternoon and evening to optimize your precious sleep time. Implement the steps in this article and you will wake feeling much more energetic every morning.

Make your mornings count

Let’s start at the very beginning – the snooze button. Your mission is to stop using it to delay getting out of bed, because all it does is confuse your body. It’s far better to get up at precisely the same time every day, in order to set up a regular sleep/wake pattern.[1] If you need an extra boost to get you up in the morning, asking yourself a few simple questions about the day ahead can make all the difference.

Resist the temptation to down a cup of coffee just after waking up. Wait until 10am before having your first shot of caffeine, because this is when your cortisol and energy levels start to dip. However, you should definitely eat a good breakfast. Eating a meal high in proteins and carbohydrates at the same time every day helps regulate your circadian rhythm.[2] With a little foresight and creativity, anyone can put together a quick and healthy breakfast. There are lots of tasty vegan options out there too.

Keep the momentum going in the afternoon

Choose your lunch with care. Avoid loading up on too many carbohydrates, because they will make you drowsy in the afternoon and disrupt your sleep cycle.[3] Cutting down on lunchtime carbohydrates may mean making some adjustments, but there are plenty of low and no-carb lunch solutions you can try. If you still feel the need to nap, keep them short. As the afternoon goes on you need to resist the temptation to eat lots of carbs and protein, because doing so triggers your body into setting itself up for action rather than rest.[4]

How to set yourself up for sleep in the evening

The golden rule is to go to bed at the same time every night, as this preserves your circadian rhythm. Avoid saturated fats[5], particularly during the evening, because research indicates that they have an adverse effect on your sleep-wake cycle. Meditating before you go to sleep will help you relax, and prepare your body for high-quality rest. Finally, sleeping in a cool room will also help ensure a sound slumber.

Little hacks to help you sleep throughout the night

If you suffer anxiety or insomnia, you may want to invest in a weighted blanket – research shows that they help those with these conditions enjoy a better night’s sleep. Your sleeping position can also have a direct impact on how you feel the next day. Specifically, sleeping on your left side benefits your heart, back and digestive system. Finally, think about what you wear in bed. Did you know that people who sleep naked reap numerous health benefits such as lower rates of skin disease and a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes? What’s more, it makes life easier. You will have fewer items to launder each week!

Follow these steps to enjoy the best night’s sleep of your life. A good rest is essential for mental and physical health, so it’s worth taking the time to review your sleep hygiene.

Reference

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The Ultimate Guide: How to Become More Creative Day by Day

We all start our lives as creative individuals, but somewhere along the way we start to lose our ability to see things in a new light. In other words, our creativity withers and dies. If you’ve ever wished you were better at coming up with ideas, you might have wondered how this happens. Believe it or not, our school system plays a huge role in squashing creativity. It gives us a good grounding in facts and theories, but it doesn’t encourage divergent or lateral thinking skills. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us are too quick to say, “Oh, I’m not a creative person!” Don’t worry, though, because you can get your creativity back. Follow the tips in this article and you’ll soon find your idea engine starting to rev.

What is creativity?

Most of us share the same basic idea about creativity. We tend to think of it as coming up with new concepts, or finding new angles in any given situation. However, it can be helpful to think of creativity as connecting various experiences together, and simply making links between them. The broader and richer your life experiences, the more dots you can join, and the more ideas you can generate. For example, a visual artist might come up with an idea for a painting based on their experience with depression (one “dot”) and their exposure to abstract painting (another “dot). The result? A highly emotive, effective piece of art.

Signs you’re a creative person

You are probably more creative than you realize. Did you know that there are subtle and not-so-subtle signs that suggest you might be an especially creative person? For example, if you like to wear outlandish socks, you are in good company. Research shows that those favoring this kind of footwear are more brilliant, creative and successful than those who stick with regulation black and navy. Your moods and mental health are also clues. Depression may be a terrible, crippling experience, but scientists have found a link between depression and creativity. Specifically, creative people tend to see the world in way that differs from the norm, and can see a myriad of possibilities and shades of gray. This can trigger a sense of being overwhelmed by the outside world. Finally, those who stay up and get up late are more likely than early risers to be more creative. If you tend to hit the snooze button repeatedly, it may just be because you are more creative than average!

Can we train ourselves to be more creative?

In short, yes! If you don’t understand that creativity is the ability to join up two or more experiences, and that this is a skill that can be learned, you may conclude that some people are simply born more creative than others. Worse, this belief can even become an excuse for not trying. After all, if you are either born creative or you aren’t, there’s no point in pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. The truth is simple – when you commit to becoming a better problem-solver and force yourself to look at the world in a new light, you will inevitably become more creative as long as you are willing to make the effort.

How to largely boost your creativity

If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know quite how to begin restoring your creativity, try a simple two-word exercise that will remind you how brilliant you are at making new links and associations between two concepts! Another way to ease yourself back into a creative mindset is to appreciate the work of others. Read a short story, listen to an inspiring piece of music, or look at some mind-bending paintings. There are literally dozens of ways to fuel your creativity. If the first few techniques you try don’t work for you, experiment with something else. You might need to do some inner work first, because fear can be a big barrier to trying new things. A fear of failure is common, because we have been raised in such an achievement-oriented society. If this sounds familiar, why not write down what you fear will happen, and how you would deal with it? For example, if you are afraid of other people labeling you “silly” or “foolish” for trying to be creative, remind yourself that you can always choose to hang out with more positive people instead!

Travel as much as possible. Remember, the more life experience you accumulate, the more creative you will become. Travel truly is an investment in yourself. Even if you can’t afford the time or money needed for a long vacation, why not take a day trip to a local attraction? Switch things up at home too. Take a new route to work, try a new sandwich for lunch, and take up a new hobby in the evenings instead of watching TV. Go outside and immerse yourself in the real world!

Finally, you can even use your negative life experiences as a basis for creative expression. You don’t have to be angst-ridden to be creative, but some of the most compelling artwork has emerged from great suffering. Identify your negative emotions,and divert them away from yourself. Solving a creative problem enables you to get into a state of “flow,” which is where the real magic happens. Lose yourself in writing, dance, painting, or any other creative pursuit that feels right to you. Remember that there are no perfect people, and that judging yourself harshly won’t help. Work on becoming a more creative person, and your overall quality of life is bound to improve. You will feel more interested in the world around you, and more accepting of your true, creative self.

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Everything You Need to Become a Negotiation Expert (from Major Strategies to Small Tricks)

Have you ever walked away from a conversation feeling as though you didn’t represent your wants and needs? If so, you may need to refine your negotiation skills.

In theory, negotiation should be easy. You ask for something, and the other person responds with a “Yes” or “No.” In reality, it’s trickier than that. This is because negotiation is not a single skill. You need to be aware that negotiation occurs in several distinct stages in order to stand the best chance of getting what you want. It is essential that you prepare what you need to say in advance, that you take part in a reasonable discussion concerning the issue, that you clarify the goals of each party, find a “win-win” situation, reach a final agreement, and then decide on a course of action[1]. Therefore, you a re going to need to draw on your patience, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills.

Although it is a complex set of skills that takes practice to master, learning how to negotiate will improve your life in many ways. You will be able to set out your arguments in a clear, concise manner without becoming overly emotional. You will be able to work with others to find the best solution for all parties. This applies to both your professional and personal life. In turn, this will decrease your stress levels, reduce feelings of resentment, and enhance your quality of life.

Follow the steps below to become a successful negotiator:

Consider whether you need to use integrative or distributive tactics[2]

In a distributive situation, there are a finite amount of resources available to all parties, and the aim is to divide them fairly. For example, a seller and a customer may be negotiating the price of an item. In such a scenario, you should try and let the other side make the initial offer, because this lets you know immediately what they will sacrifice. You can also present alternatives to sway them one way or the other. For instance, if you are the buyer, tell them about their competitor’s products. Such negotiations are usually reserved for isolated, one-off agreements.

In an integrative negotiation, there is a chance that everyone involved could benefit from coming to a mutually beneficial agreement. For instance, three members of the same household may be negotiating how the chores are divided. Set out your priorities, and ask that the other parties do the same. Establish what is most important for each individual, and talk through all realistic solutions before arriving at an agreement.

Become a great listener

The most important skill in negotiation is to listen[3]. Let others finish their sentences before jumping in. Talking over others will only lead to frustration. Even if you think you know what they are going to say, always give them the opportunity to put their ideas across. If you are not quite sure what they are trying to communicate, paraphrase their sentences back to them followed by, “Have I understood you correctly?”

Get creative when coming up with potential solutions

It can be hard to come up with solutions that benefit all parties. Allow yourself time to come up with new ideas. If everyone gets stuck, suggest a half-hour break. During this time, everyone should write down as many potential solutions as possible. This exercise can help jump-start a stalled negotiation.

Learn about the other side

Before beginning a tough negotiation process, uncover as much information as possible about the other parties. How have they negotiated in the past? What are their short and long-term goals? This will help you prepare to deal with the tactics they may use.

Consider the “why,” not just the “what”

You should not only have a good idea of what it is you want, but why you want it. Be prepared to spell out your ultimate motives, as this can make your arguments more persuasive. For example, rather than merely asking your employer whether you can change your working hours, explain that you are making this request in order to spend more time with your young children or get them to school in the mornings.

Follow these tips and you are bound to enjoy better results when bargaining with other people. Negotiation does not have to be frustrating or stressful if you approach it properly.

Reference

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The Role a Father Plays in His Daughter’s Life

Fathers and daughters share a unique bond. Women lucky enough to have had a good relationship with their fathers as children can look back fondly on special occasions such as birthdays and family parties, whilst also treasuring memories of everyday pleasures like trips to the park or cozy bedtime stories.

Not only does a girl’s relationship with her father shape her childhood experience, but it will also influence how she interacts with men in her adult years. If a father is absent or erratic in his behavior, this sets his daughter up for feelings of low self-esteem and trouble with trusting men in general. All parents should therefore appreciate the importance of understanding the father’s role in his daughter’s life, as his presence (or absence) will play a role in her self-image and wellbeing for decades to come.[1]

Research has shown that women who enjoy more supportive, close relationships with their fathers tend to be less stressed and to view themselves in a more positive light compared with those who have more conflicted or toxic bonds.[2]

So what are the traits a man should look to develop in order to build a strong father daughter relationship?

Model a Respectful Attitude Towards Women

A good father does not make sexist jokes or speak disrespectfully about women. He has the intelligence to realize that his daughter’s self-image will suffer if he does so, and knows that it is important to uphold the idea that women are of equal value to men.[3]

Inspire His Daughter to Reach Her Goals

A father should encourage his daughter to follow her dreams and show her that he believes she has what it takes to succeed. Girls habitually look to both parents for guidance and support, so fathers must make the effort to inspire their daughters whenever possible/[4]

Teach His Daughter That She Is Worthy of a Respectful Partner

A father who treats his daughter – and his daughter’s mother – with respect is sending a clear message that women deserve good treatment from the men in their lives. This can make all the difference when his daughter begins dating. If she is used to positive support and kind behavior, she is less likely to tolerate it from abusive dates and partners.[5]

Make Time for His Daughter, No Matter How Busy He Is

One of the most important things a father can do is simply show that he is willing to be around. He should make the effort to attend special events at his daughter’s school, engage her in conversation, and take an interest in all areas of her life. This will build her self-esteem and let her know that she is a worthwhile individual.

Enjoy Activities Together

Healthy activities such as walking, biking and swimming are a great way of building memories and teaching your daughter that exercise is an important habit. Keeping fit will help her maintain a good body image, which will be a real asset as she develops into a teenager.

Be Consistently Loving but Firm

Daughters who do not receive affection and approval from their fathers are likely to seek it elsewhere as teenagers and adults, and this may lead to an unhealthy dependency on men. Fathers can prevent this happening by telling their daughters how special and loved they are, whilst maintaining appropriate levels of discipline and upholding firm boundaries.

Know When to Ask for Forgiveness

No father can be perfect all the time. When you mess up, explain how you plan to do better next time and tell her that you are sorry. For example, if you accidentally miss her piano recital, plan an outing to make it up to her. Ask for her forgiveness and learn from your mistakes.

Always Treat Her Mother Well, Even If They Are Not Together

If a daughter witnesses her father treating her mother poorly, she will receive negative or mixed messages about how men and women relate to one another. Even if you are not with her mother, always take the high road and act in a civil manner.

Take Her on Special Trips and Outings

Let your daughter feel special by making the time to take her out on a regular basis. A simple trip to the park with a picnic is enough to show her that you care enough to make her a priority. Take the opportunity to show her how men should treat women – with respect and dignity. Engage her in conversation and talk to her as an equal.

Show Her That Men Can Be Comfortable with Their Feminine Side

Even if you are a traditionally macho man, it is healthy to show your gentle side once in a while. Allow your young daughter to paint your nails, or why not go to a spa for the day when she is a little older? You should also be comfortable showing affection through kind words and gestures. This will allow her to grow up with a balanced view of the different ways in which men can behave.

Remind Her That She Is Beautiful Inside and Out

There is nothing wrong with telling your daughter that she is pretty, but remember to tell her how much you value her intellectual abilities and character. This will prevent her from relying on her looks to carry her through life and from placing too much value on what others think of her face and body.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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How to Stop Nightmares and Get A More Restful Sleep!

Have you ever experienced a bad dream so horrifying that your heart was pounding when you woke up? Perhaps this is a regular occurrence for you, and you’ve started to dread going to bed?

Nightmares can ruin your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted during the day, but fortunately there are steps you can take to get a better night’s rest.

Nightmares are more common in young children, but can affect anyone. They are not harmful, but can result in fatigue if they continue every night or most nights over a long period of time.

Understand the science behind nightmares, as this may make them less frightening.

When we sleep, we progress through several stages throughout the night. You can think of sleep as occurring in waves or cycles, with each lasting between 90 and 110 minutes. This is further subdivided into five stages, known as Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, and REM sleep. It is in this final stage that dreams and nightmares occur. Scientists are not sure exactly why we dream or precisely how the brain generates this strange experience. One theory is that during REM sleep, the brain may be attempting to form a coherent “story” from fragments of knowledge and memories it previously stored away. Around half of adults will have nightmares occasionally.

So what causes nightmares? According to the [1], the following may trigger nightmares in adults:

1. Stress and Trauma

It is common for those with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions to experience nightmares. For example, an individual with anxiety disorder may have dreams in which they feel overwhelmed and as though they are facing a danger beyond their control. People who have experienced trauma may also have nightmares in which they relive the incident.

2. The Undergoing Medication

Some medications affect sleeping patterns, which may trigger nightmares. For example, some anticonvulsants medicines used in the treatment of epilepsy) can result in especially vivid dreams.

3. You Health Conditions

Migraine, restless leg syndrome and sleep apnoea can all cause bad dreams as a result of changes to the sleep-wake cycle.

So if you suffer from nightmares, how can you treat them and enjoy a better night’s sleep? The following steps [2]

Implement Good Sleep Hygiene

Give yourself the chance to relax before bed. A calm mind is less likely to generate nightmares. Turn off your phone and other electronic devices at least an hour before trying to sleep. Keep your room cool and dark and get into the habit of going to bed and waking up at a reasonable hour. A warm bath or lighthearted book before you turn out the lights may also help.

How about fixing the root cause? Address Stress At The Source maybe?

Since stress and trauma are common causes of nightmares, you need to address these underlying issues in order to solve the problem. It may be a good idea to see a trained counsellor or psychologist if you find that you are plagued by negative thoughts and worries on a regular basis.

Maybe you are having other health problems! Treat Them!

If you know you could do more to manage your health conditions, start taking a more proactive stance! Always comply with the treatment prescribed by your doctor, and work on improving your overall health. For example, restless leg syndrome can result in poor quality sleep and nightmares, but can sometimes be alleviated using exercise and medication.

Consult Your Doctor About Changing Medication

If you have started experiencing regular nightmares since beginning a new medication or increasing your dose, consult with your doctor. They may reassure you that the nightmares will settle in time, in which case you will simply have to wait a few days or weeks for your body to adjust. However, they may also recommend taking your medicine at a different time of day. For example, taking it in the morning rather than at night may improve your quality of sleep. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe an additional drug to help you sleep more soundly.

Healthy and low stress lifestyle is the best prevent for nightmares!

It is unreasonable to hope that you will never experience another nightmare again. However, you can prevent them from becoming a regular occurrence by doing all you can to live a healthy, low-stress lifestyle. Ensure that you eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise, and maintain a strict routine that promotes good sleep hygiene. You can prevent stress from building up by taking a regular inventory of your overall lifestyle. For instance, if you realize that your job is causing you a great deal of worry even outside working hours, you need to start looking at ways to better cope with the demands placed upon you. If you find yourself often arguing with family members or friends, you may need to work on your communication skills. Striving to lead a less stressful life will benefit you in many ways that go far beyond your sleep patterns.

Reference

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What Type Of Traveler Are You? Try This Interesting Test. It Reveals Your Personality

We all have our own approaches to traveling, but have you ever wondered whether there is a link between your preferences and your personality? Now you can find out with a free online test and take part in some interesting research at the same time.

The University of Cambridge has made the “What Type Of Traveler Are You?” test available to the general public. Clicking the link takes you straight to the first page of the test. You will be asked to spend several minutes answering questions about how and when you like to travel. The test asks you to indicate, for example, how you like to book your vacation, whether you always take time to visit tourist attractions, and the kind of amenities you consider to be most important in a hotel.

The final third of the test is devoted to more traditional personality-style questions that measure five different traits: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Once you have completed the test in its entirety, you will be presented with an easy-to-read results page that rates how you score on each of the “Big 5” traits, along with a few questions that invite you to explore your personality further.

You also have the option to provide demographic details such as your sex, age, education level and place of birth. This will help the authors of the test draw links between personality styles and traveling preferences. However, this is not a requirement and you will receive your results regardless of how much information you share.

With this test, you can gain a deeper insight into your unique personality in just ten minutes. Why not use the reflective questions suggested by the researchers as journal prompts in the coming days? The higher your self-awareness, the more likely you are to address areas of your life that are ripe for change.

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Many People Overuse These Two Words That Make Them Sound Unreliable

Some people just seem to have more credibility than others. They earn trust quickly and are regarded as a valuable authority in their field. It isn’t always obvious why they are held in such high esteem, but when you start to pay attention to the way these individuals speak you will begin to notice certain linguistic patterns. You can use these insights to make a better first impression for yourself. Let’s take a look at a specific example.

Assertive people seldom use the phrase “I think.” Instead, they let their thoughts stand on their own merit. Stating “My team has had a great idea for the upcoming product launch” instils much more confidence than “I think my team has had a great idea for the upcoming product launch.” It seems like such a simple adjustment, but the latter sentence implies that the idea is so good that you don’t need to qualify it or forestall objections with “I think.”

You can also apply this rule to written communication. The next time you write an email or even a text message, remove any instances of “I think” before sending it. If the recipient needs to clarify any details, trust that they will come back to you with their own questions. Letting your ideas stand alone is not a sign of arrogance. It merely suggests that you have given the matter sufficient thought and come to a solid conclusion.

So if you want to sound confident and secure in your own judgement, just remove those two little words from your vocabulary. It may feel uncomfortable at first to sound more sure of yourself, but you will quickly become accustomed to communicating your ideas in a more assertive manner. This will encourage others to think of you as a strong leader and person of integrity and self-belief.

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