Tag Archives: sleep

What Helps You Sleep?

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If you’re like most geeks, it’s difficult for you to shut your brain down, relax and just – sleep. Many of us cannot pass out without some type of noise to help our brains tune out completely. Dylan’s video this week features an excellent website that will put an end to your sleep deprivation.

SimplyNoise is a website full of sounds that will put you to sleep – literally. You can choose from several different types of noise and adjust the speed and volume at which they play.

You’ll also find several downloads available, including “soundscapes” – such as a thunderstorm. Set your timer to have it shut itself off when you know you’ll already be in dreamland, and even have it take you to your zen place.

There are iPhone and Android apps available, as well… so you can enjoy your white, pink or brown noise wherever you may be.

I could do this all night long…

I could do this all night long...

How much sleep do you get every night? As a geek, I find that there are many days I don’t rest nearly enough. We’re always busy, right? There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we have on our proverbial plates.

Getting enough rest is critical, though. When our bodies don’t recharge, our brains can become sluggish and unresponsive. Pushing yourself by staying up an extra couple of hours will actually end up hurting you. You will be too tired to do the things you have to do, and you’ll fall further behind than if you had just gone to bed on time.

Sleep is definitely a good thing.

How to Save Energy With Your Computers

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FlavioGomes asked the Lockergnome community how we can save money and energy with our computers. He has to leave his machines on all day, and he claims that it makes a big difference in his electricity bill each month. He’s hoping to find a way to cut that down, without having to turn off his machines. Any advice or tips you have will certainly be appreciated!

Generally speaking, the best way to save money is to not use your computer. If you are using it, you may not want to use it to its full potential. Notebooks have certain features which can keep the processor cool and clean, unless it needs to do something processor-intensive (such as video editing). The things you’re doing can save you money.

If you’re going to be away from your machine, you might think about turning off the screen. That can save you money without having to turn off the computer. You could also put the machine into hibernation or even shutting it down entirely. I know it’s a pain to have to wake the computer back up or power it up. However, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Do you want to spend a moment or two powering back up… or do you want to pay more each month on your electricity bill?

Turn off peripherals when you aren’t using them… especially laser printers. Those suckers eat up a lot of juice when they’re just sitting there.

If you have any other money-saving tips, please pass them along to the community – either here on the blog, or in the original thread on Lockergnome.

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Is Your iPad Keeping You Awake?

J.D. Moyer is a sleep-deprived native of California. He had read somewhere that strong light – including that coming from an electronic device screen – can reset your internal sleep clock. He decided to conduct an experiment based on that information, and was surprised at the results. For an entire month, he turned off every light in his home at sunset… even his laptop and the bulb inside of his fridge. Instead of falling asleep close to midnight every night, he started crashing out before 9 PM. He felt extremely well-rested during the day and had a lot more energy.

Consumer electronics are being used right up until bedtime these days… and even while we’re already tucked IN bed. I know many people who take their iPads to bed with them. They may be reading a book or catching up on their favorite television shows. However, this could be interfering with their ability to fall asleep and become fully rested and recharged.

“Potentially, yes, if you’re using [the iPad or a laptop] close to bedtime … that light can be sufficiently stimulating to the brain to make it more awake and delay your ability to sleep,” said Phyllis Zee, a neuroscience professor at Northwestern University and director of the school’s Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology. “And I think more importantly, it could also be sufficient to affect your circadian rhythm. This is the clock in your brain that determines when you sleep and when you wake up.”

Light from a laptop, iPad or other device is usually held close to the body and the light is shining directly into your eyes. This doesn’t happen as much with the soft glow from a reading lamp or a television broadcasting from the other side of your room. You would likely fall asleep much easier if you were to curl up with an actual book than you do when you download something to do on your iPad.

When receptors in our eyes are hit with bright light for an extended period of time, they send a message to the brain saying it’s time to be awake. The brain, in turn, stops secreting a hormone called melatonin, which makes people sleepy and helps regulate the internal sleep clock. Normally, our brains start giving us that hormonal sleep aid at about 9 or 10 p.m. But if bright lights are shining in our eyes, that may not happen as planned.

You may think that six or seven hours of sleep is sufficient. After all, we have a lot to get done. There aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything as it is. However, research proves that if you are well-rested (think 8-9 hours of sleep), you’ll have more energy and be more productive. This can translate into getting more accomplished in a fewer number of hours. I don’t know about you, but if I’m tired and draggy I spend a lot of my “working” time staring into space or messing around on time-wasting tasks. When I feel awake and energized, I focus on what needs to be done and crank out the tasks.

How do you fall asleep? Do you take a laptop, iPad or other device to bed with you? Are you on the computer right up until it’s time to roll into the sack? Most importantly – do you feel rested in the mornings?

Understanding Your Dreams Can Help You Solve Problems

There have been times I have woken up in the morning and remembered whatever I had been dreaming about, only to wish I had forgotten. I’m sure all of you have been there before. This is why there are so many books, websites and people dedicated to helping interpret what our dreams really mean. Did you know, though, that your dreams can tell a lot about your current state of mind or even your mood?

Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett says that dreams are “an extremely rich source of practical advice, and other alternatives about what we’re doing in our lives. They’re just coming from such a different part of ourselves that they’re a very good supplement to our waking, rational thinking.” Deirdre has written two books on the subject: The Committee of Sleep and Trauma and Dreams.

Your dreams can tell you a lot if you know where to look. Experts say that a dream about taking an exam in school and failing it (even as an adult who isn’t in school) can signify anxiety about being judged, or of being in a situation you don’t know how to handle. People also commonly have dreams in which they are naked in public, associated with feeling exposed or ashamed. This could signal that the dreamer feels socially inadequate in some way.

Dr. Judith Orloff is the assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California in Los Angeles. Dr. Orloff says that nightmares can shed light into the dark areas of people’s lives. Dreams can confront you with whatever you’re afraid of the most. You can also use them to work through underlying problems that you may not even be aware of. She had “one patient who repeatedly dreamed she was being chased on a cliff by an “evil pursuer” who was going to hurt her. The patient and psychologist figured out that the pursuer represented the woman’s abusive father. After working through it, the nightmare did not repeat.”

Some experts suggest that if you’re facing a difficult decision in your life you should ask yourself questions about it just prior to falling asleep. This may help you dream about the situation and possible outcomes. There are many documented cases where people have gotten help they desperately needed after recalling a dream. One physician had such an experience. He had been trying to quit smoking, but could not. He dreamed one night that he had coughed up pink sputum, which is indicative of cancer. When he woke up the next morning, he was so devastated by the mere thought of this particular outcome that he never touched another cigarette in his life.

Don’t stress yourself out if you cannot remember your dreams: few people ever do. Many will swear that they don’t dream at all. Dreams are often hard to remember, the things in them can have many different meanings. Trust your thought process when you’re awake, but don’t ignore the ones that go on inside your pretty little head when you’re asleep. Listen to that intuitive side whenever possible.

How to Track Your Sleep Habits

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I’ve pulled all-nighters, that’s for sure. If I stay up too long though, everyone starts looking funny. I try to sleep at least eight hours a night. If you’re not getting enough sleep, then shame on you! Your body and mind need rest in order to function properly, and stay healthy! How many hours do you sleep on average? Do you even know of a good way to keep track?

YawnLog is a free website that will help you keep a log of your sleeping habits. YawnLog is a sleep tracker. Sign up, and then tell the site each day when you went to sleep and when you woke up. Add some notes about your sleeptime, as well, if you want. Did you sleep peacefully? Were you tossing and turning? Did you have strange dreams?

You can share these notes with others if you wish, and even compare your sleeping habits with others. YawnLog keeps track of everything for you, and you can use the information how you wish. If you don’t want to share your information, don’t worry – you can keep it totally private. YawnLog will never share your information with the World, unless you want them to.

YawnLog’s slogan is pretty snappy, and says a lot about what’s behind the idea for the site:

YawnLog is about you and your naptime, and we’re happy to tuck you in.

It was born from a “Hackathon” several months ago, when a large group of people stayed up all night brainstorming and hacking together ideas. Everyone knows that it’s important to rest enough, but not everyone does so. YawnLog can help you get your sleep habits back on track.

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Sleep Tips

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Tom from England writes: “A lot of people at school in the morning arrive with their eyes half closed and are complaining of how miserable they are, so I made this top 5 list (not just for teenagers) about how to get the most out of sleep.”

  • Stick to a schedule Make sure you go to bed and wake up at more or less the same time every day, even on weekends. This will prevent interference with your ‘biological clock’, and your body will thrive on its new sleeping routine. I may also note that you will rely less and less on alarm clocks.
  • Sleep in darkness It may seem like common sense, but letting even a small amount of light into your room will severely disrupt you when you try to get to sleep. It is also good to know that when waking up in the morning, you should do so with bright lights… especially if you find it hard getting out of bed.
  • Watch what you eat and drink Going to bed on a full stomach (or an empty one) is not good. If you are having a meal, wait at least 3 hours before you go to bed. This is because your body cannot digest food well when you are asleep. It’s also the same with tea or coffee, Coca Cola etc. Caffeine takes at least 8 hours to get out of your system and can keep you awake in bed.
  • Sleep cool There is nothing worse than a hot bed. Open a window or use thinner sheets. You may feel you are lying in bed forever before you can get to sleep when your bed is like an oven.
  • Get as much sleep as possible. Sleeping for short amounts of time, such as around 6 hours, can lead to stress. A good amount is around 8 hours.


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