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Caffeine and Other Impediments to Sleep

Ensure that when you go to bed, your sleep time is protected

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Based on a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, you need to be cautious as to when you stop consuming caffeine. Even a full six hours before retiring could put you at risk of having your sleep time reduced by one hour. So, it is prudent to avoid caffeine after 5 pm, however, after 4 pm or 3 pm is better!

If you’ve been on caffeine for so long, and you’re worried that by 3 pm you might experience an afternoon slump, engage in some kind of exercise, if only for 10 minutes.

Research published in Physiology and Behavior indicates that walking around the block, climbing stairs, and similar activities can boost your energy level, more so than a low dose of caffeine contained in a cup of green or black tea.

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Avoid alcohol in the evening. Alcohol will induce sleep quickly, then dehydrates your body and wakes you up before you are due. You then have trouble getting back to sleep. Your sleep time is reduced, and your sleep quality is poor.

Disrupted R.E.M.s

You’ve probably heard that R.E.M.s (rapid eye movements) are a crucial part of your sleep cycle. To ensure that your sleep time benefits are maximized, heed the following: don’t sleep with your head by a phone – remove it from your bedroom.

Many people sleep with their heads by phones because they’re concerned about the one possible call in fifteen years where they might have to arise at 3:00 am. Stop this! You cannot do much at that hour. You’ll be better off with sound sleep each night.

When you read in bed, do so only to induce drowsiness, but don’t overdo this. It’s important to make your bed and bedroom for sleeping (and, of course, sex) only.

Don’t set up your bedroom as a command station with your CD player and TV to reinforce the notion that it is a place for anything but sleep.

Eating and Drinking and Exercising

In your quest for good sleep,  eat your meals at the same time every day to maintain your circadian rhythm, regulate your metabolism, and get good sleep that night. Your body seeks regularity, and eating on schedule is a huge boost. It also helps to have a three-hour window between the last time you ate and when you go to bed.

During the day, undertake some type of exercise that elevates your heart rate so that you have a better time drifting off at night. As long as it’s not close to bedtime, the time of day is not critical.

Regardless, exercise is definitely an antidote to stress, helping to keep you calm. Hence, you drift off more easily upon retiring.

What about evening exercise? Moderate exercise a couple hours before sleep does aid sound sleep, but don’t exercise right before retiring. Also, moderate intake of proteins a little before retiring, such as a glass of milk, can help you attain restful sleep.

Bathe or Shower to Help Induce Sleep

Doctoral researchers at the University of Texas, in Biomedical Engineering reviewed a staggering 5,322 studies, contained in scientific and medical databases, to arrive at the following conclusion and they published their analysis in the Journal of Sleep Medicine Review:

The ideal time to take a bath or a shower, to help induce sleep, is one to two hours before retiring. As such, you help to cool down the body and improve blood circulation all the way to the extremities, including your feet and hands.

Medical News Today indicates that a warm bath or shower enhances your temperature-related circadian rhythm, which helps people to fall asleep more quickly and easily and improves their sleep quality. Your bath or shower need not take more than 10 minutes.

Get Up If You Can’t Sleep

Don’t fret if you fail to fall asleep right away. You might need a couple minutes or more to relax. After 30 consecutive minutes of restlessness, get up and do something until you’re tired again.

When you sleep too little, or are awakened at random times, your deep sleep pattern is disrupted, and hence even eight hours might not yield the benefits of a solid eight hours of sleep. All of which means you need to ensure that when you go to bed, your sleep time is protected!

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Education

Putting North Carolina Public Education Back on Track  

With Michelle Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina public schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire today’s students.

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It’s no secret to conservatives that the nation’s children, every single one of them, are at risk. In the main, not for reasons malnutrition, growing up in a tough neighborhood, or having toxic parents. The risk that all kids face today is the potential to be indoctrinated in public schools by their own teachers, teacher’s aides, and administrators.

America’s Children Are under Siege

Some school districts in America, are populated by boards of education, principals, and school administrators who think it is their sacred duty to indoctrinate children, exposing them to all manner of adult and sex-related topics long before any child should be. As such, they usurp the rights of parents and guardians.

Nowhere is this more evident than in North Carolina where 23% of all kindergarten through 12th-grade students are enrolled in either a charter school or private school, or study at home, and the percentage increase in these three options is 84% over the last 11 years. Why? Parents want to determine the best educational options for their own children and they don’t believe that North Carolina public schools are doing an adequate job.

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Fortunately, one candidate running for NC superintendent of public instruction means to the state’s education programs back on track. Her name is Michelle Morrow, and she is a personal dynamo whose grasp on the issues is outstanding.

First and foremost, Morrow advocates having safe schools with a culture of academic achievement and civility. If it takes having a security guard in every single school throughout the state to ensure the safety of children attending class as well as teachers and school staff, Morrow is all for it.

She believes that schools should be the safest buildings in the state. Alas, they are not. In North Carolina, school crime and violence increased a whopping 84% in just the past five years. The top three crimes being reported include drug use, weapons possession, and assault – even assault of teachers.

An Advocate for What Counts

As the NC superintendent of public instruction, Morrow will support fair and effective policies that both deter crime and promote classroom civility. She’ll be a strong advocate for teachers’ rights to employ fair and reasonable measures to manage their classrooms as they see fit.

Morrow will insist on parent-friendly schools, recognizing that a child’s academic performance often hinges on the vital partnership between teachers and parents. In too many schools throughout the state, parents are kept completely in the dark about medical treatments and, surprisingly, even academic performance.

Some children are forced to take surveys requiring them to reveal details of their sexual habits and mental state, and schools employ such data to monitor, diagnose, and treat psychological issues. Parents alone, however, have the right to make medical decisions in relation to their children’s health and well-being. Government sponsored data collection needs to end. Morrow will enforce a Parents’ Bill of Rights to ensure that families are protected and that parents have dominion over their own children.

Back to the Basics

Academic achievement has suffered for years on end in North Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. A staggering one-quarter of eighth graders cannot meet national math, science, or reading standards. Test scores throughout North Carolina reveal that more than 800 schools are under-performing.

As superintendent, Morrow will be focused on ensuring that all the money earmarked for education actually makes its way to the classroom. She will ensure that schools focus on teaching science, math, reading, and real history. She will advocate for small group tutoring when needed by students who are not performing well, and touting for those who are doing exceedingly well and can do even better.

Morrow recognizes that the government in Washington, D.C., has no business in the education of North Carolina students. Parents are not co-parenting with the federal government. The programs and policies that politicians and special interest groups attempt to impose on North Carolina schools must come to an end, and any interference in teaching core academics must cease immediately.

As such, Morrow will sever the ties with public interest groups while helping to strengthen local school districts’ ability to employ proven teaching methods, with the goal of enhancing core academic achievement.

The Big Picture

Morrow will seek to enhance national unity and patriotism. Too many students throughout North Carolina are subjected to one-sided history lessons that portray America as an oppressive, racist, unredeemable nation. Some schools go so far as to stereotype their students and inform them that, as a result of their ethnicity, sexuality, or religion, they are oppressors.

This one-sided, warped view of humanity and method of education must end. Instead of dividing students, Morrow will seek to foster unity and understanding. America is an exceptional country. While every country faces challenges, ours in particular has been fair, compassionate, and forward thinking in recent years.

With Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire the next generation who will become the leaders of our great nation.

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Business

Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

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Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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