How Did You Sleep Last Night?

64 Max sofaMost mornings my wife and I ask each other “How did you sleep last night?” Let me ask you: How did you sleep last night? The answer we give is usually a combination of how long (number of hours) and the quality (e.g. “tossed and turned” or “slept like a rock”). The reason this matters is because the length and quality of sleep has an impact on how well we function during the day. If I were concerned that you would not agree with that assertion, I could point you to a lot of research that demonstrates the importance of sleep and how it affects alertness and performance. That information is only a web search away. However, I have not yet met anyone who thinks sleep is unimportant.

Until the last few years I did not think seriously about sleep. I was a night owl who thrived when the sun set and who despised the ringing of the alarm clock. Now I care about sleep because I care about how well I function during the day.

My recent focus on sleep is part of an overall improvement in health that I undertook over four years ago. When I lost weight through nutrition and began exercising regularly, my sleep improved. As the weight dropped, my snoring stopped. Now that I care more about the length and quality of my sleep, I monitor it more. In addition to losing weight, here are three habits I have developed that improved my sleep:

1. Monitor It Using Technology – I use a phone app called Sleep Cycle. It is available for both iPhone and Android phones. My fiend Kevin Wilson told me about it. This app does two things really well. First, it tracks the length and quality of your sleep. Using your smart phone’s accelerometer, the app tracks your movements in bed and correlates them to sleep phases. Each morning I can see what my sleep quality was (expressed in %) and the duration of time I was in bed (in hours and minutes). The second thing it does really well is wake me up. The app plays a low and soothing sound or a song from your music library to wake you up. The key is that the app waits to begin playing the music until you are in a light stage of sleep. Given that the music plays quietly while I am not in a deep sleep means that I awake much more easily and in a much better mood. I really cannot recommend this app too highly. Here is an example of a daily summary:

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I love this quote from The Guardian on the Sleep Cycle app’s alarm function: “The result is so gentle and lovely it feels like being woken up by a mermaid stoking your hair or a unicorn nuzzling your toes.”

2. Eliminate Blue Light Before Bed – Before electric lights people generally started getting ready for bed when the sun set and awoke at sunrise. With the invention of electric lights, TVs, smart phones, etc. we have created the ability to have our eyes exposed to light well after sunset. The reason this matters is that our bodies begin producing melatonin when the lights go down. Melatonin is the sleep-inducing hormone produced by our bodies that impacts our circadian rhythms. While all light can inhibit melatonin excretion, blue light from electronics devices is especially detrimental. I try to eliminate blue light in the two hours before bed, but I have to admit that this is a challenge during football season.

3. Deep Breathing Exercise – About 30 minutes before bed I take one 400 mg tablet of magnesium glycinate. I take KAL – Magnesium Glycinate 400, 180 tablets brand, but just make sure it is magnesium glycinate instead of other chelates (like citrate).

  • I then get in bed and inhale and exhale very slowly eight times. This is not chest breathing, but “belly breathing.” Put your hand on your stomach and feel it rise as you inhale. Inhale through the nose, not the mouth. Remember, this is not to be done quickly. It is slow.
  • When I get to the maximum inhale, I typically pause for a second or two before exhaling very slowly through the mouth.
  • Again, when the exhale is completed, I typically pause a second or two again before the next inhale through the nose.
  • After my eighth exhale is finished, I then read a book. I usually read a physical paper book, but an e-reader with no backlit screen would also work. In other words, I avoid blue light devices. It usually takes less than twenty minutes for me to get very sleepy and to click off the bedside light.  Also, I always sleep better when the room is completely dark.

A Word About Sleep Apnea & Jerrod Heard

Last week it was reported that Texas quarterback, Jerrod Heard, went to a sleep clinic and was diagnosed with sleep apnea. This was surprising to a lot of people because many believe that sleep apnea is an older person’s challenge. Jerrod is in his early twenties and is in top physical condition. His openness about this continues to be a source of encouragement to many people to consider their own sleep. Sleep apnea is only one of many sleep disorders that people struggle with. Let me be clear about this: None of what I have written above about how I sleep better is going to correct a sleep disorder. If you are not waking up refreshed and ready for the day at hand, please speak to your doctor and consider doing a sleep study. Thank you to Jerrod for waking us all up to the fact that even young people can experience sleep disorders.

How did you sleep last night? Use the Comment button to share your thoughts and questions about getting a good night’s sleep.

Tweets of the Week: Traveling Light, Food, Family, & Seth

Week ending July 25, 2015

twitter-bird-2Saturday is a good day to recap the activity from our Twitter feed from the past week. Not sure what Twitter is all about? That’s OK. Neither are we (or at least it remains somewhat mysterious to us). There is no denying, however, that there is some very valuable information shared on Twitter. That is what this weekly feature is all about. Click the links below to check out the good stuff. Here are my Top Tweets from this past week, great for retweeting (whatever that is). If you missed these, follow Forward Story on Twitter.

By the way, if you are wondering what the @ and # signs are all about, these are Twitter’s way to identify the Twitter handle (@) for the person who tweeted (for example, ours is @forward_story) and to allow for an indexing or categorization of the tweet by using one or more hashtags (#). Feel free to ignore these and just follow the link for the content we are sharing with you.

Grandparents

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 17
RT @grandmasbriefs: Grandparents: Inspire grandchildren to create their own adventures http://www.grandmasbriefs.com/home/grandparents-inspire-grandchildren-to-create-their-own-adven.html

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent 17h17 hours ago
Grandparents, keep outings with the grandchildren affordable by avoiding the gift shop trap. @GRANDMMagazine: http://ow.ly/P9BDz

Training & Health

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife Jul 18
An insightful #training program for the high-performance senior — A review of @jfriel’s #FastAfter50 http://j.mp/1Ma3l8h #healthyaging

Mark_Sisson ‏@Mark_Sisson Jul 20
Doctors of the Future: 3 Promising Trends in Medical Education | Mark’s Daily Apple http://bit.ly/1HQRs5p

Amy Kubal ‏@AmykRd Jul 20
9 sleep mistakes you’re probably making after 9pm: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/55a68429e4b0896514cff197

KeithNorris ‏@KeithNorris 4h4 hours ago
Epigenetics of aging. Interesting stuff. If you *really* believe age is just a number, it truly is! http://www.nbcnews.com/health/aging/are-you-aging-faster-everyone-else-n387626 … @EclecticKitchen

Recipes from “Our” People

Civilized Caveman ‏@CookingCaveman Jul 18
Perfect Sweet Potatoes every time from http://www.civilizedcavemancooking.com #recipes http://pinterest.com/pin/64950419603045758/

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich Jul 18
Pizza Pot Pie http://buff.ly/1RBWlWt #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich Jul 24
Gingerbread http://buff.ly/1OwgFmN #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jul 25
An easy recipe! Pressure Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup #againstallgrain #paleo #glutenfree http://grainfree.ly/1fDlgId

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich 8h8 hours ago
French Silk Pie http://buff.ly/1gQ75Qx #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

Wisdom from Seth

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 19
Seth’s Blog: An alternative to believing in yourself http://bit.ly/1VgK5tJ

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 20
Seth’s Blog: Preparing for a shark attack http://bit.ly/1I5bchs

Travels

Tim Ferriss ‏@tferriss Jul 20
How to Never Check Luggage Again http://bit.ly/1Lpsagh

Tweets of the Week: Food, Recipes, Health, Family, & Wisdom

Week ending July 18, 2015

twitter-bird-4Saturday is a good day to recap the activity from our Twitter feed from the past week. Not sure what Twitter is all about? That’s OK. Neither are we (or at least it remains somewhat mysterious to us). There is no denying, however, that there is some very valuable information shared on Twitter. That is what this weekly feature is all about. Click the links below to check out the good stuff. Here are my Top Tweets from this past week, great for retweeting (whatever that is). If you missed these, follow Forward Story on Twitter.

By the way, if you are wondering what the @ and # signs are all about, these are Twitter’s way to identify the Twitter handle (@) for the person who tweeted (for example, ours is @forward_story) and to allow for an indexing or categorization of the tweet by using one or more hashtags (#). Feel free to ignore these and just follow the link for the content we are sharing with you.

Here are a few recipes from people we trust:

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich Jul 13
Peanut Flour Cake http://buff.ly/1K01ctz #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jul 12
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter “Granola” Bars #paleo #againstallgrain #glutenfree http://grainfree.ly/1flgUFD

Russ Crandall ‏@thedomesticman Jul 16
Seared Scallops with Sautéed Kale http://thedomesticman.com/2012/12/18/seared-scallops-with-sauteed-kale

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Cooking & Kitchen

 Colin Champ, M.D. ‏@CavemanDoctor Jul 13
Home Cooked Meals Make You Smarter, Healthier and Thinner http://www.myhealthwire.com/news/diet-nutrition/1080 … via @myhealthwire

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife Jul 14
Want to get healthy? Start in your kitchen! says @markhymanmd @mindbodygreen http://j.mp/1GjFbRu #learntocook #MyRevAct #healthyliving

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Health & Fitness:

William Davis, MD ‏@WilliamDavisMD
Novak Djokovic is “gluten-free” but also limits his carbs–I know because I wrote the foreword for his book…. http://fb.me/6EhfpO9pD

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Money & Finances

Rachel Cruze ‏@RachelCruze Jul 14
The Financial Mistake One-Third of Parents Make https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/the-financial-mistake-one-third-of-parents-make-123996068377.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma

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Parents and Grandparents

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 11
Grandparents, don’t be unwitting drug suppliers: http://ow.ly/PuseU @aboutdotcom

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 12
1 in 28 American children has an incarcerated parent. Often grandparents pick up the slack: http://ow.ly/PuR57

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 14
Taking the grandchildren on an outing? 3 easy steps for managing their behavior: http://ow.ly/Pzrqh @aboutdotcom

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Wisdom from Seth

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 13
Bounce forward http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/07/bounce-forward.html

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 16
Seth’s Blog: In search of metaphor http://bit.ly/1HQhFg2

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 18
Seth’s Blog: “Because it has always been this way” http://bit.ly/1LtdBIh

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For Entrepreneurs

Abel James ‏@fatburnman Jul 16
14 Entrepreneurs Share Best Advice From Their Fathers http://cr8.lv/1I6mNB6 via @creativelive

Tweets of the Week: Food, Health, Family, and More

Week ending July 11, 2015

twitter-bird-1We took last Saturday off to celebrate the 4th of July with our family, but we are back today with more great info. Because of the week off, today’s post is a little over twice as long as usual. We found some great stuff on a variety of topics.

Saturday is a good day to recap the activity from our Twitter feed from the past week. Not sure what Twitter is all about? That’s OK. Neither are we (or at least it remains somewhat mysterious to us). There is no denying, however, that there is some very valuable information shared on Twitter. That is what this weekly feature is all about. Click the links below to check out the good stuff. Here are my Top Tweets from this past week, great for retweeting (whatever that is). If you missed these, follow Forward Story on Twitter.

By the way, if you are wondering what the @ and # signs are all about, these are Twitter’s way to identify the Twitter handle (@) for the person who tweeted (for example, ours is @forward_story) and to allow for an indexing or categorization of the tweet by using one or more hashtags (#). Feel free to ignore these and just follow the link for the content we are sharing with you.

Here are a few recipes from people we trust:

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jun 28
Homemade Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets #glutenfree #againstallgrain http://grainfree.ly/1JTHC2W

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jun 28
Also- in need of pies and cakes for the weekend? These are all grain-free and dairy-free! … http://grainfree.ly/1IDx1VR

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jun 28
Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie #paleo #glutenfree #againstallgrain http://grainfree.ly/1IYEu7A

Chris Kresser ‏@chriskresser Jul 7
Five delicious dairy-free ‘milk’ shakes. Cool off and indulge Paleo style. http://bit.ly/1LP1fKT

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Parenting

Great stuff for parents with adult children – 3 Tips for When Your Kids Move Back Home | Rachel Cruze: http://www.rachelcruze.com/topics/kids-and-money/3-tips-for-kicking-out-boomerang-kids#.VZRvRNmGxy_.twitter

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Grandparenting

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jun 28
10 mistakes to avoid when traveling with grandchildren: http://ow.ly/OT3Th @aboutdotcom

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 3
Especially for grandparents: How to keep from going broke in the gift shop. My latest piece for @GRANDMMagazine: http://ow.ly/P9BDz

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 5
Help for grandparents who have trouble saying no to adult children. http://ow.ly/PaLmC @aboutdotcom

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 5
MT @grandmasbriefs: RT @NBCNews: A widow’s reverse mortgage ‘nightmare’ http://nbcnews.to/1RUhjux

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 10
Grandparents have seen this change, and it’s not good! RT @aboutdotcom: Study finds little kids need to exercise more http://abt.cm/1IJtIkt

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 Medical, Health & Fitness

Chris Kresser ‏@chriskresser Jun 28
Chronic inflammation is believed to be a major risk factor for #osteoporosis. http://bit.ly/1R6S5c0

Chris Kresser ‏@chriskresser Jun 28
Virtually all skin disorders, including #acne, are inflammatory in nature. http://bit.ly/1LeMPV9

Mark_Sisson ‏@Mark_Sisson Jun 30
Why precommitment beats willpower. http://ow.ly/OZBMs

Amy Kubal ‏@AmykRd Jun 30
The benefits of going for a walk are about more than getting exercise http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/how-walking-in-nature-prevents-depression/397172/

David Perlmutter, MD ‏@DavidPerlmutter Jun 30
Statins reduce libido. Read the science: http://www.drperlmutter.com/study/is-decreased-libido-associated-with-the-use-of-hmg-coa-reductase-inhibitors/ … #brainmaker #grainbrain

Digestible Tips for Staying Gluten-Free On-The-Go – Modern Wellness Guide http://www.modernwellnessguide.com/lifestyle/digestible-tips-for-staying-gluten-free-on-the-go

Forward Story ‏@forward_story Jul 1
This Is Your Body On Sleep Deprivation http://www.huffingtonpost.com/firas-kittaneh/this-is-your-body-on-slee_b_7663702.html

Amy Kubal ‏@AmykRd Jul 1
Why Body Mass Index (BMI) Is Wrong for So Many People http://huff.to/1H035p0

Abel James ‏@fatburnman Jul 5
6 Easy Tips for Clean Eating on a Small Budget http://flip.it/l22jz

Amy Kubal ‏@AmykRd 7h7 hours ago
This is your body on alcohol: http://drugabuse.com/featured/the-effects-of-alcohol-on-the-body/

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Money

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife Jun 28
The Mirrors of Your Spending — How our most intimate sense of self & our use of #money reflect each other http://j.mp/1BH9LJw #values

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Wisdom / Productivity

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jun 28
Seth’s Blog: Buzzer management http://bit.ly/1GIZTvB

Michael Hyatt ‏@MichaelHyatt Jun 30
Why You Should Flush 90% of Your To-Do List Down the Toilet http://mhyatt.us/1ol0bFb

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife Jul 7
New job jitters? How to settle in with minimal stress — http://j.mp/1KKe8Xh #worklife #balance #stressmanagement

Tweets of the Week: Recipes, Farmers’ Markets, Health, Free Books & More

Week ending June 27, 2015

twitter-bird-3Saturday is a good day to recap the activity from our Twitter feed from the past week. Not sure what Twitter is all about? That’s OK. Neither are we (or at least it remains somewhat mysterious to us). There is no denying, however, that there is some very valuable information shared on Twitter. That is what this weekly feature is all about. Click the links below to check out the good stuff. Here are my Top Tweets from this past week, great for retweeting (whatever that is). If you missed these, follow Forward Story on Twitter.

By the way, if you are wondering what the @ and # signs are all about, these are Twitter’s way to identify the Twitter handle (@) for the person who tweeted (for example, ours is @forward_story) and to allow for an indexing or categorization of the tweet by using one or more hashtags (#). Feel free to ignore these and just follow the link for the content we are sharing with you.

Here are a few recipes from people we trust:

Mark_Sisson ‏@Mark_Sisson Cool Down with Some Salted Watermelon Ice: http://ow.ly/OEz7X

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Autumn in a Bowl: Spiced Pumpkin Granola #paleo #glutenfree #againstallgrain http://grainfree.ly/1GoeKxx

Civilized Caveman ‏@CookingCaveman Pumpkin Pie smoothie, so easy and so delicious. #paleo #primal #smoothie #recipes http://pinterest.com/pin/64950419602936550/

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich Homemade Almond Milk http://buff.ly/1KeeLbA #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

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Farmers’ Market Locator

Mark_Sisson ‏@Mark_Sisson An Easy Way to Find Your Local Farmers Market. http://ow.ly/OEyoG

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 Some great information related to health:

Why You Can’t Medicate Your Way Out Of Poor Diet & Lifestyle Choices by @TerryWahls http://mbg.io/6Rqa0Lf

Sara Gottfried, MD ‏@DrGottfried The right and left nostril may help you get back to sleep after waking in the middle of the night. Watch as I… http://fb.me/3X4tKU9pl

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife 2 simple stretches to loosen early-morning body stiffness this weekend http://j.mp/1wYFlM1 #stretching #exercise #bettermornings

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Free Books for Kids from B&N

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Great for the grandkids! RT @aboutdotcom: How to get free books from Barnes and Noble this Summer http://abt.cm/1fmoVtK

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Parents and Grandparents

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Amen! RT @thegrandestlove: Grandchildren can bring love and second chances with adult children http://ow.ly/OKZmd

Tweets of the Week: Recipes, Cooking, Health, Nature & More

Week of June 14, 2015

twitter-bird-3Saturday is a good day to recap the activity from our Twitter feed from the past week. Not sure what Twitter is all about? That’s OK. Neither are we (or at least it remains somewhat mysterious to us). There is no denying, however, that there is some very valuable information shared on Twitter. That is what this weekly feature is all about. Click the links below to check out the good stuff. Here are my Top Tweets from this past week, great for retweeting (whatever that is). If you missed these, follow Forward Story on Twitter.

By the way, if you are wondering what the @ and # signs are all about, these are Twitter’s way to identify the Twitter handle (@) for the person who tweeted (for example, ours is @forward_story) and to allow for an indexing or categorization of the tweet by using one or more hashtags (#). Feel free to ignore these and just follow the link for the content we are sharing with you.

Here are a few recipes from people we trust:

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Cashew Milk Recipe #paleo #glutenfree #againstallgrain http://grainfree.ly/1Iz2v4V

Civilized Caveman ‏@CookingCaveman Fluffy Blueberry pancakes that are going to change your life. http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/recipes/breakfast/gluten-free-pancakes/

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich Sunflower Seed Crackers http://buff.ly/1SmO99w #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

JJ Virgin ‏@jjvirgin Add a dash of #lemon juice, a pinch of #salt, and some #seasoning to your EVOO for the perfect #salad #dressing. RT

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Cooking

Mark Hyman, M.D. ‏@markhymanmd Take back your kitchen & embrace the act of cooking #realfood. http://buff.ly/1GLoIuh

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 Some great information related to health:

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife Full-Spectrum Eating: 5 Tips for getting more Phytonutrients from @fxmed http://j.mp/1AnP0zI #nutrition #health #phytonutrients

Sara Gottfried, MD ‏@DrGottfried Morning Yoga Time It’s almost the weekend… Dr’s orders: Try to do this neck release 8x per day — it helps so… http://fb.me/7ltP3srhC

Health Wire ‏@MyHealthWire The “Fab Five” of Fermented Foods @CavemanDoctor http://www.myhealthwire.com/news/diet-nutrition/1079/ #probiotics

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We all need recreation and nature

Michael Hyatt ‏@MichaelHyatt Today’s New Post: 9 Reasons You Need More Fishing in Your Life. Read here: http://mhyatt.us/1IololA

My aunt, Susan Adcox, discusses Nature Deficit: Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent I’m a podcaster! Listen to my advice for grandparents about giving advice @RoundAboutChat: http://traffic.libsyn.com/parentingroundabout/PR_Round3_052015.mp3

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Learn to Program

Khan Academy ‏@khanacademy Learn programming with us in our #SummerOfScripting. We’ll send you weekly emails & contests! http://khan.co/1Ty3uWe

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Books to make your summer more entertaining and enlightening

10 weird but wonderful book recommendations from the super successful by @entrylevelrebel http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/10-weird-but-wonderful-book-recommendations-from-the-super-successful.html via @Inc