Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

Mindfulness for Sleep & Insomnia

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 | News

I’m pleased to announce my new course is now live: Mindfulness for Sleep & Insomnia.

Sleep is a tricky subject because the expectation of our ability to sleep has a big impact on whether we can. That means that sometimes simple tricks can work – but they can also disappear again just as fast. This course takes a different approach. It will change your relationship with sleep so that you stop seeing it as the enemy, and thus avoid activating your body’s stress response.

Preview the course or watch the trailer below.

Insomnia and placebos

Friday, July 26th, 2019 | Science

One of the major factors that influence insomnia is emotion and expectation. If you think you should be able to sleep, you are going to struggle. If you have little expectation of sleep, you actually find it easier.

Storms and Nisbett demonstrated this in a study where they gave two groups a placebo. The first group were told they had been given caffeine pills while the second group were told they had been given relaxation pills. The first group found it easy to get to sleep while the second group found it harder.

This came up in a group discussion recently where someone suggested a great tactic for being the effect: try to stay awake. She found that if she stopped trying to sleep and started trying to stay awake, she fell asleep pretty quickly. With the results of the above study, perhaps we should not be suprised.

Venla’s nap time

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019 | Family & Parenting, Photos

Venla is at the stage where she can go all day without a nap but is very cranky towards the end if she does. Sometimes she has one, sometimes she doesn’t. This means she often gets home from daycare very tried and sometimes has a nap out of sheer exhaustion.

For example, here is a nap she had while standing up.

Another time, I allowed her to have a 30-minute nap on the sofa. But then I needed here awake so she didn’t wake up too early the next morning. So, I picked her up and sat her next to the kitchen where I was making dinner. She went to sleep anyway.

Why I got plenty of sleep during Elina’s labour

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 | Family & Parenting

Sleeping might seem like the last thing you should be doing when your wife has gone into labour. But there is a good reason to get some rest.

She has gone into labour, while you are snoring your head off in the bed next to her. Something wrong? You might think you should be awake to support her, but there is a good reason for you to be asleep.

Millions of years of evolution have made mammals pretty good at giving birth. Like breathing, most of it happens automatically. Hormones pulse around your body, directing your emotions and subtlety controlling your behaviour.

One of the hardest things about labour is not the pain itself, it is the sheer exhaustion of the whole thing. You can be in labour for days, with little or no sleep, and yet somehow women find the strength to go on. They do so because their body makes sure they do, injecting careful amounts of oxytocin and adrenaline at the required times.

Birth partners do not have the benefit of this of course. Things have changed a lot in the past 50 years. We are no longer in the waiting room with a cigar; now we are at our partner’s side helping her through the birth. Mother Nature has not cottoned on to this, though, and leaves us with a few vicarious hormones at best.

So, after 72 hours of sleep deprivation, exactly how helpful are you going to be as a birth partner? This is an important question because when your partner reaches transition, she is going to rely on your support to get through it. If you are barely functioning because you have had no sleep, you are not going to be in a great shape to do that.

Sleeping through half of the labour might seem a selfish thing to do. In reality, though, a somewhat rested birth partner is going be to able to offer far more support than one who is utterly exhausted.

Introducing Bedtime

Saturday, October 15th, 2016 | Tech


Cook: “Here at Apple, we’re proud to announce our latest innovation. It’s called Bedtime, and it can improve your sleep quality by 160%.”
Ive: “Tim, I think bed time is already a thing.”
Cook: “NO, we invented it!”

Heat source

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 | Photos

With Elina gone, I’m now relying on Jeff to keep me warm at night.

Sleep patterns

Thursday, April 14th, 2011 | Life

This evening has been rubbish. I got home, exhausted and haven’t really done anything. I’ve done a bit more work on some grant applications, answered some emails, done some more planning. But by 8:30 I was already giving up on being productive and went for a power nap.

I’m now fueling up on chocolate and Red Bull so I can get something done, but I wonder if there is just a better way.

For example, I always really enjoyed working nights at McDonald’s. There was actually something really satisfying about working twelve hours until 4am, then (after a quick picnic in the Tesco car park) heading home and just going to bed, knowing that you didn’t have to be up again at some irritatingly, and quite frankly painful, hour in the morning.

Of course, that isn’t really achievable in the real world because of the whole 9-5 office thing, even with the flexitime we have at work it still doesn’t grant me that kind of flexibility. But how about a whole different approach. What if we should shifted our day pattern to accommodate this?

So, let’s say that I sleep seven hours a night. I’m at work from approximately eight until six including travel time, so that takes up ten hours of my day. That gives me seven hours per day of free time. Instead of getting up at eight and going to work, I could get up at one in the morning, spend the morning doing productive stuff while I’m still in the mood for it, go to work at eight, which doesn’t matter how tired I am because it’s work so it’s inherently self-motivating (because it’s not voluntary so you don’t have to choose to do it, you just do it), come home at six and go to bed.

Of course there would be lots of problems with this strategy, notably that because society is geared to holding evening events, half the time I would need to be up when my new schedule says I should be asleep. It also means being awake in the middle of the night when it will be dark but then during winter it’s dark in an evening anyway.

The former I think it really an insurmountable problem in the long term, though I do think it would be fun to try for a fortnight. If nothing else, it would probably make an interesting YouTube documentary.


Friday, September 18th, 2009 | Humanism, Life

Day two was Tueday and I was still feeling crap but decided to push ahead with my plan of trying to drink through it. After all, with it being an A-Soc social night it’s pretty much my job. I wasn’t even taking it easy and with it being the last day of the wine festival, when Graham tried to order a glass of wine he came away with the bottle.

On the negative side it didn’t make me much better. But the on plus side it didn’t make me any worse – I work up Wednesday morning feeling rough but with no signs of a hangover so I once again seem to have managed to stop drinking at the appropriate time and get enough water in me.

Wednesday night I finally gave up – relucantly cancelled on York Brights and headed to bed which I was in before 6pm.

What a weekend

Monday, July 27th, 2009 | Life

Finally got the keys to my new apartment on Friday!

What followed was a long, long weekend. Being that it is a bit of a nightmare parking in town I had to move house overnight so having already done a full days work by the time I left work at 4pm, I then headed off to start moving stuff. Which went on for 13 hours.

This included a short break to run to Ikea at which point I managed to somehow – I really can’t imagine how though – pick out the shelves I wanted to buy and then walk though the self service warehouse without buying them. Accidentially. Honestly, how does that happen? I think I was rather tired by this point.

I finished up at 5am and went to grab some sleep however I ended up getting woken up by Brian bringing another potential tenant to look round so I didn’t get much sleep. This was followed by a full shift at work followed by more stuff being moved which I agained finished up at shortly after 5am.

I once again headed home to get some sleep before getting up on Sunday, finishing up a bit of freelance work I had to do then heading over again with more stuff and in an attempt to get the place sorted a little. Finishing up at around 9pm last night when I simply ran out of energy.

Never. Ever. Again.


Monday, April 6th, 2009 | Life, Thoughts

I’m really feeling the stress and strain at the moment so I’m trying to take it a bit easier. Hence it’s only 11:15 and I’m in bed already. With I hope only about 30 minutes of work to finish off before I can go to sleep I am hoping to be out by around midnight and almost get my full 8 hours in!

I feel this is somehow giving in though, normally I would have just had some red bull and kept going for a while longer, while I could do given my detox doesn’t start until Sunday (and to be honest it will probably be fairly flexible). I feel it might do me some good almost getting the required amount of sleep in for one night though so I’m going to give it the old college try.