Washington, D. C. – Good Friday, April 10, 2020 – HURD IMMUNITY MUST BE PREVALENT IN AMERICANS’ ANTIBODIES – In order to get America back to work and back to school, medical models and substantial statistics must be the basis for the “re-0pening” of business and a new-normal.
St. Pope John Paul the Second
Even Dr. Jerome Adams, the present kiss-ass national Surgeon General, would agree with public health officials and modelists. A body of evidence, data supporting suppression of the Covid19 Virus, and newly-developed treatments and preventive measures, are essential before the Executive Branch can cheerlead efforts to restore the country and world-leading economy.
Even if you haven’t heard it enough, we’re going to repeat it again: Stay at home. Practice social distancing. Flatten the curve.
But an unintended consequence of our efforts to slow a pandemic and keep our communities healthy is a real problem: loneliness and social isolation. As state and local governments issue quarantines and stay-at-home orders, many of us are living a new normal without in-person social interaction — and that can take a toll on our mental health.
Do not get this bug. Not as deadly as a flu-bug, but bedbugs are a bitch!
Making matters worse, researchers have found that people who don’t feel connected to others over the long term are more likely to catch colds, experience depression and live shorter lives. One study even calculated the health risks of social isolation as equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Even before the pandemic, loneliness was already widespread, with a national survey showing that more than 70 percent of young people and millenials and half of seniors felt lonely.
So how can we combat this new — hopefully short-term — reality of social distancing and isolation? Here are some tips to improve our health and stay connected.
Make a plan to connect with friends and family
Before the pandemic, many of us probably took for granted regular social interactions with our loved ones. Connecting could be more casual, and there were fewer concerns about meeting face-to-face. But with social distancing and sheltering orders, it’s become a lot more difficult, if not impossible and even unsafe.
Yet, simply saying you’ll stay in touch and actually connecting with loved ones, whether it’s over the phone, video or some other technology, are very different — and you may forget to find time. That’s why it can be so important to make a plan to connect with your friends and family to ensure you’re staying in touch to stave off loneliness. Just like in elections, where studies have shown that making a plan to vote increases the likelihood that you’ll show up to cast your ballot, be sure to make a regular plan to connect.
A great way to make your plan stick? Send a calendar invite. Here’s how to send a calendar invitation to multiple people on your iOS and Android devices to ensure everyone stays connected.
Plan a virtual happy hour
The coronavirus pandemic has spawned a new phenomenon: the rise of the virtual happy hour. People across the country have taken to FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts and other platforms as a welcome way to share a drink (non-alcoholic drinks are always welcome!) with friends while we social distance.
Pick your video platform (Zoom, Google, Skype, etc)
Set a specific time for the event
Encourage your friends to bring a drink of their choosing
Make a plan for the conversation
If needed, gently guide the conversation
But watch out for “Zoom bombing”
Another phenomenon — and really unfortunate unintended consequence — of our new social distancing is the “Zoom Bomb.” As millions have shifted to working and learning from home, the popular video conferencing platform Zoom has become the go-to software for remote business, school and other activities.
The increased use of the platform has become a ripe target for hackers, who have exploited vulnerabilities in the software and taken over group video chats with hateful or obscene content. The FBI recently issued a warning that malicious actors could steal personal information over Zoom.
Book clubs are cropping up everywhere during the coronavirus pandemic. Although many libraries have already closed, digital books are plentiful, so if you’re an avid reader (or not-so-avid, but want to become one), starting or joining a book club with your friends and family can be a great way to stay connected.
Just want to join an existing book club? You’re in luck. Lots of virtual book clubs — each with unique themes and book choices — are welcoming new members across the globe. Here are ten suggested book clubs from Time. Or, you can join the “Quarantine Book Club” where you can chat directly with authors over Zoom.
Look out for those most at risk during this time
Even though we personally may feel isolated or lonely right now, there are others who may need our help, too. They are people in our community who could be suffering from mental health issues or chronic illnesses, our elderly neighbors who need basic necessities like groceries or medication or someone who is low-income or facing financial difficulties.
If you can, check on them and offer your assistance. They are feeling isolated and anxious too. They may not have internet access or family members who can assist. Here are some additional tips to help communities experiencing loneliness from AARP.
Illinois Governor John Pritzker was interviewed by CNN’s Erin Burnett this afternoon. The Governor explained that the feds restrained most of the excellent healthcare and medical research resources in Chicago and throughout the state.
This is the latest from Amtrak:
The safety of our customers and employees is Amtrak’s top priority. We are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking action based on guidance from public health experts. In order to maintain a safe environment and address customer concerns, we are taking measures including:
Enhanced cleaning protocols. We have increased the frequency of cleaning service on our trains and at our stations.
Additional antibacterial products. We have increased the quantity of sanitizers and disinfectant wipes available for customers and employees throughout our trains and stations.
No change fees on bookings made through April 30, 2020. We are waiving change fees so you can book travel on Amtrak® with confidence, knowing you have the flexibility to change your plans.
We have temporarily suspended three trains that operate between New York and Washington (Trains 2401, 2402, 2403) due to lower demand and additional changes to our schedule are under consideration. Amtrak continues to operate 300 daily trains, including more than 100 daily trains on the Northeast Corridor and continues to serve all of our stations. If schedules are modified for any existing reservation, we will contact you to provide an update.
We will continue to respond to the latest on COVID‑19 with customer and employee safety top of mind.
This is the first of a multi-article essay about the current public health in the world. The US ranks in the top seven countries of Earth in the number of exeutions. Although President Donal J. Trump wants more deaths in the name of justice, so that the USA can rank higher that Red China in the quantity of executions.
Many Americans pray that the current viral issues do not hit close to home. Similarly with death by a firing squad, the Trump Administration is playing “Russian Roulette” with the lives of children, older Americans, disadvantaged citizens and immigrants, as well as vacationers on the Princess cruise line.
Tune in later today for the explanation why every person interested in living out their destimy should take better care of themselves and practice a number of RESILIENCE (to getting sick) techniques.
Acting on what is coming out of Washington, D.C. alone is just not enough!
copyright MMXX – Max’s Scout Services & Communications of the Americas, LLC –
The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But the researchers have discovered something fantastic.
When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind.
The reason is that a sincere embrace produces a hormone called “oxytocin”, also known as the love hormone. This substance has many benefits in our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful tranquilizer is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms, who cradled a child, who cherish a dog or a cat, that we are dancing with our partner, the closer we get to someone or simply hold the Shoulders of a friend.
A famous quote by psychotherapist Virginia Satir goes, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Whether those exact numbers have been scientifically proven remains to be seen, but there is a great deal of scientific evidence related to the importance of hugs and physical contact. Here are some reasons why we should hug::
1. STIMULATES OXYTOCIN
Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous. It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. New research from the University of California suggests that it has a similarly civilising effect on human males, making them more affectionate and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects. When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
2. CULTIVATES PATIENCE
Connections are fostered when people take the time to appreciate and acknowledge one another. A hug is one of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgement of another person. The world is a busy, hustle-bustle place and we’re constantly rushing to the next task. By slowing down and taking a moment to offer sincere hugs throughout the day, we’re benefiting ourselves, others, and cultivating better patience within ourselves.
3. PREVENTS DISEASE
Affection also has a direct response on the reduction of stress which prevents many diseases. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine says it has carried out more than 100 studies into touch and found evidence of significant effects, including faster growth in premature babies, reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune systems in people with cancer.
4. STIMULATES THYMUS GLAND
Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
5. COMMUNICATION WITHOUT SAYING A WORD
Almost 70 percent of communication is nonverbal. The interpretation of body language can be based on a single gesture and hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself nonverbally to another human being or animal. Not only can they feel the love and care in your embrace, but they can actually be receptive enough to pay it forward to others based on your initiative alone.
Hugging boosts self-esteem, especially in children. The tactile sense is all-important in infants. A baby recognizes its parents initially by touch. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.
7. STIMULATES DOPAMINE
Everything everyone does involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Low dopamine levels play a role in the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s as well as mood disorders such as depression. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for motivation! Hugs stimulate brains to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Dopamine sensors are the areas that many stimulating drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine target. The presence of a certain kinds of dopamine receptors are also associated with sensation-seeking.
8. STIMULATES SEROTONIN
Reaching out and hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels and the released endorphins and serotonin cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness and decrease the chances of getting heart problems, helps fight excess weight and prolongs life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Hugging for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
9. PARASYMPATHETIC BALANCE
Hugs balance out the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centers called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.
Embrace, embrace with your heart.~
Fridays used to have greater meaning for me and my buds. Now that I am approaching old folks age, I can still remember some of the details.
About 20 years ago, my best buddy was my spouse and we were very content to order an Avanti pizza, rent a movie from a local Blockbuster shop, and hang out in the living room as a family. This had been going on decades or so until we began watching the Friday night cable TV and rented movies, the kids would go out and play with their friends, as we separately went to the study and worked on the computer and Internet. Sadly, this got old too soon.
Nevertheless, we seemed successful to take this time to recharge for the active weekend and going back to work on Mondays.
My ex-wif seemed to enjoy giggling and flirting with our divorced next door neighbor along the fence line. No foolin’, I was able to witness it by looking out the kitchen window while I toiled on washing the pots and pans… silly me, I didn’t think too much of it.
About the time our family had achieved “empty nest” status interpersonal relations in the household hit an all-time low during 2005 or so. Some of us were willing to work things out and the other parts of us were ready to give up, ‘cut bait’ and go fishing in some other water hole.
I felt like I was a lucky one who had Country Corner (pictured above) across the street for me to ‘chillax’, smoke some stogies, drink free excellent coffee and have intercourse (conversations) with neighbors and make new friends. Nowadays, the kind proprietors who operated the corner store have passed away (2017-2018) and are having intercourse amongst the angels in heaven.
Excuse me, I have to walk the dog… to be continued…
Max’s Scout Services and Communications of the Americas, LLC
A few minutes ago, [11 a.m., 5-2-18] “R” returned to this property. He went out back and grabbed mop heads and BBQ equipment. He also demanded that I write him a check, this one for $50.
Another unsettling event [6:30 p.m. on April 21) happened while I was lying in bed, someone came into my room without knocking. The familiar man was followed by “M”.
‘M’ mentioned that he would be moving back here. ‘M’ did not say that he was moving in immediately.
Is this property becoming a care home, like “A” has on Evergreen?
When I moved here in November, this property was an unlicensed SLE with a resident House Manager. I can handle change but it is really hard for me now as I try to rehabilitate my health.
For the record,
On Monday I had an Lumbar-5 procedure on my left side.
Tuesday, I received a cortisone shot in my right shoulder.
Thursday, I received Orthovasc silicone injections into both knees.
Next Tuesday, I get a second opinion from a psychiatrist at Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Ten days ago, I had skin cancer removed from my left cheek (face, not butt ;<) ).
This coming Tuesday, I will be returning from same-day surgery. PAMF is doing an endoscopy and I will need to rest for 24 hours afterwards. (oops, Dr. Scott found an ulcer in my small intestine).
A couple weeks ago you offered to move me to the rear BR that was occupied about 2 years by “R”. Almost every day, I have done something to try to clean up the room. It is entirely unfurnished, so I have looked into renting furniture from Cort and getting installation from Xfinity/ Comcast. I’d estimate that rental contracts with Cort and Xfinity would cost $230 and $160 each, respectively. Ms. A. H.” want to rent it furnished. Well, I am have accepted your kind offer.
As one with a recognized disability receiving SS income and trying to supplement my income by writing and publishing, these potential rental arrangements may or may not be viable.
In the meantime, I invited my acquaintances – Matthew and Marie – to take a look at this property. Both are able to take care of themselves, become great housemates, and work for the owner. [I wrote the above a couple hours ago. What follows below was written after 9:00 p.m.]
“S”, in my opinion, is not at all ideal for this household. Furthermore, I from weeks of experience know that he will be a terrible roommate or housemate for me.
The over-riding concern is not his lack of personal hygiene. Not the fact that he appears to be completely deaf and dumb (unable to speak). Poor Scott is ill and not able to take care of himself. In the past, “S” has made no effort to go see doctors or a dentist.
In fact, “S” had agreed with “R” to go to the dentist at UCSF and an appointment was made for February 20. “S” stayed here the entire day.
Dental health may be a minor health issue for “S”. I believe his mental and physical health is very poor. Who will be responsible?
I do not know of anyone who could tolerate “S’s” behavior.
Gross behavior, making noise, and being unwilling to communicate (in writing) or otherwise are additional issues.
Frankly speaking, “S” habitually cuts farts, making no effort to leave the room, go outside, or go sit on the toilet.
“K” said he would manage “S”. During the first 4 hours, I have not seen anything “Ka / Ke” has done to help “S”. Something as simple as using the shower or eating dinner has not been offered to “S”. Now, “K” is out-of-town for weeks, I assume.
Living around “R” was very difficult. Sure, he was a “bully” but he tried to be considerate and urge others to contribute to maintaining the house. With “S”, I have seen little effort put forth on his part to maintain the physical conditions of the house during the weeks we roomed together during January, February, and March.
Note that “S” left suddenly on his own. Packing up and leaving about 9:00 p.m. Why? I believe, to avoid communicating with others and refusing to compromise and more successfully assimilate himself into a shared living situation. I ask for your help in any way that you can. Thank you.
His judgments and behavior are troublesome for the rest of us.
Other annoying and nuisance things that occur daily is “S” walking around half-naked, not washing his hands before preparing food in the kitchen, exposing others to his dermatitis problems with his feet and hands, peeing while the bathroom door is open, slamming doors, sliding the noisy back door during sleeping/quiet hours (10 pm to 6 am), not flushing the toilet, leaving water running in the shower and bathroom sink, laughing ‘diabolically’, putting soiled dishes and silverware back into the kitchen cabinet, rambling verbally on-and-on, and doing things without asking others if it is the right time to do whatever.
Lately, I spend practically an hour a day cleaning up things “S” should be doing in the kitchen, bathroom, dining room, back of the house patio, and the front yard and patio. For instance, I have to rewash dishes, pans, and silverware that “S” uses and attempts to wash and dry. His smoking behavior is not friendly particularly for the family with children that live in 1559 Shoreview. Moore is out of town and cannot intervene. “K” is out of the country and cannot provide care for Scott’s needs.
His diet is questionable given his overweight. “S” mostly consumes white bread, American cheese sandwiches, toast with butter, and sometimes eats the meals delivered Monday through Friday from Samaritan House’s Mobil~Wheels program. A couple days ago, “S” threw five salads from Draeger’s (worth about $11 to $15 each) in the garbage, without consulting with anyone.
Last night, “S” was up during dark hours smoking in the back seating area. I awoke and found a mess of smoking materials in the front patio smoking area.
He (“S”) utters sounds [sounding like a dog, goose, or goul) while sitting by himself that are both intelligible and scare some passersby along Shoreview Avenue. His attempts to say high and be friendly are largely misunderstood and affects other residents’ interrelations with neighbors and strangers walking by.
In summary, he needs better medical care. I have lived with schizophrenics before and his overt behaviors are symptoms that his prescription medicines are NOT effective. Any future delays in seeking proper medical care only make matters worse.
“M” has been a ‘God’s send’ around here. He does not deserve to assume responsibilities for Scott’s physical, spiritual, and mental health.
As a house manager, “M” has much to be responsible for already. Is this now a ‘care home’?
I hate to think that either “M” or “K” are educated, qualified, and licensed to supervise occupant’s health and personal needs.
It is not fair to them to have “S’s” issues dumped on them.
Today, I learned that a local restaurant gave “S” a job washing dishes. Yet at home he doesn’t. Such is irony. Can we discuss what needs to be purchased for our home? Not likely. But I tried on Sunday.
How can “S” keep a job, keep a place to live, and become healthy? These ought not be our responsibility nor our worries.
David A. Dailey, Occupant in Room B, 1561 Shoreview, San Mateo, DADailey@gmail.com;
(WOODSIDE, CA ~ “The Dailey Sun-Chronicles” ~ November 5, 2015) –
Charlie Chan, Buck D.D., and Jimmy Crackcorn announced the beginning of the Occupy _______ movement throughout the San Francisco Peninsula today. In keeping with the neighborhood civic acumen(s), business climate and unchanging weather conditions, and current Facebook and Tesla social and corporate management theories, occupy camps will be moved weekly from one announced and government-permitted location to another. Some Occupy The San Francisco Peninsula camps change daily.
As the Sam Trans’ Route 295/296 bus arrived into Menlo Park (population 131 homeless, 3,880 canines, and no horses) at noon Wednesday, an organizer praised the contributions of 007 by providing professional transportation services to a community severely lacking good public transportation systems and safe female drivers of oversized sport utility motor vehicles (SUVs).
Editors’ Notes: “Buck” is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) who in 1986 purchased his 1st home in the 3200 block of Alameda de las Pulgas [unincorporated Menlo Park, County of San Mateo California]. Although he is remains a public person he has largely been hiding as a “houseless American” since January 2007. In 1992 “Buck” lost an U.S. congressional race [to the same congressperson Anna Eshoo who is still employed in D. C. ~ giving away high-compensation with health insurance and other employee benefits ~ American jobs locally via visas and green-cards] and in 1994 he tried to get more votes than popular Stanford Law Professor Tom Campbell in order to work in Sacramento to become a California State Senator for human rights and services. He spent over seven years at Lockheed working during the Cold War about seven years after graduation from Indiana University at Bloomington (A.B. ’76, M.S. ’78). Buck was illegally terminated last September by the United Parcel Service (UPS). After over 50 months of service between 2003 and 2008 as a California Department of Public Health and Health Services Health Facilities Evaluator, he was illegally terminated and narrowly lost his judicial appeal versus current State of California Attorney General Camilla Harris, who now insists on running for one of two seats in the United States Senate!
Buck is a publisher, author of Lessons Learned From Dogs [copyright 2011] and Confessions of An Oenophile ~ An American Family Cookbook of Comfort Food [copyright 2008], comedian and humorist, sports reporter and wagering handicapper, business administrator and environmental, health, security, and safety educator, and household engineer. Deer, California is the title of his first book about homelessness written from 2005 to 2014.
Take Responsibility if Accused of Vehicular Manslaughter
Be Reasonable with Demands on All Government and Quasi-Government Agencies
Let the County government work on more important issues that biking.
Teach Youth about the “Buddy System”
Let the California Highway Patrol (CHP) focus on higher priorities than soccer-mom driving.
Demand that local (i.e. City of Menlo Park) officials solve their internal problems.
Boycott free newspapers and their advertisers that do not practice ‘responsible journalism.’ Therefore, no fear-mongering, reduce sensationalism, write truthfully and factually, and promote good news.
Do not expect a public agency to solve woman problems, particularly if they are personal things.
Restore Sam Trans and improved Cal-Train train and bus services to your immediate community.
Plan to improve education, both public schools and private entities: A) At Home, B) In School, and C) During Every After-School Activity [i.e. Menlo Park Lyceum].
Find better means of energy consumption and public transportation. Sam Trans / Redi-Wheels Paratransit / Cal-Train are among the worst-managed quasi-governmental agencies in the USA.
Help the Bay Area Air Quality Management Board, the clean water agencies, and local zoning commissions revise improved public policies.
Blame Congressperson Anna Eshoo for what she has done in the United States Congress, as a hospital board member, and County of San Mateo Supervisor. If you re-elect her, you are now responsible and should be held accountable. FYI: In 1991, Eshoo was asked to put street lighting and traffic lights along Alameda de las Pulgas. She did nothing. Many were injured and some animals died a gruesome end.
Support elected officials like the current efforts of California Senator Jerry Hill who has represented the people of the County of San Mateo very well.
Work with the office of United States Senator Dianne Feinstein before, during, and after congressional hearings discussing the dreaded houseless populations in Northern California.
Improve health care; particularly the County of San Mateo Health System’s policies and daily protocols. People are needlessly suffering because health care professionals are following poorly-conceived and implemented procedures. Ask that the current county director resign and be quickly replaced.
Take issues in prayer to God, first. Then bother your priest, minister, social worker, and friends.
Utilize ‘The Brothers’ for issue resolution and decrease stressors on the court systems.
Make housing more affordable, safer, and livable!
copyright MMXV – Max’s Scout Services & Communications of the Americas, LLC –
County of San Mateo California / Monroe County in Southern Indiana / Cook County Illinois
Maui County Hawaii / Sarasota County Florida / Garfield, Eagle, and Pitkin Counties in Western Colorado
We’re not going to promote how to scrape by with less sleep; instead, help you reboot your sleeping habits so you get the sleep you need (and deserve).
No napping. Later on when you’ve ironed out the details of your sleep cycle you may find that a power nap early in the day is great for you. Right now though we’re focused on rebooting your sleep cycle. No napping. You need to go to bed at the end of the day when you are tired, not at a later time because you snuck a nap.
Who wouldn’t want more sleep? We live in a 24/7 world where the work of the day doesn’t have to end when it gets dark, work can start long before the sun comes up, and even when the work is done you’ve got a million-and-one distractions to keep you up well into the wee hours surfing, clicking, and not getting rest.
This is a long article, so here’s a quick outline if you want to jump straight to any section:
A few things need to be said before we go any further. First, sleep deprivation isn’t a badge of honor. It’s a very American/Protestant Work Ethic attitude to act like being so busy and stretched thin that you must go without sleep just to get it all done is something to be proud of. If you’re going to insist that abusing your body with sleep deprivation is something to be proud of and a necessary part of being a working adult, then you’re not in the right frame of mind to really take this advice to heart. Going with little sleep is sometimes an unfortunate necessity, but it shouldn’t be adopted as a way of life and a point of pride. (You certainly wouldn’t brag to your friends how awesome you are malnourishing yourself.)
Second, if you read through this guide, take the advice to heart, and still see no positive change in your sleeping patterns, you may very well need to see a doctor. There are a multitude of medical reasons for why you might not be getting a good night’s sleep, including things like Sleep Apnea. Conditions that interrupt your sleep slowly shave years off your life and decrease the quality of life in the ones you have left. If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor and go see a sleep specialist.
Finally, there isn’t a tip in this guide I haven’t personally used. Between being a student, a parent, an educator, a writer here at Lifehacker, and for one horrible year doing it all in addition to working 12 hour graveyard shifts, there isn’t a whole lot about sleep deprivation and putting your “sleep life” back together that I haven’t experienced. Sleep deprivation is brutal and I hope whether you’ve been short-changing yourself an hour of sleep a day or eight that you take something away from this guide that helps get things back on track.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
An important part of getting your sleep schedule back under control is understanding what you’re doing to yourself by not getting enough sleep. Your body is a complex machine that evolved over millions of years to the state it is in today. Our modern coffee-swilling, go-go-go, work-until-the-crack-of-dawn-and-collapse culture has only been around for the tiniest fraction of the history of the human species. We haven’t adapted to less sleep, and we’re likely not going to adapt any time soon. You need as much sleep today as your greatest of great grandfathers needed in 2010 BCE.
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? Everyone is familiar with the common side effects, like being tired the next day, sore muscles, and general irritability. Sleep deprivation also has a myriad of side effects you don’t see as easily as yawning or a snippy attitude. Sleep deprivation increases your risk of heart disease, impairs memory retention, increases risk of diabetes and obesity (adequate sleep is required for proper glucose processing and insulin regulation), and increases risk of depression and other mental illness, the list goes on and on. Earlier this month we shared a study with you showing that sleep deprivation is similar to being outright intoxicated. Most people would frown strongly upon someone showing up to work drunk every day, but we all act like sleep deprivation is just the way it has to be.
Sleep is a critical part of your body’s maintenance routine and depriving yourself of it is the same as running a machine with no down time for preventive care and repairs. You can do it but eventually something breaks and usually catastrophically.
You can read more about the effects of sleep deprivation and related studies here.
Short Term Recovery: Getting the Ship Back On Course Before It Crashes
Let’s get a big misconception out of the way. You don’t have a “sleep bank”. If you’ve gone for the last year chronically sleep deprived you don’t have to refill some sort of sleep tank in your tummy in order to start feeling normal again. You can start doing things today to increase the sleep you’re getting and start feeling better immediately. It will take a few weeks of consistent and restful sleep to shake the after effects of sleep deprivation but don’t despair, you won’t need to “sleep off” all 1,498 hours of sleep you shorted yourself over the last year.
Another misconception is the amount of sleep people require. The only person who can judge the amount of sleep you need to be happy and alert is you. Studies come out year after year saying X number of hours is the best number of hours—8 hours to feel most rested, 7 hours to live long like the Japanese, 6 hours and you’ll die young—but the only expert on what is best for you is you. We’ll return to the topic of how much sleep you need and how to measure it in a moment; for right now let’s focus on what you can do tonight.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene: Sleep hygiene is similar to your end-of-day personal hygiene. Just like you wash your face and brush your teeth before bed, sleep hygiene is an umbrella term that covers all the things you do leading up to sleep that help or hinder restful sleep.
Good sleep hygiene involves getting your body ready for a good night’s sleep and not overstimulating it. How can you practice good sleep hygiene? Start by shifting your perspective on what bedtime and sleep really are. Bedtime isn’t just the point where you collapse from working hard and staying up too late, bedtime is the start of a block of time very important to your body. You need good sleep and you should treat your bedtime with proper respect.P
Don’t drink anything with caffeine in it after dinner. Dependent on age, gender, and other physiological factors the half-life of caffeine in the body is roughly 5-10 hours. In other words, that cup of coffee you drank at 7PM is still with you at midnight. Nicotine is another common stimulant; you should quit or make your last cigarette of the day well before bed.
Don’t drink anything with alcohol in it. Alcohol is a depressant and will help you get to sleep. The problem is it depresses everything in your system including your metabolism. Alcoholics report having no dreams because alcohol disrupts REM sleep, a critical sleep phase for both brain and body health.
Step away from the screens. Exposing yourself to the glow of a screen before bed will keep you awake. Your body is hardwired to wake up when light is bright and go to sleep when it gets dark. If you shine a bright light in your face before bed you’re telling your body it’s time to perk up and be alert. If you absolutely must use a computer or mobile device later in the day, at least turn the screen brightness way down to semi-counter the effect of the light.
Change your body temperature. Your body drops in temperature as you drift off into sleep. You can trick your body by simulating this temperature shift. In the colder months take a hot shower or bath late in the day, your body temperature will rise and then fall again as you cool off from the shower making you sleepy in the process. It’s harder to do this in warmer weather, but you can substitute the hot shower with a cold one. While a cold shower seems terribly unpleasant—and trust me, it’s not as fun as a hot bath on a winter night!—it will also induce a temperature swing that will make you sleepy.
Minimize external distractions. It’s especially important while you’re easing yourself into a new sleep routine to minimize external distractions. Have a cat that jumps on the bed at 3AM? Toss them out of the bedroom before bedtime. Neighbor starts up his diesel truck at 4AM to go to work? Wear ear plugs. Spouse gets up and turns on the lights to get dressed before you? Sleep with a sleep mask on—this one is amazingly comfy.
Purge your bedroom. No computers, no television, no balancing your checkbook in bed, no reading over those damn TPS reports, no anything but sleeping and getting it on (in whatever order works best for you). If you have a television in your bedroom and you never turn it on, don’t break your back hauling it down to the basement. If you’re a chronic bedroom channel-flipper however, you need to get it out of the room. Your bedroom should be a place your body associates with nothing else but sleep and sex.
Don’t torture yourself. You didn’t drink any coffee, you turned off the computer at 7PM, you lugged the TV down to the basement, you put in ear plugs and pulled the shades, but it’s 11PM and you’re still tossing and turning. Don’t torture yourself by laying in bed frustrated. Get out of bed and do something that will relax you. Don’t go watch television, play video games, or anything else that will stimulate your brain into thinking it is time to wake up. Go sit in a comfortable chair and read a book for a little while. Sort through magazines you’re going to toss in the recycling bin and clip out a few interesting articles. Do something low-stress and relatively boring for 20-30 minutes and then go lay down again. You don’t want to get in the habit of thinking of bedtime as unpleasant and stressful.P
Your initial energy should be focused on making bedtime pleasant, preparing for bedtime well before the bedtime hour, and making sure to limit stimulating activities (exercise, coffee drinking, action movie watching) to earlier in the day. You need to start doing these things right now. Reading this at 5PM after getting home from work? Put that cup of coffee down right now. Stop telling yourself you’re going to get around to finally getting a good night’s sleep and start getting one.
Long Term Recovery: Charting a Course for Pleasantville
Once you’ve started with the basics outlined above, like decreasing bedtime stimulation, it’s time to get serious about the big picture of your sleep needs. Good sleep isn’t accidental. Unless you’re a baby fresh off the breast and passed out in a milk-coma you’re responsible for your own good sleep. It might seem counter-intuitive since sleep looks like the most passive sport around, but preparation and study is key. Once you start working in our earlier tips it’s time to start measuring how effective they are and ensuring you get enough sleep.
Analyze your sleep needs. Do you know how much sleep you actually need? Could you tell someone with certainty that you’re happiest after 7 hours of sleep? Do you wake up when the alarm goes off or do you wake up before it and turn it off on your way out of bed? There is only one good way to find out how much sleep you need and that’s going to bed earlier than you think you need to. Creep your bedtime forward by 15 minutes every few days until you start waking up on your own in the morning. When you start waking up before your alarm clock consistently—for a minimum of one week, weekends included—you’ve found your optimum sleep window.
Waking up shouldn’t be a jarring affair that involves you smashing your fist on your alarm clock and growling. For months now I’ve been waking up ahead of my alarm clock and let me tell you, it feels awesome to wake up on your own and not to the sound of a buzzer. “Beating” the alarm clock every day is like a little victory right out of bed.
Obey the Routine. I can’t tell you what your perfect routine is. Maybe your routine is no coffee after 3PM, dim the lights around your apartment at 7PM, and read in bed for 20 minutes at 9PM before it’s lights out—or maybe it’s none of those things. What is important is that you find a routine that works for your schedule and you stick to it. You might not be 7 years old anymore but your adult body appreciates a routine bedtime just as much as it did when you were a kid. Whatever routine you decide on, stick with it long enough to see if it works and tweak it gently and one thing at a time if it doesn’t.
Anticipate Lack of Sleep. Sometimes lack of sleep is one hundred percent unavoidable—somebody in your family gets in an accident and you’re up all night at the hospital, you get snowed in at the airport and you just can’t sleep well on a plastic bench, etc.—but most times we see an event coming that will cut into our sleep cycle. If you know you’re going to be up late, take a power nap in the afternoon. If you’re coming off a late night bender make sure to adjust your bedtime the day after to get you into bed sooner. Short term sleep deprivation can be quickly remedied with adequate rest. Don’t let a wild weekend throw off your sleep schedule for the rest of the month as you stay up too late, sleep in too late, and spend two weeks slowly—if at all—recalibrating your sleep schedule.