The Power of The Nap

Napping is good; my childhood was wasted crying to stay awake!

The Power of The Nap

If I could go back in time, I would go back to my 4 year old self that was dead set on keeping my eyes open through the ENTIRE day to become a ‘big kid’. Many hours were wasted fighting with my parents, hell, fighting with my body, just to be awake so I can say I didn’t take a nap. Flash forward twenty some years and I would love to be forced to take a nap. Sadly that is not the reality of my adult life and my 40-hour a week job. However, science is showing that making time for naps have countless positive effects on things such as productivity all the way down to your body’s inner functionality!

Our Bodies Dance to Their own Tune!

Our bodies all function off our own personal circadian rhythm, say what? That’s a fancy term for the 24 hour cycle that your body goes through each day. We all have our own circadian rhythm, and each person is different. They are influenced by things such as sunlight and our feeding schedule. There are clear patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to this daily cycle.

Mid-day Slump

As adults there are certain times throughout the day that our rhythm takes a bigger dip. You might be familiar with the term “mid-day slump”, turns out this is a real thing. Between 1:00-3:00 PM we experience a dip in our circadian rhythm and that is when we get drowsy, can’t focus, start questioning your thoughts and just overall less effective in your tasks. Now this “slump” can look different to each person and can vary by the day. If you get a great night sleep, your circadian rhythm will not have such a severe drop during the day, you might not even notice it.

Let’s Take a Brain Break

So now you know a bit more about why you might feel the need for a nap. Let’s talk about what the nap can do for you because I already know what you are thinking “who in the world has time for a nap?!”. The answer is rather simple, if you struggle through your circadian rhythm dip, you will be less productive, irritable and less alert, and likely have to redo simple tasks you usually have no problem completing.

Studies show that taking a 10-20 minute nap can help to boost alertness and energy making the rest of your day more productive and meaningful. By keeping your nap on the shorter side, you will stay out of the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep that makes for a smoother transition back to whatever it is that you need to do! As with most things, listen to your body, it knows you best. Some people find that their body needs more or less to recharge.

Avoid The Nap Hangover

If you nap for too long you can wind up with a hangover like feeling, leaving you in a groggy state for a while before you are back up and running. If you experience this, you need to cut your time back a bit. It will take some testing to find out what works best for your body as well as the best time of the day for you to take a nap.

Famous People Who Loved to Nap

Winston Churchill once said ”Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces” From his book “The Gathering Storm”.

John F. Kennedy would nap for up to two hours without fail as part of his daily routine. Kennedy was not to be awoken unless it was a true emergency and would always be joined by Jackie

Studies, Research and My Opinion

There are many studies and ongoing research surrounding the benefits of napping yielding results such as improving memory, lessening the susceptibility to death by heart related diseases, blood pressure, dementia, weight control and immunity. Most of these studies are very specific in the demographic that it researched and at this time I’m not seeing anything that would make me feel comfortable stating any of those are a tested outcome across the board. What I can tell you with certainty is this; every human body has dips in their circadian rhythm, which literally makes us sleepy in the afternoon. Finding a nap period that works for you will release serotonin which produces feeling of wellbeing and can reverse the effects of stress, increases alertness and can increase productivity. Personally, I would rather find time for a 30-minute siesta and return to raring to go than struggle through the day working slower, not to my ability and likely having to redo the work I produce.

What Is HRV Training?

HEART RATE VARIABILITY TRAINING

Are you familiar with the concept of HRV or Heart Rate Variability training? If not, then it’s worth your time to get it’s know – how.

Let’s start with meditation. Meditation is the strongest practice, that I have ever came across, for increasing focus, developing self- control and training the mental toughness  essential for navigating the ups and downs of making your own career path in life and being your own boss.

The issue with meditation is that most of the people take it seriously at first and then fail to establish a regular habit of continuing it. A great reason for this behavior is that people don’t get any direct biofeedback on how well they are performing. This is the point where the need of heart rate variability training is felt.

WHAT IS HRV?

HRV stands for heart rate variability. It is a physiological phenomenon. It is a variation in the duration between every two heartbeats. It is measured by the variation in the beat-to-beat interval.

In other words, heart rate variability is simply a measure of the variation in time interval between each heartbeat. This variation in the time interval is managed by a primary part of the nervous system known as the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

It functions regardless of our wants and adjusts, among other things, our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and digestion. The ANS is divided into two large portions, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system, also called the fight-or-flight mechanism.

Information or data is continuously processed in brain in a region called the hypothalamus. Through the ANS, the hypothalamus, sends signals to the whole body either to stimulate or to relax different functions.

It responds not only to a poor sleep, or that bitter communication with your colleagues or your boss, but also to the exciting events or news that you are selected for a job, or to that unexpected tasty healthy meal you had for dinner. All kinds of stimuli are managed by our body and thus life goes on. Anyhow, if you have constant instigators like stress, poor sleep, unhealthy diet, isolation, and lack of exercise, this balance may be disturbed, and your fight-or-flight response can switch into overdrive.

Many people leave meditation and exercising just because of the fact that they get demotivated. This demotivation is dependent on many factors but the crucial one is that people don’t get any direct biofeedback on their performance.

Biofeedback is a method which one can use to learn how to control one’s body’s functions like heart rate. In biofeedback, one is linked with electrical sensors that helps in receiving information (feedback or response) of one’s body (bio).

This feedback helps one in emphasizing on making fine changes in his/her body. Fine changes include relaxing specific muscles in order to accomplish the results one wants, like to lessen the muscle pain. In a nutshell, biofeedback empowers one to utilize one’s thoughts for controlling body, usually for improving health condition or physical productivity.

HRV Tracking

Through heart rate variability, one can really get a good understanding of the flexibility of the heart, which is a good predictor of a healthy and long life.

I’m a big nerd when it comes to self-quantified data so every single morning I religiously take one simple measurement of my HRV

For tracking HRV a variety of app and devices are may be used. Let’s take iHeart as an example. It actually measures your HRV and not only this, also it tells you about your “internal age” by calculating and measuring the stiffness of your aorta. The stiffness of aorta is used as an indicator of the health of the heart and it predicts the risk of sudden deaths from many reasons.

HRV Tracker

If you really want to track your heart rate variability, I would suggest going with HeartMath’s Inner Balance. There are too many other HRV trackers such as EliteHRV, HRV4training etc. but they are ideal for those who wears heart rate sensors.

Heart Math provides a simple-to-use system for anyone for daily practice. It has a healthy UX and is available not only for iOS but also Android.

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What is a good Heart Rate Variability?

The average Heart Rate Variability score is approximately 59 for Elite HRV users. It tells you about the above or below average value or score, which is quite interesting for one to know but it doesn’t shows whether your score is good or bad.

A higher Heart Rate Variability score (a greater HRV) at rest is usually an indicator of a better health, a younger internal age or a biological age and a better aerobic fitness. Furthermore, everything from your mindset, to air quality, to age, and exercise patterns affects HRV (Heart Rate Variability).

Your personal circumstances, your starting point, and your objective. Comparing you to yourself over time is usually the most essential and effective way of accomplishing your goals.

The Importance of a Healthy HRV

How one builds up compared to one’s age and gender demographics?

If one’s HRV scores are below one’s age-gender demographic range, then he/she may have underlying health issues which are negatively affecting his/her internal or biological age and should be addressed at-once. Adversely, if one’s Heart Rate Variability scores are regularly higher than one’s comparable age-gender demographic range, Then his/her biological age might be younger than his/her chronological age.

HRV CHARTS

It should be kept in mind that the elite HRV users’ base doesn’t indicate the general population. Representatives of Elite and recreational athletes have a higher Heart Rate Variability score. This may result in a little bit of data skewness. The average HRV score for Elite HRV users is 59.3 (on a 1-100 scale)

Elite HRV users
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Normative Elite HRV Scores by Age and Gender

The Elite HRV population sample was further divided into age and gender groups. This division was based on user input data to enable users to compare themselves to others within their same demographic group.

Males:

Elite HRV Score
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Elite HRV Score
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Females:

Elite HRV Score
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Males

Elite HRV Score
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Molecular Hydrogen: Why You Should Drink It

What is molecular hydrogen and why would you want to use it?

Have you tried molecular hydrogen? Your mitochondria love hydrogen! Molecular hydrogen is the smallest bio-available molecule in the universe and represents 90% of living matter. Medical research into molecular hydrogen (H2) has flourished since a landmark publication in Nature Medicine in June 2017. The article highlighted the cytoprotective and antioxidant effects of the supplementation of hydrogen gas in stroke models. Emerging evidence from studies also demonstrated that molecularMolecular Hydrogen hydrogen promises a huge wealth of therapeutic options for a variety of ailments. Since this discovery, molecular hydrogen (H2), the smallest molecule in existence, is making a tremendous impact as a health antioxidant supplement. Molecular Hydrogen primarily works by combating oxidative stress, to which most lifestyle-related illnesses, disease development, inflammation, cancers, and the aging process have been attributed to. When infused in water it provides multiple benefits, including increased energy and antioxidant activity. Clinical trials have been underway showing no negative long-term effects associated with use of molecular hydrogen.

What does it even do?

Molecular hydrogen has the incredible ability to convert the most toxic free radical, OH, with absolutely no negative by-products. H20, yes, I’m talking about water! By acting as a selective antioxidant, molecular hydrogen targets only the worst free radicals, while preserving other important reactive species for normal signaling regulation. Molecular hydrogen has a high bio-membrane penetration and intracellular diffusion capability which enables it to reach subcellular compartments like the blood-brain barrier, cell membrane, mitochondria and even the nucleus. It also has superior reductive activity to some other antioxidants such as vitamin E and vitamin C thereby avoiding increased mortality risk. Molecular hydrogen can offer multiple health benefits, with its unique cell-modulating effect caused by its ability to reach the nucleus and mitochondria. Because of all these amazing properties, molecular hydrogen can therapeutically benefit just about every organ in the body that exerts actions for anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, antioxidant and even anti-allergy!

The Super Health Benefits of Molecular Hydrogen Includes:
    1. Improves skin/anti aging
    1. Fights autoimmune disease
    1. Rheumatoid arthritis
    1. Combats allergies
    1. Corrects DNA damage
    2. May battle cancerous tumors
    1. Helps reduce fat
    2. Hydrogen Water is Antibacterial and May Promote Oral Health
    3. Increase the production of the hormone ghrelin, which protects the vascular system, liver, and the brain.
    4. Improves cognitive function
    5. May help keep us better hydrated
    6. Faster healing and recovery from sports injury
    1. Prevents brain damage
    1. Growth of brain cells
  1. May help prevent diabetes
How is this possible?

Being able to get deep into the cellular level puts molecular hydrogen in place to successfully neutralize and mop up free radicals and other dangerous reactive species, reducing oxidative damage. Once inside the mitochondrial chamber, molecular hydrogen exerts some anti-inflammatory properties, protecting the cell from noxious substances alongside acting as an antioxidant.

The Medical Gas Research group published findings showing that a molecular hydrogen supplement can be applied with great success in the treatment of diseases that are said to be the leading 10 causes of death in United States. The diseases that can be remedied with molecular hydrogen supplements includes cardiovascular complications, cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, influenza, pneumonia, and chronic lower respiratory diseases.    

So now you’re thinking, I’m not a scientist, how can I even do this? The answer is pretty easy! The simplest way of ingesting H2 is through hydrogen rich infused water. When looking into your options consider the hydrogen concentration is measured in parts per million (ppm) when choosing the product that you are going to use. Unfortunately there is no cost-efficient way to make your own hydrogen-infused water. Therefore, the most affordable ways to go are ready to drink hydrogen rich water and hydrogen-generating tablets.

Give me some hydrogen!

Hydrogen tablets can create a high ppm product, questionably the highest Molecular Hydrogenavailable depending on the formula. Hydrogen tablets are specially formulated with magnesium containing organic acids that when mixed with water can actually break the bonds of H20. This creates a cloud of H2 nanobubbles with magnesium ions which is essential in your nutrition. The ppm will vary depending on the formula and will typically require eight to 12 ounces of water.

Your other option is ready-to-drink hydrogen rich water, this of course is the most popular of the options because it is ready to go! The downside of the ready-to-drink method is low ppm. When you are using a ready-to-drink option depending on the packaging there is 1-2 ppm. When using hydrogen tablets you can get the ppm anywhere between .08-10 ppm.

A Guide to Intermittent Fasting

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet, but rather a dieting pattern. In A Guide to Intermittent Fastingsimpler terms: it’s making a conscious decision to skip certain meals on purpose. By fasting and then feasting on purpose, intermittent fasting generally means that you consume your calories during a specific window of the day, and choose not to eat food for a larger window of time.

There are a few different protocols to take advantage of intermittent fasting.

16 – Hour Intermittent Fast

Popularized by Hugh Jackman and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a fast to trim extra pounds. It is common to fast after dinner to around lunch the following day. Fast for 16 hours each day, for example by only eating between noon and 8pm. I am personally a fan of the 16/8 method, as I find it to be the simplest and the easiest to stick to.

13 – Hour Circadian Rhythm Fast

Based on research of scientist Dr. Satchin Panda. Participants aim to start fasting a close to sunset as possible for at least 13 hours daily

Eat-Stop-Eat

Once or twice a week, don’t eat anything from dinner one day, until dinner the next day (a 24 hour fast).

The 5:2 Diet

During 2 days of the week, eat only about 500–600 calories. A plan that involves eating the recommended calorie intake for 5 days a week but reducing calorie intake to 25% for the remaining 2 days – to 500 calories a day for women and 600 a day for men.

The 23:1 One Meal a Day

Referred to as 23:1, meaning a person spends 23 hours of the day fasting, leaving just 1 hour a day to eat, drink and consume calories. Basically you only eat one meal a day

The Potential Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Since the body is unable to get its energy from food during fasting, it taps into glucose that is stored in the liver and muscles. This begins around 8 hours after the last meal is consumed. When the stored glucose has been used up, the body then begins to burn fat as a source of energy, which can result in weight loss.

Here are some changes that occur in your body when you fast:

  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The levels of growth hormone skyrocket, increasing as much as 5-fold. This has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain, to name a few.
  • Insulin: Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible
  • Cellular repair: When fasted, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells
  • Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease

These changes in hormone levels, cell function and gene expression are responsible for the health benefits of intermittent fasting.

As long as you stick to healthy foods, restricting your eating window and fasting from time to time can have some very impressive health benefits. It is an effective way to lose fat and improve metabolic health, while simplifying your life at the same time.

The Benefits of One Meal a Day (OMAD)

One meal a day is a form of intermittent fasting that literally involves eating one meal a day. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern or dieting cycle where you transition between periods of eating and fasting. The primary aim is to lose weight using an effective method that does not include the shortcomings or failures of other methods.

The Benefits of One Meal a DayOMAD utilizes the two periods of intermittent fasting which are fasting window and feeding window. In one meal a day the fasting window consists of about 22-23 hours of a day while the feeding window is limited to 1-2 hours in a day. Therefore, OMAD pushes intermittent fasting to its maximum capacity.

Within the limited feeding window, you can eat as much as you want but maintain a healthy diet that includes appropriate food groups. One meal a day is also quite flexible and allows a calorie-free light snack during the fasting window.

OMAD might seem extreme to those who are ignorant of its benefits and lifestyle plan. It is the most natural and effective way to lose weight, and stay healthy. Here are some benefits of OMAD:

Efficient Weight Loss

So many people struggle with weight loss because they keep trying methods that produce less result. Most of these weight loss plans come with strict diets and counting calories. Still the effects are short-term and unsatisfactory. One meal a day is an almost effortless way to lose weight. By simply eating less and healthy you shed calories quickly without a struggle.

Your Overall Health is Improved

Eating one meal a day helps to reduce various health risks such as blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood sugar levels. One meal a day helps the body maintain better insulin control.

Saves Time

Most people spend long amounts of time cooking, heating, and eating every day. OMAD lifestyle plan will help you cut down on those hours and find more use for time. Eating once a day guarantees less cooking, heating, and dishwashing time.

Saves Cash

One meal a day is one of the cheapest weight loss plans. It helps you save money by purchasing fewer junk foods and using less gas. Your grocery shopping becomes more cost-effective, and so does your lifestyle.

Increased mental and Physical Productivity

The benefits of one meal a day include higher clarity and concentration levels. It also includes increased energy and productivity than eating frequent times a day. OMAD improves memory, energizes cells and reduces fatigue.

Other benefits of one meal a day include:
  • Improved immune systems
  • Discipline
  • Long-term results

What Is A Floatation Tank?

What is a flotation tank? The flotation tank looks like a large enclosed bathtub. They are usually built from fiberglass and design to block out all external distractions, such as: sights, sound, tactile sensations, and gravity. Basically a sensory deprivation tank. (Another name these flotation tanks can go by.)

Float Tank

The salt water solution is heated to skin temperature (93.5F). Once you are settled, it is almost impossible to tell watch parts of your body are in the water and watch aren’t. This is the trick your brain into thinking you’re floating in midair.

The buoyancy created by the Epsom-salt solution effectively removes the effects of gravity on the body.  This will make you feel almost completely weightless, letting Every single muscle in your body fully relax.

Floating weightlessly your body is perfectly supported by a cushion of silky skin temperature liquid. Freed from all sensation of gravity, temperature, touch, sight and sound (which together account for 90% of normal neuro-muscular activity). You conserve and redirect vast amounts of natural physical and mental energy.

The ultra deep relaxation of floating “resets” the body’s hormonal and metabolic balance, strengthening resistance to and accelerating recovery from the effects of stress, illness, injury, or strenuous exercise.

Unless you are an astronaut this is the only situation you will encounter where your body is free from harmful forces of gravity.

Celebrities like Steph Curry and Joe Rogan swear by flotation therapy. Steph Curry and Joe Rogan, who have promoted it as a post-workout recovery tool and a way to reduce muscle soreness.

Floating devotees claim that the therapy can be a cure-all for everything from hypertension to insomnia.

 

Hack Your Sleep With A Sleep Induction Mat

I just got my sleep induction mat from @prosourcefit with super sharp spikes (about 6,210 individual spikes)

A post shared by Blake S. Murphy (@blakesmurphy) on

Sleep Induction Mat

The tiny spikes on this torturous looking mat actually stimulate the acupressure points along your back. When you go to bed, your fight or flight response is still activated, your body’s nervous system is still in a sympathetic mode. When you lay down on a sleep induction mat your body panics for a moment because it can’t really figure out what you’re doing and why there’s some pain. (It’s not unbearable, or painful at all, just uncomfortable for a bit.) Once you adjust for a few seconds your body starts to relax and you just melt into it. Your nervous systems starts calming down and realizes that you’re not going to die. Then your body starts releasing your feel-good hormones. This is all the perfect storm to quiet your mind, let you relax, and let you slip into a deep, restful sleep.

Everybody needs to get quality sleep, and many of us are in need of some help when it comes to getting it. I definitely recommend trying this out if you are having trouble getting to sleep. Did you know 1/3 of your life is spent on sleep? That means 26 years of your life are spent in bed.

Other ways to improve your sleep that won’t cost you anything. No caffeine after 2 P.M. Start winding down two hours before bed. Avoid bright lights in use F.lux on your computer. Sleep in the pitch black room (If it admits light, cover it – Your hands should be invisible in front of you) Avoid big meals before bed.

My Exact Morning Routine

What is your morning routine?

I love my morning routine. A morning and an evening routine are a great way to bookend your day, and the morning routine in particular allows you to prioritize all the things necessary to take care of yourself and your body while your willpower is high.

4:30ish

I wake up trying not to use an alarm. Instead try to wake up naturally at the same time every morning. Check my HRV. Complete a morning entry into my custom Evernote Five Minute Journal

5:00ish

I walk to the kitchen and I pour 16oz of water. As I drink this water, I take my morning supplements and there’s currently quite a few – specifically:

-5g SixStar 100% Creatine Unflavored
-2 capsules Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Phospholipids
-1 capsules Sundance Natural’s Magnesium
-1 capsules Nature Made Turmeric Curcumin
-1 capsule Pure Encapsulations – O.N.E. Multivitamin
-1 capsule Natures Bounty Vitamin D3

5:15ish

I proceed to do my 10 minute morning stretch routine.

5:30ish

I will head out the door for my morning run. At a minimum I will run a mile every morning.

morning routine

6:00ish

I will return home and start making my version of Bulletproof Coffee. It consistent of:

2Tbs of Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter (which I turn into ghee)
2Tbs of Onnit MCT Oil
1 Tbs of Hazelnut Torani Syrup, Sugar Free
1Tbs of Heavy Whipping Cream
1 raw egg

6:30ish

I will take a cold shower. I will wash my body and hair with warm water. When I’m done with that, I will crank it as cold as it will go. Cold thermogenesis is the practice of intentionally exposing parts of the body to specific levels of cold stress. Years of research now shows this can cause significant increases in metabolism and calorie burning, can increase insulin sensitivity and help control blood glucose levels, reduce systemic inflammation, help with sleep and recovery, and potentially fight certain types of cancer as well as promote overall longevity. I will then stay in there for as long as I can but nothing less then two minutes.

6:45ish

I will get April up for school. I will talk to her about her sleep, dreams, things we are grateful for, breakfast, and the day’s activities.

7:20ish

We will head out the door to drop April off at school. On the way to school we will listen to an audio book that April has picked out. I try to teach her to always be learning. It’s especially effective when you’re commuting. I used to listen to tons of Anthony Robbins audiobooks on my way to work and I learned a lot of things while I was stuck in traffic. Plus it was really uplifting and made me more engaged at work.

7:45ish

I will drop April off at school and I will head to work for the day.

If you have proposed modifications to my morning routine, you want to describe your own morning routine, or you have questions, thoughts, then feel free to use the comments section below!