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13 Sleep Tips For Out Of This World Rest

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With the new year here, I bet you have ambitious goals for 2016. As you should! Although I don’t think waiting until the calendar turns is the best source of motivation, if this is what you need to get motivated then I’m for it, whatever works.

However, I’m sure you know the biggest obstacle that gets in the way of you accomplishing your goals: being too tired. When you’re tired, your productivity crashes and it becomes extremely hard to overcome laziness. And then might you go down a negative spiral where you haven’t made any effort on your goals in days, then weeks, and then months.

So how do you get away from being tired and how do you get energized to do everything you want to from the start of the year? Productivity starts with getting better sleep so your body and mind is rested. But, this is easier said than done.

That’s why I wrote a detailed post on 13 different sleep tips to help you go to bed when you put your head on the pillow, and wake up feeling rested and energized to take on the day. And these sleep tips start anywhere from the afternoon to right before bedtime, so I guarantee that you can do better on at least one of these tips.

When you have no trouble going to bed early and sleeping, you increase your productivity and improve your quality of life. Check this out to improve your sleeping habits.

13 Sleep Tips For Out Of This World Rest

1. Come up with a sleep schedule and stick to it.

If you set a specific time to wake up and go to bed each day, you will train your body’s clock to naturally sleep when you want, to sleep through the night, and to wake up on time. Soon you will start to wake up a minute before your alarm clock, or when you get really good you don’t need an alarm at all. If a sleep schedule is foreign to you, I recommend setting a schedule for the weekdays first. Then, advance to the same schedule for every day of the week, including the weekend.

2. Work out at least three hours before trying to sleep.

Besides the happy feelings from working out, exercising is also great to exhaust your body so it’s ready to power down when you try to sleep. I recommend working out at least three hours before bed. Because if you’re not careful, you’ll work out too late at night and leave your body in the energized mode when you’re trying to get some shuteye.

3. Designate your bed for sleep only.

Just as you associate the bathroom with showering,  number one, and number two, associating your bed with only sleep will help you get to rest sooner when you lay down. However, if you regularly watch Netflix, write papers, and study for exams on your bed throughout the day and evening, the association between your bed and sleep will be much weaker.

4. Stay away from naps.

Ideally, if you followed these sleep tips to a tee, then you would have no desire to nap as your body’s clock would be perfectly in tune with when to sleep and wake up. But regardless, as tempting as a nap can be, know that it’s going to make it harder for you to fall asleep at night, which means you’re also going to wake up later. So say no to naps during the day and your body will reward you at night by going to sleep early.

5. Don’t eat big meals up to two hours away from your bed time.

Because your stomach needs time to digest your food, eating a lot of food close to bed will most likely keep you awake. Eating a big plate can also cause your sleep to be interrupted by needing to go to the bathroom later. If you’re hungry before bed, a small cup of water or small snack should do the trick to hold you over before breakfast tomorrow morning. Picking up intermittent fasting would also help you not eat before bed. The last thing you want is to get fat in college and be tired because of it. 

6. Avoid caffeine and alcohol at night.

I read that a cup of coffee can take as long as eight hours to wear off, so if you drink it in the late afternoon or at night, your body might be still stimulated while you’re trying to get rest. Alcohol negatively affects sleep, but in a different form. You get less deep sleep with alcohol, which is crucial to feel rested the next day. And lastly, people who drank significant amounts of alcohol regularly wake up in the middle of the night when the alcohol wears off.  

7. Take a warm shower or bath.

The decrease in your body temperature after getting out of the water can encourage your body to start to shut down and get ready for bed. Plus, a soothing shower or bath also helps your body get comfortable and relaxed, two essentials for sleeping. Getting clean before bed is also a good solution to give yourself more time in the mornings. Just remember to fix your hair with some dry shampoo or hair product so you don’t go out into public with bed head.  

8. Decide tomorrow morning’s plans to reduce anxiety.

One of my best productivity tips in general is writing out tomorrow’s to-do list the night before. But, this 5-minute activity is also great for your sleep because it relieves your mind from running through what you need to do the next day. You have to love a productivity and sleep tip mixed in one!

9. Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room, out of sight.

Setting your alarm clock away from your bed so you have to physically move to get up and turn it off in the morning isn’t a new sleep tip. But, making sure the clock is out of sight is what I find extremely helpful. When you can’t see the clock, you don’t allow yourself to calculate how much (actually how little) sleep you’re going to get, which will make you anxious and keep you awake. Instead, when you can’t see the time, you can turn off your brain’s calculations and anxiety to get to sleep earlier.

10. Turn off your phone, laptop, and other electronics at least 30-60 minutes before bed.

The light from your phone, for example, is like a drug that keeps your brain and eyes awake. So it’s no wonder you can’t fall asleep the moment you put your phone away, after having your phone in front of your face for the past hour in bed. This girl I know, Grace, told me about how much she struggles with insomnia because of this exact problem. In my opinion, this is the most ignored and therefore the most important sleep tip of them all for young adults. As you’ll see in sleep tip #13, darkness is crucial for solid rest.

11. Read to relax your mind.

What’s a solution instead of having a phone in your face before bed? Grab a physical book (a Kindle or ebook will accomplish nothing here) and start reading. This helps because the act of reading relieves stress and relaxes your body, allowing you to wind down until you sleep. You’ll realize that if you trade your electronics for a book, you’re able to get to sleep sooner and feel more rested. And even when you’re not trying to sleep, reading an enjoyable book is a great short and relaxing break before you get back to busy work.

12. Have a warm (but not too warm) blanket or cover.

There’s a sweet spot for your body’s prime sleeping temperature. If you go without the covers, then you will wake up in the middle of the night freezing. If you do the opposite by getting an electric heated blanket, or one made of wool or cashmere, then you’ll interrupt your sleep because you’re burning up in a sweat. Find a blanket that is medium-warmth to sleep through the night uninterrupted.

13. Make your room completely dark.

Your body is trained to recognize light as time to be energized and darkness as a time to sleep. By making your bedroom total darkness, you give your body the nod to start rising melatonin levels, which is a main contributor to going to sleep (and why some people take melatonin pills before bed). When I did The 30-Day Challenge: Waking Up At 6 AM, I know for a fact that making my room completely dark helped me to a high degree. So if outside light is entering your room, close those window blinds or put a blanket over them to reach maximum darkness.

There you have my tried and true sleep tips for going to bed early and starting the next morning right! Try them out and see how it improves your sleep, energy, and life.

Related: 3 Ways To Wake Up Earlier Without Feeling Like Death

Readers, do you struggle with going to bed early? How would instantly going to sleep help improve your productivity? What are your best sleep tips?

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How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!

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Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.

It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.

Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:

In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:

  1. Get into push-up position
  2. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
  3. Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
  4. Look at the floor and relax your head
  5. Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
  6. Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate

That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?

Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!

How often do you plank?

What’s your experience with it?

For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?

Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.

Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?

It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!

Related:

30 Day Push-Up Challenge: Get A Beefier & Fuller Chest

The 7 Day No Bad Sugar Challenge

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111 Reasons To Exercise

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Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.

You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.

After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.

But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.

Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.

Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!

The Benefits Of Exercise

  1. Betters your quality of life
  2. Gives you more energy throughout the day
  3. Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
  4. Works to prevent the common cold
  5. Boosts productivity all day
  6. Improves your blood flow
  7. Provides endorphins to feel good
  8. Fights against depression
  9. Improves your social confidence
  10. Extends the amount of years you live
  11. Stimulates mental focus and concentration
  12. Lowers your body fat and weight
  13. Strengthens your immune system
  14. Presents opportunities to make new friends
  15. Increases testosterone
  16. Lessens risk of joint pain
  17. Tones and strengthens your skin
  18. Enhances your endurance
  19. Protects you against heart disease
  20. Lowers risk of some cancers
  21. Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
  22. Fights against dementia
  23. Motivates you to eat healthier
  24. Burns extra calories
  25. Provides a creative outlet
  26. Helps you feel sexier
  27. Drives more romance in your relationship
  28. Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
  29. Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
  30. Decreases your resting heart rate
  31. Instills discipline and self-control
  32. Teaches your kids to exercise
  33. Increases your work performance
  34. Adds a challenge to your day
  35. Strengthens your bones
  36. Develops your athletic ability
  37. Pushes you to take more risks
  38. Digests your food better
  39. Lowers risk of diabetes
  40. Lowers triglycerides
  41. Aids your immune system fighting infections
  42. Improves emotional stability
  43. Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
  44. Alleviates constipation
  45. Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
  46. Improves oxygen movement to the body
  47. Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
  48. Speeds up your metabolism
  49. Helps remove lactic acid in the body
  50. Develops a mindset of self improvement
  51. Straightens up your posture
  52. Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
  53. Develops flexibility and range of motion
  54. Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
  55. Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
  56. Helps you think positive
  57. Saves you doctor bills down the road
  58. Increases creativity
  59. Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
  60. Makes you drink more water
  61. Protects your eyes and eyesight
  62. Creates a mentality of respecting your body
  63. Builds muscle tone
  64. Provides opportunities to test your willpower
  65. Fights against allergies
  66. Makes you look younger than you are
  67. Prepares you for change
  68. Increases fertility for making babies
  69. Improves body control
  70. Allows your brain to think more clearly
  71. Helps your body store glycogen
  72. Boosts your body’s production of good fat
  73. Gets you comfortable handling pressure
  74. Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
  75. Adds muscle strength
  76. Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
  77. Takes away guilt when you do relax
  78. Increases the odds you make more money
  79. Reduces blood pressure
  80. Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
  81. Alleviates back pain
  82. Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
  83. Improves breathing ability
  84. Gives you a chance at a six pack
  85. Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
  86. Eases menstrual cramps
  87. Gets you ready to run a marathon
  88. Improves your business network and connections
  89. Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
  90. Improves reaction time
  91. Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
  92. Makes for a free social activity
  93. Reduces stress and anxiety
  94. Fights against feelings of boredom
  95. Protects against age-related muscle loss
  96. Gives you a pretty mirror view
  97. Raises your sexual performance
  98. Allows you to eat more food
  99. Makes you a more interesting person
  100. Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
  101. Builds muscle size
  102. Adds a glow to your skin complexion
  103. Teaches you the value of hard work
  104. Gives you a reason to manage your time better
  105. Protects your body against injury
  106. Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
  107. Encourages the people around you to exercise
  108. Adds to your first impression
  109. Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
  110. Increases compliments you receive from other people
  111. Gives your body what it loves, a good workout

If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.

Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.

And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.

There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.

So snap out of it.  Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.

You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.

And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.

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Interview: Dr. Littleton, “America’s Energy Doctor” Seen On Dr. Oz

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Today I have a special interview for you with a great new friend, Dr. Jason Littleton.

He’s a doctor, CEO, author, speaker, columnist, and so much more. Mainly he’s known as “America’s Energy Doctor,” and has been on The Dr. Oz Show—that’s big time.

What I appreciate about Dr. Littleton is he’s one of those guys who benefits everyone around him, making it look effortless. All you have to do is listen, and you’re going to walk away with some new wisdom or inspiration.

You’ll see what I mean in this interview.

Check it out below, and don’t forget to keep reading after the interview to see my key insights.

——

Brian: You’re super successful now. But it wasn’t always easy. Tell us about your difficult trial during the MCAT and how you got through it to become Dr. Littleton.

Dr. Jason: In a nutshell, I was on a journey to become a doctor. And one of the roadblocks that came up was when I walked out of the MCAT exam.

One of the things I realized is that when you’re going for anything, you’re going to realize what you do and don’t know about yourself that you need to change. You do this so you can become a better version of yourself.

In my case, studying for the MCAT was a whole lot different from studying in high school. In high school, you read a textbook and remember what you need for the test. Even in college, you’re learning things and you mainly memorize information to get to the next level.

But for the MCAT, there’s information there that you have to not just memorize, but retain for your future success as a medical student and as a physician.

One of the things I learned about myself is that I needed to retrain how I learned information. I needed to retrain how I studied and how I focused, so I could be better prepared when I went into that next MCAT exam.

Here’s the deal when you take a big exam like that. Sometimes there’s pressure to succeed. And I didn’t fully understand that pressure as well as I maybe should have understood.

So through self-reflection, understanding the things I did wrong, and staying motivated, I was able to go back and do the test again, and succeed. That was a difficult time that I overcame. But I never lost focus that I would be a successful doctor.

Brian: What are your overall thoughts on failure? Is failure permanent?

Dr. Jason: It’s both. Failure is a temporary thing for people who see the light at the end of the tunnel, when there’s no light. You have to have a vision for yourself. You have to be able to see it when no one else can see it. And when things in the natural don’t look like they’re going well, you still have to have a mental picture of where you’re going and that you can still get there.

For people who can do that, and everyone can do that, so for those willing to do that then failure is temporary.

For people who are not willing to see the greatness inside of them and are not willing to face difficult times and get through them, failure is permanent. Because these are the types of people who will quit, not continue on, not fight the obstacles, or embarrassment. Because sometimes people feel embarrassed when they fail.

So if you can get past the pride and the embarrassment, to see that mental picture of you on the other side, failure is temporary.

Brian: I know that you’re an energy expert. So what are three changes we can make in our lives to gain more energy throughout the day?

Dr. Jason: First, you should always start with breakfast. A lot of people skip that, but here’s the deal: Carbs are our fuel. That’s like our gasoline. So when we eat breakfast, we’re getting the carbs we need to fill our body with energy.

People shouldn’t ever avoid carbs. That’s like not putting gas in your car. You want to have elite carbs though, such as vegetables and fruit.

The other thing people should do is have snacks throughout the day. I always tell people to have six meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner with three snacks in between. When you do that, you stay energized as you go through the day.

Next thing, people should avoid drinking caffeinated drinks. Sometimes people make a habit out of that and they use caffeinated drinks for energy. But they continue that until it’s something they rely on to feel energized.

But that’s not what you need. It hurts your health. It doesn’t make you feel as energized as you actually think. It’s a lot of commercialism.

So those three things, just from a natural aspect of diet and nutrition, will give you more energy.

And here’s one bonus from a mental perspective. People have to plan to go beyond where they think their end point is. For example, if people think at 5 PM their day ends because they got off work and they’re not prepared to go beyond that, their internal mental clock says we’re done working and let’s shut it down.

But I tell people to keep the throttle going. Don’t go home at 5, sit on the couch, and turn things off. Because when you do that, you get tired, it’s hard to start again, it’s hard to work at home, and it’s hard to be an entrepreneur outside of your job.

So I tell people to plan to work to at least 10 PM. When you do that, mentally you’re prepared to go longer than you originally thought was your end point. That’s how you can also have more energy and spring to your step during the day.

Brian: From your experience as a doctor, what’s one of the biggest misconceptions an average person has about living a healthy life?

Dr. Jason: I don’t want to lose anyone here, but sometimes people think that they have to work out to an extreme extent so that they feel like they’re in the best shape of their lives.

But I argue that how many football players and athletes live beyond 70? These are people who work out to an extreme extent to become real muscle-bound. And sometimes that extreme working out causes added stress on the body and inflammation that actually doesn’t cause us to have longevity.

Some of people who have been interviewed who lived to their 100s said the secret to longevity is moderation in exercise and diet. Some of the extremes in terms of fitness won’t take you to longevity.

I’m not saying don’t lift weights, don’t go running, don’t work out. I’m saying do it in moderation, don’t do it to an extreme.

Sometimes people will do it to an extent where they don’t feel good about themselves until they’re beating their body to the extreme. When you do that, it damages your health.

Brian: Walk us through how you got featured on Dr. Oz and what that experience was like on national TV?

Dr. Jason: First of all, I have a business coach, Dr. Stacia Pierce, who is world-renowned business coach who has helped me get engaged with people like a Dr. Oz and a Dr. Nandi.

Having a coach is paramount because you need someone, as an entrepreneur, that will push you beyond what you think you can do. I wouldn’t be where I am without my coach.

She pushed me to write my first book WellSpring: The Energy Secrets TO DO The Good Life. As I started marketing myself, people got wind of what I was doing.

And one day I received an email from the social producer from The Dr. Oz Show, asking me to talk about Dr. Oz’s magnesium grocery list and how I used it with my patients.

Of course I accepted that opportunity.

Brian: What’s your favorite book, fiction or nonfiction, and why?

Dr. Jason: One of my all time favorite books is Your Best Life Now by Pastor Joel Osteen. It’s a great book about making positive affirmations, believing in the favor of God, and really walking your faith out to be your best.

I think it’s a great book because when I read that it helped me through my journey of success as a physician.

There’s another book that’s really dear to my heart. It’s by Dr. James Pierce and it’s called The Success Secrets of Excellence. And it’s about how to be excellent in life, in your job, in your business, being on time for appointments, and how you look excellent because people treat you how you look.

Those two books, and my business coach Stacia Pierce, have made me the person I am today.

Brian: What’s your life mission?

Dr. Jason: My life mission is to help people find their passion and to use that so that they can live as healthy as possible, so that they can buy more time on this earth, and so they can carry it out.

Helping people do that enriches the world. Helping people live longer and be energized to do what they’re passionate about is a huge part of my purpose.

Brian: Where can Take Your Success readers go to learn more about you and your work?

Dr. Jason: People can go to my website: www.jasonmd.com. There they can find links to my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles.

And on my website they’ll be able to get to every social media site, book, and resource that I have.

——

What I learned is that Dr. Littleton has a clear vision for the world, his patients, and his life. That’s to live with passion.

And his passion empowers him to do his best work, regardless of the arena.

His passion to be a doctor carried him through his difficult time with the MCAT. His passion to help others live with energy improves the lives of his patients and the people around them. And his passion for entrepreneurship pushes him to continual business success.

I’m totally with him. There’s a 180 degree difference between someone who is pursuing their passion and someone who isn’t. You can see it in their day-to-day life, their mood, and often their eyes.

So I, and I know Dr. Littleton agrees, challenge you to find your passion. It’s the best thing for the people around you and you.

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