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9570633249 920961c0f1 z 5 New Sleeping Tips Thatll Stop You From Being a Zombie

You don’t look this good after 5 hours of sleep.

It’s been a while since I’ve published anything here (more on that later), but I promise these sleeping tips and health “test” will worth the effort and make life a little better.

I recently turned 45 which doesn’t freak me out. What freaks me out is that in five years I’ll be 50. That’s almost too much to stomach. Plus, I’ve been waiting for my mustache to come in ever since a girlfriend in high school said I’d look good with one when I grew up. So that didn’t happen.

As I get older, my body is revolting against all the obstacle races, scuba diving, runs, wrestling with my boys and ten hours of sitting and staring at a computer screen every day. I get monkey fist-sized knots in my back that no massage therapist can get out in hours, my hips are like stone and I don’t sleep. You don’t either, I know because you tell me. And I see everyone walking around like caffeinated zombies. Which, coincidentally is a killer band name.

I have little tricks I use that helps the stiffness, but I want to focus on sleep today because I’m such a terrible sleeper that I’m always reading and searching for new tricks and hacks. Plus, I always get good feedback when I write about sleep. Because no one sleeps anymore.

Enter — once again, Tim Ferriss, who has a new podcast and it is chocked full of all kinds of information. Some he’s recycled, but the other hacks and tips have been fantastic. I’ve sung his praises many times and told you guys about a tip he gave to never be tired again. Well, his guests Kelly Starrett and Dr. Jason Mager on a recent episode had more gems about getting the perfect night sleep. Or at least six hours.

Starrett is a superstar physical therapist, coach and mobility specialist who trains Olympic athletes, NFL players, crazy ultra-endurance freaks, athletes from the armed forces and everyone else in between. He has a whole site full of videos to fix common mobility problems by yourself and presents them in a way you can understand. I have no idea who the other guy is, but he is smart as hell and talks like a doctor should in 2014. He promotes health instead of fixing symptoms.

All three stressed the importance of sleep to be at all healthy and function in a high-paced workforce. And if you’re competing in anything remotely strenuous, then you won’t last long without it.

Before the tips, they did talk about how you can tell how healthy you are first thing in the morning with these two big barometers:

  • The #1 thing they said in order to gauge your health is to pay attention to how you feel when you wake up. Do you feel like shit? That’s bad. I always feel like I just ran a marathon while being chased by Michael Myers. Not good. If you feel like you’re ready to take on the day, then you’re on the right track.
  • Do you have “morning wood?” If so, then you’re good. It’s a barometer of health and also reminds you that you’re awake, and alive. If you never do, it’s time for that yearly physical. Just bring your doc something nice for the effort.

Here are their sleeping tips that they said everyone needs to be following to maximize sleep and health:

  1. No light in your room whatsoever. They actually said you should be a diva and wear a sleeping mask. It reminds me of the way Mrs. Roper slept on Three’s Company, and that wasn’t pretty. No screens in your room at all. No phones, computers, or TV’s. They all give off a little light even when they’re turned off and that can be enough to screw up the entire snooze.
  2. Staying with the diva theme, also use earplugs to block out any noise. Tough for parents. I always feel like I need to be ready for when that team of ninjas storms the house and Rocco and I need to spring into action. That hasn’t happened … yet.
  3. Your mattress should be soft. This goes against conventional thinking, and I can’t explain this one, you’ll have to listen to the podcast, but body alignment comes into play.
  4. Your room should be cold – not above 62 degrees. Heat bad, cold good. Probably why we all sleep like shit when it’s 95 degrees, like it was here this weekend.
  5. Never sleep on your stomach. This has more to do with body alignment than anything else, but it was a big deal to Starrett. He says to sleep on your back with a memory form type pillow.

These tips really help, but I find it’s tough being consistent with them. I’ve also been experimenting a bit with sleep cycles, which actually help as well. Good luck and pass this on to anyone who know that doesn’t sleep well or wonders about their “morning” health. Check out the full podcast here, but bring a pen and paper — so much great, life-improving gems.

Check out my new writing and creativity blog Man Vs. Words here.

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Well, I did it.

3638772707 86859b7b59 z e1397163743120 A Big Annoucement: Read This or the Puppy Gets It

We have lift off for Man Vs. Words.

Embracing the “it’s better late than never” motto, I finally launched my new blog over at Man Vs. Words. I’d love to say it was inevitable, but it was touch-and-go there for a while. I’m thrilled, relieved and a little freaked out. You’d think we’d finally get to an age where we stopped getting freaked out, but no such luck.

In any creative project, there comes a point where you begin to hate the sight of what you’re working on. This was no different. The nice part is if you can grind through the fog you can eventually come out of that darkness into the light, and excitement comes rushing back. Man Vs. Words has been five years in the making (give or take 23) . My hope is that it’s a place for a discussion about overcoming the struggles of writing and creativity, and some direction for those eager to start creating content.

I’ve been a writer since I was 16 years old, and it saved me because it was around the same time when I sat in Geometry completely confused. A decade of numbers, and now shapes? Rediculous. I failed miserably, but writing pulled me out of the pit of Sweathogs and into something I really loved. Since then I’ve been widely published and created/managed content for Fortune 500 companies, TV, games, radio, online, mobile … the list goes on. It’s the greatest passion of mine (outside my kids) and I’m more excited about this than anything else I’ve ever done. While my writing hasn’t been published as much as in the past, I’ve been doing a lot of consulting to small businesses and writers around content strategy and writing. If you know anyone that could use a little help, let me know.

Since you guys have been listening to the fun, horror and confusion that is my life, I thought I’d tell you first. If you like it or know someone who’d get something out if, please share it. Oh, who am I kidding? Share it with everyone you know, please! I’ll be your best friend and if you ever encounter me in a bar or coffee shop, the first one (and probably the last one) is on me. I’d appreciate it. The is the first project where I’m openly marketing it, which is a moving target these days.

I feel it’s important to say that I edited my about page 118 times (no joke, WordPress tracks these little horrors), took an entire page out last night, changed 1/2 the text on the  site within the last week, and feel like I’ll be standing in my underwear at my junior high “just say no to drugs” assembly.

As for this blog, I have the feeling that it’s coming to the end of its life, but will evolve. Just like we all do. I’ll always write and do my best to throw hilarity and ideas I come across out to you, hoping it helps in a small way.

Again, thanks for reading and the support. I appreciate it.

Craig

 

(image by NASA courtesy of Creative Commons)

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5091849367 09dcb559a8 b e1398204799412 Do You Remember Your First Concert? Mine Had Firecrackers and Fear

That first concert is an experience.

Few things classify as life-changing anymore. Your first concert used to be one of those life-changing events that you talked about forever. It was for me and my buddies when Rush invaded Tacoma, WA in 1984.

I suppose you could argue just how life changing it was for me since I saw Wang Chung four months later (they opened for the Cars), but seeing Rush back when concerts were still crazy, lawless and dangerous gave me a glimpse at life outside my little neighborhood tucked in the suburbs.

It was brought to my attention last week that this was the 30th anniversary (seriously?) of that tour, hence, a huge anniversary in my own life. Then it dawned on me that kids don’t long for that live music experience like they used to anymore. It’s sad because it eliminates a right of passage from snot-nosed kid to an adolescence filled with uncomfortable questions and that first real taste of freedom.

Rush was supporting their “Grace Under Pressure” album in that Spring of ’84. An album that was true to the 80′s in that it came with “extra keyboards” and found guitarist Alex Lifeson fully immersed in the Miami Vice look. This was back when concerts were raw, edgy, and dangerous. The stories of Ozzy shows were legendary, Dio scared the shit out of everyone and Motely Crue shows took no prisoners. Drugs and alcohol were everywhere and fights were rampant. So, Rush was a big first show.

I went with two friends who were just as naïve. At 14, I was so excited that within minutes, I owned a Rush t-shirt, program and bandanna. I was ready for anything … or so I thought.

While waiting for the show to start after the opening act (Gary Moore of Thin Lizzy), a reject from “Dazed and Confused” with a bitchin‘ mustache and feathered hair lit and launched an entire pack of firecrackers into the air over the general admission area. It was deafening chaos followed by cheers from every stoner in a tanktop. I knew I’d bitten off more than I could chew, thankfully, I was blessed with that ability. We rounded up our merchandise faster than we’d ever done anything in our lives and made our way through the alcohol-fueled crowd up to safety — reserved seats that we paid $14 for. We weren’t general admission material. Not even close.

That $14 ticket included a fifty cent Ticketmaster charge that seemed like highway robbery at the time. I remember thinking, “they get 50 cents for every ticket in here? How is that possible?” I was amazed. This was obviously before they decided to hold us all hostage with fees as big as the GDP of a small nation. Bastards.

rush ticketstub 1984.jpg 300x174 Do You Remember Your First Concert? Mine Had Firecrackers and Fear

Yes, this is the ticket stub from the Rush tour in 1984 (photo courtesy of Earl Gustafson)

It’s hard to describe the feeling in an arena right before a band takes the stage. It’s more than excitement. More than electricity. It’s something else. I guess you could blend those all together, mix in passion, boy-like anticipation, a little confusion and you might be close. God forbid you hear the kickdrum while you’re waiting — you feel it in your chest like a punch from a supermodel. It was the first time I was in the middle of that kind of whirlwind, and I loved it.

Then, like out of nowhere they cut the lights to 20,000 people and weird recorded music started playing (Rush always does something goofy at the beginning of shows), and you’re taken with how fast the lighters come up. Like little head-banging fireflies. Thankfully, there’s always one guy whose lighter is about six inches higher than the rest. And he loves it. I wondered if this was really happening. Oh, it was happening, because without warning one of the greatest guitar licks (I can call it that as a child of the 80′s) comes out of nowhere and Alex is under a single spotlight attacking “The Spirit of Radio.” Five seconds later Neil Peart and Geddy Lee kicked in and I swear I almost cried.

In the history of music, there is no better opening song to a live show than “The Spirit of Radio.” Not sure what Mozart opened with, but it’s boy-band quality compared to this.

The first five minutes of your first Rush show is like a blur. You immediately realize these are three of best musicians in the world, they’re not mailing it in, and this crowd might be too passionate about this band.

As the band down-shifted into “Red Barchetta,” a tough guy with a bad pre-teen mustache and a jean jacket with a Dio patch that hadn’t seen a washing machine since disco ruled sat beside me and put a handful of joints between us. It was like he was daring me to take them– in a very “Robert Conrad, I dare ya‘ ” sort of way. He just stared at me. I was easy-picken’s with my Richie Cunningham haircut that had been blessed by a Rush headband.

I sat there sweating for what must have been forever until what sounded like thunder filled the Tacoma Dome. Neil ripped into a historic drum solo and it was like a drill sergeant snapped everyone to attention. The world around me stopped and my jaw dropped as Neil did things I never thought possible. My life changed. And while I still suck at playing the drums, he’s an influence to anyone wanting to perfect their passion. The solo seemed never-ending, but when he finally wrapped it up after hitting his cowbells and gong, I was in a weird trance-like state clutching my program. And the tough guy was gone — joints and all.

The show ended and we filed out with the stoners, tough guys and delinquents. No craziness ensued because we’d all been bonded by the experience we had. There was a lot of air-drumming, smoking and strutting with no shirt on. After the long walk out we seemed to be the only ones who got into a bright yellow VW camper driven by their mom.

We may have been back in the safe confines of our parents, but we had, for the first time, seen the other side. And we were already gone.

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‘Everywhere I Go People Are Happy’

You open the door and quickly slide into another forgettable Starbucks to escape the rain and an audible gasp emits from the packed store. After realizing they’re not dreaming, the group breaks into a frantic applause. All because you walked in for mediocre cup of coffee. Faces light up like Christmas trees, camera phones are […]

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