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5 Reasons Why the Uberman Sleep Cycle Could Be Your Weapon to a More Productive Life!

5 Reasons Why the Uberman Sleep Cycle Could Be Your Weapon to a More Productive Life!

Clocking an average of 6 to 8 hours of sleep ensures that you are well rested, ready to tackle the challenges the next day brings—usually, another 8 hours at work. Whether you are a student, working adult or even a stay-at-home mom, the truth is that we spend a third of our lives in bed, sleeping.

The majority of the world functions on a monophasic sleep cycle, where an estimated 30 percent of your day is dedicated to your bed and another third to work or school; it essentially leaves you with slightly less than 8 hours for everything else—travel, play, food, errands.

As you look into various ways of optimizing your time, the Uberman Sleep Cycle might be one to consider. Plus, it might just be the secret you need to a more productive life! While some may say that it is impractical and the toughest sleep pattern to adopt, it’s still worth looking into. Here are 5 reasons why the Uberman sleep cycle can make your life more efficient.

1. 3 Hours of Sleep

Being a polyphasic schedule, the Uberman sleep cycle offers you a chance to not only gain better quality sleep, but also to significantly increase the amount of time you have in a day.

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Essentially, with six to eight 20 minute naps each day that amounts to a total of about 3 hours of sleep, this sleep pattern leaves you with a lot more time on your hands to pursue the things you’ve always had no time for. Just like having 5 small meals per day, having multiple short naps a day when properly executed, leaves you feeling alert and sharp when you’re awake.

2. Increased Creativity 

Scientific studies have concluded that a person’s creativity is directly related to the amount and quality of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep they have. In a normal course of monophasic sleep, a person can have anywhere between 3 to 5, sometimes 6 REM cycles.

With a polyphasic sleep schedule, you are guaranteed 6 to 8 REM cycles, which will in turn stimulate your creativity to a larger extent.

3. Mental Clarity

REM sleep is highly linked to mental clarity. Sleep studies have shown that even if you obtain 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, if you are unable to enter REM cycles in your sleep, you will wake up feeling tired and exhausted; unable to focus or concentrate on anything. This is against the benefits of productivity that a good night of monophasic sleep can provide

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In today’s world, it is often common that people go through this. Between stress, traffic noise, light pollution, technological gadgets such as your mobile and computer and more, a person’s sleep cycle can be easily interrupted, and they may not be able to obtain the required number of REM cycles needed for their body to recuperate and recover.

Just a thought—when was the last time you were awoken from sleep in the middle of the night? With the guaranteed REM cycles from the Uberman sleep schedule, you’ll be sure that you will have all your mental acuities ready to call on.

4. Energy

Of course, if we don’t sleep, we feel tired. If we continue to go about our day without sleeping at all, it might not even be our choice anymore when our body shuts down and we lose consciousness.

Energy is another factor that is closely linked to REM cycles. Essentially, the more REM cycles, the more energy you have, and in today’s context, you can always use more energy.

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The Uberman sleep schedule ensures that you are refreshed and recharged after each power nap. And just when you’re feeling tired after that nap, it’s probably time for the next one. This allows for constant and timely rests throughout the day, keeping you going without the risk of exhaustion.

5. Alone Time

Throughout this whole article, we’ve been talking about the benefits of polyphasic sleep—how to get more time, more creativity, more energy and to have a sharper mind. However, there’s one more reason why you should strongly consider polyphasic sleep.

In today’s world, we owe our time to a lot of people—our parents, our spouses, our children, our bosses, the community, our friends, and so many more people and things that demand our attention and time. It’s easy to lose track of yourself in this busy world and we need our own alone time to be able to relax, meditate, and reflect.

Polyphasic sleep gives you exactly that. With the amount of time you’ll be awake when everyone is sleeping, you’ll have plenty of time to take care of yourself. Some polyphasic sleepers have reported suddenly taking on a hobby they’ve always wanted to do but never had time for, like painting, and not just painting one or two canvases, but over a hundred canvases in a matter of months. This is simply because they were now able to dedicate a good few hours every day to their craft.

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In summary, polyphasic sleep has very clear benefits; however, it is also very important to mention the fact that taking it on is not for everyone. The initial adaptation cycle is tough, but if you are determined and persistent, the rewards can be very huge.

Featured photo credit: Sad man holding pillow/Vic via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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