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Why your Morning Shower should be FREEZING

Why your Morning Shower should be FREEZING

BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ! My 5:30 AM alarm greets me to a new day. I lift my head from my cushioned pillow, slide off my comfy mattress, and drag my feet through my carpeted floors. I turn off ceiling fan cools down the hot nights and proceed to my bathroom, complete with temperature controlled running water and even a toilet seat cushion. Everything is exactly how I want it…and that’s the problem.

The advances in technology we enjoy today have undoubtedly made our lives better, but we’ve forgotten what it’s like to experience discomfort. It’s too hot? Turn on the A/C. Water’s too cold? Adjust the faucet knob. Heck, we even take average experiences and make them feel great. Your car seat is only normal? Take a heated seat and your butt will feel AMAZING. Discomfort has become foreign to us. We reject anything less than total luxury, but that standard makes us exceedingly risk averse and miss out on HUGE opportunities day after day.

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Why Risk Taking is Important:

People denounce risky behavior. They insist you should “play it safe” or “take the sure path.” That’s bull. Research by behavioral economists Matthias Brachert and Walter Hyll shows that those with a high tolerance of risk create better businesses.

“The results show that entrepreneurs with low risk tolerance before entering self-employment and increased risk tolerance when self-employed have a higher probability of survival than similar entrepreneurs experiencing a decrease in the willingness to take risks.”

Even more, successful entrepreneurs learn to grow more comfortable with risk. Remember, this isn’t a licence to max out your credit cards and buy lottery tickets. Just practice making decisions you’re not 100% comfortable with. What keeps most people from experiencing the benefits taking chances affords? Discomfort. That feeling of anxiety in your chest right before you ask your boss for a raise, or ask that cute girl out. Our cushioned, heated, 100% comfort lives have programmed us to flee this feeling and never take the chances necessary to get ahead. Luckily I have an exercise that’ll teach you to overcome your discomfort avoidance system and get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Take Cold Showers:

A cold shower in the morning is the perfect habit to train yourself to gamble more often. Overcoming the intense anxiety of stepping into the shower when you know the water is FREEZING completely breaks the endless cycle of comfort. It’s not so much the shower itself (though there are many benefits to bathing in cold water) but the mental process you go through BEFORE the shower. You feel the anxiety. You feel the discomfort. You flinched when you put your arm in the water. Thoughts of quitting enter your mind. There’s always tomorrow morning right? You’ll be more ready then. No. You quell those thoughts and you get in. You faced the fear and discomfort and pushed through anyway. That’s what makes it effective.

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When I started this habit early in January, it took me thirty minutes (yes a whole half hour!) to get in the shower. Now I enter in mere moments. And the benefits? I feel almost zero stress, have become more outgoing socially (as a staunch introvert) and have created countless opportunities for myself from risks I’ve taken that have worked out in my favor (I’m writing for Lifehack as a high school senior). Interested in trying for yourself? Ahead are some strategies that helped when I started.

Pro Tips for Cold Showers:

  1. Just Jump In: Thinking about the coldness will just give you time to think of reasons not to go. Don’t waste 30 minutes of your life like I did in the beginning. Don’t give yourself time to think. Pull the curtain back and run in.
  2. Ease Into It: Start showering with hot water then switch to cold water after a few seconds. I noticed that I was less resistant to the cold water once I was already wet and feeling good. Use this if you’re really struggling.
  3. Sing a Song: Sounds crazy but singing helps keep your mind off of the freezing water. Again, your brain will only come up with reasons to stop if you allow it to fixate on the discomfort. Pick a song in the shower that you enjoy and know all the words to and sing it all the way through. You (almost) forget and feel like you’re taking a normal shower. Good Morning from Singin’ In the Rain was a lifesaver during my first few showers

Whether you prefer to dive in headfirst or sing a song as you go makes no difference. It’s stepping into the shower, ignoring the initial fear and trepidation, and owning the discomfort that works in your favor. When you master the fear that stems from discomfort you knock down the cell walls. Nothing holds you back from taking the risks necessary to achieve your goals giving you a major advantage over your peers. And don’t worry, you can still sleep on your mattress.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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