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Six Valuable Lessons to Learn from Thailand

Six Valuable Lessons to Learn from Thailand

I have often found that when compared to South East Asia, the western culture is fast paced and focuses on things that don’t actually matter. We strive to find happiness and contentment in life but our methods tend to fall short. The car you drive, the clothes you wear and the house you live in are not a definition of your true passions in life. They will never bring you a sense of wholeness.

There are remedies for the western world and many things to learn from Thailand that can be found in the way Thai people view life.

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1. Happy Regardless of Circumstance

Thai people have a happiness in them regardless of what they own. Something to learn from Thailand is to appreciate what you have. Thai’s keep life simple, often having a small business that brings enough money in to sustain them. Some don’t have a real home but you can see them smiling as they sit under an aluminum roof with the rest of their family. Kids play with sticks in the dirt with more enthusiasm than a child sitting on a cozy couch playing video games n North America.

2. Living Off the Land

While most of us don’t live in a climate that allows fresh exotic fruits to grow abundantly, there are still some things we can use from nature. Many of the herbs and fruits that grow naturally can also be used medicinally. In most countries, there are native plants, fruits and vegetables that you can grow. In a culture like ours that is now concerned about pesticides, grow your own organic plants in whatever space you have. Find out about the medicinal herbs that grow in your area.

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3. Taking a Nap

All over Thailand, you’ll see people closing their eyes for a quick cat nap whenever the opportunity arises. Whether they’re sitting up, standing or laying down, it’s not abnormal for someone to take a nap in a public place. While they work long hours, they take the opportunity to shut their eyes throughout the day many times. Their ability to fall asleep even in the middle of a busy place symbolizes that they can shut out the world and find relaxation anywhere.

4. Overcome Obstacles with a Smile

This is a big point to learn from Thailand. Thai people have a way of dealing with things that ensure they never really stress out. They seem to realize that for every problem, there is a solution they can offer. They are innovative in their problem solving. For example, if there is a day the government states no alcohol can be sold, a bar will put your beer in a plastic cup.

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If they aren’t supposed to sell things in a certain area, they put their whole business on wheels. That way, if the police do come, they can roll away without getting caught out. I have never seen a Thai person get stressed in a moment of chaos. You think they’re not taking action because they’re not running around but they figure out a solution in their own time.

5. Family Dynamics

Family takes care of family throughout their lifetime. A grandmother is respected and the matriarch of the family. She will never be sent to an old folks home, instead her children will take care of her and go to work to pay the bills. Family sticks together and supports one another so there’s little loneliness in life’s journey for the Thais. While our social structure in the West is much different, it’s still an important lesson to learn from Thailand: family matters.

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6. Devout Buddhists

The land of Buddhists don’t label yoga and meditation as some trendy activity. It’s a way of life and you will see the tiniest toddler put their hands together and bow to Buddha. They are real about meditation, going into monasteries for weeks of silence. You lay on cement at night and wake up before dawn.

Their way of viewing meditation is a sense of respect for their religion as opposed to a way of not yelling at your kids. Maybe their meditative practices and lessons in the Buddhist philosophy are why Thai people live in the way they do.

Featured photo credit: Tord Remme/flickr via flickr.com

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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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