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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

How To Wake Up Earlier: Science-Backed Tricks For Night Owls

How To Wake Up Earlier: Science-Backed Tricks For Night Owls

Our modern lives strongly encourage the development night owl sleeping habits. There’s 24-hours services, bustling nightlife, artificial lighting and the lure of the internet.

We’ve clearly become far less dependent on natural sunlight, but if we are not careful this habit will catch up with us. It can become increasingly difficult to wake up early in the mornings amongst other negative health implications.

Benefits of Becoming an Early Bird

As the expression goes, the early bird catches the worm! More specifically, here are a number of reasons change to sleep early and wake up early:

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  • You will feel energized, refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead
  • The peace of early morning and extra time will skyrocket your productivity
  • You will accomplish more with your day without working harder
  • Studies have shown you are likely to be happier and healthier overall!

Clever Tricks to Banish Your Night Owl Habits

Changing your sleeping habits will be challenging, but with the right strategies and a couple of tricks, you’ll be rising with the birds in no time!

1. During the Day: Restore Natural Light Exposure

It’s strongly believed a significant contributor to unhealthy sleeping habits is a separation from natural sunlight. Many of us spend the majority of our day under artificial lighting, not to mention blue lighting from computer screens and mobile devices.

Our modern lifestyles can utterly confuse our natural body clocks, even preventing the release of sleep-inducing melatonin.

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So, to help you sleep early and wake up early, you should first try to increase your natural exposure to sunlight:

  • Open your curtains before you go to sleep, the flood of natural light entering your room in the morning will ensure you rise with the birds. This will certainly help kick start your natural circadian rhythm.

Then you should decrease your exposure to unnatural sources later in the day. Here are a couple ways to follow the natural light as it fades, winding down your environment to mimic it:

  • Dim the lights as the evening progresses. Use shaded lights and lamps to create a more relaxed environment
  • An hour or so before bed, shut down all electronic devices without excuses. This includes the TV, laptop, and any mobile devices

2. In the Evening: Have a Nighttime Routine

It’s easy to get wrapped up with work and other commitments. Before you know it, it’s already 10PM and you’re still wide-awake. To break this habit you need to set yourself a simple nighttime routine.

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  1. Start off with a gentle alarm/reminder at least an hour before bedtime. This will signal the start of your evening wind down.
  2. Tie up loose ends, finish up what you’re doing and shut down your computer and electronic devices.
  3. When you are ready for bed, retire to a dimmed bedroom and perform a relaxing activity such as reading
  4. Finally before sleeping, remind yourself why it’s important to wake up early and visualize it happening.

Building a simple bedtime ritual enables you to wind down gradually and get you off to sleep nice and early.

3. In the Morning: Wake Up Physically and Mentally

Eventually, you should be able to ditch your alarm clock altogether. However, during this transitional stage, having an alarm is going to be a dreaded essential. Use these tricks to help you wake up more naturally:

  • Don’t make the mistake of setting an obnoxious alarm, it will only serve to ramp up your stress. Instead, wake up gently to the sound of a radio talk show, podcast or similar. Hearing these conversations will also serve to awaken your mind.
  • Move your alarm as far away from your bed as possible. The mere act of standing up and going to switch off your alarm will wake up physically.
  • To ensure to your fully awake and reduce the chance of a retreat back to the bed, splash your face with cold water.

4. Bonus: Take a Camping Trip

Separating yourself from all your distractions and artificial stimuli can be beneficial to your overall health. Also, there’s no more effective way to reset your body clock than returning to more natural roots.

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Going out to rise and shine with the birds is a powerful indirect trick. You will be working physically during the day, basking in the natural sunlight and winding down over a campfire in the evening.

If you fancy a weekend away, camping could help you slip back into a more harmonious sleeping pattern.

Featured photo credit: Emma Simpson via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on January 22, 2021

The Ultimate Coffee Guide For Energy Boost

The Ultimate Coffee Guide For Energy Boost

You’ve probably experienced the energy-boosting power of coffee — thanks to its high caffeine content. But not all of us really know how to drink coffee for the maximum energy boost.

Do you know the best times, quantities and types of coffee to drink for boosting your energy in a balanced and sustained way? If not, then you’ve come to the right place, as this guide will show you everything you need to know about drinking coffee to boost your energy, motivation and productivity.

What You Didn’t Know About Coffee

Let’s start with some background information about coffee drinking.

Coffee drinking dates back many centuries[1], with evidence of coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree being documented in the early 15th century in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. From there, the practice soon spread to Mecca and Medina. By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East and parts of Africa. Coffee drinking then spread to the Balkans, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Despite some religious leaders at that time attempting to ban coffee drinking, its usage around the world has continued to grow. This has been helped in part by the popularity of coffee houses, which began opening and attracting customers in the 17th century.

Today, coffee is one of the world’s most highly traded commodities, and according to the National Coffee Association, coffee is currently the most consumed beverage apart from water.

For many people around the world, coffee helps them start their day and also provides a welcome physical and mental boost throughout their day.

The Benefits of Drinking Coffee

While some people primarily drink coffee for its pleasant taste, other people choose the beverage as a way to give themselves a natural uplift.

Coffee also has several other benefits[2], including:

  • Helps you stay focused and alert
  • Helps fight depression
  • Helps you burn fat
  • Helps boost your physical performance

Coffee’s energy-boosting power is mostly due to the caffeine it contains. This stimulant is absorbed into your bloodstream after you drink coffee. From there, it makes its way to your brain. In the brain, caffeine works to block the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine. This then increases the amount of other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine. This leads to the enhanced firing of neurons.

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Human studies[3] show that coffee improves different aspects of brain function, including mood, memory and reaction times.

Of course, extreme coffee consumption is not to be recommended, as it can lead to adverse side effects[4] such as insomnia and restlessness. Some coffee addicts also experience digestive issues, rapid heart rate and even anxiety.

However, as this guide will show, when you get your coffee consumption right, you’ll be able to take advantage of the tangible benefits while at the same time minimizing any of the downsides.

In my experience, coffee is the best energy-boosting nutrient currently available. It’s also cheap, tasty and convenient.

Let’s look now at…

The CEO Way to Drinking Coffee for Energy

As the CEO of Lifehack, it’s vital that I always have abundant energy and focus. Every day is busy, with dozens of important decisions to be made. There’s never a time when I can afford to be low in motivation and low in creativity.

That’s why I have come to depend on the energy-boosting power of drinking coffee. It helps wake me up and keeps me alert throughout my working day.

So let me share with you now some of the best ways I’ve discovered for consuming coffee for energy.

Best Times to Drink Coffee

Rule No. 1 is to only drink coffee in the morning time.[5]

Why? Because if you drink coffee in the afternoon, it is likely to disrupt your sleep — which is definitely not a good or healthy thing to do.

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Another reason to only drink coffee in the morning is because of the exponential decay of caffeine in the body.[6] Essentially, once consumed, caffeine stays in the body for quite some time. Studies show that it leaves the body at a rate of about 11% per hour. This gives it a half life of about 6 hours. To put this in practical terms, if you drink a cup of coffee with 100mg of caffeine at 10am, you’ll still have about 50mg of caffeine remaining in your system at 4pm.

With this in mind, I’d recommend you don’t drink coffee any later than lunchtime. By doing this, you’ll still get the energy lift from the caffeine throughout the afternoon, but it won’t turn you into an insomniac!

Best Amount of Coffee to Drink

How much coffee should you drink in a morning for the best — but most balanced — energy boost?

The answer is 16oz.

This is the optimum amount of coffee intake to give you a substantial lift without overdoing it.[7]

Of course 16oz of coffee can be high or low caffeine depending on the type of coffee you choose to drink. For example, an 8oz drip coffee has more caffeine than a 10oz espresso.

If you’re a healthy adult, aim to consume about 400mg of caffeine in a morning. That’s around 2-3 espresso shots or five teaspoons of instant coffee. (Bear in mind that the caffeine content of different products varies widely.) If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, then it’s recommended that you limit your caffeine intake to about 200mg per day.[8]

When choosing which type of coffee to drink, it’s worth paying attention to the coffee extraction process used. Variables such as type of coffee, grind size, water temperature and extraction time can make a huge difference to the taste of your drink — and the amount of caffeine it contains.

My suggestion is to find the taste you like, calculate how much caffeine per cup it contains, and then work out the exact amount of coffee cups in a morning you can drink.

Personally, I’m a big fan of drip coffee. This is definitely one of the fastest and most convenient ways of getting a tasty drink with an ample of amount of the energy-boosting stimulant caffeine.

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How to Choose the Best Coffee Beans

I recommend you go for Robusta coffee beans. On average, Robusta beans have twice as much caffeine content as Arabica beans.[9] That means you can make and drink less coffee but still get the same energy boost. Sometimes less really is more!

When choosing coffee beans, the next thing to pay attention to is the roast date. You should make sure that your purchase is within one month of the roast date. That will ensure maximum freshness, and will also give you the best taste (many people say that coffee beans are at their peak 2 weeks after roasting).

Talking of roast, depending on your taste preference, you can choose to go with light, medium or dark roast. Most people prefer light to medium roast, as these roasts have an appealing fruity but full-bodied flavor.

Interestingly, you might assume that dark roast has the most caffeine. However, the reality is that light roast has the most caffeine, followed by medium roast, followed by dark roast.[10] This is good news if you’re looking to drink coffee as a natural stimulant. By choosing light or medium roasts you can get the twin benefits of a great tasting coffee with a significant amount of caffeine.

I highly recommend Infuel Energy and Infuel Energy Plus Coffee Beans — these light roast coffee beans will help boost your energy and focus so you can stay motivated and productive all day long. These premium coffee beans are sourced following a strict set of rules that ensures the coffee products improve the living conditions of small farmers and are produced with sustainable practices. All purchases of Infuel Energy Coffee are roasted to order to guarantee they reach you at peak freshness.

What You Need To Make the Perfect Cup Of Coffee

In this section, I want to introduce you to some of the essential equipment that you’ll need to make yourself great coffee. I’ll explain why each piece of equipment matters to the coffee making process, as well as giving you my reasons for picking these particular products.

1. A Digital Coffee Scale

    A digital scale is always handy. TIMEMORE Digital Coffee Scale will enable you to take total control of your coffee brewing process. I especially like the fact that the coffee scale measures in 0.1g increments — this is super-high precision, making it easy to get the right ratio of coffee to water. You can use this scale for making all kinds of coffee, including drip coffee, French press, iced coffee, AeroPress, etc.

    As I’m sure you can imagine, a coffee scale will be much more accurate than using a tablespoon to measure. This will help you to get the flavor and intensity that you prefer, and can greatly increase the flavor of your preferred method. It all comes down to consistently getting the right ratio between coffee and water. A digital coffee scale will make this convenient and easy for you.

    2. A Good Kettle

    The quality of a kettle can make or break your coffee. Miroco Gooseneck Electric Pour-Over Kettle will enable you to brew the perfect coffee thanks to its ‘temperature hold function’. It also has a built in digital stopwatch to ensure that you neither under brew nor over brew your coffee. For safety and peace of mind, the kettle also features an auto shut-off function.

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    3. Drip Coffee Decanter

      I love the Japanese made coffee decanter Hario V60 Drip Coffee Decanter. It’s simple to use, easy to wash and gives you a delightful barista experience. In terms of size, this decanter can hold up to 700ml, providing enough for 4-5 normal sized cups of coffee.

      4. Paper Coffee Filters

      There’re plenty of nice paper coffee filters out there, but Hario V60 Paper Coffee Filters are the perfect complement to the coffee decanter above. Designed in Japan, each pack contains 200 disposable white tabbed size 02 paper filters. I particularly like the fact that the filters are chlorine free. While the filters are single-use only, their size will allow you to make up to 4 coffee cups at a time.

      5. A Decent Grinder

        Grinding is the most important part in coffee making, so it’s vital that you choose a decent grinder. There are two types of coffee grinders, hand grinders and electric grinders. I’d recommend these, depends on your budget:

        If you’re looking for the best hand grinder, KT Porex Hand-Ground Coffee Mill Ceramic will be it. It’s a quality Japanese made hand grinder. While the grinding takes some effort on your part, I’m confident you’ll be impressed with the results!

        If a budget hand grinder is what you need, I recommend Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill. Despite its budget price, this is great hand grinder. Thanks to a new and improved grind shaft and burr stabilization plate, it’s simple to get a uniform grind. The nonslip rubber base also helps keeps the mill firmly in place during grinding.

        For those who prefer an electric grinder, I think OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is the best one. This premium electric coffee grinder offers uniform grinding for optimal flavor extraction. It also features 15 grinding settings so you can get the perfect coffee. In addition, a one touch start timer conveniently keeps your last setting. I’ve used this grinder for the last couple of years, and I highly recommend it.

        How to Make the Perfect Drip Coffee

        As I’ve highlighted several times in this guide, the best coffee both tastes good and also has a high level of caffeine content.

        Check out this video by James Hoffmann on how to make the perfect drip coffee:

        To ensure your coffee tastes good and has a high level of caffeine contents when making drip coffee, do the following:

        • Bring at least 20oz of water to a boil
        • While boiling the water, weigh approximately 30g of beans (3 tablespoons) and then grind them to a coarseness resembling sea salt
        • Prepare decanter, coffee filters, and cup and then warm them up
        • Add the ground coffee to the filter, place the decanter on the cup, then place the set-up onto the scale
        • Once ready — enjoy!

        Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

        Reference

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