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8 Ways To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

8 Ways To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

In this day and age, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to filling our free time. We can ‘Netflix and chill’, cruise on our iPads or go hunting for Pikachu on Pokemon Go! But it seems increasingly rare that we’ll sit down to notch up some serious hours with a good book. Despite the digital distractions all around us, it is possible to break out of the slump and fall in love with books, all over again.

Read on for eight top tricks to help you rediscover the magic of reading.

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One Book at A Time

Biting off more books than you can chew is guaranteed to be a stumbling block. Some people read several books at a time to avoid getting ‘bored.’ No matter how tempting, don’t be a greedy reader. It’s intimidating and makes the whole process seem tough. Instead, try focusing on one story at a time, removing the option of switching to another book if you hit a rough patch. In saying that, if you genuinely don’t enjoy a book you’re reading, it’s okay to let it go (there’s no book police around). Simply find another book you’re interested in.

Log Off & Schedule Reading Time

If you’re going through a long-running reading slump, then chances are you’re spending a little too much time online. The internet, despite its amazing cat memes and funny videos, is the single biggest procrastinating tool in the world today. You can sit down for a quick Facebook session and suddenly five hours have passed. Set aside some internet free time and use those hours to reconnect with reading. Schedule it in your calendar so that you’re held accountable and more likely to go ahead with it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you find pleasure in the page when you step away from the screen.

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Revisit the Classics

Do you remember why you started reading in the first place? Maybe a particular author spoke to you in a way that no one else had. Or perhaps a certain story stuck with you long after the book was over? If you’ve found yourself in a reading rut, revisit an old favourite to rediscover the magic. Even if it’s a book from your childhood, it’s possible that by taking yourself back to that moment, you can find the spark that started it all.

Hang Out in a Bookstore

This may sound a little simple but sometimes proximity to your problems can prove the best remedy. Set aside an hour or so, head to your nearest bookstore, grab a coffee and just hang out. Wander around, spend time looking at the shelves, chat to the bookstore employees about what they’re reading. Before long you may find that being surrounded by books is the shortcut to busting out of your slump.

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Find a Friend

Reading is typically a pretty solo kind of activity, but sometimes a little company can be the cure you’re looking for. Team up with a friend and tackle a book together. Make a mini-book club, read a chapter a day and then meet up to discuss. Alternatively, find a fellow book lover who is also a good listener. Take it in turns to read to each other – a creative approach to beating the reading blues.

See It & Then Read It

As leading Australian bookseller Dymocks suggests in their blog post – there’s no better way to cure a reading slump than to watch a movie and then read the book to compare storylines and details. Luckily, 2016 is an exciting year for book lovers and movie buffs alike thanks to the myriad of book to movie adaptations coming out on the big screen. Think Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train and Dan Brown’s Inferno. If you’re extra committed, read the book BEFORE seeing the movie.

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Listen Up

If you’re really struggling to enjoy reading but are missing the world of books, then audio readers are a great alternative. These days most of your favourite authors will have recorded audio versions of their work. Download the file and let fiction filter into your brain via your ears! This can be the exact kind of halfway point to help you survive the slump.

Genre Hop

Getting stale is a common reason that many book lovers find themselves stuck in a reading slump. No matter how much you love Harry Potter, the Chamber of Secrets doesn’t seem so exciting the tenth time round. If it’s all feeling a little too familiar, why not try a new genre? A rom-com reader may suddenly be blown away by the world of sci-fi and vice versa! They say variety is the spice of life, so don’t be afraid to put that into practice! Ask for recommendations from friends and family, and prepare for an exciting experiment ahead.

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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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