Stop messing with your circadian rhythm and go to sleep in time

GUNNAR_MLG-Phantom_aI’m so exited to share this with you because this has solved (or is in the process of solving) a big and increasing problem I’ve been having with my eyes.

 

I work at my computer all day long – and a few years I also used to play games from the time I got home from work and until late at night.

It’s not something that I have paid attention to before, but lately I’ve begun experiencing eye fatigue and getting really dry eyes – especially late in the day.

And then the other day I read a blog post by Daniel Vitalis about the circadian rhythm and how to protect it by shielding your eyes from blue light after sunset.

I don’t think of myself as someone with a sleep disorder – I usually sleep within a minute after my head hit the pillow.

But my eyes fells more and more strained, so I’m going to do something about it before it turns into a sleep problem.

One of the problems with our lives today – especially for those of us who spend a lot of time in front of our computer screens – is that we don’t get the “go to sleep now” signal from our body in a timely manner.

So it’s all too easy to stay up late getting red eyes because, “hey, I’m not sleepy” – all while we build up a huge sleep debt.

Daniel talks about two different ways to get rid of the blue light.

One is the free program and the other is tinted glasses.

 

f.lux

f.lux adjusts the colours on your computer based on where you live and what time it is.

It’s a quick install and right now at 11PM it gives my screen a nice warm glow.

I also do quite a lot of image post processing, so it’s a really nice feature that I can “snooze” f.lux for an hour with a single key-combo.

 

Gaming eyewear (Tinted glasses)

The other thing he talked about was wearing glasses that filter out the blue light.

Being exposed to artificial light after sunset can wreck havoc on our circadian rhythms by delaying production/release of melatonin. When melatonin is released we become sleepy, but when we expose ourselves to bright light – especially from tv’s and computer monitors – we push on for longer than our bodies was meant to and disrupt our natural sleep cycle.

Melanopsin (a photopigment found in special receptors in our retinas ) is involved in this, but I haven’t been able to wrap my head around it well enough to describe it properly.

As far as I’ve been able to understand it the mechanics of melanopsin operates in such a way that blue light will switch it into “day mode” so to speak – this happens after sunrise. Then in the evening when the sun sets and we’re exposed to red/orange colours from the setting sun and fireplaces it will switch back into its blue-sensitive state.

This is why it’s important to get glasses that filter out the blue light – also referred to as HEV Light (High-Energy Visible Light – 400 to 500 nanometer range) to prevent us from getting stuck in day mode.

 

Oakley and GUNNAR glasses

David talks about both Oakley and GUNNAR glasses.

For me the best choice is the GUNNAR ones – simply because the Oakley ones seems to be more tailored to sports and other outdoor activities.

The GUNNARs on the other hand offers a range of glasses made specifically for people working/playing in front of computer screens.

The GUNNAR model Intercept is the #1 Best seller on Amazon in the “Video Display Glasses” category, so that was the first model I looked at.

I usually wear a headset when I’m working on my computer, so it’s essential for me to get pair of glasses that will fit snugly. – but the Intercept just doesn’t seem to fit the bill.

But they have two other models that I’m very interested in trying.

It’s the MLG Phantom (Major League Gaming) in the Heat/Carbon colour-combo and the PPK in the Onyx/Mercury colour-combo.

The MLG Phantom is a medium fit oval frame, while the PPK is a wide fit rectangular frame – a 4mm difference over the nose.

I’m not sure if 16mm or 20mm fits me better, so I’m off to have my nose measured ;-)

 

  • MLG Phantom in Heat/Carbon with Amber tint
  • MLG Phantom in Heat/Carbon with Amber tint
  • PPK in Onyx/Mercury with Amber tint
  • PPK in Onyx/Mercury with Amber tint

 

What’s your experience?

Have you tried either f.lux or amber tinted glasses?

What have been your experience with it?

Gold Box Deals of the Day: Up to 32% off Trigger Point Performance Foam Rollers

TPP_The-GRID
The Amazon Gold Box Deals of the Day is up to 32% off foamrollers from Trigger Point Performance.

The discount is for the The GRID, GRID 2.0 and GRID Mini range of rollers.

If you’re not already using foam rollers on a daily basis then you’re really cheating yourself.

They work wonders for breaking up scar tissue and stretching your fascia.

They are easier to control than tennis balls for instance, but at the same time you will not be able to apply pressure to a specific point like you would with a ball – and no where as accurate as a TheraCane or a Knobble.

I’ve been using one for years – not as fancy as the ones from TPP though as I made it myself out of a stick, an old yoga mat and some duct tape.

13 Great Stretches for Shoulder Problems

Keep Calm and StretchI’m so exited about sharing these different techniques with you.

They have helped me overcome a condition in my left shoulder, that I’ve been having problems getting rid of.

It’s not a frozen shoulder, because I’m able to lift my arm easily above my head. But it could look like it’s a combination of forward head posture and some kind of trauma.

Shoulder problems

I’ve been having some problems with my left shoulder lately.

Symptoms:  My neck and shoulder is in pain whenever I turn my head to either side.

And it’s not only a problem when I’m awake – it’s impacting my sleep as well.

In the past this kind of situation kinda subsided by itself over a week or so with simple stretches and self-massage, but this time it’s going in the wrong direction – it’s getting worse and worse.

Physical therapy helped a bit, as I did have some relief after two sessions of Body SDS massage, but the situation worsened faster than I could schedule new appointments.

Then, a few weeks ago, I really messed up as I went to the KMD Ironman 2014 in Copenhagen to shoot some pictures of a friend of mine.

I basically ended up walking around Copenhagen for the 4 and a half hours the Marathon part lasted – plus an hour getting to and from the run route.

And I did it carrying my camera in a sling bag.

Combined weight of my camera body, my lens and the bag: 3 kg (6.6 lbs)

Bad idea ! :-(

The search is on

I knew that my usual regiment of massage and stretches would never get to the bottom of this, so I decided to look online for some additional neck and shoulder exercises I could perform on myself with little or no equipment.

I found quite a few different routines and approaches, but decided to stick with a limited number of exercises.

I faced a few challenges when searching for useful videos.

Because should I search for Shoulder, Neck or Upper back problems?

I was in no position to pinpoint the exact source of my problems, so I ended up searching for all of them.

But I also discovered that some videos only refer to specific muscles, tendons and ligaments – and not to regions of my body.

So I expanded my search to include Trapezius, Scalenes, Pectoralis Major/Minor, Pecs, SCM (Sternocleidomastoid), Rotator cuffs, Teres Major/Minor, Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus and Subscapularis.

The videos

What I ended up with was a large collection of videos covering different types of stretching.

I cut the list down to a manageable size by removing duplicates or nearly identical methods – leaving behind the videos describing and demonstrating the technique the best.

Some of these instructional videos contain several different stretches so I’ve broken them up so that it’s clear which muscles each individual stretch effects.

ELDOA C5-C6

  • Position: Lying on back
  • Tools: None
  • Effect: Increase space between C5 and C6
  • Notes: Really seemed to “open up” some of the tenseness in my entire neck/back area. The C4-C5 stretch was also good.

Big Bang Neck Stretch, Upper Cross Syndrome and Forward Head Posture – First stretch

  • Position: Sitting
  • Tools: None
  • Effect: Stretches Levator Scapulae & Upper Trapezius
  • Notes: Anchoring the shoulder by grabbing the seat of the chair works really well. Dan Hellman from Hellman Holistic Health who did this and the next demonstration also has a nice video about ELDOA (the type of stretch in the first video)

Big Bang Neck Stretch, Upper Cross Syndrome and Forward Head Posture – Second stretch

  • Position: Sitting
  • Tools: None
  • Effect: Stretches SCM & Scalenes
  • Notes: Same as previous stretch

Self-massage for frozen shoulder / shoulder pain

  • Position: Upright
  • Tools: None
  • Effects: Stretches Teres Major & Teres Minor (from the looks of it)
  • Notes: This proved to be surprisingly useful in generally loosening up my shoulder area

Get Rid of Shoulder and Scapulae Pain by Flossing the Spinal Accessory Nerve

Pectoralis Major & Minor Tissue Work

  • Position: Standing
  • Tools: Softball, Lacrosse ball or tennis ball & doorway
  • Effect: Stretches Pectoralis Major & Pectoralis Minor
  • Notes: Tight pecs put extra strain on the muscles on the back of your neck/shoulder, so loosening them up is a good idea even if they don’t seem to be part of the problem

Rotator Cuff Stretching

  • Position: Upright
  • Tools: None
  • Effect: Stretching inferior capsule
  • Notes: Simple stretch. First few times I did these I could feel pain in my lower back

Rotator Cuff Stretching – Second stretch

  • Position: Upright
  • Tools: None
  • Effect: Stretching posterior capsule
  • Notes: Simple stretch

Rotator Cuff Stretches – First stretches

  • Position: Standing
  • Tools: None & broomstick
  • Effect: Stretches Infraspinatus & Teres Minor
  • Notes: This and the next broomstick stretch felt really effective

Rotator Cuff Stretches – Second stretches

  • Position: Standing
  • Tools: Broomstick & doorway
  • Effect: Stretches Subscapularis
  • Notes: The broomstick really allows a solid impact with little work.

Rotator Cuff Stretches – Third stretch

  • Position: Standing
  • Tools: None
  • Effect: Stretches Supraspinatus
  • Notes: Easy stretch

The BEST Internal Rotator and shoulder stretch

  • Position: Lying on back
  • Tools: None
  • Effect: Stretches Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus & Teres Minor (I think)
  • Notes: These stretches really revealed to me that my right shoulder and upper arm really lacks mobility

Weighted Shoulder Dislocation

  • Position: Standing
  • Tools: Broomstick (or resistance band or towel)
  • Effect: Stretches Rotator Cuff muscles
  • Notes: Using a broomstick is the best way to spot when your arm “cheats” by briefly flexing to get past the tight spot – and you can load it with weight once you’re injury free to build up strength

How much and how often?

Some, not all, of the videos have recommendations for sets, reps and duration.

So there’s not really a fixed plan on how to do these.

My approach has been this:

  • Do the ones lying down in bed in the morning and at night
  • Do the broomstick, balls and doorway ones twice a day
  • Do the other stretches throughout the day
  • Remember to stretch your good side as well

Develop Good Habits – by S.J. Scott

DevelopGoodHabitsSJScottI recently saw a Kindle book about Evernote being mentioned by Lynn Terry, and being a big Evernote fan I went to Amazon to check it out.

That lead me to the Author Page of S.J. Scott – an author with several books (paperback, Kindle, Audible Audio and Audio CD) about habits and productivity.

Plenty of Kindle authors “hide” behind pseudonyms and pen names, but the picture looked legit, so I went searching to see what else he had been up to.

And that’s when I came across his Develop Good Habits website.

And I quite like the site.

  • Lots of productivity and habit blog posts.
  • A page with 203 different good habits neatly organized into 7+1 categories.
  • A page with a good starting point for doing 30 Day Habit Changes – including Steve’s own challenges from January 2013 to December 2013 (January 2014 is hinted at as being about Evernote, but no link to a live blogpost at this time)