William Li presents a new way to think about cancer treatment: angiogenesis, targeting the blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that beat cancer at its own game.
It is very inspiring to see that there are people out there who are striving to find cures and answers through nature, as well as through modern medicine. Enjoy!
Again this week my
family and I have come up with with another long list of uses for a common
household product, This week it's cornstarch. Other than the common use, as a
thickener for gravies, it can be used on your skin, your hair, as a cleaner and
even for some fun projects that will keep the kids entertained.
As I'm doing this
series, there has not been a week that has gone by that I'm not completely
amazed at how versatile all of these products are. Despite my amazement I'm a
little upset that I didn't know all of this information when I was younger. To
think, all of these years I have been paying big money for name brand products
when all I had to do was look in my cupboards for a more economical
Enjoy the list and as
always if you have any additional uses I would love to hear them.
HOUSEHOLD TIPS & TRICKS FROM WWII
More Modern Uses:
Ornaments – to make your own, mix 1 cup cornstarch, 2 cup baking soda and 1 ½ cup water in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat and cover with a damp cloth. When cooled to the touch knead until smooth. Roll out to ¼-inch thick, cut and place on a baking sheet in a 250 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Paint.
Moon Sand – to make your own, mix ½ cup cornstarch and ¾ cup liquid starch over medium heat. Add 1 cup of fine sand and stir. Lay it out flat on a baking sheet and allow it to dry in the sun.
Watercolor Paints – to make your own, mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda in a small bowl. When mixture stops foaming add 1 tablespoon cornstarch and ¼ teaspoon glycerin. Add food coloring to tint.
I’ve mentioned many times on myfacebookpage how great rawapple cider vinegaris for your health. However, almost
every time I post about it, a reader asks how to use it. It seems to me that a
lot of people have heard that ACV is good for you, but they don’t quite know
how to incorporate it into their lives. After all, it is vinegar, so you can’t
just chug it straight from the bottle…yuk! This article will give you 10
different ways to use this miracle elixir!
The Many Health Benefits of Apple Cider
But first, let’s talk aboutWHY you should be using apple cider vinegar.The benefits to raw apple cider
vinegar are many. Apart from containing many beneficial vitamins and
minerals, apple cider vinegar also contains acetic acid, potassium and malic
acid.It can help
regulate blood sugar, aid digestion, build muscle, clear skin, reduce bad
cholesterol, prevent sickness with its antiviral properties, help remove toxins
and aid in weight loss. It is also an alkalizing food, so it helps your body
maintain good PH levels.
choosing apple cider vinegar, you should always get raw (unpasteurized) with
the mother likethis oneto ensure you will get all the benefits from it.
If you want even more ideas,this book is
less that $4 and has a bunch of great tips on how to use apple cider vinegar
for natural cures.
10 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar
1. Drink 1-2 tablespoonsACVdiluted in a glass of still or bubbly
water with a teaspoon ofraw honey like this(optional). You can also buy ACV
drinks at some health food stores, I lovethis brandwith added cinnamon–it tastes like
apple pie in a bottle and it’s good for you too! You can also make a drink with
ginger likethis recipe.
7. Use ACV as an all purpose cleaner. Mix equal parts water andACVand add 2-3 drops essential oils like
lavender or tea tree. (Find qualityessential oils here)
8. UseACVto soak your beans, legumes or grains
to reduce phytic acid and make them more easily digested. Simply cover a pot of
dry uncooked beans with filtered water. The water should come well over the top
of the beans (they will expand), then add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of
beans to the water. The acidic medium helps reduce the anti-nutrients in beans
that block absorption of vitamins and minerals.
According to statistics from the World Health Organization, about 12.9 million people worldwide died from some form of cardiovascular disease in 2004. Each year, the World Cancer Research Fund estimates that some eight million people died from cancer. Heart disease and cancer, the deadly manifestation of chronic inflammation, are expected to remain as the leading causes of death in developed countries for many years to come.
But study after study shows that the risk of heart disease and cancer are modifiable by our lifestyle choices which include the food we choose to eat each day. With every bite we take, we're either balancing the pro- and anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, or tipping the scale to one end.
To shift the balance to your favor, other than incorporating more natural anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, it is also equally important to avoid or cut down on foods which are known to promote inflammation. Here, we look at the top ten foods which set the stage for inflammatory diseases:
Pro-inflammatory Agent: Excessive sugar intake causes tooth decay and has been linked to increased risks of obesity, inflammation and chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Recently, it has also finally been proven that sugar, as well as dairy, are the causes of acne.
Find them in: Sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, fruit drinks and punches are some of the major sources of dietary sugars that many have overlooked. Do you know that drinking a can of Coke is as good as sucking ten sugar cubes? Other obvious sugar-loaded foods to avoid or at least limit include pastries, desserts, candies and snacks. And when you are looking out for sugar in the ingredients list, note that sugar has many names: corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, golden syrup, maltose, sorghum syrup and sucrose are some of the creative names used.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Got a sweet tooth? Opt for natural sweeteners like stevia, honey, or blackstrap molasses to flavor beverages and foods modestly. Natural sugars found in fresh or dried fruits and fruit preserves with no added sugar are also great choices. Not only do they give you the sweetness you crave, fruits also supply you with vitamins, antioxidants and fibers that you won't find in sugary foods and drinks. Dates, figs, persimmons, kiwis, tangerines and various types of berries are some of the natural healthy snacks you can sink your teeth into.
2. Common Cooking Oils
Pro-inflammatory Agent: Common vegetable cooking oils used in many homes and restaurants have very high omega-6 fatty acids and dismally low omega-3 fats. A diet consisting of a highly imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation and breeds inflammatory diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Find them in: Polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, corn and sunflower oils. These industrial vegetable oils are also commonly used to prepare most processed foods and takeaways.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Replace your omega-6-saturated cooking oils with macadamia oil, extra virgin olive oil, or other cooking oils with a more balanced omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ratio. Macadamia oil, for instance, has an almost one-to-one ratio of omega-6:3 fats, and it is also rich in oleic acid, a heart-healthy, monounsaturated fatty acid.
3. Trans Fats
Pro-inflammatory Agent: Trans fatty acids are notorious for their double whammy effect: they increase the levels of 'bad' cholesterol, while lowering levels of the 'good' cholesterol. But that is not all they can do. They have also been found to promote inflammation, obesity and resistance to insulin, laying the ground for degenerative illnesses to take place.
Find them in: Deep fried foods, fast foods, commercially baked goods and those prepared with partially hydrogenated oil, margarine and/or vegetable shortening. Note that items that list 0g trans fats on the label may still contain some amount of these toxic fats. This is because in the US, the government allows items containing less than 0.5g of trans fats to be declared as trans-fat free. Commercially prepared peanut butter is one good example. Your best bet is to read the ingredients list and make sure partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening is not used.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Look for alternative products that contain no trans fats, and that do not have partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening in the ingredients list. When in doubt, assume that all commercially prepared foods contain trans fats unless stated otherwise.
4. Dairy Products
Pro-inflammatory Agent: As much as 60% of the world's population cannot digest milk. In fact, researchers think that being able to digest milk beyond infancy is abnormal, rather than the other way round. Milk is also a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses, such as stomach distress, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, acne, hives and breathing difficulties in susceptible people.
Find them in: Milk and dairy products are as pervasive as foods containing partially hydrogenated oil or omega-3-deficient vegetable oil. Apart from obvious milk products like butter and cheese, foods with hidden dairy content include breads, cookies, crackers, cakes, cream sauces and boxed cereals. Scanning the ingredients list is still the safest way to suss out milk.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Kefir and unsweetened yogurt are acceptable in moderation for those who are not allergic to milk. They are easier on the stomach as the lactose and proteins in the milk have been broken down by beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts.
5. Feedlot-Raised Meat
Pro-inflammatory Agent: Commercially produced meats are feed with grains like soy beans and corn, a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Due to the small and tight living environment, these animals also gain excess fat and end up with high saturated fats. Worse, to make them grow faster and prevent them from getting sick, they are also injected with hormones and fed with antibiotics. The result is one piece of meat which you and I shouldn't be eating.
Find them in: Unless otherwise stated, most, if not all, beef, pork and poultry you can find in the supermarkets and restaurants come from feedlot farms.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Organic, free-range animals that are fed a natural diet such as grasses instead of grains and hormones contain more omega-3 fats. Having more room to roam freely, they are also leaner and contain less saturated fats.
6. Red Meat & Processed Meat
Pro-inflammatory Agent: Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that red meat contains a molecule that humans don't naturally produce called Neu5Gc. After ingesting this compound, the body develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies – an immune response that may trigger chronic inflammatory response. Low-grade, simmering inflammation that won't go away has been linked to cancer and heart disease.
The link between processed meat consumption and cancer is even stronger. In the 2007 report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, processed meat has been stated as a convincing cause of cancers of the colon and rectum, and possibly of the esophagus and lungs too. Processed meat includes animal products that have been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.
Find them in: Common red meats are beef, lamb and pork, while processed meats include ham, sausage and salami.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: You don't need to avoid red meat totally, though the same thing cannot be said for processed meat. No amount of processed meat is safe. Replace the bulk of your red meat with organic vegetables, poultry and fish, and relegate red meat to a weekly treat. When you do eat red meat, remember to choose lean cuts and preferably, that of grass-fed animals. To reduce the formation of heat-generated food contaminants, it is also advisable not to overcook your meat and use moist heat cooking like stewing and boiling more often than high-temperature dry heat methods such as grilling and frying.
Pro-inflammatory Agent: Regular high consumption of alcohol has been known to cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, larynx (voice box) and liver. Over time, the chronic inflammation promotes tumor growth and gives rise to cancer at the sites of repeated irritation.
Find them in: Beers, ciders, liquors, liqueurs, and wines.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: A refreshing and thirst-quenching glass of pure, filtered water, anyone? How about a cup of anti-aging and anti-inflammatory jasmine green tea? If you find the idea of swapping ethanol for water or tea implausible, at least limit your consumption to no more than one drink a day.
8. Refined Grains
Pro-inflammatory Agent: A lot of the grains we eat nowadays are refined. They are devoid of fiber and vitamin B compared to unpolished and unrefined grains that still have the bran, germ and the aleurone layer intact. This makes refined grains as good as refined sugars, which are practically empty calories. And like refined sugars, refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed grains and when they are consistently consumed, can hasten the onset of degenerative diseases like cancer, coronary disease and diabetes.
Find them in: Products made from refined grains are almost everywhere. The common ones are: white rice, white flour, white bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits and pastries. To make things worse, many products with refined grains undergo further processing to enhance their taste and look, and are often loaded with excess sugar, salt, artificial flavors and/or partially hydrogenated oil in the process. A prime example is boxed cereals which contain substantial amounts of added sugar and flavorings.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Go for minimally processed grains if you are not gluten intolerant or allergic to grains. If you are an avid bread or pastry maker, invest in a grain mill to produce your own flour. It will be much fresher than the stale grain found in stores. When buying cereals or other products made from grains, don't take the words on the packaging for granted. Just because the box says whole grains, it does not mean the grains inside are 100% intact. The problem is due to a lack of an internationally accepted definition for the word 'whole grain'. When in doubt, if it does not look close to its natural state, don't buy it.
9. Artificial Food Additives
Pro-inflammatory Agent: Some artificial food additives like aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) reportedly trigger inflammatory responses, especially in people who are already suffering from inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Find them in: Only packaged foods contain artificial food additives. If you need to buy them, read the labels carefully and weigh your risks. If you order Chinese takeaways, make sure you have the option to ask for no MSG. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Besides limiting the consumption of processed foods, use anti-inflammatory herbs, spices or natural sweeteners to add flavor to your dishes instead of relying on food additives.
10. <Fill in the blank>
Pro-inflammatory Agent: Why is this blank? Because it is meant for you to fill in with the food that you are sensitive to. Many people are sensitive to certain foods but are totally unaware of it. Unlike food allergies whereby symptoms usually come fast and furious, symptoms caused by food intolerance may take a longer time to manifest. Consequently, when symptoms of food intolerance do appear, they are often brushed off as common minor ailments such as tiredness and headaches. But repeated, long-term exposure to food that irritates can cause inflammation and lead to chronic disease.
Find them in: Common food allergens are gluten, milk, nuts, eggs and nightshade vegetables. Contrary to common belief, it is possible to develop an allergy to the foods that you eat often.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: If you suspect that a particular food may be responsible for your food intolerant response, try avoiding it completely for about two weeks and monitor your reaction. At the end of the abstinence period, re-introduce the food back into your diet. If you are in fact incompatible with it, you should be able to notice the difference in how you feel easily.
If you love apple pies, but don’t really like to bake, than here is a great and smaller version for you. Take some apples, and cut off the top, the carve the inside with a spoon. Fill it with apple piure and add some cinnamon. Next on make a pie crust, cut it in pieces and place it on the top of the apples, just like you would do in case of a regular apple pie. Put the apples in a baking panthat (Preheat oven to 400 degrees) has water on the bottom and bake them until the crust becomes golden (Bake about 20-25 minutes). Also, in the picture you can see all the steps, one by one. Ever see anything cuter than this? Enjoy!
4 large apples
1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (14.1 ounce) package Pillsbury rolled pie crust (use just 1 of the 2 crusts in the box) Please note** Rolling your own takes time, but its worth avoiding: Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Partially Hydrogenated Lard with BHA and BHT to Protect Flavor, Wheat Starch, Water. Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Rice Flour, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Propionate (preservatives), Citric Acid, Yellow 5, Red 40.
take you a while to fall asleep at night? Do you find your mind dwelling on
various thoughts before you’re able to finally drift off and relax into sleep?
Do you find that you just aren’t sleepy enough when it’s time for bed?
Realize that if it takes you 15 minutes on average to fall
asleep each night, that’s more than 91 hours per year that you’re wasting. This
is the equivalent of spending more than two 40-hour workweeks just lying in bed
waiting to fall asleep.
And if you have insomniac tendencies and take more than an hour
to fall asleep each night, you’re spending more than nine 40-hour weeks on that
pointless activity — every year. That’s a tremendous amount of wasted time.
If you’d like to change this situation, keep reading. I’ll
explain the details and share a process for training your brain to fall asleep
almost instantly when you’re ready to go to bed.
Drop Caffeine (at Least Initially)
if you drink coffee, tea (including green tea and white tea), yerba mate, cola,
or any caffeinated beverages on a semi-regular basis, this method won’t work
very well at all, so I strongly recommend that you get off all caffeine for at
least 2 weeks before you attempt to make improvements in this area.
Read How to Give Up Coffeeif
you need help with that. I also advise that you drop chocolate during this time
as well, including cocoa and cacao, since those contain stimulants too.
Even a small cup of coffee in the morning can disrupt your
ability to fall asleep quickly at night. You may also sleep less restfully, and
you’ll be prone to awaken more often throughout the night. Consequently, you
may wake up tired and need extra sleep.
Simply eliminating all caffeine from your diet can improve your
sleep habits tremendously. So if you haven’t already done that, please do that
first before you attempt the training method I explain later in this article.
If you really love your caffeine though, the good news is that
it’s okay to add it back once you’ve gone through this adaptation training. It
will still disrupt your sleep a bit, but once you’ve mastered the habit of
being able to fall asleep in 30 seconds or less, then most likely you’ll still
be able to continue the habit even if you consume some caffeine during the day.
Train Your Brain to Fall Asleep Faster
A decade ago it might have taken me 15-30 minutes to fall asleep
most nights. Sometimes it would take more than an hour if I had a lot on my
mind. And very occasionally I could fall asleep within 5 minutes or less if I
was very sleepy.
Today it’s fairly normal for me to fall asleep within 30 seconds
or less, and often I’m able to fall asleep in less than 1 second. My best is
probably around 1/4 of a second.
How do I know this? Because I have a witness that tells me how
long I was out. I also know that I was sleeping because I awaken with the
memory of a dream. If my sleep time is only a second or a fraction of a second,
then it’s obviously a very short dream. Some time dilation occurs though, so a
1-second dream may feel significantly longer… perhaps as if 5-10 seconds have
passed within the dream world.
Is this narcolepsy? No, narcolepsy is very different. I don’t
just fall asleep at odd times throughout the day, and I don’t have excessive
daytime sleepiness. Most days I don’t take any naps. One thing I do have in
common with narcoleptics is that I can start having dreams immediately when I
fall asleep, whereas most people don’t enter the dream state for at least an
hour. I regard this as a positive adaptation though, not a problem or defect.
I can’t normally force myself to sleep when I’m not at all
sleepy. But when I’m ready to go to sleep, I can go to sleep very quickly
without wasting time trying to fall asleep.
I’m not able to do this 100% perfectly. If I have a stressful
day and there’s a lot on my mind at night, I may find it more difficult to
relax and go to sleep. But most of the time under normal, average conditions, I
can get to sleep within 30 seconds or less.
I reached this point not by the exertion of conscious will but
rather through a long-term process of sleep training. So don’t think that
there’s some mental trick that you can use right away to make this happen
instantly. However, once you’ve trained yourself to this point, the process is
effortless. You’ll be able to do it automatically. It will be no more difficult
Understanding the Training Process
The training process may take a long time — months or even
years, depending on how far you want to go — but it’s not at all difficult, and
it needn’t take a serious time commitment. In fact, the training will most
likely save you a significant amount of time. The only challenging part is
maintaining consistency long enough to get results.
First consider that it’s possible for you to fall asleep faster.
Have you ever been really tired and sleepy at the end of a day, and you fell
asleep very quickly after getting into bed? Have you ever drifted off while
watching a movie or reading a book? Have you ever fallen asleep within less
than 2 minutes after lying down? If you’ve done it before, then consider the
possibility that your brain already knows how to fall asleep quickly, and if
you create the right conditions, then you’re capable of doing this again. You
just need to train your brain to do this more consistently.
The main reason that you aren’t falling asleep faster is that
you haven’t trained your brain to do so. You may be able to reach that point
eventually, but you’re not there yet. Similarly, you may be able to do the
splits if you engage in flexibility training, but in the absence of such
training, you probably won’t be able to do the splits at all.
If you want to fall asleep faster, you must incentivize your
brain to drop all other activity and immediately transition into sleep when you
desire to do so. That is the essence of this approach. If there are few
consequences for a lazy approach to falling asleep, then your brain will
continue to be lazy and inefficient in this area. You haven’t given it a good
enough reason to select more efficient behaviors.
Your brain is always active, even during deep sleep, and it
operates in different modes of consciousness, including beta (waking), alpha,
theta, and delta phases. When you lie in bed waiting for sleep, you’re waiting
for your brain to switch modes. An untrained brain will often take its own
sweet time making the necessary state change. So you may dwell on other
thoughts… or toss and turn… or just lie awake until your brain is finally ready
to transition. This is a common experience. Without incentives to become more
efficient, your brain will remain naturally lazy by default.
Your conscious mind might very much like to go to sleep, but it
isn’t in charge. Your subconscious determines when you fall asleep. If your
subconscious mind is in no hurry to fall asleep, then your conscious mind will
have a hard time forcing it. In fact, your subconscious may continue to bubble
up thoughts and ideas to occupy your conscious mind, distracting you with mental
clutter instead of letting you relax and slide into sleep.
A trained subconscious mind is obedient and fast. When the
conscious mind says to sleep, the subconscious activates sleep mode
immediately. But this only works if you’re feeling at least partially sleepy.
If the subconscious doesn’t agree with the need for sleep, it can still reject
The process I’ll share next will teach your brain that putzing
around isn’t an option anymore and that when you decide to go to sleep, it
needs to transition immediately and without delay.
The process involves using short, timed naps to train your brain
to fall asleep more quickly. Here’s how it works:
If and when you feel drowsy at some point during the day, give
yourself permission to take a 20-minute nap. But only allow yourself exactly 20
minutes total. Use a timer to set an alarm. I often do this by using Siri on my
iPhone by saying, “Set a timer for 20 minutes” or “Wake me up in 20 minutes.”
The first one sets a countdown timer, while the later phrase sets an alarm to
go off at a specific time. Sometimes I prefer to use a kitchen timer with a
Begin the timer as soon as you lie down for your nap. Whether
you sleep or not, and regardless of how long it takes you to fall asleep, you
have 20 minutes total for this activity… not a minute more.
Simply relax and allow yourself to fall asleep as you normally
would. You don’t have to do anything special here, so don’t try to force it. If
you fall asleep, great. If you just lie there awake for 20 minutes, also great.
And if you sleep for some fraction of the time, that’s perfectly okay too.
At the end of the 20 minutes, you must get up immediately. No
lingering. This part is crucial. If you’re tempted to continue napping after the
alarm goes off, then put the alarm across the room so you have to get up to
turn it off. Or have someone else forcibly yank you off the couch or bed when
they hear the alarm. But no matter what, get up immediately. The nap is over.
If you’re still tired, you can take another nap later — wait at least an hour —
but don’t let yourself go back to sleep right away.
I think it’s best to do your nap practice during the day if you
can, but you can also do it in the evening, as long as it’s at least an hour
before your normal bedtime. Perhaps the best time for an evening nap is right
after dinner, when many people feel a little sleepy.
You don’t have to take the naps every day, but do them at least
a few times a week if you can. I think the ideal practice would be one nap per
Now when you go to bed at night, seek to go to bed at a time
that will essentially require you to be sleeping the whole time you’re in bed
in order to feel well rested in the morning. So if you feel you need a good 7
hours of sleep each night to feel rested, and you plan to get up at 5am every
morning, then get yourself into bed and ready to sleep at about 10pm. If you
take 30 minutes to fall asleep, then you’re getting less sleep than you need,
and this is a disincentive to continuing that wasteful habit.
The message you’re sending to your brain is that the time you
have to sleep is limited. You are going to get out of bed after a certain
number of hours no matter what. You’re going to get up from your nap after a
specific amount of time no matter what. So if your brain wants to sleep, it had
better learn to go to sleep quickly and use the maximum time allotted for
sleep. If it wastes time falling asleep, then it misses out on that extra
sleep, and it will not have the opportunity to make it up by sleeping in later.
Sleep time squandered is sleep time lost.
you go to bed whenever and
allow yourself to get up whenever, you
reward your brain for continued laziness and inefficiency. It’s fine if you
take a half hour to fall asleep since your brain knows it can just sleep in
later. If you awaken with an alarm but go to bed earlier than necessary to
compensate for the time it takes you to fall asleep, your still tell your brain
that it’s fine to waste time transitioning to sleep because there’s still
enough extra time to get the rest it needs.
Coffee and chocolate are also crutches because if you don’t get
enough sleep, your brain can come to rely on a stimulant to keep it going when
necessary. If you remove these outs, then your brain will soon connect the
dots. It will learn that taking too long to fall asleep equals not getting
enough sleep, which means going through the day tired and sleepy. By closing
the door on potential outs like stimulants and extra snooze time, you leave
only one remaining option for a solution. Sooner or later your brain will
determine that going to sleep faster is indeed the solution, and it will adapt
by transitioning into sleep much more quickly, so as to secure the full amount
of rest it desires.
Instead of continuing to give your brain the message that
oversleeping is okay or that stimulants are available, begin to condition it to
understand that sleep time is a limited resource. Your brain is naturally good
at optimizing scarce physiological resources; it evolved to do so over a long
period of time. So if sleep time appears to be a limited resource, your brain
can learn to optimize its use of this resource just as it has learned to
optimize the use of oxygen and sugar.
If you get sleepy during the day as a result of limiting your
sleep time at night, that’s perfectly okay. Take naps as needed. It’s okay to
take multiple naps during the day if you need to, but keep them limited to 20
minutes max, and don’t have two naps within an hour of each other. Whenever you
get up, stay up for at least an hour.
Once you get used to 20-minute naps — or if you don’t have that
much time available for napping — try napping for shorter intervals. Give
yourself 15, 10, or even 5 minutes for each nap. I sometimes take 3-4 minute
naps (with a timer), which are surprisingly refreshing, but only if I fall
Teach your brain that a 20-minute nap means 20 minutes of total
time lying down. If your brain wants to ruminate during part of that time, it
always means less sleep.
Also teach your brain that X number of hours in bed at night is
all it gets, and so if it wants to get enough sleep, it had better spend
virtually all of that time sleeping. If it spends time on non-sleep activity,
it always robs itself of some sleep.
Once you’ve adapted and you’re able to fall asleep quickly when
you desire to do so, you can slack off on the training process, ditch the
alarm, and wake up whenever you want. Most likely the training will stick. You
can even add the caffeine back if you so desire. But for a period of at
least a couple months to start, I recommend being strict about it. Take naps
regularly, and use an alarm to get up at a consistent time every single day.
I still prefer to get up with an alarm most days. I don’t need
it to fall asleep quickly, but I tend to linger in bed more than necessary
without the alarm.
If this is too strict for you, I doubt you’ll succeed with this
approach. If you give your brain an easy out, it will take that out, and it
won’t learn the adaptation you’re trying to teach it here.
Everyone is different, so how long it takes you to adapt depends
on your particular brain. I’m sure some people will adapt fairly quickly,
within a few weeks, while others may take significantly longer. There are many
factors that can influence the results, with perhaps the biggest one being your
diet. In general, a lighter, healthier, and more natural diet will make it
significantly easier to adapt to any sort of sleep changes. Regular exercise
also makes it easier to adapt to sleep changes; cardio exercise in particular
helps to rebalance hormones and neurotransmitters, many of which are involved
in regulating sleep cycles. If you eat a heavily processed diet (i.e. shopping
mostly outside the produce section) and you don’t exercise much, just be aware
that I rarely see such people succeed with worthwhile sleep changes of any
One last item I’ll share is that I’m able to fall asleep fastest
when I’m cuddling someone, both for naps and when going to bed at night. On my
own I can get to sleep in under 30 seconds normally, but when I’m cuddling a
nice warm female body, that’s when I can often get to sleep in less than a
second. So I invite you to experiment with this if you have a willing cuddle
partner who enjoys serving as a human teddy bear.