How To Sleep: Try Japan’s Kaizen Method To Cure Insomnia and Sleep Anxiety



Photo by Getty, Unsplash / Lead image design: Alessia Armenise

Having trouble falling asleep? The Japanese word ‘Kaizen’, which means ‘change’, could transform your bedtime routine and help tackle insomnia. Getting a good night’s sleep is absolutely essential for our mental and physical health.

Rather than being a time when the body completely shuts down, as is sometimes said, it is actually an active time when your body repairs cells, processes information and strengthens itself. Many of the exact ways in which this happens are still a mystery to scientists, but they all resolutely emphasise its importance for good health and wellbeing.

The National Sleep Foundation lists a number of reasons for why we need sleep, including:

  • Helping us to solidify recent memories
  • Storing and processing long-term memories
  • Growing muscle
  • Repairing tissue
  • Producing hormones
  • Restoring and rejuvenation

It is easy to acknowledge all of these benefits but if, like me, you suffer from bouts of insomnia, actually going about having a good night’s sleep is another matter. The amount of sleep you need each night is different for every person, and very dependent upon your age and how much activity you have undertaken during the day. Most people will need between seven and nine hours every night.

Almost everybody will have intermittent bouts of insomnia but if you are finding that you still feel really tired even after several nights of proper sleep or are regularly sleeping for less than six hours per night then do, of course, contact your doctor or a sleep specialist.

For people who think they could benefit from even slightly improved sleep, then Kaizen techniques are a great way to alter your existing sleeping habits and adopt a new, healthier bedtime routine. Not getting enough sleep or waking up in the night for long periods can be caused by external sources of stress: worries about work, friends, family or big life changes, such as getting married or moving house.

Kaizen can be used to reduce these sources of stress and better cope with them when they do arise – but there is also lots that can be done to improve your bedtime routine and environment itself in order to promote a good night’s sleep.

How to sleep: Write a sleep diary

Before making any changes to your routine, a good place to start is with a sleep diary. Keeping a diary for a week will give you a general overview of how you sleep and will identify any issues or particular triggers for bad sleep.

How to make a sleep diary

Each morning for one week, make a note of the hours you fall asleep and wake up, how many hours of sleep you have each night in total, and whether you were awake for any period. It is also a good idea to rate the quality of your sleep out of 10. Our phones now have functionality that can help to track sleep too, the benefits of removing technology from the bedroom may outweigh the insight gained.

Once you have the information about your sleep patterns, have a think and note down any factors which could have influenced the quality of your sleep in a good or bad way. For example:

  • Did you have any stimulants (caffeine, alcohol, nicotine) within two hours of going to bed?
  • What was the temperature of your room?
  • How light/dark was it?
  • How noisy was it?
  • How messy is your room?
  • Did you look at any screens before going to bed?
  • Is there anything you were/are stressed or worried about?

You can either make a diary on paper, create a spreadsheet or use sleep-tracker app on your phone to fill in the details. Although this will initially take a little bit of time, having a week’s worth of information about your sleep patterns in front of you will mean that it is much easier to see where you might be going wrong and what external factors you can adjust to promote better sleep.

Also note whether there are any differences between days when you are working/studying and your days off. Sleep specialists recommend trying to keep to a regular daily sleep routine that doesn’t fluctuate too much between weekdays and weekends. They advise that you try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day, whether that it Monday or Saturday.

And this is where Kaizen can be really helpful. It might seem daunting to try to change your whole sleep routine in one go, but making one small step at a time will encourage you to adopt better bedtime habits – and hopefully once one change starts to make a difference, then you will be motivated to make more.

Read on for some ideas for small changes that you could make to your sleep routine, both in terms of the environment in which you sleep and the actions you take before bedtime to promote sleep.

How to sleep: Improve your sleep environment

Having your bedroom as a calm, clean environment free from clutter and external interruptions is key to good sleep. If you are really busy or tired then the thought of having to entirely transform your bedroom into a minimalist, serene paradise might seem too big an ask, but there are some small things you can do to make a difference. And once you have adopted one change, then try another to see if it makes even more of a difference.

Declutter your room

Your room should be as calming as you are able to make it. Designating it as a decluttered space which you use exclusively for either sleeping or sex, and not for watching TV or Netflix on your laptop, will help to promote good sleep.

First Kaizen step: you might not always have huge amounts of time to tidy your entire room before bed, so set a timer on your phone for five minutes and just tidy up the area around your bed, so at least that area is free of clutter.

Change your sheets regularly

Changing your bedsheets once a week or at least every fortnight can help to promote good sleep.

First Kaizen step: if you are really tired and the idea of changing your entire bed linen feels too much, then just change your pillow cases and/or bedsheet. The rest can be done another day!

Block out noise altogether

If your street or building is noisy then try sleeping with ear plugs and see if it makes a difference.

Play relaxing noises while going to sleep

If you have trouble getting to sleep then try playing a relaxing sleep playlist or white noise (lots of sleep apps have these, along with YouTube and Spotify).

Shut out the light

Your room should be as dark and cool as possible. If you can’t afford black-out blinds or thick curtains and find the room too bright, then try sleeping with an eye mask and note any differences to the quality of your sleep.

Sort out your mattress

If you think that your mattress could be what is causing issues, start to save a small amount (say, the price of a sleep-depriving coffee) each day towards a new one. Or if you are renting, then try asking your landlord to provide a new one. If a new mattress is out of your price range, then consider investing in a mattress topper, which are much cheaper and can make a big difference.

Surround yourself in some nice smells

Scents like lavender and bergamot have a calming effect. Find a scented candle, pillow spray or aroma diffuser and see if making your room smell nice makes you have a better night of sleep.

How to sleep: Transform your bedtime rituals to promote good sleep

As well as making sure you create the optimum sleep environment, there are certain changes you can make to your actions in the period between returning home and going to bed in order to promote better sleep. As babies and children, we are coaxed (and occasionally strongarmed!) into a set bedtime routine, but as adults we often forget to perform such rituals, in favour of scrolling through Instagram or binge-watching the latest boxset.

Read on for some ideas for ways in which you can improve your pre-bedtime routine.

Get out the loungewear

When you get home, immediately change into comfortable clothes to relax you and encourage your body to start to shut down.

Have a soak

Try having a warm bath or shower before bedtime – perhaps with added lavender oil – and see if it makes a difference to your sleep quality.

Take off your makeup

If you don’t have time or the inclination to have a full bath, then try taking your makeup off as soon as you get through the door and apply a soothing face mask.

Hide your phone

Having phones and laptops in your bedroom can be a huge distraction. Try sleeping with your phone in another room and see if it makes a difference — or if the thought of that is too terrifying (!), then at least put it on airplane mode for when you are asleep.

Have a communication blackout

In the same vein, try to avoid social media or work emails for at least 2–3 hours before going to bed so that you don’t have any interactions whirring around your head.

First Kaizen step: have a few nights of a complete social media and communication ‘blackout’ and register if it has an impact upon the quality of your sleep.

Be organised

Organising yourself for the next day can be hugely beneficial for sleep in that it declutters your brain and gives you less to worry about the coming day. Try packing your bag, sorting out your breakfast items and/or packed lunch, and hanging up your outfit for the next day and see if that makes any difference to your sleep.

Be a bedtime yogi

Try doing some gentle bedtime yoga or meditation exercises before bed to help to promote sleep. There are lots of tutorials online or you can use a meditation app. Remember to keep it to very light exercises so that you don’t overstimulate your mind and body too much before bedtime.

First Kaizen step: for one week, try meditating for five minutes before bed.

Do a ‘brain dump’

If your brain is still whirring, another idea is to get a piece of paper and write out a ‘brain dump’ of everything that is on your mind from that day. It doesn’t have to be anything coherent or fully-formed – just write out everything that is troubling you. This can also be a really useful exercise if you wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to go back to sleep.

Read a good book

Just six minutes of reading before bed has been shown to reduce stress levels by two-thirds and promote good sleep. Choose a couple of nights of the week where you read before bed rather than look at a screen and see if it makes a difference.

Remember: you can do absolutely everything right and there may still be a way that your body decides to rebel against you and give you a bad night’s sleep. So don’t beat yourself up if you have any setbacks when trying to improve your sleep routine. Be kind to yourself and just focus on one small thing you can do to improve your sleep the next night.

Keeping track of your sleep and the impact of any changes to your routine is key to identifying the ways in which your body is responding to the slight tweaks in your behaviour before bed and in your sleep environment.

By: Sarah Harvey, Stylist

Source: How to Sleep: Try Japan’s Kaizen Method to Cure Insomnia and Sleep Anxiety

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How an Ancient Design Technique Could Help Us Survive Extreme Heat

In late June, when temperatures climbed to 115 degrees in Portland, Oregon, homes and buildings throughout the Pacific Northwest had been caught method off guard. Most had been designed for a lot cooler temperatures, with insulation and air flow tuned to deal with reasonable highs and lows. Usually, even on sizzling days, the night lows can be chilly sufficient to deliver down the general temperature of buildings, protecting them from turning into roasting ovens. Air con was sometimes irrelevant, and buildings could often keep snug passively, or with out a lot intervention.

However that was earlier than. The warmth wave confirmed that temperatures can and possibly will proceed to be increased than in earlier a long time. The low- or no-effort temperature management that has been designed into the area’s houses seemingly gained’t have the ability to sustain, based on Mike Fowler, an architect at Seattle-based Mithun. “We’re going to part out of that by the tip of the last decade. And this has been eye-opening for lots of oldsters,” he says.

A brand new sort of constructing design might be wanted within the Pacific Northwest before most individuals anticipated, he says, however design approaches which are usually utilized in hotter, extra extreme climates provide some clues for a way structure might want to evolve.

Architects all over the world are designing options to rising temperatures and extra frequent warmth waves. New supplies, superior warmth modeling strategies, and a few longstanding design ideas are exhibiting that even when temperatures hit sudden peaks, our houses and buildings will have the ability to keep cool with out consuming enormous quantities of vitality.

One formal strategy is a constructing customary often known as Passive House. Initially developed in Germany within the Nineties and now modified for nations and climates all over the world, Passive Home is a performance-based customary that depends on creating tight and energy-efficient constructing “envelopes”—the partitions, roof, and home windows which have the next than regular stage of insulation and seal.

With triple-paned home windows, energy-efficient warmth pumps, and extremely insulated wall methods, Passive Home buildings are virtually air tight and scale back the quantity of temperature change inside when it’s extremely popular or very chilly, resulting in long-term financial savings on vitality prices. The concept of passive constructing goes back centuries throughout continents, and it’s an idea that’s taking up new relevance in locations just like the Pacific Northwest.

Fowler is a member and former president of Passive House Northwest, a regional group working to get extra architects and builders to use these ideas. “The pitch is that you simply’ve obtained one likelihood to put money into your constructing envelope—the home windows, roof, and partitions,” Fowler says. “Do it proper in order that one thing you construct now could be going to be resilient into the long run.”

He says the variety of Passive Home tasks within the area is rising. Mithun, the place Fowler is a senior affiliate, has 4 tasks within the works which are being designed to satisfy the U.S. Passive House standard. “There’s much more curiosity, there’s much more data,” he says. “Would like to see it go sooner, however it’s definitely trending upward.”

Even with out assembly the official customary, most of the concepts behind Passive Home are exhibiting up in locations the place extreme warmth is a matter of each day life. In Phoenix, the structure agency Studio Ma has specialised in designing parts into their buildings that passively maintain them cool, utilizing shading, overhangs, and cantilevers to protect them from the warmth of the desert.

Utilizing thermal-imaging software program, the agency has analyzed surfaces in Phoenix and located that present buildings with heavier supplies like stone and masonry on their exterior surfaces maintain way more warmth than buildings with lighter exteriors, akin to wooden. Through the use of lighter, higher insulated supplies on the skin of buildings and limiting the warmth that falls on them, buildings can have way more manageable inside temperatures, based on Christopher Alt, the agency’s co-founder.

“Some individuals name it ‘outsulation’ as a result of the insulation is on the skin, however it’s very depending on the local weather you’re in,” says Alt. “As individuals in Oregon are experiencing 115 levels, their options most likely look completely different than ours, however the identical form of pondering applies.”

They put these concepts into apply in a brand new 16-floor residence hall in Phoenix for Arizona State College. The agency used daylight and vitality evaluation instruments to optimize the orientation of the home windows, and added small aspects to the facade to permit a part of it to shade itself. This permits sufficient daylight to return in for the constructing to cut back its lighting wants whereas additionally minimizing how a lot the solar heats up the constructing.

Christiana Moss, the agency’s co-founder and managing accomplice, says that particularly for big buildings, architects might want to pay extra consideration to the warmth getting into buildings by means of their home windows. “At this level, it’s nearly obviously irresponsible to not contemplate your glazing ratios and scale back the glass in your facades,” she says.

These sorts of passive cooling ideas may also be inexpensive. Marlene Imirzian runs an architecture firm with places of work in Phoenix and Escondido, California, and she or he’s used passive cooling parts in lots of her tasks, together with methods that mix shading, low-lying operable home windows that pull cool air into buildings, and a photo voltaic chimney that vents sizzling air out on the prime.

Imirzian says these design parts can slash vitality use to a couple of quarter of what present houses use. “It’s not about extremely specialised methods. It’s about utilizing pure flows, defending the glazing from direct photo voltaic achieve and designing the [enclosed space] to permit for air motion,” she says.

Imirzian’s agency utilized this concept in its successful entry within the Metropolis of Phoenix’s internet zero vitality dwelling design competitors. They discovered that implementing these ideas right into a 2,100-square-foot dwelling would find yourself costing about the identical to construct as a typical air conditioned dwelling, with out the necessity to use the air conditioner almost as typically. “Value per sq. foot turns into a non issue. It’s actually about designing with this efficiency in thoughts from the start,” Imirzian says. “If we begin doing these single household houses effectively, we are able to considerably scale back vitality use.”

However there are nonetheless some hurdles to implementing these sorts of passive design strategies. Ben Caine is an architect in Perth, Australia, who designs houses to satisfy the Passive Home customary, and he says that a few of the lighter exterior and insulation supplies generally used on Passive Home tasks are nonetheless exhausting to get in Australia. For issues like wooden fiber and hemp insulation, he says, getting supplies despatched over from Europe can take 4 to 5 months, and be 4 to 5 instances as costly as typical supplies. “The availability chains and distribution channels for lots of those supplies simply don’t exist but,” he says.

He’s nonetheless been in a position to implement some passive cooling strategies in tasks, together with a home he’s now having constructed for himself. By specializing in protecting the constructing envelope tight, including excessive ceilings in some areas of the house and utilizing environment friendly ceiling followers, he says he’s been in a position to scale back warmth from entering into the house and likewise lower down on the necessity for air-con, although not fully.

Although air-con is condemned for losing vitality, Caine says that it’s not essentially evil; cooling a home down truly takes less energy than heating it up. That doesn’t imply he’s turning the A/C on full blast, although. By specializing in air-tightness and passive cooling strategies, even houses in sizzling environments like Australia can lower down on the period of time they want air-con to remain snug.

“What we’re seeking to do is enhance what’s referred to as part shift, that’s the time it takes for the extreme warmth on the skin to move by means of the constructing envelope and attain the within,” Caine says. “Even should you do have air-con put in as a backup, you’re utilizing it rather a lot much less by means of the usage of these supplies.”

With extra locations starting to see increased temperatures, these design ideas might quickly develop into extra of a mainstream a part of structure. Imirzian, who’s presently in talks with builders to develop her internet zero dwelling design for Phoenix, says that it’s solely a matter of time earlier than these sorts of design concepts unfold out past extremely popular climates. “I feel it’s very, very transferable all over the world,” she says.

By: Nate Berg

Source: How an ancient design technique could help us survive extreme heat, no

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Critics:

The history of construction embraces many other fields like structural engineering, Civil engineering, cities growing and Population growth that are relatives to branches of Technology science, history, and architecture to investigate the buildings conservation and recorded their accomplishments. Those fields permit use to analyze modern or Latest construction and prehistoric constructions, as their structures, building Materials, and tools used.

History of building is evolving by different trends in time, marked by few key principles : durability of the materials used, the increasing of height and span, the degree of control exercised over the interior environment and finally the energy available to the construction process.

With the Second Industrial Revolution in the early 20th century, elevators and cranes made high rise buildings and skyscrapers possible, while heavy equipment and power tools decreased the workforce needed. Other new technologies were prefabrication and computer-aided design.

Trade unions were formed to protect construction workers’ interests and occupational safety and health. Personal protective equipment such as hard hats and earmuffs also came into use, and have become mandatory at most sites.

From the 20th century, governmental construction projects were used as a part of macroeconomic stimulation policies, especially during the Great depression (see New Deal). For economy of scale, whole suburbs, towns and cities, including infrastructure, are often planned and constructed within the same project (called megaproject if the cost exceeds US$1 billion), such as Brasília in Brazil, and the Million Programme in Sweden.

By the end of the 20th century, ecology, energy conservation and sustainable development had become important issues of construction.

References

 

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