Hair By Gio

Giovanni Hairstylist everything but

The Ten Videos to Change How You View the World October 18, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — hairbygio @ 11:13 am

 

The Ten Videos to Change How You View the World

from lifehack.org by ScottHYoung20071013-TED.png

I believe that a sign of good information is that it makes you think. If reading a book, listening to a lecture or watching a video doesn’t change how you think, it probably isn’t that important. But if you encounter something that forces you to change your views, even if you don’t completely agree with it, you’ve found something valuable.

The problem is where do you find these ideas? Better yet, where do you find the time to consume this information?

Recently I found a great place to get started. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a huge conference held each year. The best thinkers come together and share their ideas. Their website, www.ted.com, has hundreds of free speeches. Here’s ten that might just change how you view the world:

1) The Myth of Violence – Steven Pinker

In this video, Steven Pinker tackles the myth that today is a more violent era than in the past. Using historical data and information from pre-industrialized tribes, Pinker shows that violence has dramatically declined in our history.

Pinker believes that a more sensitive reporting system has led us to believe violence has increased, when it has actually dropped. Not only will it make you feel a bit better about the present times, but it gives hope that the future might be a more peaceful place.

2) 10 Ways the World Could End – Stephen Petranek

Particle accelerators producing black holes that could destroy the world? While some of Petranek’s top ten doomsday problems might seem a bit farfetched, many are definitely worth a look. The future has a tendency to sneak up on us from behind, so preparing in advance might be a good idea.

Plus, who doesn’t want to terraform Mars?

3) New Insights on Poverty and Life Around the World – Hans Rosling

Statistics generally aren’t described as beautiful, but Hans Rosling comes close in showing the information about our changing world. The world has changed a lot in the last few decades, as Rosling will update you on how poverty in Asia has dramatically declined.

4) Toys That Make Worlds – Will Wright

Are games becoming a serious medium? (or are the already?) With all the debate around violence in games, it seems hard to believe that they could actually compete with film and literature for artistic merit. But as technology increases and games compete with movies for market share, this might start becoming the case. Will Wright’s talk around Spore might just persuade a few more people.

5) Technology’s Long Tail – Chris Anderson

WIRED editor, Chris Anderson talks about the four key shifts that occur with most new technologies. First, Anderson points out, technology approaches a critical price where it becomes viable for consumers. Next it approaches a critical mass and then displaces a pre-existing technology (VCR to DVD). Finally it becomes close to free.

Using various examples, Anderson shows how technologies are at different stages along this four-part continuum. This is a must see for anyone who works, invests or benefits from high-tech.

6) Why Are We Happy? Or Not? – Daniel Gilbert

Bestselling author of, Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert describes some surprising information about your happiness.

Gilbert describes a study where patients suffering from amnesia were asked to rank several paintings in the order they like them. They were then told they could keep a painting from the middle of their rankings. After the researchers left the room the patients quickly forgot about the whole encounter. When asked to rank the paintings again, however, they ranked the one they owned as being the best.

This means that our tastes are often sculpted by what we have available. As Gilbert points out, our psychological immune system can keep us happy even through depressing circumstances.

7) Universe is Queerer Than We Can Suppose – Richard Dawkins

In this talk notable evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins points out just how weird reality might be. He talks about how we have evolved to fit into a so-called “Middle World” where we can’t observe the very large or very small. The universe might just be a whole lot queerer than we suppose. Or, as Dawkins points out, than we even can suppose.

8 ) Sliced Bread – Seth Godin

Here, influential blogger, writer and speaker Seth Godin shares some of his ideas on marketing.

9) Redefining the Dictionary – Erin McKean

Never had the chance to use “synecdochical” in a sentence before? Here Erin McKean speaks with passion about how the dictionary and the English language is changing. She believes the web, and more importantly, you, will help in changing how the English language is recorded.

10) What’s So Funny About the Web? – Ze Frank

Okay, perhaps this one isn’t as life-transforming, but Ze Frank is a funny guy with great ideas. Between riffing on spam, Google rankings and web toys Ze will make you laugh as he makes you think.

The talks vary in length from ten to twenty minutes. You might want to bookmark this page so you can watch some of them later. Ted has many other fascinating speakers who talk about a huge range of subjects. You might just learn something. Better yet, you might just think.

 

You Own Your Thoughts, Now Control Them October 16, 2007

Filed under: How-To — hairbygio @ 1:42 pm

,

 

You Own Your Thoughts, Now Control Them

from Dumb Little Man – Tips for Life by Jay White“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.”
~Viktor FranklWhat if it was possible to be happy even when things aren’t going your way? What if there was a simple way to be happy, despite your environment, while staring adversity straight in the eyes?

I know it sounds like a great idea, but doesn’t seem to be very realistic at first glance. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be realistic, it just has to work, and it will, if you stick with a few basic principles. The key here is in the simplicity, and in keeping yourself accountable for sticking with the following principles.

My experience
This is a system I’ve been using for quite some time, and can testify to its merit. I decided that I was tired of being unhappy, and letting my environment and the people around me control how I felt.

I’ve had a high degree of success with this, despite frustrations, set-backs and what seemed like catastrophes. I haven’t been able to completely get rid of unhappiness, and I have to admit that sometimes I still get sad at things that I shouldn’t. Regardless, I have increased my overall happiness and fulfillment, which in turn reduced my stress and worrying. I even noticed that I haven’t been getting sick as much since I’ve been happier over all.

Be Selective In What You Think About
The wonderful thing about thoughts is that you genuinely own yours. No one else has power over what you think about. With this power, you are faced with a big choice that can impact your entire existence.

  • Positive Thoughts. You can choose to think about goals, ambitions, people you love, beautiful scenery, and things you enjoy. This affects your physiology by making you stress free and healthier.
  • Negative Thoughts. You can choose to think about death, disappointment, destruction and misery. It’s so stressful to think about how unfair life is, which causes your immune system to take a dip.

Ask Yourself The Important Question
In my post, How To Make Everything The Bright Side, I mentioned that by asking myself a single question, I was able to change how I perceived the world. Yes, a single question is powerful enough to change your thoughts. Just ask yourself: How do I want this to affect me?

When you ask yourself about what you want, you are able to take control. If being happy in the face of adversity is what you want, than you choose to let yourself be affected positively. You take negative situations, and treat them as a learning experience.

Instead of taking minor discomforts and turning them into major frustrations, let them affect you in a positive way. For example, you can turn a 48-hour commute into a learning experience.

Switch Channels
Treat your life as a television set, and when your thoughts project channels of unhappiness, hit the next button on your mental remote. Switch to something pleasant and stick to the happy networks.

Remember, you control whether your thoughts are positive or negative and with this choice you own your happiness.

 

"the environment" Blog Action Day October 15, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — hairbygio @ 2:42 pm

 

Blog Action Day: You the Consumer

from lifehack.org by Dustin WaxYou the Consumer

Today is Blog Action Day, and over 14,000 blogs have agreed to write about the environment. Since I expect there to be hundreds of “how to” articles about making your own household cleaners and cutting your gas consumption, I decided to try something else, to try to address the framework in which we as individuals relate to our environment.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Most of the environmental destruction we face in the world today has its roots in the choices that we make every day as consumers — whether global warming, the disappearance of rainforests and wetlands, groundwater contamination, or just the blight of discarded plastic bags and soda cans littering the side of the road. While it’s likely that the long-term solution to these and other environmental problems will require legislation, it’s important to keep in mind that legislation wouldn’t be as necessary if we as consumers didn’t buy, use, and throw out so much stuff.

As Pogo noted so many years ago, “we have met the enemy and he is us”. With these problems looming so large, it can be hard to lose track of our own involvement — especially since information about manufacturing processes, corporate track records, and legislative action being either hard to find or, once found, hard to make sense of. Instead, we’ve seen a host of companies that have risen up to offer us “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” shopping options, which is fine but not really a solution. The answer is not so much to buy different stuff but to buy less stuff — and more than that, to think about why we buy the stuff we buy in the first place.

 

A Short History of Consumption

With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, the relationship between people and the goods that they made was broken. No longer did peasants plant, tend, and harvest their crops; now agricultural workers labored over someone else’s crops in exchange for wages. No longer did artisans design, plan, craft, and sell; now factory workers repeatedly carried out a single step in the production of a product, again in exchange for wages.

In short, people were no longer producers. Ownership was vested in those with the money to back production — and those people didn’t do the actual work. Our identities were no longer tied up with the work we did, but with the buying power our work left us with. At the end of the day, workers were left not with the means to live but with a handful of wages to spend on the means to live.

So people found their identities not in their work but in the things they could buy by working. People with better jobs could afford to buy better-quality (or even just sufficient) food, clothing, household goods, transportation, and so on. The idea of choice — in fashion, in lifestyle, in entertainments, even in sexual partners and habits — arose, as people began to build their identities not through their productive lives but through their lives as consumers, through their interactions with the market. People became consumers, not just in the way they got what they needed but in who they felt themselves to be.

 

Living Consumption

The rise of consumption as our primary interaction with the rest of our society has had profound effects. For example, social status is obtained and marked by the things we buy and use. A car, for instance, is not just a way to get from one place to another but has to “say something” about who we are — and even the lack of a car says volumes. Unlike the artisan who could express his or her identity through the things s/he created, we have learned to do so through the things we buy: the t-shirt with the logo of our band or team, the bamboo towels that show our environmental commitments, the alternative album that shows off our indie cred, the designer shoes that place us as part of the trend-setting elite, the minivan that shows us to be part of the dependable, hard-working, family-oriented suburban middle class, and so on.

The problem with finding ourselves through consumption, though, is that consumption literally means using things up; the interaction with the market that defines us is momentary and fleeting, leaving us with things that will eventually be eaten, wear out, or go out of style. This means that we need to constantly acquire new goods to maintain our identities as consumers — goods which we consume and must again replenish. On top of that, advertisers understand and take advantage of this necessity by producing new needs (ten years ago, who knew or felt we needed a thousand songs in our pocket?) that demand to be met.

 

So What to Do?

For most of us, simply dropping out, growing our own food and living off our own labor, is not an option and is hardly desirable even if it were an option. The answer to the dreadful over-consumption that fills our landfills with completely unnecessary crap, pollutes our water sources, kills off species after species (something like 40 a day!), and leaves us in a world of ever-diminishing beauty and diversity can’t be to drop out of consumption entirely, because it’s simply not an option.

But we can change the way we consume, and more importantly lessen the demands we place on consumption to complete us as individuals. This means developing a higher sense of self-reflexivity about what we do buy, and replacing our identities as consumers with identities as part of our families and communities — and maybe even as producers, once again.

Here are a few ideas:

 

  • Ask Yourself: What do you really need? We grow accustomed to feeling our desires as “needs”, but rarely examine those needs. Do we need fast food every day, for example? A lot of people cite time concerns, but how much time are you really saving — and what else are you losing? Forget health concerns (though they’re important), what about the pleasures of family time and knowing your family is eating food you made them yourself, or just the joy of eating good food? Or, do we really need to own the latest best-seller; perhaps it can be enjoyed just as thoroughly if you checked it out of the library?
  • Make something. Start a garden, and eat food you produced yourself. Or take up a craft — paint, or make jewelry, or knit, or make your own paper. Write. Find a way to express yourself through creating and not through consuming. (Of course, you’ll probably have to buy the materials for your new hobby — like I said, there’s no way off this ride, you just have to find ways to work within the system we’re given.)
  • Join something, or if there’s nothing around worth joining, start something. Find ways to connect with other people who share your interests. Civic participation in the US and other Western countries has dropped sharply over the last few decades, leaving us with even more need to “complete” ourselves through consumption. Spend a few hours engaging with your community instead of shopping for new ways to be yourself.
  • Pick a cause and make it your own. This follows from the last point — find ways of being part of your community that aren’t simply participating in the economy. If you can afford it, spend your money helping others instead of filling non-existent needs of your own, but even better, give your time, knowledge, and skills to those whose needs are real.
  • Shop wisely. If you’re going to be forced to construct at least part of your identity through your role as a consumer, make sure that you are consuming thoughtfully. Ask how your values jibe with the product you’re buying. Choose sustainable products where available. I have a pair of scissors my grandmother bought in the 1930s — long-lasting, durable, high-quality products that are well-maintained can keep dozens of cheap ones from ever being produced — and that saves all the energy and raw materials that would go into their making as well as space in the landfills.

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi is reported to have had two sayings engraved at its entrance. The better-known is “Know thyself”; the other was “Nothing to excess”. Though I hardly think the temple’s builders had us and our current environmental dilemmas in mind, the advice is good for our current consumption-driven society. Know yourself — your needs, your wants, who you are and want to be –and match your consumption to those needs.

 

How to break any bad habit October 13, 2007

Filed under: How-To — hairbygio @ 4:06 pm

Submitted by Wesley on October 12, 2007 – 4:07pm.

Break any habit? Okay that might be over-promising just a bit but we do have a pretty good tip that makes self-regulation much easier and will improve the likelihood that you can erase some unwanted behavior in your life. Positive psychologists have been taking a closer look at self-discipline and have made the somewhat surprising observation that improving self-regulation in one area helps you in other areas as well. They liken self-regulation to a physical muscle that can be strengthened (or alternatively allowed to waste away).

In an extensive post on the subject, positive psychology coach Senia Maymen cites three studies to illustrate this phenomenon: the posture study, the exercise study and the money study.

The posture study: if you ask college students to watch their posture for two weeks – simply to improve it whenever possible – and then have the students take a self-control activity test, those who had been asked to work on their posture improved their self-control.

In the exercise study, students were taught a cardio and weights exercise regimen and were told to follow it closely for two months. At the end of two months, not only did their self-regulation increase under test circumstances (link how do scientists measure self-regulation?), but also the exercisers had less junk food, cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine…additionally, the students reported studying more, watching TV less, and doing more household chores like washing dishes.

Finally, in the money study, participants were asked to manage their finances for four months by following a specific system. Not only did the participants increase their average savings rate over four months from 8% to 38% of their income, but they also improved study habits and doing household chores and decreased cigarette use.

The lessons from these studies are both obvious and thought-provoking. If you want to improve some aspect of your life, say break a bad habit, then look to improve your overall self-regulation. Find an area(s) that you can “train” your self-regulation muscles. For me, adhering to the discipline of being an early-riser has had benefits in aspects of my life that go well beyond what happens in the morning hours. Ask yourself, what are you going to improve today?

 

Your Brain is Not Your Friend – lifehack.org

Filed under: How-To — hairbygio @ 4:01 pm

Your Brain is Not Your Friend – lifehack.org

Your Brain is Not Your Friend

Your Brain is Not Your Friend

A mind is a terrible thing. Whether because of the brain’s internal structure or the way social and cultural pressures cause our minds to develop and function, in the end the result is the same: minds that are not only easily deceived and frequently deceptive in their own right, but when caught out, refuse to accept and address their errors. If you have a mind — or even half a mind — you might be best off losing it entirely. Barring that, though, there are a few things you should know about the enemy in your head. Before it hurts someone.

I see red pandas.

In 1978, a red panda escaped from the Rotterdam zoo. Hoping to enlist the public in finding this rare and distinctive-looking animal — it looks a bit like raccoon crossed with a small bear, but bright red — the zoo contacted the papers and stories ran in the local press with descriptions and contact information in case the poor creature was seen. Just as the story ran, the panda was found, dead.

Over the next few days over a hundred red panda sightings were reported. Keep in mind, red pandas are indigenous to tropical India, not temperate Holland. There is no chance that some other red panda was being seen and reported to the authorities. It’s also not likely that people were hallucinating, either. What is likely is that people were seeing some other animal or something else they couldn’t identify immediately, and interpreting it as a red panda.

When confronted with an unknown phenomenon, the brain immediately attempts to impose some kind of pattern or meaning onto it. Apparently, the brain can’t stand not knowing what something is. What happened in Rotterdam is that the news stories primed people to recognize anything mysterious or otherwise unexplainable as “red panda”, despite the unlikeliness. In other conditions, the template for the unknown might be an angel, Sasquatch, a UFO, faeries, or a will-o-wisp. Since the brain is working with so little evidence, it essentially makes it up, making our observations highly suspect.

Speaking of Priming

The suggestability of the brain extends to more than just the unknown and unusual. As it turns out, even everyday events can be shaped by subtle cues in our environment. In one study, two groups of subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and offered a crumbly biscuit by a research assistant afterward. In the room where the survey was administered to one of the two groups, there was a hidden pail of water with a splash of cleaning fluid, filling the air with a slight scent.

The survey was a McGuffin; the real object of the study was to see what subjects would do after they ate the crumbly biscuit. What happened is this: the participants in the room where the smell of cleaning fluid hung in the air were much more likely to clean up the crumbs left by the biscuit than the others.

A subtle effect to be sure (they ought to try it with teenagers!) but a good example of what psychologists call “priming”. Priming calls on deep memory associations in the brain — like the association of the smell of cleaning products with the act of cleaning — which seems to trigger responses without any conscious awareness or intention on our part. Isn’t that great?

Hey hey, good looking!

It’s not just priming that can subtly and unconsciously affect the way we behave; as it happens, the beliefs other people have about us, even if they don’t know us, can also affect our behavior. For example, psychologists set up telephone conversations between a man and a woman. Neither could see the other. Before the conversation started, the man was shown a photograph of the woman he was going to meet on the phone. However, the photograph was actually picked randomly, and depicted either an attractive woman or an unattractive one (how this was determined I don’t know).

Men who believed they were talking with an attractive woman were much more friendly, active, and open during the conversation than men who believed they were talking to an unattractive woman. What’s more, the women — who did not know whether their partners believed they were attractive or unattractive — responded differently depending on the beliefs of their partner. Women who were believed to be unattractive were more detached, cold, formal, and even rude than those who were believed to be attractive.

Clearly these women were picking up on and responding to unconscious clues in the way their male partners spoke to them. When men were friendly and talkative, the women responded with warmth; when men were distant, women responded accordingly. But the subjects themselves did not report any difference in the way they thought they had acted — for them, they were just “normal”.

But there’s more. In interviews before the conversation took part, the men were asked to describe what they expected their partners to be like. Men who thought they were about to talk to an attractive woman said they expected her to be warm, open, friendly, and so on — which in most cases is exactly what she was. Men who expected their partner unattractive thought they would also be cold, distant, and unfriendly — and lo and behold, she was. In our minds, attractive people are better people — and apparently thinking makes it so.

“Nothing more than a dog’s breakfast”

Well, that’s brains for you — ” three and a half pounds of blood-soaked sponge” in Kurt Vonnegut’s colorful estimation. Somehow, this little bundle of nerves and fat manages to guide us through our days, most of the time without getting us killed. Along the way, though, these little quirks — and a host of others, which I’ll revisit at a later date — can cause a lot of trouble. Good people’s talents are overlooked because we don’t like the looks of them. The worst aspects of our personalities are brought to the fore because of a subtle environmental cue, like a briefcase on a table. We imagine things that aren’t there — and get offended when others have the audacity to question our observations. We find ourselves doing things with no rational explanation for why were doing them — and even worse, sometimes we don’t find ourselves doing them, we do them without even knowing!

It all seems rather hopeless, but I’m optimistic. Knowing how our minds get in their own way, we can catch these behaviors and put them right — or put them to work for us. It takes work — individual work for sure, and in some cases the work of our entire societies. But I’m convinced we can think of ways to minimize the negative effects and maximize the positive.

If only we didn’t have to rely on the same brains to figure that out…

 

Accomplish More By Doing Less – Dumb Little Man

Filed under: How-To — hairbygio @ 3:59 pm

Accomplish More By Doing Less – Dumb Little Man

Accomplish More By Doing Less

Posted by: Jay White on 10/12/2007 | Join the Discussion (2 comments)

The ‘Einstein Principle’ is very simple. It basically states that we are most productive when we have fewer projects to devote more of our time on. Common sense, right? This way of thinking, if practiced, leads to some interesting results that most definitely increase productivity. If all your attention is spread over less projects, those projects will benefit.

Cal Newport at StudyHacks takes this principle and adapts it to real life so we’re not just purging projects left, right and center.

It involves separating projects into professional, extracurricular, and personal categories [or the like] and marking important projects with stars while removing those that you could leave to rot with no consequence.

With the remaining items, develop a 1-3 week plan for each project, as Cal explains.

Once you completed your crunch plan you’ll be left with only a small number of important projects. In essence, you have purged your schedule of all but a few contenders to be your next Theory of Relativity. Here’s the important part: Try to go at least one month without starting any new projects. Resist, at all costs, committing to anything during this month. Instead, just focus, with an Einsteinian intensity, on your select list.

The great thing about this kind of focus with goals is that it doesn’t only apply to college life. Make these same distinctions with your own projects and focus on what’s important to see some great results.

The Einstein Principle: Accomplish More By Doing Less – [StudyHacks]

 

Top 10 Ways to Sleep Smarter and Better – Lifehacker

Filed under: How-To — hairbygio @ 3:55 pm

Lifehacker Top 10: Top 10 Ways to Sleep Smarter and Better – Lifehacker


Top 10 Ways to Sleep Smarter and Better

sleeplikeababy1.jpg
Nothing kills your ability to get things done faster than a bad night’s sleep. Studies show that sleep deprivation costs Americans significant work productivity; yawning employees can’t stay alert, make good decisions, focus on tasks or even manage a friendly mood at the office. There are lots of ways to beat insomnia, increase the quality of your sleep, and master the power nap. Today we’ve got our top 10 favorite sleep techniques, tips and facts. Photo by dkaz.

10. Reduce Screen Time Before Bed
nightcomputing.jpgStop checking your email or watching TV just before bedtime and you’ll sleep better. A recent study shows that people who consume electronic media (read: stare at a backlit screen) just before bedtime report lower-quality sleep even when they get as much sleep as non-pre-bedtime screenheads. Lifehacker reader JFitzpatrick says this makes perfect sense:

Using a light-emitting device before bed like a flickering TV or computer monitor stimulates the brain in a different way than the way the body was intended to move towards sleep (gradually as the sun set) That’s why it is so easy to waste sleepless hours flipping from channel to channel (or reading Lifehacker or Digg). The exposure to light stimulates the brain and creates a false alertness and stimulation.

9. Exercise to Enhance Sleep
race_running_speed_267198_l.jpgYou already know that exercising provides lots of good health benefits—a good night’s sleep being one of them. But make sure you exercise in the morning or afternoon, not at night, to see the benefits while you dream. CNN reports:

The National Sleep Foundation reports that exercise in the afternoon can help deepen shut-eye and cut the time it takes for you to fall into dreamland. But, they caution, vigorous exercise leading up to bedtime can actually have the reverse effects. A 2003 study found that a morning fitness regime was key to a better snooze. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center concluded that postmenopausal women who exercised 30 minutes every morning had less trouble falling asleep than those who were less active. The women who worked out in the evening hours saw little or no improvement in their sleep patterns.Oh yeah, exercise enhances that other bedtime activity, too: sex. (But that’s a whole other top 10.)

8. Eat to Enhance Sleep
Some foods are more conducive to a better night’s sleep than others. You already knew about warm milk, chamomile tea and turkey, but Yahoo Food lists others, like bananas, potatoes, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread. You find yourself fighting off afternoon droopy eyelids at the office? Here are some pointers on eating a less nap-inducing lunch.

7. Master the Power Nap
sleeppod.jpgSlowly but surely, the benefits of the classic, 20-minute power nap are getting more recognition, with big companies installing sleep pods at the office and more software applications like Pzizz helping to set the right power nap aural scene. Here’s how to get the perfect nap from the author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, and more on how and why power naps work.

6. Avoid the Soul-Shattering Alarm Buzzer
No one likes starting the day by getting ripped out of bed by that evil BEEP BEEP BEEP of the alarm clock, but some sleepyheads ignore anything gentler. Lifehacker reader Jason beats the buzzer with a dual clock radio system:
alarmbuzzer.png

Put one alarm clock on your nightstand, the other across the room and make sure they’re in sync. Set the alarm clock on your nightstand to go off at, let’s say, 6:30 a.m., if that is when you need to get up. I set that one to use the radio, and make sure it is loud enough to wake me up, but not too loud (I don’t want to wake my wife on purpose). The second alarm clock on the dresser is set to go off exactly one minute later, but using that dreadful buzzer. So, when my alarm goes off in the morning, it doesn’t startle me like the buzzer. Then, I know I have about 60 seconds to get up and turn the other one off before I hear a buzzing sound. At that point, I am out of bed, and no buzzer.Of course, some particularly talented sleepers can program themselves to wake up before the alarm clock goes off naturally. (The rest of us hate you.)

5. Solve Problems in Your Sleep
Wrestling with a tough decision, stuck in a creative rut or having a hard time solving a complex problem? Studies show that a little shut-eye can help you tackle problems and make tough decisions.

 

4. Beat Insomnia with Visualization
There’s nothing worse than laying awake throughout the night, watching the clock tick away seconds knowing you’ll be a zombie the next day. When insomnia’s kicking your sleepy butt, use a self-directed meditative visualization technique to quiet the whir of a racing mind. Guest contributor Ryan Irelan runs down how to beat insomnia with “Blue Energy.”

3. Shortcut a Long Nap with the Clattering Spoon
spoon.jpgArtist and napper Salvador Dali had an interesting nap technique, based on the idea that your body benefits from just getting to sleep as much as a couple of hours worth of shut-eye. He purportedly used a spoon to wake himself up just as he lost consciousness. According to Question Swap (via 43F), here’s what you do:

Lie down or sit in comfy seat holding a spoon in your fingertips. you should be holding it in a way that – when you loose consciousness (sleep) you drop it… the Clatter (put a big plate on the floor under your hand) will wake you…. and you get woken JUST as you enter the best “dreamy” bit of your sleep. Alternatively, hold a bunch of keys: same effect.

2. Take a Caffeine Power Nap

Need a turbo boost to beat the sleepy doldrums pinch? Try a cup of coffee followed by a quick 15-minute nap to reboot your brain and get you going again.

1. Teach Yourself to Lucid Dream
crazydreams.pngArrive at school naked in that terrible dream last night? Turn nightmares around by knowing you’re dreaming while you do it. Lucid dreaming opens up all sorts of possibilities for controlling where and how your dreams go. Teach yourself to lucid dream by keeping a dream journal and learning reality checks and dream extending techniques. (Some great comments here by lucid-dreaming readers, too.) Intrigued? Here are more lucid dreaming FAQs.