Five rules of sleep

Michael Acton Smith, author of Calm and founder of Mind Candy, provides his five key rules to sound sleep

1. Implement a tech curfew.
The light radiating from television, smartphone and computer screens has been found to interfere with the body’s circadian rhythm.  A study by researchers at Harvard Medical School in the US found that particular frequencies of light disrupted production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.  Turn off devices and TVs at least an hour before you plan to go to sleep.  Read a book, and if you use an e-book reader, download a blue-light filter app for it.

2. Lay off the booze. 
A study by Professor Chris Idzikowski and the London Sleep Centre’s Irshaad Ebrahim found that although those who had been drinking alcohol before bed fell asleep more quickly, the quality of their sleep was reduced. The time these volunteers spent in REM sleep decreased, and their sleep was more disturbed than those who had had an alcohol-free night.

3. Exercise regularly during the week.  
Studies show that those who exercise sleep better than inactive people, although a strenuous workout just before bed can have the opposite effect.

4. Turn the heating down.  
The optimum temperature for a good night’s sleep is 18c, a few degrees lower than room temperature. If you’re too hot, you are more likely to feel restless.

5. Have a warm, milky drink. 
This can help to make you feel sleepy, as milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin, the mood-boosting neurotransmitter which is associated with feelings of calm and relaxation. If milk isn’t your thing, opt for a herbal infusion with a mildly sedative effect: valerian root or camomile. There are lots of ‘sleepy’ blends out there, so experiment until you find one you like.


Michael Acton Smith

Join the Calm revolution.

Modern life is hectic and relentless: trains delayed, endless emails filling the inbox, kids squabbling before bedtime... There has never been a more important time to rediscover your pause button. Calm is the book that will show you how to take back a little bit of peace, space and all-important calm. This book contains the simple tools, tricks and habits that will change the rest your life. It is a practical and pleasurable guide to twenty-first century mindfulness.

Regular meditation is medically proven to be good for you - it increases focus and creativity, productivity and job satisfaction, mental and even physical health. But in reality most of us don't have time to sit on a cushion with our eyes closed for half an hour every day. And many people associate meditation with hard work and huge lifestyle shifts: you might be imagining Buddhist monks locked in a mountain retreat and living off gruel...

This is where Calm comes in. Calm is about simple, achievable habits that work with the demands of your busy life instead of pretending those demands don't exist. Calm does not require specialist training: it uses abilities that every single one of us is born with, like creativity, spontaneity and simply noticing the world around you. Calm is not a set of rules that you need to worry about following or breaking. It is inspirational, practical and non-prescriptive. Onerous, time-consuming meditation might seem out of reach but everyone can achieve calm - including you.

Calm combines extracts from fascinating neurological research with wisdom from history's great thinkers and the real-life experiences of individuals across the globe. It demystifies mindfulness and shows you the many simple ways to be mindful while carrying on with your life. It is also a beautifully crafted object, filled with artwork and artistry, that will change your perspective by showing you the pleasures of the world anew. Take a walk with nowhere to go, savour a chocolate on the tip of your tongue, plant a seed, doodle aimlessly, turn off your mobile phone for five short minutes. Smile, breathe and go slowly.

Calm is divided into eight sections that everyone should have in their life:
· Nature
· Work
· Creativity
· Children
· Travel
· Relationships
· Food
· Sleep
Each section contains a mixture of fascinating research, creative prompts, activities and instructions, sensory stimuli and inspiration. Pick up Calm whenever you need it, dip in and out, read it and choose which bits work best for you.

Michael Acton Smith has written a game-changing book, one that will finally balance everyone's need for calm with the realities of modern life. Join the Calm revolution. Calm your mind; change your world.


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