We Can’t Stop Sleeping With Our Phones

As a society, we’ve accepted that using your phone in certain situations is bad. At dinner, it is rude and makes for empty conversations. While driving, it’s a danger to yourself and those around you. At the movies, it’s a surefire way to get your neighbors to hate you. And there are even situations — a sunset, a nice restaurant meal — where lots of us say, you know, let’s just try to enjoy this smartphone-free.

Objectively, falling asleep with your phone in your bed is also bad — or at least, not good. Both scientific studies and general common sense warn of the pitfalls of falling asleep with phones: They keep us up too late and wake us up in the middle of the night and the “blue light” from screens hurts our sleep cycles, resulting in sleep that is both too short and often interrupted.

But many, if not most, of us are doing it anyway.

Staff at BuzzFeed were asked in a survey, if they ever fall asleep with their phones in their beds. Of the 82 people who responded, 70% said they at least sometimes sleep with their phones in their beds, and 41% said they do it almost every night.

Single people were somewhat more likely to sometimes sleep with their phones in their bed — 78% of singles and 61% of people in relationships said they at least sometimes sleep with their phones in their bed. Roughly 95% said they sleep with their phones either in their beds, or on a nightstand or floor right next to it, and only four people said they leave their phones away from the bed, either in another room or on another side of the room.

The respondents, admittedly, are a hyperconnected group. So, while by no means conclusive, it’s a look at how hard it can be to disconnect, even while unconscious.

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So why do we do it? And how does it make us feel? I also asked the respondents to share some thoughts, which revealed that a lot of us feel anxious about the effects — both long and short term — of sleeping with our phones, but many of us simply just accept it as a reality of the way we live now.
While responses varied, I identified what I believed to be five distinct behaviors and attitudes:

1. The Principled

This is the very small minority of people who actually shut their phone down before bed. People did this for two reasons: either because they struggle with waking up and find that using their phone as an alarm that requires getting out of bed to turn off is a good way to force yourself to wake up, or because they recognized that shutting down is a healthy habit that helped their sleep (and life). If you see someone looking happy and well-rested, they may well be of this contingent.

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2. The Super-Connected and Slightly Concerned

The largest group were those who sleep with or near their phones, out of necessity and/or comfort, and worry a little about what it might do to one’s sleep cycle. They said, for example:

“Yes it freaks me out, but I work for the internet and the internet never sleeps.”

“I think it might affect how quickly I can fall asleep. Often times I try to put it down and unwind, but I feel restless and finally give in and pick it up and start distracting myself on it.

“I worry that sleeping with my phone affects my sleeping patterns, but I also can’t stop.”
“It certainly doesn’t feel good. It feels like an addiction: compulsive and unhealthy.”

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3. The Worried About the Long Term

A bunch of people said they had concerns about what effect sleeping near a phone will have — over a lifetime. One person wrote: “I feel OK unless we find out we’re all going to have cancer in 20 years :(”

Said another: “My phone is my clock so I like to have it near me. The only thing that freaks me out is if there’s some kind of freaky radiation we don’t know about and in 20 years I’m going to be screwed.”

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4. The Sleep Trackers

Quite a few people said they kept their phones nearby because they used a sleep-tracking app, most commonly Sleep Cycle, which actually requires you to keep your phone in your bed. According to its website: “Since you move differently in bed during the different phases, the Sleep Cycle alarm clock is able to use the accelerometer in your iPhone to monitor your movement and determine which sleep phase you are in.” In the morning, it wakes you up at the ideal time, within a designated window. The Sleep Trackers (major motion picture coming soon?) spoke highly of the practice, and though some said they wished they didn’t have to sleep so close to their phones, most said it was worth it overall. One person called it “magic.”

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5. The ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

A number of people said they sleep with their phones, and don’t worry about it or notice any negative effects.

“I feel like I SHOULD unplug like an hour before bed but I never do. It’s one of those ~healthy habits~ I just can’t adopt. I don’t floss either!”

In sum, as one person put it: “It may be bad for me but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

Sony BM10 Bluetooth Music Receiver via AUX in

Here is my article about how I fitted a Sony BM10 Bluetooth Music Receiver into my 2006 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG that uses the Comand APS system with AUX in. However, this is no different to any other vehicle that also utilises the auxiliary input method.

When I had my previous car (2005 Boxster S), I fitted a Dension Gateway 500 with the BTA1500 adapter. That gave me the luxury of playing all the songs on my phone via Bluetooth (A2DP) to the stock head unit.

Since getting the SLK 55, I’ve wanted to fit a similar Dension type system. I know there are others, such as mCar and m0bridge, however these are all in the region of £300 – £350. Sometimes even more.

I finally decided that for my purpose, which would be to simply streaming my music to the car via bluetooth, the Dension 500 BT S was the best option. Having used Dension before, I knew I could trust them and I liked the build quality of their products.

Then, a friend of mine informed me that I could pick up a 500 BT S for just £275 delivered. I almost pulled the trigger, but then decided to do more research (as you do). I realised that my car had the AUX input in the glove box. I was also aware that there was such as thing as a Bluetooth receiver to 3.5mm jack device. So I carried on my research ……

The options were as follows:

1) Belkin Aircast = £59.99

AirCast Auto HandsFree - HeroImage
2) HTC Bluetooth SteroClip = £59.99

HTC Bluetooth Clip

There were some cheaper alternatives, but I didn’t bother looking at those as I didn’t want to compromise on sound quality.

Then, accidently I must add, I came across this :

1) Sony BM10 Bluetooth Music Receiver = £69 or £39 from Amazon

Bluetooth Music Receiver BM10 - Smartphone to Hi-Fi sound system

On seeing the Sony device, and the fact that it is powered with a Micro USB slot, I was almost instantly aroused. I knew that I could have a custom micro usb soldered onto the back of the CD changer / cigratte lighter (switched feed) and have that power the device, then tuck it all away nicely into the glove box.

So with this, I then purchased the following items to complete the task :

1) 12v to 5v USB cable with inverter = £5.78

Sony BM10 installation photos
2) RCA to 3.5mm Jack Cable = £2.93

 

Sony BM10 installation photos

Total cost for items = £48.70

I know that by doing this option, I will not have all the steering wheel controls for my music OR the ability to display the tracks on the head unit, but that doesn’t bother me as I can simply change tracks on the phone / device anyway. Plus this solution has saved me over £220.

Installation photos

CD Changer pulled out to access
Sony BM10 installation photos

Tapping into cigarette lighter for switched feed
Sony BM10 installation photos

Sony BM10 installation photos

12v to 5v USB Inverter installed
Sony BM10 installation photos

Sony BM10 installation photos

Sony BM10 installation photos

Feeding cables to glove box
Sony BM10 installation photos

Sony BM10 installation photos

Complete
Sony BM10 installation photos

Sound quality difference

How I lost nearly 2 stone in 3 months

Before I start, I just want to say that I’m no medical expert or fitness expert. However during my 3 month fitness journey, I have learnt a lot and have experienced such a change in my body that meant I lost nearly 2 stone in 3 months so I wanted to share the following.

It was the 30th of June 2014 when I was in my room getting dressed. Usual routine, select clothes from cupboard, put them on, head into the bathroom etc. However on this particular date, something changed. I took my top off to put the new top on and looked in the mirror. I couldn’t help but notice but my stomach was looking more like a barrel than anything before. It was at this point I knew I had to do something before it all went horribly south. I decided it was time to change, stop eating the junk food and start eating healthy. Time to actually get off my arse and do something more strenuous than walking to the train station.

Now, don’t get me wrong everyone has a weight or a shape that they would love to achieve. For me personally, I’ve always wanted that ‘6 pack’ or that ‘built’ look you see all the time. But for years, I just didn’t have the time or the enthusiasm to actually do something about trying to get that look. But as the years go on and at the time I was 31, I knew that age would start creeping up on me and with the age comes health risks, problems and the inability to actually achieve the body I wanted. So more than just having the ‘look’ I knew that I should start focusing on my health now, before it may be too late.

I’ve always remembered as a young adult growing up that I was ‘always’ just 11 stone (69.8KG). I used to wear 32″ waist trousers and well, ‘medium’ tops would always fit with some room left over. As time went on, married life happened, three kids later and a stable desk job …. those figures soon start to change.

At my heaviest I was 13.5 stone (85.7KG) and started to purchase 36″ waist trousers. I think really I was more a 34″ but needed the extra space for my butt!

My daily routine would normally consist of something along this routine:

Wake up at 6am, get to the office for about 8am, have breakfast. That would range from either a bowl of cereal (sugar based) or something fried, such as eggs on toast, hash browns, beans, and mushrooms. Then that would be washed down with a coffee, milk and two sugars.

The coffee, well I love coffee …. and I would have on average 10 coffees a day. I calculated that 2 sugars = 40 calories + Milk = 40 calories = 80 calories per cup of coffee x 10 = 800 calories a day on coffee!

Between breakfast and lunch, I would normally have snacks. That would consist of crisps, a chocolate bar and maybe some fruit if I was feeling healthy.

Then for lunch, I would practically eat anything. Usually this would consist of 1/2 a chicken, peri chips and a side, together with olives and a fizzy drink. Then, depending on the company a carrot cake would also go down nicely.

Then, between lunch and dinner I would snack on more crisps, and again depending on company another chocolate bar!

Then dinner time would come. I can’t even list what I used to have for dinner but I can certainly tell you that it was piled to the top in a mount everest like shape and that would all be gone pretty soon.

Then, late night / midnight snacks … we all love those right? Yep – I was no stranger to those. More crisps, fruit, pop corn and other needless snacks were being consumed throughout the evening.

I wanted to start a ‘new me‘ and do something about that stomach! However, I wanted to do everything naturally and properly. I’m not into all the gimmicks of milkshakes, pills or other funky herbal stuff you can buy. I’m sure they may work for many, but I wanted to keep it real. Pure natural.

I decided that I would swap my sugar for sweeteners and I wouldn’t drink milk in my coffee. Just by doing this, I’d be saving a total of 800 calories per day. I then decided that I needed something to snack on, something to replace the crisps and chocolate. I found that celery sticks were great, they are tasteless but you actually burn more calories than you consume eating those things. If celery isn’t for you, try cucumber, carrots or similar watery based foods.

I will say, that for the first 3 weeks of the fitness regime, I wasn’t a complete salad eater, I did still have the occasional treat as I tried to wean myself out of the eating routine. Also, I didn’t do any exercise for the first 3 weeks, just monitored my calorie intake using the ‘My Fitness Pal – Calorie Counter‘ app. This app suggested that I consumed 1,200 calories to achieve a weight loss of approximately 2 lbs per week.

how I lost nearly 2 stone in 3 months
1st July 2014
The start of the new me was on. I woke up, weighed myself and I was 12 stone 5 lbs.

The first thing I had that morning was a black coffee with two sweeteners. Black coffee is good first thing in the morning as not only does it give you that ‘punch in the face’ effect, but it also kick starts your metabolism.

Get in to the office for around 8am, banana for breakfast it was. I opted for a large banana from Tesco and this is about 105 calories. Banana’s are a great source of food, see my post on banana’s here : 25 Great Health Reasons To Eat Eat Bananas

Then I armed my self initially with fruit and celery. I would eat grapes, blueberries and pomegranate casually till lunch time. This meant, that not only did I consume my daily natural sugar allowance, but I also kept my metabolism going so that my body didn’t go into starvation mode.

Lunch: This consumed of either a tuna salad or a chicken salad. At first, I would purchase ready made salad’s from Tesco’s but now I make my own salad everyday. Not only have a lost weight, but I’ve also saved about £35 per week in lunch bills.

Snacks: Between lunch and dinner would then continue with celery sticks. I still continue to enjoy coffee, but without sugar or milk.

Dinner: Being married and living in a family home with 3 kids, I have to thank my wife for supporting me during this fitness period. She would often cook me something different to the rest of the family so that I was able to eat more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff. There were times when I would have to ask for particular foods based on the research and other food I had consumed that day.

I will post some food examples at the bottom of this post, however as a rule of thumb I didn’t eat anything that was deep fried, potato based and I cut out the bread completely. I minimised my carbohydrate intake, however when that was required I ate brown pasta or wholegrain based carbohydrates.

1st August 2014
One month later and I had lost about 6 – 8 lbs. Then I knew it was time to start doing exercise.

For several months, my eldest daughter (15 years) had been going running locally on her own and with a friend. I thought it would be a great opportunity to run with her for some enthusiasm and company.

My first run: This was a short 0.9 mile run around the block and felt like it lasted a lifetime. Progressively the gap between me and my daughter was getting bigger and bigger and by the time we had hit the last road to our home, she was well ahead. The next three weeks saw me running every single day, different times, different conditions and I noticed that as everyday went past, my runs were getting quicker, breathing was easier, my recovery time was much much better than before. I then came up with this theory that seeing my daughter run ahead of me was mentally demoralising me more than my physical ability to run faster than her. When you’re able to control mind over matter, it really helps your physical ability in anything you do. I’m quite a head strong person, so armed with this the runs continued where up until today, my daughter is not able to keep up with me on my runs :) – Yes, the wife moans at me all the time and says I should “let her win” sometimes.

This procedure that I have mentioned above continued, after three months the results were finally in.

I would weigh myself every week, at the same time (morning) and enter the results into my Calorie Counter app.

1st October 2014
After three months of eating a 1,200 calorie a day diet, running almost every day and being very disciplined about what I eat, drink and do …. the results were in.

after-3-months
I was down to 10 stone and 7 lbs. That was 2 lbs short of losing 2 stone in just 3 months. I was really happy with the results, but also thought I had lost quite a bit of weight. My clothes didn’t fit me anymore, I had to buy new jeans and shirts. I was happy though as I had never felt so great.

With what I had achieved, I knew it wasn’t over. I needed to stop losing weight now as I was starting to lose muscle mass. I needed to embark on my ‘phase 2′ as I call it. This was now all about maintaining my weight but also increasing my intake to enable me to gain muscle mass. Combining that with some new parallel bars I bought, I was ready to start my strength training. Maybe I’ll leave the progress of the bar work for another post? :)

Please see some example dinners below of what I was making and eating. But remember the simple rules, there are no secrets to losing weight, there are no secret milkshakes or pills. It’s quite easy. Just eat healthy (more of the good stuff, less of the bad stuff) and exercise. For me, I found the short intensive training works better than the longer endurance training. Each to there own I guess though.

1) Chicken breast, couscous and corn on the cob with low fat spread.
chicken-sweetcorn-couscous

2) Brown pasta with lean mince and low fat sauce.
brown-pasta-lean-mince

3) Chicken breast, grilled beef and steamed vegetables.
chicken-beef-steamed-veg

4) Brown pasta, grilled chicken breast and raw peppers.
chicken-brown-pasta-peppers

5) Chicken salad with olives, this is my lunch time favourite.
chicken-salad

6) Grilled chicken, sweetcorn, grilled peppers and beetroot.
chicken-sweetcorn-beetroot-peppers

7) This is a naughty, but still semi healthy weekend breakfast! Turkey rashers grilled with duck eggs, peppers and beetroot. I use very little olive oil to prepare this food.
turkey-rasher-duck-egg-beetroot-peppers

Good luck, if you decide to do something similar. It will be worth it in the end. You can leave comments and feedback below :)

5 foods to build leg strength and improve your running

The saying goes, that muscles are made in the kitchen, and whilst training and exercise is important it’s vital to eat just the right things to ensure your legs are as strong as they can be.

Improve your running with these 5 super foods and see the difference they make to your leg strength.

1. Whole eggs
Although egg whites are most often seen as the healthiest part of the egg, if you’re trying to gain muscle strength it’s important to use the yolk too. They’re full of nutrients such as leucine that are key for upping muscle growth and are a cheap source of protein.

Suggested meal: Spinach and mushroom omelette.

whole-eggs

2. Exotic meats
Unusual meats are becoming more readily available in the UK, especially at markets and smaller retailers. Ostrich and bison have far higher levels of protein than beef, as well as lower levels of fat which will ensure your leg muscles will be well fed.

Suggested meal: Exotic steak served with a baked potato topped with low fat cottage cheese.

exotic-meats

3. Peanut butter
Peanut butter might not sound like the healthiest of options, but just two tablespoons of the stuff contains around 8g of protein. Although a little higher in calories than other nutrient rich foods, these are vital for upping energy levels for runners.

Suggested meal: Wholegrain toast with low fat peanut butter and bananas, or spread the peanut butter onto some light crackers.

peanut-butter

4. Tuna
There’s no need to buy expensive tuna steaks to get the best of this muscle boosting fish. Tins from your local supermarket are a great source of the nutrients you’ll need to power up your run, or try opting for sushi instead of a sandwich if you eat out at lunch.

Suggested meal: Tuna Niçoise salad.

tuna-salad

5. Edamame beans
Perfect for a quick snack, and easily thrown in to a stir fry, edamame beans require little preparation, and for such a small vegetable they’re an excellent source of cholesterol free protein. Just one serving contains the same amount as 4oz of lean meat.

Suggested meal: A snack of edamame beans with chilli salt.

edamame-beans

bananas

25 Great Health Reasons to Eat Bananas

You’ll never look at a banana the same way again after discovering the many health benefits and reasons to add them to your diet. Bananas combat depression, make you smarter, cure hangovers, relieve morning sickness, protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness. They can cure the itch of a mosquito bite and put a great shine on your shoes.

If you think only monkeys eat bananas, think again.

1) Bananas help overcome depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin — the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.
2) Eat two bananas before a strenuous workout to pack an energy punch and sustain your blood sugar.
3) Protect against muscle cramps during workouts and nighttime leg cramps by eating a banana.
4) Counteract calcium loss during urination and build strong bones by supplementing with a banana.
5) Improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms by eating a banana, which regulates blood sugar and produces stress-relieving relaxation.
6) Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6.
7) Strengthen your blood and relieve anemia with the added iron from bananas.
8) High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke.

Eating Bananas Aids Digestion
9) Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and gently chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body.
10) Bananas act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel. They also produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients.
11) Constipated? High fiber in bananas can help normalize bowel motility.
12) Got the runs? Bananas are soothing to the digestive tract and help restore lost electrolytes after diarrhoea.
13) Bananas are a natural antacid, providing relief from acid reflux, heartburn and GERD.
14) Bananas are the only raw fruit that can be consumed without distress to relieve stomach ulcers by coating the lining of the stomach against corrosive acids.

Natural Cures From A Simple Banana
15) Eating bananas will help prevent kidney cancer, protects the eyes against macular degeneration and builds strong bones by increasing calcium absorption.
16) Bananas make you smarter and help with learning by making you more alert. Eat a banana before an exam to benefit from the high levels of potassium.
17) Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing free radicals and protection from chronic disease.
18) Eating a banana between meals helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce nausea from morning sickness.
19) Rub a bug bite or hives with the inside of the banana peel to relieve itching and irritation.
20) Control blood sugar and avoid binging between meals by eating a banana.
21) Eating a banana can lower the body temperature and cool you during a fever or on a hot day.
22) The natural mood-enhancer tryptophan, helps to relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
23) Quitting smoking? Bananas contain high levels of B-vitamins as well as potassium and magnesium to speed recovery from the effects of withdrawal.
24) Remove a wart by placing the inside of a piece of banana peel against the wart and taping it in place.
25) Rub the inside of a banana peel on your leather shoes or handbag and polish with a dry cloth for a quick shine.

Oh, and remember — bananas make great snacks and delicious smoothies.

Homeless and Hungry Project

Hello everyone, and thanks for taking the time to read this blog post.

I wanted to share something with you all as I watched a YouTube video a few weeks back that really touched me. The clip was about a guy who decided to help a homeless person by offering him his winning (not really) lottery ticket.

Check out the video above to see the entire thing.

After seeing this video it made me realise something. Personally, and as a business I would like to think I’m charitable and have made donations to various charities including Great Ormond Street (GOSH), National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Royal Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Cancer Research UK (CRUK) as well as others. However, when I saw the video it was so moving, seeing one human being actually going out and personally helping another human being who was in need and in desperate times.

I have seen many homeless people in and around London, and other parts of the World. So I thought how could I help those people? Watching that video inspired me. It inspired me to do something similar, but slightly different. After all, the main point here is to help those in need right?

I decided that the next website project I take on from this day onwards, I will personally visit London and feed homeless and hungry people myself. A website project would generate at least £499. That’s more than enough to feed at least 10 people in London, look after them and give them a day they will remember for the rest of their lives.

I’m going to do this together with my 15 year old daughter. We are going to both visit London, find homeless and hungry people and ask them “where would you like to eat today?” they can chose an eatery of their choice, it wouldn’t matter because I’d be paying for them to have a day to remember. My daughter will be holding a camera, and with the consent of those people, I’d like to record the entire thing and put in online for others to see. Why? you may ask. I do not want the fame, or the attention. I couldn’t care less about that to be honest, I want to raise awareness for others to see and hopefully be inspired by what I have done. Hopefully by doing this, those viewers will go out and do something similar or better, just like the video I watched inspired me.

I have seen some negative posts about the videos posted online of people who help others, they mainly evolve around fame, money and attention. Well, I want to make it clear right now, that if the videos of me and my daughter go viral, and have millions of views. Any money generated from those videos will go straight back into a ‘Homeless & Hungry’ fund and I will do this all over again. This is just my way of restoring some faith in humanity. For those on the streets have probably lost more than just faith in their lives.

Do you have feedback or comments to make? Please leave them in the comment box below. Thanks.