Benny's Adventures

The Secrets of Sleep

I’ve struggled with sleep for a long time and for a while I thought all sorts of things were wrong with me. However, partly due to increased pressure from having a full-time job, I finally made a breakthrough that made sleep so much more enjoyable.

What follows is a collection of things I’ve found that helped me and some thoughts I’ve had that solved the issue.

1. Follow the Body’s Sleep Cycles – Sleep in Multiples of 1.5 Hours

It’s generally common knowledge that an average human “should” get 8 hours of sleep. However, would you believe that getting less sleep could be even better?

Now, let me clarify – it’s not getting less sleep that makes it better but being able to work with how your body sleeps. The main issue to avoid is waking up when you’re in the middle of a sleep cycle. From what I can find the average sleep cycle is 90 minutes. 8 hours will wake you up right in the middle of the sixth cycle. After doing the 8 hour thing for a long time and then switching to being conscious of the 90 minute cycles the difference was immediately noticeable.

The nail in the coffin for me was this weekend actually where I went to bed without setting an alarm. I woke up the first time after approximately 6 hours and then decided that I wanted to sleep some more. I woke up – again, naturally – 1.5 hours later. While this isn’t proof by any means the evidence is definitely in favor of the 90 minute sleep cycle.

I’ve been doing better now on 6 and occasionally 7.5 hours of sleep than I have trying to get as close to 8 as possible.

2. Don’t Snooze

Snoozing is bad for two reasons. The first is the inherent risk of sleepily turning off your alarm or sleeping beyond the critical point for being ready for work/school/whatever. The second reason is that even if you sleep for another 5 or 10 minutes, that could have you sinking into deep sleep and waking up from that would actually make you more tired. Avoid snoozing at all costs!

3. Don’t Treat Sleep Like a Chore You Don’t Want to Do

I tend to approach sleep like a chore, like something I’d rather not be doing. However, sleep is vital to many bodily functions related to recovering from your day. Are you a student looking to learn your material better? You need sleep! Are you a man or woman looking to become more fit? You need sleep! Are you a human being? You need sleep! Wikipedia does a pretty decent job summarizing the important functions of sleep.

It’s tough to adjust a mindset but adjusting the mindset with respect to sleep is so rewarding! In my case I went from setting an alarm for 8.5 hours of bedtime, getting approximately 8 hours of sleep including the time to get to bed, and then more often than not falling back asleep for another hour or so and rushing to get ready and get to work on time. In college my sleep schedule was even worse. Now however I’ve been doing pretty well with 6 hours of sleep. I’ve had more energy for work and have been able to do more in the day.

I think my sleep issues have been fixed! If something changes in the near future I’ll let you know, but if you’re having sleep issues I hope that this helps!

Of course, if you’re having serious problems, always check with a medical professional. I’m only going from Google and personal experience.

25 June 2011 Posted by | Feeling Good, Life, productivity | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dungeon Siege 3 Demo Impressions

Dungeon Siege 1

Back in the day I LOVED Dungeon Siege. In my experience Dungeon Siege is game of epic proportions about a great adventure with RPG elements and tactical elements as well. For whatever reason I just never got Dungeon Siege 2 so I figured I could try out Dungeon Siege 3 and see if I can recapture my enjoyment of the Dungeon Siege series.

Dungeon Siege 3

The first thing I noticed is that the graphics are pretty decent. The characters are modeled well and the effects are nice to look at. The fire though looks very artificial to me for some reason and that stood out to me. Also, I had pretty frequent issues with trying to figure out where the path was going. Often there’d be ramps to the next part of the cave or the woods but it’d be difficult to tell it apart from the normal level ground. Maybe the environments will be varied enough in the full game to avoid that issue becoming a nuisance but if there are going to be a lot of caves or dark areas, that could be a huge problem. That aside, while nothing about the graphical quality and arty style wowed me, nothing struck me as particularly bad either.

Dungeon Siege 3 plays much more like a 3rd person action game rather than an RPG along the lines of Diablo, which is what I remember Dungeon Siege for. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just not what I expected. However I did have trouble with the combat system. The fighting itself looks flashy and powerful. Each character gets 2 stances for different situations and it felt useful. In each stance the characters have only one combo, though with the abilities chained together a sense of variety is created. The targeting system is extremely clunky in my opinion. I tried to change targets in mid combat but more often than not the target did not change until it was defeated, even if I’m suddenly far away because of an ability of being knocked down.

Ah! Something I didn’t mention as noticing first off the bat is that you can pick from 1 of 2 characters to begin with. This is a drastic departure from what I remember the series for. The character development within the game is also much more structured. I can’t develop a ranged character starting as the melee character, for example, if I decide I wanted to change strategy. This type of character progression simplifies advancement but also takes what I consider fun out it. I enjoy planning out how best to advance my character to meet my mood at the moment. Sometimes I want to play the ranged character, and sometimes I want to be the bruiser. Heck, maybe I can even double up as a fighter/healer or ranger/healer. One of my favorite parts of Dungeon Siege is the party system where I can hand-craft a team.

After watching some trailers, particularly this one:

It may be that I’m missing some controls that allow me to change targets quicker, and things like that. I’ll have to take another look at that but in the grand scheme of things the feel of the game just doesn’t suit me.

I have some minor thoughts on the save system and other parts of the game. However, my conclusion for Dungeon Siege 3 is to try it out and if you enjoy it, get it. If not, well no worries.

Personally, I’m going to check out Dungeon Siege 2 and see if it’s more along the lines of what I’m looking for.

Why do I get the feeling that games are becoming simpler and simpler to attract a broader audience? Great commercially, I’m sure, but what does it mean in terms of gameplay? Time will tell, I suppose.

11 June 2011 Posted by | Gaming | , , , | Leave a comment

Dorm Life vs. Apartment Life

kitchen4vs. dorm

Still fresh out of college and learning about the ways of the “real world” one of the biggest transitions is from dorm life to apartment life. After living a few weeks in an apartment I think I can safely say that even with the benefits of an apartment I’d take dorm life any day.

The biggest reason for preferring dorm life is probably because I’m very low key in terms of space. I knew people that filled up apartments even in college and I also knew people who had nearly nothing. I fit in the middle somewhere and I can fit everything I need to live in a dorm room, even with a room mate! Thus one of the biggest benefits of an apartment (all the increased space) is lost on me. In fact, I’m actually apprehensive about it. If I don’t need to fill up this space… what happens when that space actually gets filled up? I don’t want to have a bunch of things I don’t need lying around.

This becomes a big reason because the benefits of dorm life outweigh the benefits of an apartment as a result. If I had needed all the space for my necessities then it’d be worth it but given my nature, I find that dorm life allows me to be more social and just have a lot more fun in general. I’m close to my friends, my bathroom and hallway cleaning is taken care of, and a lot of useful places are close to me.

Of course, as life necessitates more space an apartment will definitely come in handy. I’m sure that some day my completely empty den will have a reason to exist, but until then I really miss life back in college. There are so many memories I could not have had if I’d lived in any other style of housing. Of course I also had the luxury of it – I could afford it thanks to my wonderful parents. I also never had a terrible roommate story. I’m sure some people got scared off of dorms thanks to the worst case scenarios that they could have experienced or have heard about, but for me I didn’t have any problems.

The differences between housing is of course a small part of the bigger picture. Soon enough I’ll write up a more holistic comparison between life in college and life as a working man. And if you happen to want a much more detailed comparison between a dorm and an apartment from my perspective, let me know.

9 June 2011 Posted by | Life | , , | 5 Comments


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