How to Cook a Steak

This guy knows how to make a steak!

Mark Bittman – How to cook a steak

Is this the best blackout curtain on the market?

easyblackout kit with VELCRO® brand hook fastener

Sleeping in a completely dark room is one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. When summer rolls around and it stays lighter a lot later, or if you live on street where there are lots of street lamps, this can be difficult to achieve. Most blackout curtains or blinds don’t do a great job of blocking out all the light. You may need an additional way solution to combine with your existing curtains.

Here’s what I’ve found really helps.



Come along… it’s going to be a adventurous ride. Never settle. Always keep the cement wet, break out of the comfort zone.



Self-care is not selfish. In fact self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and other people.

The better you look after the Fundamentals, the more alive, energised and motivated you will be, functioning at your best and able to bring your peak performance to the situations and people that require it of you.

When you prioritise self-care, you are walking in love and preparing yourself to be of the highest service to others.


The Fundamentals

If you take care of the fundamentals, the fundamentals will take care of you—simple as that.

What are the fundamentals? Sleeping well, eating well, moving well, relaxing well and relating well. These are things you can pursue excellence in for a lifetime; the need to do them well will never change throughout your life—they are the very rudiments of a meaningful and productive life. You will not reach your highest potential if these things are out of whack—and if you do, you won’t have a lot of staying power. These are the fundamentals of life; if you look after them, they will look after you.


Let Your Life Speak — Parker J. Palmer (2000, Jossey-Bass)

Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer

The Score

There are a couple of metrics I use to judge the value of a book.

  1. To what degree does it change the way I think, live or make decisions? (5/5)
  2. How likely am I to immediately buy copies for friends? (5/5)
  3. What is the quality level of the book (author’s credibility, quality of writing, reliability of research and information)? (5/5)

Based on those questions, I have scored this book with marks out of 5 and taken an average as the final score of its value. (i.e. 15/3 = 5)

For Let Your Life Speak, I value it as a 5/5 book.


Habit #4 — 8pm Blue Light Curfew

Habit number 4 is part of my strategy to get better quality sleep.

To do so I need to get rid of blue light emitting devices—computer, phone, TV, LED light bulbs—at least two hours before I need to be asleep.

This means that if I want to be asleep by 10pm—my current bedtime—I need to put away all of the blue light emitting tech, light bulbs included, by 8pm.

This is the basis of habit number four which I’m going to be tracking for the next 21 days.


Why We Sleep: Quotes and Notes

Below are my complete quotes and notes from Matthew Walker’s book—Why We Sleep.


Twelve Tips for Healthy Sleep

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. As creatures of habit people have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns. Sleeping later on the weekends won’t fully make up for a lack of sleep during the week and will make it harder to wake up early on Monday morning. Set an alarm for bedtime. Often we set an alarm for when it’s time to wake up but fail to do so for when it’s time to go to sleep. If there is only one piece of advice you remember and take from these twelve tips, this should be it.
  2. Exercise is great, but not too late in the day. Try to exercise at least thirty minutes on most days but not later than two to three hours before your bedtime.
  3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Coffee, colas, certain teas, and chocolate contain the stimulant caffeine, and its effects can take as long as eight hours to wear off fully. Therefore, a cup of coffee in the late afternoon can make it hard for your to fall asleep at night. Nicotine is also a stimulant, often causing smokers to sleep only very lightly. In addition, smokers often wake up too early in the morning because of nicotine withdrawal.
  4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. Having a nightcap or alcoholic beverage before sleep may help you relax but heavy use robs you of REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep. Heavy alcohol ingestion also may contribute to impairment in breathing at night. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the effects of the alcohol have worn off.
  5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. A light snack is okay, but a large meal can cause indigestion, which interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids at night can cause frequent awakenings to urinate.
  6. If possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure, or asthma medications, as well as some over-the-counter and herbal remedies for coughs, colds, or allergies, can disrupt sleep patterns. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist to see whether any drugs you’re taking might be contributing to your insomnia and ask whether they can be taken at other times during the day or early in the evening.
  7. Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can help make up for lost sleep, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
  8. Relax before bed. Don’t over schedule your day so that no time is left for unwinding. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual.
  9. Take a hot bath before bed. The drop in body temperature after getting out of the bath may help you feel sleepy, and the bath can help you relax and slow down so you’re more ready to sleep.
  10. Dark bedroom, cool bedroom, gadget-free bedroom. Get rid of anything your bedroom that might distract you from sleep, such as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or warm temperatures. You sleep best if the temperature in the room is kept on the cool side. A TV, cell phone, or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction and deprive you of needed sleep. Having a comfortable mattress and pillow can help promote a good night’s sleep. Individuals who have insomnia often watch the clock. Turn the clock’s face out of view so you don’t worry about the time while trying to fall asleep.
  11. Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least thirty minutes each day. If possible, wake up with the sun or use very bright lights in the morning. Sleep experts recommend that, if you have problems falling asleep, you should get an hour of exposure to morning sunlight and turn down the lights before bedtime.
  12. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than twenty minutes or if you are starting to feel anxious or worried, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.
Source: Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker (2017)

Basic Sleep Hygiene Principles

  1. Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
  2. Remove screen technology from the bedroom
  3. Sleep in a cool bedroom
  4. Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends
  5. Go to bed only when sleepy and avoid sleeping on the couch early/mid-evenings
  6. Never lie awake in bed for a significant time period; rather, get out of bed and do something quiet and relaxing until the urge to sleep returns
  7. Avoid daytime napping if you are having difficulty sleeping at night
  8. Reduce anxiety-provoking thoughts and worries by learning to mentally decelerate before bed
  9. Remove visible clock faces from view in the bedroom, preventing clock-watching anxiety at night
Source: Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep