Tag Archive for: sleep

My Best Thinking

Frequently our minds are at warp speed, with a jumbled clutter of thoughts that seem more disorganised than inspiring.
In those moments it can be difficult to do any thinking at all!
My “best thinking” however, seems to occur when my mind is somewhat relaxed and quiet.
Time seems to slow a little and I can sit quietly and just think.
A quiet spot, with no interruptions is the best place for me.
It’s my place, where I find peace and quiet time to think.

Three Places

I have three favourite places where I do my best thinking.
Firstly, sat in the living room, on the couch, pondering, reflecting, and studying.
Secondly, often I am awakened in the middle of the night when it is dark and quiet. One or two words come to mind, followed by a flow of inspiration. I arise from bed and capture the thoughts that follow in my journal or on a notepad.
Thirdly, in the shower. The warm water seems to increase the flow of dopamine to my brain and physically relaxes my body, which allows my inner thoughts to really shine. There has been a lot of research done on this and it is actually known as the “shower effect”.


Interestingly, all of my best thinking also happens in the early hours of the morning.
Its in those wee small hours, when I’m not focused on an issue that I’m concerned about, that answers usually always come.
It is the time when my most meaningful ideas arise.
“In the hustle of the marketplace there is money to be made but under the cherry tree there is rest” – Ruskin Bond.
Wherever you go and whenever you take time to think, perhaps the most important thing is to actually slow down and make some time just for thinking.
It is my experience that ideas don’t just happen in certain places, they happen at certain times, too.
When and where do you do your best thinking?


“President why are you always up so early?” – is a question I am asked every week by one of the missionaries.
My answer usually goes something like this…
“It’s a habit! Ever since I was 11 years old, when I started an early morning newspaper round, I’ve been up before 5.00am.”
However, it’s actually a little more than that…
I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to sleep. I’ve studied it for a while and read several books on the matter.
Some terms I have become familiar with are owls, doves, larks, inbetweeners, circadian rhythms etc.
Have you considered your chronotype? What’s that I hear you say?
In short it describes you sleeping characteristics.
“Chronotype is the natural inclination of your body to sleep at a certain time, or what most people understand as being an early bird versus a night owl. In addition to regulating sleep and wake times, chronotype has an influence on appetite, exercise, and core body temperature. It is responsible for the fact that you feel more alert at certain periods of the day and sleepier at others.” – The Sleep Foundation.
There are four types of chronotype, Lion, Bear, Wolf, Dolphin.
A google search will help you find an online quiz that will confirm your type for you.
• Lion: The lion chronotype stands in for the early bird. These individuals wake up early and are most productive in the morning but may have more trouble following a social schedule in the evenings.
• Bear: The bear chronotype makes up about 55% of the population. People with this intermediate chronotype tend to follow the sun. They do well with traditional office hours but also have no problem maintaining a social life in the evenings.
• Wolf: The wolf chronotype is equivalent to the classic night owl, and is believed to make up approximately 15% of the population.
• Dolphin: The dolphin chronotype is based on the ability of real dolphins to stay alert even while sleeping. Human “dolphins” are best described as insomniacs.
I am most definitely a lion!
There are several good books to read on sleep, including “Sleep” by Nick Littlehales. Or “The Sleep Revolution” by Arianna Huffington.
Top tips.
1 – For me take a nap!
2. Is to find a new place for your smartphone to charge. Put is as far away from your bed as you can.
What type are you?

Cullen Skink

“President, you look a little tired, you should take a 10-minute nap!”
She was right.
These last few days, with the really hot days and sticky nights, I hadn’t slept too well.
And yesterday, it really started to catch up with me.
Arriving home from the office around 4.30pm, I lay down on the bed and didn’t take just 10 minutes but enjoyed nearly a full hour.
It was bliss.
Walking downstairs and into the living room, Monic said…“Feeling better, are you ready to eat now?”
A few moments later, a hearty bowl of Cullen Skink soup was served up for dinner.
Monic loves to make it. And we love to eat it!
Cullen Skink is a traditional Scottish soup made of fish (traditionally smoked haddock), potatoes, onions/leek and cream.
It was absolutely delicious.
The nap rebooted my brain!
The soup rebooted my body!
Refreshed, Recharged, Revitalized and Ready to go – the evening turned out to be a breeze.
What happens when you take a nap?


“Yep – I am getting old” I thought. Let me explain further…
After a very busy week of virtual design, virtual delivery, coaching and mentoring – all things that I love, Friday afternoon arrived far too quickly.  I have always been an early riser and by 12 noon yesterday, I was already feeling a little tired.  At that exact time however, my next virtual delivery session with participants from as far afield as Costa Rica to China was due to begin. I threw myself into the 90 minute session with my usual gusto and before I knew it, the time was gone.
I enjoyed a lovely lunch sitting in the sun filled front porch at home.
And then it happened….
…….In my nice comfy chair, I simply dozed off! I was completely out, counting sheep for over half an hour…!
When I awoke, I was pleasantly surprised by the passing of time. And yet, I felt both a sense of relaxation and refreshment at the same time.
My next series of virtual calls were looming and yet it felt as if my vitality and energy levels had been completely restored. It was a gentle and yet satisfying feeling of reassurance that pervaded my entire being.
The upside of a napping for me – less stress, more efficiency, better health and enhanced learning! Enjoy your next one!
How often do you take a wee nap?


What are you doing about your sleep? – is a question I frequently ask in coaching conversations.

For far too long, people have taken sleep for granted. Until the mid 1990’s most people got away with it. Then the way we communicate, the internet, email, mobile phones and social media changed everything and the 24/7 working mentality was born.

Do you sleep well? Do you know how to sleep well? Having struggled with sleep myself, I have made three key discoveries that have helped me in the last few years.

Firstly, and the most important was all about circadian rhythms and our very own body clock, which regulates all of our internal systems. Take time to learn about your personal rhythms.

Secondly, determine if you are a morning or evening person, that’s a fairly simple thing to determine, you’ll have a feeling for that. There are some who are in-between. I’m a morning person, so I get tired sooner and go to bed early. What are you?

Thirdly, the one size fits all of an average of 8 hours sleep doesn’t add up for everyone. In fact, we sleep in 4 or 5 cycles of 90 minutes.

Top tip, put your mobile phone as far away from bed as you can. Sleep is the biggest influence on our mood, performance, motivation and decision making skills – what will you do about it today?