ISSUE ONE, VOLUME ONE
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SLEEP, STRESS, NAPS, & SALVADOR DALI
Hi, how are you? Fine thanks. Welcome to the very first issue of Fermata. (FER-MAH-TAH), a hopefully monthly, but definitely free, street press dealing mainly with a topic we never really think much about... Sleep. Yup, this is pretty much a hip magazine about staying in and getting an early night. But it’s so much more, it’s an answer to the questions we’ve all got, about something we all do, but know nothing about. Other than that, it’s a chance to deal with that very uncool notion of taking care of ourselves. Because as Drake and everyone on your facebook wall always says, you only live once. So why not live your best? Fermata (FER-MAH-TAH). A pause of indefinite duration. Sleep tight.
LET’S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER
Everything we need to know about sleep
NAP TO SUCCESS
Reasons to be proud when caught napping at work, school, during dinner or a wedding (even your own!)
I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH!
An exposé on our crazy stressful lives with some helpful tips
SLEEPING WITH FAMOUS PEOPLE
“Something ‘bout Mary, she gone off that Molly/ Now the whole party is melting like Dali...”
All the other stuff, reviews, new stuff, magazine junk
Sleep, you guys.
We spend about a third of our whole lives asleep, yet no one really seems to understand it. What we do know, however, is that everyone is tired. Ask anyone you know, and they’ll say they aren’t getting enough sleep, or if they are, it isn’t good enough quality sleep. Something needs to change; we need to start valuing this amazing process more!
And we have damn good reason to value it. Studies have shown that sleep improves our memory, moods, stamina, immune system and attention. It can reduce risks of heart disease, depression, and even help you lose weight! If an infomercial were selling a product with these benefits, you’d be buying it before you can even realise that many easy payments of $19.99 is not really that easy. But sleep’s free and relatively easy, right?
How Sleep Works
Sleep is broken up into two states: “rapid-eye-movement sleep” (REM) and “non-rapid-eye-movement sleep” (NREM). These two states alternate in cycles between each other at approximately 90-110 minute intervals, and you usually enter sleep through NREM.
NREM contains both the lightest and deepest stages of sleep. It consists of four stages; stages 1 & 2 are considered to be light sleep (in stage 1 you may not even realise you’re asleep) and stages 3 & 4 are “Slow-wave sleep”, a deep dreamless sleep where your brain is relatively inactive and you are very unlikely to wake up.
From Slow-wave, you reach REM sleep, which is the period where one experiences dreams. Weirdly, during this state your whole body is paralysed except for the heart, diaphragm and the muscles that move your eyes. After this stage, you effectively wake up a little bit, then you’re back into light sleep and the whole process starts over again. If you wake up feeling groggy and disorientated, even after a whole night of sleep, it is probably due to being woken up during Slow-wave instead of in the more natural wake–up times. If you delay falling asleep until the early morning hours, you will experience more REM sleep, and sometimes REM will be the first state you enter.
SLOW WAVE (20-40 mins) (In later cycles things take longer. Slow-wave is the longest in the first third of the night, REM is longer in the last third)
All In The Rhythm
A big part of controlling when you’re tired are the Circadian Rhythms, which are the body’s internal “clock” controlling our body temperature and organ functions throughout a roughly 24-hour period. Body temperature is a big part of this, and we feel the sleepiest as our body temperature drops, which usually takes place at night (although there is a second drop in the afternoon, explaining what that soup ad calls “three thirtyitis”). Also affecting you are your Cortisol levels, which are lowest in Slow-wave sleep, and highest in the early morning, so that your body is fully prepared to be active when you wake up.
How much sleep do we need?
You’ve probably heard that eight hours is the exact amount you need, and then probably heard that this is wrong, and in fact the “magic number” is blablabla and anything other than blablabla is wrong and gonna kill you. The truth, however- is there is no magic number, everyone needs a different amount. Pretty much, if you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day, you’ve had the right amount of sleep. Our sleep requirements are determined by number of things like genetics, age and lifestyle. Napoleon Bonaparte got by on four hours sleep a night, whereas Albert Einstein needed 9 or 10 hours just to function. It’s not important to get to bed at the same time every night, but it’s good to try to get up the same time in the morning- you keep your internal clock regular.
“THERE IS NO “MAGIC NUMBER”... EVERYONE NEEDS A DIFFERENT AMOUNT OF SLEEP” The quality of your sleep is just as important as quantity. Factors that determine whether or not you get a good night’s sleep include the time you go to bed, time you get up, the environment you slept in, how much caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes you’ve had and your general well-being. The term used for the quality of sleep is “sleep hygiene”. A good bedtime routine will make your sleep hygiene its best. It’s important to relax before going to bed, but there is no set way to do such relaxation. If chillin’ with a book just doesn’t stop your mind racing, try meditation (see page 8 for more tips on mediation and stopping your mind racing). Try to have your last meal and drink of the night two hours before sleeping, and don’t drink coffee within 4-6 hours of going to sleep as the caffeine won’t even halve its level in your blood for 3-5 hours. If you smoke, nicotine has the same effect as caffeine, but withdrawal as the night goes on can lead to nightmares and sleep disruption- so smoke the last cigarette at least half an hour before going to bed. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up out of bed and go do something relaxing until you feel tired again.
The best way to work out how to get the best sleep is through trial and error. If you didn’t have a great sleep last night, examine it. What time did you go to sleep? When did you go to bed? When did you fall asleep? What were you doing before bed? What did you eat? All that stuff. Then try something a little different tonight. Follow the advice on the other page and see if that helps. If not, try going to bed a little earlier. Log off Facebook, ‘cause nothing interesting’s gonna happen on it at this time of night, and treat yourself to some more sleep. Trust me, it’s worth it. We talked about the crazy amount of benefits sleep brings before, but they go beyond all that health stuff. Have you ever noticed how after a good night’s sleep, that moment you wake up anything feels possible? It’s pretty much the best. Surely it’s a better feeling than the one you have at 2am after you kept letting yourself watch “one more” episode of Game of Thrones before you switch off the light? Surely it’s better than feeling your brain melt after pulling an all-nighter only to release you can’t actually remember anything you read that night? A good sleep is an amazing thing that always seems to be forgotten behind less important stuff.
“LOG OFF FACEBOOK... AND TREAT YOURSELF TO SOME MORE SLEEP TONIGHT.“ So come on! It’s time we re-evaluated sleep! No longer should we see it as wasted time, but for what it is: a really quite amazing process that heals us mentally and physically, and helps us be our best! No more with this “sleep when you’re dead” attitude. Stop finding “pulling an all nighter” cool. Good sleep should no longer be a thing only for babies and Nanas. Let’s be the generation that’s well rested and as such achieves our potential. Let’s make sleep a priority and get the best sleep we can. Let’s spend the night together.
Today’s students are the most stressed they’ve ever been.
60-90% of our doctor’s visits each year are related to stress, with 10-25% seeking help from counsellors. In fact, we have the worst emotional health of any batch of students, including those in the Great Depression. What’s going on?!
Why are we stressed?
Without going too deep into analysing our generation, it’s safe to say we are all under an insane amount of pressure: we are set to graduate straight into a recession, and every day we’re being told to work harder and harder due to a fear of failure that seems just around the corner if we don’t put in 150% percent all the time. Being constantly connected to the internet and its infinite source of “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore”-worthy bad news sure doesn’t help either.
Take care of yo’self!
Have a support system: friends, family, someone you can talk to when feeling under pressure so that you can get these worries off your chest. Break up a stressful routine with exercise, hobbies and relaxing. Be good to your body and make sure you’re eating well, staying active and getting a good night’s sleep as often as you can. Go easy on the alcohol and stuff when stressed, as trying to drink your problems away will make the stress worse (the hangover won’t help either). As much fresh air as possible and fitting walks outside into your schedule is a good idea too.
So what is stress?
Simply put, it’s a biological & psychological response experienced on encountering a problem that we feel we do not have the resources to deal with. This problem, or stressor, could be anything from an upcoming exam or deadline, a break-up, moving, or any big change or issue. When the body judges a situation to be stressful, it mounts a chemical response to increase our blood sugar and adrenalin to help the body deal with the stressful situation. A bit of stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it allows the body to learn to deal with the situation if it arises again, and stress has been proven to help us to learn. Too much stress, however, is a different story, as it can wreak havoc on our bodies. Stress has been found to cause rashes, ulcers, nervous tics, back pain and even lead to heart disease, weight gain and long-term anxiety disorders. No fun. We need to make sure we keep our stress at a manageable level. But how?
A good long-term strategy is to make sure you’ve got a plan when you’re gonna feel stressed. Identify the events or parts of the semester that you tend to feel the most stressed during. This may be around deadlines, or exams, the beginning of a new term, whenever. Before these times come, make sure you have plans to deal with any stress that may come your way. Build up a routine involving adequate work and relaxation time, and try to stick to it when circumstances become too stressful. This routine should include just the right amount of work time (enough to get stuff done without frying your brain) sprinkled with anything that makes you happy.
5 Foods that can fight stress:
Sorry, your mum was right and broccoli is good for you. It’s full of Vitamin B6 and B12 which are essentially the Iron Man and Captain America of fighting stress.
nuts & almonds
The omega-3 in these means that eating a handful a day is enough to help lower your blood pressure. Walnuts are the best, and hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts and pistachio nuts are pretty good too.
Contains magnesium which regulates blood sugar levels and fights headaches, anxiety and fatigue. Never saw Popeye get stressed and he always had that guy Bluto trying to kidnap his girlfriend.
whole-grain rice, pasta or oatmeal
Eating carbohydrates can instantly increase your Serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter often known as the “happiness hormone” due to its function as a natural antidepressant.
cups of tea
Lowers levels of the stress hormone Cortisol. If you take it with milk, milk is full of those magic B vitamins.
Good sleep is one of the best ways to fight stress,
but the cruel irony is that sleep can feel almost impossible when you’re stressed. This is because the hypothalamus, which controls the chemical reactions of stress also controls the chemical reactions for sleep, and as you can imagine, these don’t work well at the same time. However, here are some handy tips to stop you lying awake stressed.
leave work at work
“observe” your stressed thoughts
This a technique used in ancient Buddhist meditation: “Look at the nature of the stressed thoughts themselves”. As you are lying in bed feeling an endless torrent of stress, stop listening to the subject of the thoughts, and instead look at the thought itself. Where did the thought come from? Where does it go? This kind of thinking may sound like it’s the kind of thing only a psychic superhero can achieve, but detaching yourself from the stress thoughts will allow you to relax and drift off to sleep.
Imagine you’re a psychiatrist in a movie, having just heard the anti-hero’s whole twisted story. You wouldn’t be able to carry that whole mess with you once you leave the office. One must learn to leave their work at their work. If you can, try to tie up as many loose ends as possible before going home. This may be something like staying at the library another hour to make sure you really do get that chapter, or emailing your tutor that question about the assignment that’s been bugging you. If the problem cannot be solved that easily, try this: Put all your work down in a room, and leave that room. Once through the door, imagine yourself taking all that stress and throwing it into the room you just left. When you return to that room, you may allow yourself to worry. Now, you can relax.
Remind yourself there’s no point lying in bed worrying about what you can’t solve. In the words of the eighth-century Indian Buddhist scholar Shantideva “If it can be solved, why worry? If the problem cannot be solved, worrying will be of no use.” Now is not the time of worrying, now is the time of sleep.
“look at the space between the stars”
Another meditation technique that can help is to look at the space between each stressful thought. Thoughts are like waves on the ocean. One will arise and then dissolve and before the next one can come up there must be a calm between them. Try to look for it. To do this, you must treat your thoughts like you are an impartial observer, or a spy to them. Quietly shift your attention away from the thought and look for the space between the death of one thought and the birth of another.
focus your breath
Breathing meditation is the oldest and most simple relaxation method. Lie down in bed and close your eyes, breathing through your nose. Start to become aware of the feeling of the air entering your nose and flowing down into your lungs. The task is to stay completely focused on the breathing for ten cycles (one inhale and one exhale). If your mind wanders even a little away from the breathing and to the stressed thoughts, start again from one.
FAMOUS PEOPLE xx Sleeping With Famous People is where we look at (and maybe try) the interesting sleep habits of historical figures, habits that may possibly have helped them achieve amazing things. Sorry if the title got your hopes up for something else. Salvador Dali was a hugely influential Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, designer and one of the leading figures in the Surrealist art movement. He could also come off as an eccentric celebrity who would put Gary Busey to shame (the man owned a pet ocelot called Babou. AN OCELOT.) He believed one of the secrets to becoming a great artist was what he called “slumber with a key”, an afternoon siesta designed to last no longer than a second. To accomplish this micro-nap, Dali would sit in a chair with a heavy metal key pressed between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand, and a metal plate underneath the hand with the key. The moment Dali fell asleep; the key would slip from his finger, clang the plate and wake him up. Dali believed this nap technique would give new life to an artist’s whole “physical and psychic being”.
Apparently this takes advantage of the “hypnogogic” nap, when the mind, before reaching stage 2 sleep, unlocks free flowing thoughts (in other words, all the weird thoughts that take place just before you drift off to sleep). Albert Einstein “napped” this way as well, as have other inventors, thinkers, artists and even Capuchin Monks. I figured these guys are pretty good role models, so I decided to try it myself last Monday, with a key, a couch and a flatmate nearby in case my sleep lasted more than a second and I missed work. On this first attempt, I couldn’t let myself actually fall asleep as I was too excited and too distracted by the fact my arm was having to hold a key out over the chair. It was a bit embarrassing too, as my flatmate thought I looked ridiculous. Sigh, at this rate I’ll never own an ocelot..
NAP to SUCCESS The real problem with not getting enough sleep boils down to schedules and time.
We’re all so super busy, and with the Internet meaning all the knowledge (and all the pictures of cats) in the world can be accessed at any time you want, it’s no surprise it’s so hard to get a solid block of sleep at night. But maybe we don’t need our sleep served up in one block. Professor Jim Horne, director of sleep studies at Loughborough University, believes one long sleep a day is not normal, and we should break it up into two; a big night’s sleep and a smaller nap in the day. Across the world, an afternoon siesta is common practice, and in the Middle Ages they would have an hour-long “Fyrste sleep” in the early evening so they could stay up later feeling refreshed. Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, Winston Curchill, JFK were all famous nappers too. The benefits for napping may be much more than that too. Research has discovered that even a tenminute nap can produce immediate improvements in memory, alertness, creativity, mood and even the immune system. It can lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and weight gain.
I bet right now a nap sounds great, but the problem with napping is it’s such an art form. Most of us are tired all day, but even if we can find a chance to nap, falling asleep and feeling refreshed after seems impossible. This may be because you feel guitly. We’ve been put into a world where naps are a child’s thing, where you’re not celebrated for napping, but instead “caught napping”. You gotta give yourself mental permission to nap if you want it to work. Haters are gonna hate so you should just relax, forget them and remind yourself of all the benefits of napping, and how the simple nap will help you perform at your peak. If you still can’t nap right after this, don’t worry; we’ve prepared some handy tips to the key to success - the perfect nap. Just cut these tips out and keep them with you, ready for whenever you get the chance to improve your day, health and performance...
COMFORT IS KING
If you can nap lying down, that’s obviously ideal. Napping sitting up, say at your desk or on a bus, is possible, but falling asleep takes 50% longer. Try to take note of the positions you fall asleep in and wake up in, as this will give away your most comfortable sleeping positions and help you fall asleep faster.
Nap too early in the day and your body may not be ready to sleep yet. Nap too late and you may find it too hard to fall asleep at your normal time at night. Although everyone’s circadian rhythms are different, the optimum time for naps is between 1 and 3pm, which is one of the natural time’s our body feels its most tired (the other is between 2 and 4am).
GATHER YOUR GEAR
Make it as quiet and dark as possible by shutting the door, turning off your phone, switching off the lights and closing the blinds. The room temperature should be comfortable and cozy but not too warm, as that may
When napping away from home, a small pillow and light blanket may help you get cozy. If you can’t make the room dark and quiet, use a sleeping mask or earplugs. Sleepy music may help too, so try making yourself a little sleep playlist (don’t do what I’ve done and accidently throw a hardcore punk song in there halfway through).
make you oversleep.
Don’t worry if you can’t fall asleep in naptime. As long as you don’t stress about it, the rest, relaxation and taking your mind away from your problems will still do you a world of good. Infact, a study by British researchers found that just lying down with the intention of napping was enough to cause a drop in blood pressure!
20(NOTWINKS 40) Think short. The amazing thing about naps is you can feel completely well rested only on the first two stages of sleep, just before you hit the deepest state. Short naps boost alertness and performance without leaving you groggy afterward or interfering with your sleep later that night.
(the other stuff)
Bloc Party “Four”
You know the stuff, those “brutal” distorted power chords you hear on the radios of the guys helping move your furniture. Those low whispers on the verses and shrieks in the chorus that the kid with the unwashed hair plays off his phone on the bus. This kinda stuff has no place in Bloc Party’s vocabulary and as such it just sounds awkward, like the one metal fan at a party ruining your dance-floor when he throws his requests in. But skip these few tracks and what your left with is some of the best stuff Bloc Party’s ever done. Tracks like “The Healing”, “Truth” and “Real Talk” (which features a banjo and totally works!) are easily among their best ballads, and lead single “Octopus” is the most fun they’ve ever sounded. But it’s on “V.A.L.I.S” that Bloc Party truly find themselves, in a perfect realisation of what fans of both the “guitars guitars guitars” and their experiental side wanted from this album. It soars, shapeshifts from tender to bold in an instant, and features the best usage of the word “phenomenology” in a pop song ever. It’s frustating that a band who prove they can do such other things so well chose to make a “brutal” album, but as long as they keep doing what they want, my mind is open and my ears are theirs.
Frenchkiss Records I never really understood the backlash to Bloc Party’s 2008 album Intimacy. Everyone seemed so quick to write it off as “Kele Okereke makes his rock band write bad electronic music” that they ignored the fact that only two of the songs were electronic, and the album was a flawed but ambitious, experimental, poignant album from a band that could have just churned out 12 more “She’s Hearing Voices” and given the people what they thought they wanted. But instead of celebrating this, the fans turned against them demanding “guitars, guitars, guitars”. So when, after a long hiatus and weird self-fuelled break-up rumours, Bloc Party returned promising “guitars, guitars, guitars” I was pretty worried that the four of them had finally given in and were no longer gonna be surprising us and doing whatever they damn well please. But the good news is Bloc Party are continuing to do whatever they damn well please. The bad news is it seems this time around, what they please to make is Rock-Fm-style hard rock.