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Scientifically Proven Ways to Elevate Your Success – How to Succeed

Even the most success-challenged among us can find great success. So why not reach out and take it right now? You wanna install Our App? Click here HERE

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Are some of us pre-destined at birth for success? Maybe–but that’s not the important thing that matters. Despite how we feel about the odds of success with which we were born, we can always be doing something more to increase our chances of success–and our happiness.

There are things we can do that are scientifically backed that can help even the most success-challenged among us. Here are 5 scientifically proven ways to bring you closer to becoming the successful person you were meant to be–whether you were born with it or not.

 

1.Take advantage of the Zeigarnik Effect

The effect states that uncompleted tasks or projects become background noise–a constant nagging within our unconscious brain. This nagging will continue until you make a concrete plan within your conscious mind. Make use of the Zeigarnik effect to further your success–create and write down a plan of action. Include time, place and how you will complete your task or project and get it done and out of your unconscious brain so you can rid yourself of that constant, yet helpful, nagging.

2. Stand up strong

It is scientifically proven that our bodies can have a profound affect upon the feedback cycle of our brains. If we smile, we feel happier. If we begin to slouch, we often feel more tired than we felt before. Sitting up straight or standing with good posture has been scientifically proven to increase our sense of power and can even enhance our sense of well being and positivity. Not only that, others will perceive us as more powerful and successful than our hunched-over colleague. Want to increase your chances of success? Make good posture a priority.

 

3. Meditate each morning

Numerous psychologists tout the clearing of the brain through meditation as an excellent way to achieve a new state of clarity, one that allows our mind to reset and our body to collect itself before beginning a new day. Daily morning meditation helps reduce the stress we feel and helps us focus on the day ahead. Begin your day with a healthy dose of meditation-just a few minutes are all that is needed-so you can increase your chances for a very successful day.

 

4. Interact with others

Other than the obvious benefit of networking, forging relationships with others increases our chemical count of oxytocin and triggers dopamine to release into the brain–chemicals responsible for warm, fuzzy, and fulfilled feelings. Having lasting and substantial relationships with others may be the easiest way to success, as we better ourselves both professionally and emotionally.

 

5. Spend more time alone

 

Contrary to what may seem like the intuitive thing to do, spending time alone has actually been shown to bolster our levels of success. People who are able to exist on their own seek less validation from others, make fewer reckless choices, and are, in general, much more aware of who they are than those who seek out constant companionship.

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Sexsomnia: What sleep sex is.

Sexsomnia or sleep sex occurs when an individual engages in sexual acts while asleep.

Most available research has found that sexsomnia episodes occur mostly during non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM), the dreamless, deepest stage of the sleep cycle.

Sexual dreams are not considered a type of sexsomnia because they do not involve physical actions or behaviors aside from arousal and ejaculation.

What is sexsomnia?

Man-sleeping-and-snoring-overhead-view

Sexsomnia is when a person enagages in sexual activity while sleeping.

Sexsomnia is considered a type of parasomnia, an abnormal activity, behavior, or experience that occurs during deep sleep. But many of the facts about sexsomnia, such as its exact cause, the variety of symptoms, and its prevalence, are not understood.

Sexsomnia is a relatively new condition, with the first official case reported in 1986. And according to a 2015 study, only 94 cases of sleep sex have been documented worldwide.

Sexsomnia is also very difficult to study long-term because it takes place randomly during the night.

Symptoms

Sexsomnia often causes self-touching or sexual motions, but it can also cause an individual to seek sexual intimacy with others unknowingly. Sexsomnia may also occur at the same time as other parasomnia activities, such as sleepwalking or talking.

Sometimes it is a partner, roommate, or parent, who first notices symptoms of the condition. Sexual partners might also notice that their partner has an abnormally heightened level of sexual aggression and decreased inhibitions randomly in the night.

Common symptoms of sexsomnia episodes include:

  • fondling or rubbing
  • moaning
  • heavy breathing and elevated heart rate
  • sweating
  • masturbating
  • pelvic thrusting
  • initiating foreplay with someone else
  • sexual intercourse
  • spontaneous orgasm
  • no recollection or memory of sexual events
  • blank or glassy stare during events
  • unresponsive to outside environment during events
  • inability or difficulty waking during events
  • denial of activities during the day when fully conscious
  • sleepwalking or talking

Aside from the physical symptoms that occur during episodes, sexsomnia can have harmful emotional, psychosocial, and even criminal consequences.

Triggers

Exhausted and tired doctor, stressed and anxious because of shift work.

Sleep deprivation, stress, and shift-work may all trigger sexsomnia.

As with other parasomnias, such as sleepwalking, it seems sexsomnia is caused by a disruption while the brain is moving between deep sleep cycles. These disturbances are often called confusion arousals (CAs).

Though the causes of sleep sex remain unknown, research shows the condition has clear risk factors, primarily medical conditions, lifestyle habits, jobs, and medications that interfere with sleeping patterns.

Triggers considered to increase the likelihood of sexsomnia include:

  • lack of sleep
  • extreme exhaustion
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • use of illegal drugs
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • poor sleeping conditions (too light, noisy, or hot)
  • poor sleep hygiene or schedule
  • shift work, especially high-stress jobs, such as military or hospital work
  • travel
  • sharing a bed with someone, regardless of their relationship with the person

Obstructive sleep apnea is linked to many of the documented cases of sexsomnia, likely because it causes disruptions during deep sleep.

Some people who develop sexsomnia in adulthood engage in other parasomnia behaviors, most commonly sleepwalking, or did in childhood.

Medical conditions considered risk factors for sexsomnia include:

  • obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
  • restless leg syndrome
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • a history of other parasomnia activities, such as sleepwalking or talking
  • Crohn’s disease
  • colitis
  • ulcers
  • migraine headaches
  • types of epilepsy and other seizure disorders
  • head trauma
  • medications for anxiety and depression, specifically escitalopram (SSRI)
  • sleep-related dissociative disorder, a condition often related to childhood sexual trauma
  • Parkinson’s disease

Link to drugs, alcohol, and medication

When sexsomnia is related to the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, treatment involves immediately stopping use or reducing the drug to a safe level of use.

People experiencing sleep sex as a side effect of prescription medications may need to stop taking the drugs or change the dosage.

In many cases though, the benefit of the medication outweighs the side effects, so treatment may focus on reducing the impact of sexsomnia symptoms.

Treatment and management

It seems that the best way to treat the condition is to maintain a healthy, regular, sleep-wake schedule.

In most reported cases, symptoms of sexsomnia were reduced or resolved when individuals got more consistent, high-quality sleep.

The actual effect of treatment on sexsomnia is poorly understood because the symptoms are difficult to track long-term.

Sexsomnia medications

Woman taking medication pills with glass of water.

Some medications may be recommended to treat sexsomnia, including mild sedatives and antidepressants.

In some reported cases, off-label medications designed and approved for the treatment of other conditions have been used to manage sexsomnia.

Treating underlying conditions that cause sleep disruption, such as sleep apnea, may also reduce or resolve cases of sexsomnia.

Medical treatment options for sexsomnia include:

Lifestyle changes

In nearly every described case of sexsomnia, at least part of the treatment process involved lifestyle adjustments. As many of the symptoms of sexsomnia negatively impact other people, the best way to treat it tends to be nighttime isolation.

Some people with sexsomnia reduced problematic symptoms by locking themselves in their bedroom alone at night or placing an alarm system on their bedroom door.

Psychological management

Seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist may also reduce feelings of embarrassment and shame associated with sexsomnia.

People with sexsomnia may also significantly reduce emotional and psychosocial symptoms by undergoing group counseling sessions with the person negatively impacted by symptoms.

In most documented cases, sexsomnia symptoms have alarmed or angered the conscious bed partner.

A 2007 study concluded, however, that during sexsomnia episodes some partners were less hurried, gentler, and more focused on satisfying their partner.

Diagnosis

Sexsomnia was only recently classified medically, so there is no standard diagnostic process for the condition.

A psychiatrist, often one specializing in sleep disorders, may diagnose sexsomnia by reviewing individual medical history and asking questions about symptoms. However, the most widely accepted diagnostic method for sexsomnia is video-polysomnography (vPSG).

During vPSG, an individual is attached to physiological devices, such as heart rate, breathing, and motion monitors, and videotaped while they sleep.

Currently sleep sex is classified as a type of parasomnia in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

The International Classification of Sleep Disorders, Third Edition (ICSD-3), also classifies sexsomnia as a type of non-REM parasomnia.

Complications

Some people feel ashamed or embarrassed to learn they have done things they do not remember doing, especially sexual acts.

Sexsomnia can also make the question of consent difficult, given the individual initiating or engaging in the sexual act is technically unconscious. Several court cases have involved charges of sexual misconduct relating to sleep sex with a variety of outcomes.

Although a person’s medical history and other evidence will be carefully examined in court, determining responsibility remains complicated and controversial.

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Lucid dreaming: Controlling the stories of sleep

Have you ever started dreaming and suddenly realized that you were in a dream? Have you ever managed to gain control over your dream narrative? If your answer to these is “yes,” you’ve experienced what is called lucid dreaming.
dream image

What is lucid dreaming, and how can you achieve it?

Lucid dreaming has recently been popularized by movies such as Inception.

The movie features impressive dream artisans who are able not just to control the shape and content of their own dreams, but also those of others.

Such feats of dream manipulation may not seem possible to the same extent in our real lives, but they are not altogether absent.

In fact, certain people are able to experience something referred to as lucid dreaming, and some of them are able to control some of the elements of their nightly dreams.

In his much-cited poem, Edgar Allan Poe once wrote, “All that we see or seem/Is but a dream within a dream.”

Whether or not he is right is a matter for philosophers to debate, but the boundary between dream and reality is something that lucid dreaming seems to explore.

In this Spotlight, we look at what qualifies as lucid dreaming, whether these experiences can have any practical applications, and how one might be able to become a lucid dreamer.

What is lucid dreaming?

Typically, when we dream, we are not conscious that the dream is not real. As a character from the movie Inception quite aptly puts it, “Well, dreams, they feel real while we’re in them right? It’s only when we wake up then we realize that something was actually strange.”

However, some of us are able to enter a dream and be fully aware of the fact that we are actually dreaming.

“A lucid dream is defined as a dream during which dreamers, while dreaming, are aware they are dreaming,” specialists explain.

The very first record of lucid dreaming appears to feature in the treatise On Dreams by the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. In it, he describes an instance of self-awareness during a dream state.

“[If] the sleeper perceives that he is asleep, and is conscious of the sleeping state during which the perception comes before his mind, it presents itself still, but something within him speaks to this effect: ‘The image of Koriskos presents itself, but the real Koriskos is not present,'” he wrote.

It is unclear how many people actually experience lucid dreaming, though certain studies have tried to gather information regarding its prevalence; and it seems that this phenomenon may be quite common.

For instance, a study conducted in Brazil surveyed 3,427 participants with the median age of 25. The results of the survey indicated that 77 percent of the respondents had experienced lucid dreaming at least once.

When does it happen, and what is it like?

Like most dreams, lucid dreaming will typically occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. For some people, it occurs spontaneously. However, others train themselves to start dreaming lucidly, or to become better at it.

As one experienced lucid dreamer told Medical News Today:

[M]y lucid dreaming […] occurs when I’m waking up, or sometimes if I’ve woken up briefly and I’m going back to sleep. Nowadays I can pretty much do it on a whim, as long as I’m in that half-asleep half-awake process.”

The degree to which a person can influence their dream if they are lucid while dreaming also varies to a great extent. Some people may simply wake up immediately upon realizing that they had been dreaming.

Other people may be able to influence their own actions within the dream, or parts of the dream itself. The lucid dreamer who spoke to MNT told us that she was able to manipulate the dream narrative in order to create a pleasant experience for herself.

“Usually I can control the narrative in the dream, so for example if I’m unhappy with the way things are going in the dream, I can change it,” she explained.

What are its applications?

Lucid dreaming is certainly an attractive and fascinating prospect — being able to explore our own inner worlds with full awareness that we are in a dream state is intriguing and has an almost magical flavor about it.

silhouette on dark background

Lucid dreaming can help people get rid of their nightmares and resolve their fears.

However, can lucid dreaming have any practical applications?

Dr. Denholm Aspy, at the University of Adelaide in Australia, is a researcher who specializes in lucid dreaming.

He explained for MNT that this experience can actually be therapeutic.

Its main application, Dr. Aspy said, is to address nightmares — especially recurring nightmares, which may affect a person’s quality of life.

The practice of learning to lucid dream in order to stop nightmares from occurring or reoccurring, he explained, is called “lucid dreaming therapy.”

“If you can help someone who’s having nightmares to become lucid during that nightmare,” he explained to us, “then that gives them the ability to exert control over themselves or over the nightmare itself.”

[L]et’s say you’re being attacked by someone in a nightmare. You could try to talk to the attacker. You could ask them ‘why are you appearing in my dreams?’ or ‘what do you need to resolve this conflict with me?'”

Dr. Denholm Aspy

“Some people,” he added, “take on superpowers or special abilities, [so] they can fight back against the attacker. And then you can also try to escape, so things like flying away, or even doing techniques to deliberately wake up from the nightmare.”

Lucid dreaming also has the potential to help people with phobias, such as fear of flying or animal phobias including arachnophobia (the fear of spiders).

“If a person has a particular phobia, then their lucid dream environment […] provides an interesting opportunity to do things like exposure therapy, where you gradually expose yourself to the thing you’re afraid of, in an attempt to gradually overcome that fear,” Dr. Aspy said.

This is possible, he said, because dream environments can provide a realistic enough experience without it actually feeling unsafe. During lucid dreaming, the individual knows that they are not in the real world, so they may safely explore their fears without actually feeling threatened.

‘Lucid dreaming is a kind of creative activity’

At the same time, lucid dreaming is also attractive as an unusual means of entertainment — kind of like the immersive experience of virtual reality.

An experienced lucid dreamer might be able to “go on an adventure” and interact with people and things in a way that they may not be able to do in real life.

The lucid dreamer who spoke to MNT said that she thinks of the experience as something akin to storytelling, which makes her feel happier upon waking up:

Lucid dreaming for me is a kind of creative activity — I get to explore what my dreams are telling me a little bit versus what my conscious mind wants. It’s not got much use apart from just being interesting and it makes me happy usually […] I tend to wake up quite content.”

“I do lucid dreaming for fun,” she went on to say. “I enjoy it, and as someone who enjoys storytelling it’s a similar experience to writing a story or playing a video game. You get immersed in a narrative that involves you in some way.”

Techniques for lucid dreaming

There are many techniques that people who want to try and achieve lucid dreaming — or who want to perfect their lucid dreaming experiences — employ.

text on billboard

Text shifts in dreams, so you may become aware that you are dreaming by trying to reread it.

A study conducted by Dr. Aspy and colleagues last year tested the efficacy of three common techniques.

The first is known as “reality testing.” This might involve verifying whether you are dreaming both in real life and during a dream.

For instance, throughout the day, a person may want to ask themselves “am I dreaming right now?” as they pinch themselves, or try to make their hand pass through a solid wall.

This technique relies on intention. In reality the pinch will hurt, but in a dream it will not. In real life the wall will remain solid and impenetrable, while in a dream the hand will easily pass through.

Another “reality check” is rereading a line of text. In reality, if we read the text on a poster, for instance, it will stay the same when we reread it. In a dream, however, the text will constantly shift.

Conducting these experiments repeatedly throughout the day may make it easier to remember to conduct them during a dream state, thus allowing the dreamer to gain awareness of the dream.

Another technique is “waking back to bed,” and it requires setting an alarm to wake up the sleeper after about 5 or 6 hours of going to sleep.

Once awake, the person should aim to remain awake for a while, before going back to bed. This technique is supposed to immerse the sleeper immediately into REM, the phase of sleep during which they are more likely to experience a lucid dream.

Finally, lucid dreaming may eventually occur through “mnemonic induction.” Once more, this is a technique that requires intent and lots of practice.

With mnemonic induction, a person must repeat to themselves, just before going to bed, a phrase such as “tonight, I will notice that I am dreaming,” so as to “program” themselves to achieve in-dream lucidity.

Dream journals and meditation

It also appears that those who find it easier to lucid dream do not have much trouble recalling their dreams on a regular basis.

“When it comes to lucid dreaming, the strongest predictor of whether you have lucid dreams or not is how good you are at remembering your ordinary dreams,” Dr. Aspy explained.

Therefore, some people who are interested in exploring their dreams with full awareness may find it useful to keep a dream journal in which they record the dreams that they have each night in as much detail as possible.

The lucid dreamer that we interviewed corroborated this idea by noting that, for a long time, she used to enjoy writing down her dreams upon waking up.

Another practice that may aid lucid dreaming is meditation, or mindfulness, as it “trains” people to become more aware of themselves and their surroundings, in general.

“A lot of people are interested in meditation and mindfulness as a way to have lucid dreams,” Dr. Aspy mentioned, explaining, “The idea there is that if you’re more aware during the day, you’re more likely to notice that you’re dreaming while you’re asleep.”

Concerns and risks

One concern that people express about engaging in lucid dreaming, if they are able to achieve it, is that they may get “stuck” in a dream and find it more difficult to wake up.

However, Dr. Aspy explained to MNT that this is not a worrying risk; normally, an individual is only able to sleep — and dream — for a set amount of time every night, so it is unlikely that anyone would get “stuck” sleeping.

He told us, “The main reason for that is — pretty much no matter what you do you are only going to, on average, only have a certain amount of sleep and dreaming every night. There are some things that you can do to increase it a little bit, but you can’t really sustain that for very long.”

Another concern is that engaging in lucid dreaming requires focus and effort, which might mean that the sleeper does not get enough rest.

However, Dr. Aspy again reassured us, noting that the lucid dreamers with whom he has worked in the past have not reported more tiredness or poorer sleep quality as a result of lucid dreaming.

At the same time, in speaking to us, he also issued a warning to aspiring lucid dreamers:

I generally recommend that people don’t pursue lucid dreaming if they have certain mental health problems.”

One example is schizophrenia, which may cause people to be unable to distinguish between some of their thoughts or fears and real-life events. In some cases, Dr. Aspy noted, lucid dreaming may actually exacerbate the condition.

Lucid dreaming may be a fascinating, helpful, or pleasant experience, but you should still consider why you are interested in achieving it, and what you expect to get from it, before trying to experiment with dream states.

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