How Reading Before Bed Can Improve Your Sleep (And Why Speculative Fiction is So Powerful)

There are all kinds of hacks for improving sleep: getting more sunlight during the day, dimming the lights at night, wearing blue-blocker glasses, doing regular exercise, having a warm shower before bed, and the list goes on.

Some of them, like getting enough sunlight and doing regular exercise, are an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, and they can certainly help a great deal, but there’s an underlying factor that has a much greater bigger impact on the quality of our sleep: stress.

In fact, the sleep scientist Greg Potter, PhD, considers it the master factor. If you’re relaxed enough, then you can get away with having fairly poor sleep habits. But if you’re struggling with stress, no matter how many sleep hacks you adopt, none of it will be enough to cure your sleep problems.

Now, some of us carry high levels of chronic stress in the classic sense. If you’re struggling with that, you probably already know that it can be a problem, and I think this article might help. But even if you aren’t stressed in the classic sense, stress might still be interfering with your sleep.

For example, I wouldn’t describe myself as overly stressed or anxious. However, when I lie down to go to sleep at night, I still have a flurry of thoughts running through my head. I start thinking about articles I’m writing, how my son’s doctor’s appointment will go, or that business article I read the other day. None of these thoughts are necessarily bad, and in some cases, it’s an exciting or even inspiring kind of stress. Still, all of these thoughts running through my head prevent me from drifting off into a relaxed sleep.

That’s where reading comes in. And of all the genres, fantasy has some unique advantages.

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The Best Fantasy Books for Adults Who Aren’t Into Fantasy Yet

Whenever I try to convince a friend to read fantasy, they tend to assume that fantasy is all about teenagers teaming up with elves to fight off a mindless horde commanded by an evil overlord. They can’t relate to it, they can’t suspend their disbelief, and they don’t feel like they’d learn anything from it. I understand all of that. 

I had another friend tell me that he’d rather read sci-fi because it’s more serious, more intellectually nuanced, more scientific—less silly. And I understand that, too. In fact, I drifted away from fantasy in my late teens for that very same reason. Not only was it started to feel silly, but I was growing tired of coming of age stories. I had already made it past that milestone. I felt like I had outgrown the genre.

But fantasy is a genre with many subdivisions. Not every fantasy book has elves, dwarves, dragons, or magic. Not all of them are about young men going on the hero’s journey, many of them are nuanced and deep. Even so, when I tried to go back to fantasy as an adult, I had so much trouble finding a book that resonated with me that I nearly gave up on the genre all over again.

Eventually, though, I found a few authors who made me fall back in love with the fantasy as an adult. If you’re skeptical of fantasy but open-minded enough to give it a try, maybe you’ll like these suggestions.

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Announcing Outlift: Our Intermediate Bulking Program

Outlift Intermediate Bulking Program

After a few years of development and testing, we’re stoked to finally, finally announce our official intermediate bulking program.

This past year, while Jared was working on his general health and fitness program for skinny-fat guys, Outlive, Marco and I have been beta testing our intermediate bulking program, Outlift.

You can read all about it (and buy it) here: 

Outlift: Intermediate Bulking Program

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What happens if you lose weight without exercising?

Illustration of an overweight and a skinny guy

What do you think would happen if you lost weight by either:

  • Just dieting
  • Dieting and doing cardio workouts
  • Dieting, cardio, and weight training

Which protocol is going to cause the most weight loss? The most fat loss? And what’s going to happen to your muscle mass?

There are two studies that answer that question. But before we go over the results, try and guess what would happen. I think it could be fun to test your intuition.

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Why Are Overweight People So Muscular?

Illustration of an Overweight Person

As a skinny guy, I always wondered why overweight people were so much stronger than I was, especially in their lower bodies. I mean, I didn’t exercise and neither did they. I didn’t eat well, neither did they. Where was all that extra muscle coming from?

I understood how they had become overweight. I knew I had a small stomach, a meagre appetite, and a fast metabolism. My high metabolism was obvious to everyone who knew me—I was always fidgeting, always moving, always radiating heat. I was a classic ectomorph.

What I didn’t understand was how much muscle overweight people were gaining simply because they were overeating.

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