Notifications of Needs

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Notifications of Needs
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The Observation

For the first few years of communicating with my body, I tried to query my body’s needs regularly, all day, every day, each time not knowing what I was looking for or even if there was anything to find. After I was distracted one too many times and ignored several needs for far too long, I decided to take a different route. I set up an interval timer to remind myself to check for bodily need information every 10 minutes. This was a bit of a hassle at times, but it was better than nothing. However, there is a much better way.

Even when you are not communicating with your body, there are multiple ways that your body will try to get your attention. Those methods that your body uses are notifications. You can use these notifications to know when to start asking your body questions about what your current needs are. This will help you keep up with your body’s needs.

The Effects

When I first discovered some of these notifications and started using them regularly, I started noticing a change in how I functioned. I immediately stopped getting bored or fatigued. A couple weeks after the discovery, my regular need for sleep dropped from 7.5 hours per night to 6 hours per night. A couple weeks after that, it dropped again to 4.5 hours per night, where it stayed for 8 months. There were no negative effects on my behavior, emotional state, cognitive functions, driving ability, or test scores in my college classes. This was a huge change for me. I didn’t expect it at all.

To clarify about my sleep and the circumstances surrounding it, my circadian rhythm was stable, I had a stable bedtime, I used no alarm clock, and I slept as much as my body was wanting me to. After waking up early, I would often stay in bed, just in case my body wanted more sleep. I frequently laid in bed, in the pitch black, after waking up, just to make sure nothing negative was keeping me awake.

In those situations, sometimes I would force myself to sleep. As a child of divorce, flying back and forth between states a lot, I would often feel sick on planes. So, I learned how to skip the motion sickness by forcing myself to sleep through it. Forcing myself to sleep in this situation, however, never lasted long. If I don’t need the sleep, I just wake up again after 30 minutes, which is what happened in this situation. If I did that twice, I would start feeling a bit groggy from oversleeping. Not great, but I was ensuring that I wasn’t missing out on sleep if I needed it. If I didn’t force it, I could just lay there, happy as a clam, just waiting for morning with no negative symptoms for the rest of the night. I was getting the exact amount of sleep that I apparently needed.

Cacao nibs

I wasn’t drinking any caffeinated beverages either. The only caffeine I consumed was the little that happens to be in the few cacao nibs I was eating per meal. Cacao nibs contain 12mg of caffeine per tablespoon. A tablespoon of cacao nibs, at that time, could be divided up into enough portions for 42 meals. That means that I was getting about 0.28mg of caffeine per meal, or 1 to 4mg of caffeine per day, if it was all fully digested and absorbed, which is unlikely when eating cacao nibs. By comparison, an average cup of coffee contains 95mg of caffeine that you are likely absorbing a majority of. Thus, the little caffeine I was getting in a day was negligible.

I was keeping close track of my attention. There were no negative effects on my attention or cognitive functions. My schoolwork was unaffected, except by all the additional time I suddenly had in a day. That was a great boost. This sudden reduction in sleep need, loss of minorly-negative states, and increase in focus was a great boost. I was amazed at the unexpected change in how I functioned, and I really appreciated it.

What Are Notifications?

Notifications are sensations and reflexes that people experience every day but tend to excuse away. It can be difficult to break the habit of ignoring notifications. Everyone has spent their entire life experiencing them and interpreting them in particular ways. It takes practice to get used to reinterpreting them.

For some of the more subtle notifications, such as pulls on attention, I used to use a chart to keep myself aware of my current state. If you need to, you can use a chart or set up a frequent interval reminder to check for subtle notification status changes, until you get used to them and notice the changes automatically. It gets easier quickly, but to completely break the normal habit of ignoring these sensations and automatically take notice every single time can take years of practice.

Known Notification Methods

Review




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