Experiments Update: Sleep, Gray Hair, Tight Neck

This will be a quick post on the status of my latest experiments. I’ve been sick since Saturday and haven’t felt like posting.

Sleep

There are two current experiments related to sleep. The first I outlined in the post An Amazing “Back to Sleep” Hack which involves dissolving a pinch of sugar and salt under the tongue to help go back to sleep. This trick continues to work wonders. This might be the best hack I’ve stumbled on since I started my renewed interest in health in 2007. Well except for eliminating wheat.

The second hack was mentioned in the comments of that post. It involves consuming tablespoons of honey prior to bed for deep sleep. I’ve tried this three times and it hasn’t helped a bit. But in fairness to this sleep hack, it might be better for those that have trouble initially falling asleep, which has never been my issue.

MAS Sleeping

Lil’ MAS sleeping

Gray Hair

In the post Reversing Gray Hair? Part 2, I theorized along with some commenters that a combination of L-Tyrosine and Copper might stall the progression or even reverse gray hair. Five months have passed since that post and I have been diligent about taking both those supplements. For me the result has been the gray is coming faster than before. I don’t think the supplements caused the acceleration, but for now it appears they aren’t doing what the experiment hoped they would do.

Oh well, bring on the gray. With my longer thick hair, I’ll probably end up looking like Bill Fleckenstein.

Going forward I’ll continue taking copper for its heart health benefits, but I’ll probably only use L-Tyrosine when I reduce my coffee levels.

Tight Neck

It has been almost a year since I reported on my tight neck. Well it turned out the problem was defined incorrectly. In November I mentioned my neck while writing a book review of Becoming a Supple Leopard.

Recently I went to see Nikki at Indigo Kinetics about my tight neck and shoulder. Through close observation, she was able to see that my neck was fine, but I was over-recruiting rhomboids, upper trapezius and pec minor and under-recruiting my rear deltoid, serretus anterior, and low/mid trapezius. The result was some unnecessary shoulder elevation and  shoulder blade retraction in my movements. This was causing my neck to tighten up. I never would have caught that from a book.

My tight neck turned out not to be a tight neck. Once this was figured out, I started exercises to re-engage those outer back muscles. I also stopped doing all those neck mobility movements. And the neck tightness is almost all gone now.

You?

Love to hear what experiments you’ve been working on recently and if you’ve seen any progress. The only other experiment I can recall in my tired state right now is my knee rehab. That is going along fine, but too soon to tell any results.

Comments

  1. rob says

    Taking supplements for gray hair, if that is not taunting the gods I don’t know what is. Your hair miraculously restores to its youthful luster but you’ve got a growth in your left testicle. As your hair grows more youthful the growth gets larger, soon you’ve got a lustrous head of shiny black hair but you have to carry your left nut in a wheel barrel.

    It’s a Stephen King story.

    I’m just glad to have a full head of hair. The gray hair is thinner, which makes your hair look more sparse, but most guys would kill just to have any hair coverage in their 50′s.

  2. balor123 says

    Tight necks can be a sign of nocturnal bruxism, especially if combined with a forward head posture. Check for undiagnosed sleep apnea if that’s the case.

  3. Geoff says

    The “Back to Sleep” hack has been salvation for me. Thanks so much for posting it.

    I tried the resistant starch (potato starch) hack but did not find remarkable results after a month. So I discontinued it.

    My only other experiment right now is very strange – adopting an expansive, open heart when lifting heavy weights. Rather than psyche myself up to “dominate” the weight I look at it as a friend there to help me get stronger. You’ll disapprove of my methods but heavy back squats are easier when I practice an expansive, peaceful attitude.

  4. says

    @Geoff – Glad the “Back to Sleep” is working for you.

    Your “open heart” idea sounds interesting. I’m working on a post connecting body language to gym performance. There might be some overlap.

  5. says

    Goeff, MAS,

    I have also been changing my body language during training. I still hype up sometimes but especially I try to keep my facial expression as neutral as possible – even with an occasional smile in between reps. Makes even the heaviest of sets more endurable.

  6. Jay says

    MAS,

    I recently finished an 11 day fast in which I only consumed distilled water. It was my third water fast. Did a 7 day last November, 8 day fast in December, and recently finished an 11 day fast last week. Each fast gets easier. The first one was hell. It is really hard to do these fasts living with family and all the temptations lurking around. I hope to complete a 21 or 30 day fast starting end of this month in to March. My skin clears up, troublesome headaches gone forever, and rapid weight loss. Though the weight is easy to gain back if not careful.

    Jay

  7. says

    @Jay – Interesting. Did you feel cold during the extended fast?

    @Glenn – I don’t expect it matters much, but I go under the tongue.

  8. Tina says

    I’m still trying to learn my body enough to design an experiment! Love that you put it in this context, as it really does work for me. I’m an engineer… so still trying to “learn the rules” of biology. It’s hard to let go of the math!!

    Best experiment for me so far, was yesterday – at the Seahawk’s Victory Celebration Day in Seattle.
    I had a yummy breakfast of eggs benedict – the full fat version. A bit of walking – then sitting/standing still. My hands and feet stayed toasty warm for a good 3 hours of the sitting still portion… and by then the line at concessions was about an hour, so went without food… and started getting cold! Needed some fat intake!!

    Just started reading the Diet Recovery book – so looking forward to more experiments to test out.

  9. says

    @Tina – Could be that the breakfast was calorie rich or if you salted the meal. Salt promotes heat. Eggs along with red meat are 2 foods that can handle higher levels of salt.

    Wish I weren’t sick or I would have went downtown to see the event.

  10. Jay says

    MAS,

    I did feel cold during the entire fast. Doing a fast during the winter time makes for an additional challenge. But what is really cold is my internet addiction and the problems it has created for me. Your blog post gave me a great experiment. I will give up the internet. Not totally, but close. I will occasionally check emails but that is all. No more endless hours of web surfing and avoiding reality. I believe this will be one of my biggest challenges yet. Will let you know in about a year how I am doing. This could be life changing!

    Jay

  11. says

    @Jay – That was what I expected. Makes me think that a long fast like the one you did might be less stressful in the middle of summer.

    Good luck on finding balance with the Internet. It is a challenge for many of us.

  12. Geoff says

    MAS – Wish I could take credit for the idea, but it’s not mine. I learned about the “expansive heart” from George Beihorn’s work – http://www.fitnessintuition.com.

    Beihorn is a distance runner who brings and unusual point of view to traditional endurance training, a blending of the spiritual and the scientific if you will. Some of it (“Training in the Age of Energy”) will likely sound a little zany, but his ideas about running with an expansive heart were generally successful for me. It appears that they have translated over to my lifting as well.

    This post will give you a taste of his work – http://fitnessintuition.com/2013/12/06/upbeat-attitudes-fast-running-go-together/

  13. Lynne says

    Hi MAS, I’ve worked out a few things lately. High phenol or salicylate containing foods (eg excess bananas) later in the day cause me problems falling asleep. Still working on the night waking but seems to be histamines &/or one of the fats (tried the salt & sugar thing a few times but alas it didn’t work for me). It looks like it wasn’t potatoes giving me sore knee joints but something I ate with them (eg butter or olive oil), or some other interaction, cos I’m eating them daily now with no probs :)

  14. Al says

    Lynne, you are exhibiting classic symptoms of the inherited gene mutation MEN2A, which turns off a tumor suppressing gene resulting in tumors that increase endocrine secretions in 3 different glands and causes a combination of the following: (1) hyperparathyroidism that causes osteomalacia/osteoporosis (cartilage softening or bone loss in your knees and bones) and (2) increased epinephrine/norepinephrine secretions (made worse by high histamine foods) from an adrenal gland tumor (a pheochromocytoma) and possibly increased thyroid activity. You might want to consider avoiding high histamine foods and getting screened for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia 2A before it destroys your life like it did mine. “Certain foods (even food that is low in histamine) can stimulate the release of histamine from mast cells in your body (a type of immune cell). These foods include: bananas, etc. “http://www.allergyuk.org/common-food-intolerances/histamine-intolerance
    If either of your parents carry this gene, you have a 50/50 chance of inheriting it.

  15. Mark says

    Hi MAS, new to your blog. I seem to be suffering from the same ‘tight neck’ syndrome as you I wondered if you could detail the exercises you have been doing to help with this problem

    Many thanks

  16. says

    @Mark – I did static hold pull downs with a wider grip where I focused on keeping my shoulders down. Lower weight of course. I also stopped doing narrow grip pulldowns and pull-ups.

  17. Mark says

    Thanks for the info MAS I’ll give it a try. I found Gray Cooks ‘secrets of the backside’ to be very helpful with this problem too

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