Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

Can You Predict Ovulation?

If you’re trying to get pregnant, then this question has to be at the forefront of your mind. You can only conceive during your ‘fertile window’ – a period of a few days in each cycle anchored in place by when you ovulate.

For conception to occur, active sperm have to encounter a fertile egg (usually in the fallopian tubes, sometimes in the uterus), which means that you opportunity to get pregnant each month is dictated by how long both sperm and egg can survive! As healthy sperm can survive in the body for four to five days, and an egg remains fertile for between twelve and twenty four hours, this gives you a period of four to five days in each menstrual cycle when you can get pregnant.

Predicting this window of time is really important, especially if you have a plan for the ideal time you want to get pregnant and give birth. It’s absolutely vital if you’re trying to counter the fertility effects of conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which makes ovulation rarer and less regular – identifying and anticipating that key moment is the key tool you have available to help you get pregnant.

Is there an answer, though? Plenty of products promise to be an ovulation predictor but do they work?

Ovulation Calculators

These are perhaps the most convenient, lowest effort solution available, which makes them inherently attractive to some. All you need to do is enter the date your last period started, and the length of your menstrual cycle, and it can place where you are in yours, and tell you when you’re due to menstruate.

These work well – for women with extremely regular cycles. If yours works like clockwork every month, this is a good option, but even then tools like this simply can’t pick up health issues that might cause a disruption to your cycle.

Ovulation Predictor Kits

Known as OPKs, these kits work like pregnancy test: they check your urine for a spike in a particular hormone, the Luteinising Hormone that prompts your ovaries to release an egg, in this case. If the test detects you’re experiencing a surge in this hormone it tells you’re ovulating!

The weakness of these tests is that they’re not good at picking up results if you have a disrupted hormonal background – if you have a naturally low surge of LH it may never pick it up even if you ovulate regularly!

Basal Body Temperature

This is one of the best measures, with real predictive power: your basal body temperature (the minimum it sinks to while you sleep) responds to your menstrual cycle, so taking your temperature with an accurate digital thermometer can predict when you’re due to be at your most fertile.

It can be hard work to get good readings, but with specialised products available to take some of the pain out of taking readings and turning data into predictions, it’s the best option for the majority of people!

How to Use Poker as a Mindfulness Practice

Most common mindfulness practices are fundamentally simple. Things like deep breathing, counted breaths, and short breaks and walks can help to calm us, clear our minds, and generate simultaneous states of relaxation and awareness. As much purpose as these small, simple practices have though, there are also some more involved activities that can assist with the development of greater mindfulness. And it may surprise some to learn that the game of poker is among them.

Gaming and Meditation

It is first important to understand that a link has been established between gaming and meditation in general. For a long time there were a lot of misconceptions about gaming as an active, almost violent practice meant solely for young people. But perceptions have changed over time. We now understand that people in all age groups play games of all kinds, and we further accept that a lot of these games have meditative qualities. Gamer testaments and a few scientific studies alike have indicated that the right game can have a soothing effect on one’s mental state.

This is the case with poker as well. A passion for many around the world, it’s a unique game that doesn’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of traditional “gaming” as we tend to think of the term. It is nonetheless similar with regard to mindfulness, however. Approached with intention, it can be a calming, almost meditative hobby for players.

Mental and Emotional Calm

When considering the game of poker specifically, one tends to think first of strategy, luck, and mathematics. In some sense, these are the building blocks of any given game of poker, and it will of course be important for any aspiring player to learn how they all factor in. However, what really helps successful players to win at poker is a sound mindset. The manifestation of a sound overall poker game requires that players learn to accept defeat and to avoid getting too high from a win. It demands reasonable approaches to betting and competition, clear-eyed social interaction, and the ability to operate without ego.

Add those factors up, and what success in poker really demands is mental and emotional calm. Players need skill and strategy to be sure, but above all else they need to be able to clear their minds of various pressures and shut out hasty impulses. This in and of itself is nearly a form of meditation, and certainly serves as a sort of training for mindfulness practice.

Focused Meditation

Beyond helping players to establish a general sense of mental and emotional calm, poker also leads to an ability to focus that, in its own way, is meditative. Generally, a focused meditation is described as the practice of focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down inner dialogue. It more or less means zeroing in on one subject to the exclusion of all else for the purpose of clearing one’s head — which is pretty much exactly what one has to do in poker! Even the slightest distraction can be a problem, and while the game demands a lot of attention it still makes for such narrow focus that one can clear one’s mind in a useful and soothing way.

Even given all of these benefits, poker does not comprise an entire mindfulness or meditation routine. For those interested in working on these aspects of personal wellness though, it’s always good to have one more option! Some will find this simple, popular card game to be legitimately beneficial.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our piece on how to boost your energy, especially useful as we enter a new year and search for fresh motivations!

Earfree Nitebuds: For Better Sleep

Earfree Nitebuds, the two-in-one speaker and pillow that plays calming music, improving the quality of your sleep, is launching on Indiegogo.

The idea for the Nitebuds sleep pillow came from people who used to sleep with earphones in. Many of us who have trouble sleeping at night use earphones to listen to calming sleep music, but sleeping with earphones in is just too uncomfortable. Using earphones while you sleep can cause pain and inflammation in the ear; plus, earphones tend to fall out in the middle of the night. But the adverse effects of earphones on ear health is undoubtedly the most critical of these issues.

Nitebuds puts music IN the pillow to solve the problems caused by conventional earbuds. All you have to do is lay your head down on the pillow to be serenated with lovely music. There’s no earbuds involved – so you can roll around in bed all you like without having to worry about damage to your ears or earbuds falling out.

Nitebuds are simple to use. Just place the speakers in the special sleep-aid pillow, then use Bluetooth to pair your smartphone and begin your music therapy. Once your music is playing, Nitebuds’ crater-shaped design enhances the acoustics, making you feel like you’re listening in on a concert hall performance. This design also prevents the sound from leaking out, giving you the same quality of sound at a 30% lower volume, so as not to bother whoever’s sleeping next to you.

The Nitebuds app also provides free ASMR music and ambience, soothing the brain and easing any anxiety. This white noise works has great benefits on mental health and attentiveness, making the sleep music from the Nitebuds app particularly effective at inducing a natural sleep.

Nitebuds uses 3D mesh material for full, fluffy comfort. The mesh also helps the music play through the pillow without getting muffled, plus high-quality microfiber cotton is also used to give the perfect amount of depth and coziness. The microfiber cotton is also a renewable, biodegradable material, which means Nitebuds is eco-friendly, too.

Even though Nitebuds is electronic, the speaker and pillow are fully separable, meaning the pillow can be washed without issue. If you want, you can even use the pillow by itself without the speakers, or even place other items inside the pillow to help you sleep.

For instance, if you find yourself sweating a lot in those hot summer nights, you can place ice-packs in the pillow to help cool off. Or, when you’re stressed out and in the mood for aromatherapy, the CYPRESS insert can be used for some phytoncide healing.

Also, if you have a preference for a specific pillow height, just use the COTTON insert to adjust the pillow’s height to your preference.

You can back Earfree Nitebuds – the high-tech pillow that serenades you to sleep – by finding their campaign on Indiegogo.