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The Harmful Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Image Source: Google Images
Image Source: Google Images

Do you ever feel like your body weighs 10 times heavier than the usual?  Do you feel so angry and irritated that it disrupts your work and your social life?  There comes a time that we just want to go out, have fun partying at night, and not pay attention to our health.

For most of us, we often take for granted the importance and benefits of sleep.  In my case, I always stay up late, and play computer games, because currently, I am not enrolled in law school, I am not employed, and I feel more alive during night time. I stay up late and play video games because nobody bothers me at night, and the internet connection speed here in the Philippines is much faster at night. There is a saying that goes, “He who sleeps late has short days. ”  It means that when we stay up too late, and our sleeping time is cut short, we feel like we do not have enough time to finish our work.  When I stay up late and somebody asks me to do something,  I feel like I’m not giving 100%, and I feel like my body is going to give in.  Today, I’d like to share to you what sleep loss does to us.

1. COGNITION decreases when we lack sleep.  We use our brain all the time everyday for mental activities such as, thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering.    It is an important part of our body, and without it, we wouldn’t function at all.  We rarely take care of our brain because we think that our brain is inside, protected by our skull.  However, we need to remember that the brain needs to rest in order for it to function, and this rest that can be gained through sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning.

According to Men’s Health magazine, lack of sleep hurts our cognition in many ways.  First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, and problem solving.  This makes it more difficult for us to learn.  Second, during the night, various sleep cycles play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind.  If you don’t get enough sleep, you wont be able to remember what you learned during the day.

I remember back when I was still studying, I only had three hours of sleep because I was playing computer games, and I studied for exams late in the evening.  I slept in the morning, and when I woke up, it was almost time to go to school.  I took the exam, but while answering it, I forgot what I had reviewed, and I couldn’t think straight because I was lacking sleep and the rest needed for my brain to function well.

2. SKIN AGING also occurs when we lose sleep.  Though it is a normal process or change in the body that we go through as we grow older, lack sleep accelerates this process.  Most people have experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. Chronic sleep loss can lead to fine lines and dark circles under our eyes or as we call it, “eye bags.”  According to Cosmopolitan magazine, when we don’t get enough sleep, our body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol.  When there is too much cortisol, it can break down collagen, the protein that helps keep the skin smooth and elastic.

In my case, I love staying up late, watching series, and playing games.  I always sleep at four in the morning, and when I wake up and someone sees me, they usually say that I have dark lines under my eyes, and that I look a little older, like the vendor of cigarettes.

Image Source: Google Images
Image Source: Google Images

3. WEIGHT gain is another downfall when we lost sleep.  Contrary to popular belief, we do not lose weight when we lack sleep.  Why? According to my doctor friend,  lack of sleep raises the levels of ghrelin, the hormone that tells you to eat and whose job is to boost your appetite, increase fat production, and thereby causing you to gain weight.  Lack of sleep also lowers the level of leptin, the hormone that tells you that you’re full and you should stop eating.

I remember a week ago, I slept late again, and woke up early, because it was my friend’s birthday.  He treated us to a buffet, and everyone noticed that I ate the most, so my doctor friend immediately advised me to be careful because lacking sleep and eating a lot is a dangerous combination.

When we feel like staying up late, going out with friends, and having a great night, you should remember that sleep is always important to our body as it affects our cognition, skin aging, and our weight.  Medical journals recommend eight hours of sleep, but achieving these hours can be hard for some people, especially those who love partying and going out late in the evening.  Since value health and lifestyle, we must learn to balance our activities with sleep.  I recommend that when we struggle to complete eight hours of sleep, we need to have a special place for sleeping and relaxing where there is no distraction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christian is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency.  He is studying to become and lawyer, and he wants to improve his English before going to law school.

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The Three C’s in Practicing for Success

The Three C’s in Practicing for Success
by Christian Quadra

PracticeWhen do we feel like giving up on something we love to do just because we are not good at it?  Do we move on to the next one because we feel like it’s not meant for us?  There comes a time where we do something that we like and then eventually give up because we feel that we lack the talent to do it.  Whether it’s painting, dancing, and cooking, we can master these things through constant and deliberate practice.

For most of us, we can focus on one hobby and be great at it because we are motivated to practice. In my case, I have been playing the guitar since 2005, and a lot of my friends and relatives give me positive remarks about my playing, so I decided to keep on practicing and become great at playing the guitar, a new-found skill I used to serenade people.  There is a saying that goes, “If you fail to practice your art, it will soon disappear.”  It means that when we don’t practice our talents or passion, we forget how to do it, and we lose our progress and start to become bad at it.  When I stopped playing the guitar because of my studies, for example, I slowly forgot how to play it, but since I am practicing again, I am becoming great again.  Therefore, I’d like to share the three C’s in practice that would make us achieve our desired results.

1.  CONSISTENCY is when you are able to practice gradually and continually.  It is making sure that you follow through at the times you set aside to practice.  It is not practice when you have the time; you must make the time.  No excuses.  If you keep on practicing, you will eventually become one of the greatest.  A lot of successful persons are great at their job because they practiced consistently.  Michael Jordan, wasn’t always a great basketball player since he wasn’t even part of the high school varsity team and was not a top player in college, but through consistent practice, he eventually became one of the greatest basketball players ever.  The best athletes, doctors, lawyers, actors, and managers cannot be where they are without consistency in practice.

Practice2One of the things I have mastered is cooking Korean fried chicken, which can rival Bon Chon’s; it is a combination of sweet and tangy flavors, but with a dash of salty spice.  In every family social gathering, whether it’s a birthday or an anniversary, everyone always asks for my specialty.  It took me around 30 trials before I could perfect it, and it was my consistent trials or practice that led me to my own Korean fried chicken concoction.  I was so obsessed about mastering that I actually tried cooking at least twice a week, and before I knew it, I was serving it at the many big family events.

2. CONFIDENCE.  We look up to the people who are successful in their chosen career or hobby, but when it comes to ourselves, we move from hobby to hobby when we feel that we are not good at them.  We tend to lose confidence in ourselves when things get difficult, and it is easier to move on to something else.  Instead of giving up, we must do the opposite and become more confident than ever so that we can continue to gain improvement.  It is at the toughest moment where we need our confidence the most.  Lacking confidence would just make you quit practicing, and you eventually just quit altogether.

PracticeConfidenceI remember back in 2012, I was asked to perform at a birthday party with my band.  I was really nervous because I wasn’t comfortable yet playing in front of an audience, and all of the attention was directed to us.  It made me forget the chords, and I also forgot some of the lyrics.  It was so embarrassing that I almost wanted to stop performing in public, but my close friends heard me singing and encouraged me to sing for them.  Since I was confident about my singing, I didn’t mind performing for them.  I relied on this confidence to get me to practice again.  Instead of feeling down and quitting the band, I regained my confidence and continued to practice.

3.  CHALLENGE.  Practice doesn’t have to be constrained around hobbies and sports.  Practice can also be an important aspect of improving our  career and studies.  Ask yourselves, why do we fail at things that should be easy for us?   It is because we lack practice.  We never learn from our mistakes, and we never aim high.  We should always set to challenge ourselves, or aim for the the biggest prize.  Instead of settling for less, we should settle for the best.  There’s this quote that goes, ” Always aim for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”  It means that when you challenge yourself with high expectations, even if you don’t reach it, you will still reach something high, like the stars.  It is when you challenge yourself that you will continue to practice until you accomplish that challenge.

PracticeChallengeMy dream is to become a lawyer, to finish law school with flying colors and with honors.  So how can I do that?  From learning through experience.  During my college years, I was always laid back, not studying, and never giving 100 % effort, but now that I have enrolled in law school, I challenged my self to improve my skills.  For example, I look for seminars that would improve my personality, and I enrolled at the American Institute For English Proficiency (AIEP) to improve my writing skills, critical writing, and public speaking. One of the challenges that my mentor gave me was to write more, since the more I write, the more I will have the chance to see my strengths and weaknesses as a writer.  Instead of complaining about the amount of writing I would have to do, I took it on as a challenge, which in turn, made me practice more and more.

In times where we feel rusty and demotivated because of our performance, always remember that constant and deliberate practice will get you out of that rut you’re in. Just because we know how to do something doesn’t mean we should stop.  Instead, keep sharpening your tools.  Remember the three C’s to improve your practice: consistency, confidence, and challenge.  There will be times when people doubt your skill, but because of practice, you can overcome these doubts and become confident in whatever you decide to do. We value character and personality, and it is the person who chooses to keep improving through practice who will ultimately become successful.  I recommend that when we feel powerless, and we feel like we don’t have the skill or God-given talent, do something about it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christian is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency in Quezon City.  He is on his way to becoming one of the best lawyers of the Philippines.

Job Interview Strategy: What is your Weakness?

Ralph is studying at The American Institute to practice his English and improve his communication skills to become a flight attendant.
Ralph is studying at The American Institute to practice his English and improve his communication skills to become a flight attendant.

Almost every job interviewer, regardless of industry, salary, or country asks the question, what is your weakness?  Yet, many recent graduates, and even seasoned professionals do not know how to answer this question.  Do you just tell them your weakness?  Of course not.  You don’t want the interviewer to know that you are weak.  You want them to know that you have strengths that would match the position they have to fill.

Here are some strategies on how to answer this question:

  1. Discuss non-essential skills or attributes.  For example, when you work in an airline industry, time management and customer service are very essential skills.  So, you do not want to tell the interviewer that these are your weaknesses.  Focus instead a skill that is not quite necessary in becoming a flight attendant, such as being funny.  You do not have to be a comedian to become a flight attendant.  You can tell the interviewer that you are only funny to your closes friends, but to strangers, you seem to be more on the serious side until they get to know you better.
  2. Discuss the skills you have improved.  For example, tell the interviewer that you once didn’t communicate very well in English.  Now, after taking courses at the American Institute for English Proficiency, talking to other professionals, and communicating with all kinds of individuals, you have not improved only your English, but also your communication skills in general.  The interviewer wants to know that even if you had a weakness, you challenged yourself and developed your skills.
  3. Another strategy is to turn the negative into positive.  For example, perhaps you can say that you were a perfectionist, which led you to spend too much time on a project.  However, you have learned to work faster, work harder, and work smarter so that you can get the task done correctly sooner than later.  Let the interviewer know that you are not a perfect person, but because you can now work more efficiently and more effectively, your task can be completed right away.  Give examples, like when you were a basketball player, you were such a perfectionist that sometimes, you went home late because you kept practicing.  Tell the interviewer that in order for you to meet your goal of being a starter, you took advice from and had skills practice with your coach and the team captain rather than practicing on your own over and over again.

As they say, practice makes perfect.  Now, I have to keep reading this over and over so that it becomes more natural when I say it.  Good luck to those who are also interviewing.  If you would like to improve your English and communication skills to prepare yourself for a certain career, like Ralph who wants to become a flight attendant, you may visit us at the American Institute for English Proficiency in Makati or Quezon City.

Makati is the “Selfiest” City in the World

MakatiSelfieMakati can claim another title: The Selfiest City in the World.  According to TIME, Makati (along with Pasig) is the selfie capital of the world based on the number of selfie per capita.  Makati beat Manhattan, Miami, and even Los Angeles and New York.  According to Times’ study, Makati has a data of 258 selfies per 100,000 people.

So what does this mean?  Does this mean that people in Makati are the most vain?  Does this mean that people in Makati have the most smartphones?  Does this mean that people in Makati have the most time in the world?  Or does this mean that we simply like taking pictures of ourselves?

Here is the complete list of the top cities with most selfies per capita: http://time.com/selfies-cities-world-rankings/

IMAGE SOURCE: Time

Why Filipinos Don’t Speak English Well

AIEPPhilippinesUSFlagIt is no secret that most Filipinos want to speak English very well.  To most Filipinos, not only will it give you more opportunities, it will bring you a perceived higher social status and a perceived better social life or lifestyle.  In fact, many Filipinos go as far as believing that an English speaker with an American accent is more intelligent than the average Pinoy.  Therefore, perceived or not, speaking English well can be very advantageous.

So why then do most Filipino not speak English well?

Feel free to post your comments about the reasons why, and I will compile them so that I can share them with all of you later.  Thanks.

Questions Arise in Beating of Actor Vhong Navarro

Credit: ABS-CBN
Credit: ABS-CBN

From time to time, I do worry about my own safety because of news like this.  Years ago, when I first moved back to the Philippines, I was the victim of a “hold up,” and I can still remember this horrifying experience.  Fortunately, I was not beaten up, and I managed to just move on with my life like most other “hold up” victims.  I moved to a condo in Eastwood, and I felt very safe and secure there.  After six years, I moved to another condo near my office in Quezon City, and it is less secure.  On the first night I moved here, my car was keyed.  There were also “hold ups” nearby.  I was thinking I may be next.  Thank God, I am safe.

I got curious about Navarro’s case because beatings and extortion could happen to anyone.  When I first moved here, I have heard of these incidents, but I never thought it could happen to me.  It did.  I searched and searched about this story that happened three days ago, but I wasn’t able to find any more information.  Therefore, I only have questions:

  1. Where is the information? I thought the initial police report is public record.
  2. What happened to the journalists?  Aren’t they able to provide more information?  It has been three days, and we still do not have much.
  3. Why are the photos circulating on the internet provided by Navarro himself?
  4. What is the name of the condominium?
  5. Who is this female friend?
  6. What was the purpose of the female friend’s invitation?
  7. Were there any arrests?
  8. Were there any witnesses?
  9. Why are there no interviews from journalists of neighbors, guards and relatives?
  10. Is this a publicity stunt? Does Navarro have an upcoming project?

When I walk alone at night, I always try to be as vigilant and as careful as possible.  I do hope that this never happens to anyone.  If it can happen to people like me, to high profile people like Navarro, then it can happen to anyone.  Let’s continue to pray for his recovery and hope that justice will be served.

PS Bank Doesn’t Know its Own Paypal Bank Code

So I was trying to withdraw money from my Paypal account to my PS Bank account.  In order to this, I need to input the “bank code” of PS Bank on the online request form of Paypal.  One of our staff members at The American Institute called PS Bank, and we were given the usual bank customer service run-around.  Basically, they did not know it.  It’s really surprising that even the bank itself would not know their own bank codes.  Perhaps the CSR was not trained properly.  So we called again, and another CSR did not have an answer.

Fortunately, we are tech savvy, and in a few minutes on Google, we found the answer.  It seems that Metro Bank and PS Bank share the same bank code.  Here it is: 010269996.