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Tag Archives: music

Summer’s Here: Tips To Help You Wake Up In The Morning

summeralarm

Do you often find yourself hitting the snooze button in the morning at the sound of your alarm clock because you are not yet ready to get out of bed? This tends to happen even more during summer since many of us stay up later since it stays light longer. We also tend to be more active in the evening due to the light and warmer weather, which can also lead to more barbecuing and socializing, creating the need for more rest. So how do you combat these things to get yourself up in the morning?

My first suggestion is that you try to adjust your circadian clock. Your circadian clock is your body’s internal clock that tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up. So how do you adjust your internal clock? There are several factors that go into how your circadian clock is influenced. One factor that affects your clock is light. Light signals to your body when it is time to go to bed and when it is time to wake up. In one of my previous posts I suggested avoiding bright objects like T.V. and computer screens an hour before bedtime. When it comes to waking up the opposite is sort of true. Instead of avoid light in the morning you need to expose yourself to it. Open up your blinds if it is sunny out. If not, then turn on lights in your bedroom to make it bright. Bright light helps your body to accept that it is time to get out of bed and begin the day.

wakeup

Next, try to play with the time that you go to bed but not with the time you wake up. Our bodies sleep in cycles. The best time to wake up is when we are in the lightest phase of the cycle. By changing the time that you go to be but not changing the time that you wake up, this teaches your body that wake up time is inflexible and therefore it must instead adjust your bedtime. By setting a rigid wake up time your body will start to become tired earlier.

A great way to wake up is  by turning on music. Some may use music as their alarm clock. Upbeat, happy tunes will rouse you from sleepiness, get your blood pumping and may even get you singing. If your living situation is such that a stereo system complete with subwoofer is a too much for the rest of your household (or your neighbors!) in the morning, put some headphones on while you’re getting ready so you don’t disturb anyone.

There are two final pieces of advice that I have for you to help you get up in the morning. If you find yourself frequently hitting the snooze button, then you need to make it more difficult for yourself to do this. One such way is to set your alarm out of reach so that you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off. This helps to avoid the temptation to go back to sleep.  Lastly, you should try to maintain your sleep pattern every day….including weekends. This is probably the hardest thing for all of us to do. I find it very difficult to not want to sleep in on the weekends but keeping our sleep pattern will make it easier to get out of bed on Monday morning, typically one of the toughest days to wake up. Give these a try and let us know how they work out for you. Or, share your tips if you have a great way to get yourself out of bed in the morning.

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Tips to help you get to sleep at night

sleeping zzz

Getting to sleep at night has been a challenge for all of us at one point or another. This can be especially frustrating when it is late at night and we have to be up early the next day. In an effort to help you deal with this irritating occurrence here are some helpful tips below to help you try to cope with this common problem.  

The first and most obvious suggestion that I have for you is that you need to make your room both quiet and dark. Your body’s natural response to darkness is to start getting sleepy. If you have a T.V. on or you are staring at a bright screen like a cell phone or computer then you are inhibiting yourself from becoming tired. You also need to make your room cool.

The Next suggestion that I have is to regulate your room temperature. Optimal room temperature for falling asleep is in the low to mid 60s which is fairly cool. The reason for this is believed to be that a cool room helps to lower your core body temperature which then makes you sleepy. If the temperature gets too hot or too cold many people have trouble falling asleep. 

It is also not a bad idea to shower or even better take a warm bath before you go to bed. Just as throwing cold water on yourself wakes you up and makes you more alert warm water has sort of the opposite effect. It relaxes you and also starts to make you tired.

Listening to some music can also be a helpful way to get you to sleep at night. Not everyone sleeps best in total silence. In fact, some people may find it easier to fall asleep when there is ambient noise. This would be a good time to pull out your vFree or vBold headphones.  Obviously you will want to listen to music that is soft and soothing. Nothing that is loud or hard on the ear as this will make it even tougher for you to fall asleep.

The last piece of advice that I have for you is to take some melatonin. For those of you that have never heard of melatonin it is the natural hormone that your body produces that regulates sleep. As you age your body naturally produces less and less of this hormone which is why that as you get older you begin to sleep less. Taking a small dose of melatonin is a simple and natural way to get to sleep at night. I can personally vouch that melatonin works as it has helped me get to sleep countless times.

Now that I have given you a list of things to try to help you sleep I will give you a list of things to absolutely not try. As I said before you should seriously refrain from watching television or looking at any bright screen about an hour or so before bedtime. The reason behind this is because darkness tells our bodies that bedtime is approaching and it is time to get sleepy. When you have a bright television on in your bedroom you are artificially tricking your body into thinking that it is not time to go to sleep yet. This is why we are told not to go to bed with a television on. When it starts to get dark our body begins to produce natural hormones that make us sleepy. By having lights or other bright things on close to bed time it tricks our body into thinking that it is earlier in the day that it really is.

The next piece of advice that I have for you is don’t work out close to bed time. Workouts do the opposite of putting you to sleep they wake you up. It is actually better to work out in the morning than it is to work out at night for this reason.

 I would also strongly advise you not to nap during the day. This is one that I personally struggle with. When I am tired in the middle of the day nothing sounds more appealing than a nap. However, it has also been shown that taking naps messes with you sleeping pattern which I can also attest to. An interesting suggestion that I have heard of is to take a nap with keys in your hand. Whenever the keys fall out of your hand this wakes you up and this is the right amount of nap time for you to get a burst of energy without messing with you sleep pattern. Lastly, I would also recommend you not eat before you go to bed. Going to sleep when your body is trying to digest food is difficult and you should therefore avoid it. You should especially avoid drinking anything that has caffeine in it for obvious reasons.   Hopefully the next time you are having trouble falling asleep you will find these tips helpful.

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The Purpose of Music

listening-to-music

In two of my prior posts I talked about the evolution of music over the centuries and how it has constantly evolved over time. I also talked about how important music is to us in our daily lives because of music’s profound impact on our psyches. I discussed how music can change our psyches by pumping us up or calming us down. Now I would like to answer the question of why the human brain likes music as much as it does and what evolutionary purpose music serves to human beings.

            Music is heavily associated with the reward system in our brains. It is no secret that the reason we listen to music is because we find it pleasurable. So it makes sense that when our brains hear songs that we like it triggers the release of the reward chemical known as dopamine. This essentially lets us know that what we are doing is good. Now generally the dopamine system in our brain gives us the feeling of reward when we do things that are essential to survival such as eating food but music is obviously an exception to this rule as in has no obviously apparent survival value.

Neuroscientists have studied and investigated the link between music and the dopamine systems in our brains and have found some clues as to what the brain likes so much about music. Researchers have discovered that at certain points in a song we like we experience a peak amount of pleasure. In other words this is like our favorite part of the song. At the point of song where we experience maximum pleasure our brain releases dopamine. But it doesn’t just stop there. Not only does our brain release dopamine during our favorite part of a song it also releases dopamine in a different part of the brain just prior to hearing our favorite part which is particularly interesting. Neuroscientists have determined that the reason for this is because our brains is making predictions about what we are about to hear and our brains get pleasure from being able to anticipate and predict what is coming.

Now that I have given some insights as to what exactly our brains like so much about music I would like to discuss what the possible evolutionary purpose of music is. Dancing is probably the biggest complement to music. Whenever we hear our favorite songs we often like to dance, tap our feet or nod our heads to the beat of the song. Now listening to music and dancing to music is not something that we just do all by ourselves. In fact, this is something that is often done together in groups with our friends. I can’t speak for other people I personally have never gone to a concert all by myself. I always go with friends or family. Studies have shown that people who listen to music and dance together are more likely work together on non-musical tasks. I believe that the reason for this is because music bonds us together through shared experience and in my opinion this is what the ultimate purpose of music is. Music is a way to bond people together and bring us closer to on another. This explains why we like to go concert together with our friends and why we dance together in sync. When I was in I used to love to listen to my favorite tunes with my friends after school and  I can see now that the reason I enjoyed it was because it was a shared experience and memory that I have with my friends.

            Music is essentially a way to bring people closer together through a common experience. This is the evolutionary purpose of music. Music brings us together.

           

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Get Personal With Customizable Headphone Skins

brentshapiro

In the past year, Velodyne’s Designer Skins have taken on a life of their own. Starting off with 35 designs available on our website, the designer skins originally were created as a true fashion accessory to fit over our vFree wireless headphones to match any mood or outfit. Over time, we held a few contests, promotions and developed partnershnips that involved blank skins and non-Velodyne employees getting creative and designing their own. The “Artist Corner” has been a popular activity during music festivals and concert ticket lines. We have also partnered with the Anno Domini Gallery in San Jose, CA which has led to custom painted subwoofers in addition to several one-of-a-kind headphone skins that may have the chance to go into mass production.

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Blank headphone skins are available at Velodyne.com for you to unleash your inner artist. They are available in both white and black. You can paint them, draw on them with colored markers, or add other materials for a true multimedia art project.

Most recently, we have released the vLeve headphone, which is the perfect base for any one of our headphone skins, whether it be Designer, Artist Series, or your very own creation. The sound is incredible for a basic headphone with the unique teardrop design trademarked by Velodyne President Marta Hall.

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The most exciting development we have for the headphone skins is the custom design for musical artists, athletes/sports teams. We have designed a skin for The Mowgli’s, which we will debut at SXSW in March. We started by creating one for the 2013 California-Carolina All-Star game held here at San Jose Municipal Stadium last summer. From there, we have created many renderings that are still under consideration. There are other custom skins in the works, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, go to our site and pick up a skin for your vLeve or vFree. Or two or three.

How do you express yourself? The choice is yours.

 

 

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Music and Daily Life

music-notes

Music is no doubt an important part of our daily lives. We hear it in on the radio in our cars on our way to work and school. We listen it on our headphones when we are jogging and walking.  We hear it being played at professional sporting events when we go to see our favorite team play. We even go to concerts just to listen to our favorite artists play their best songs.

Now you might be wondering why music is so important to us.  There really is not clear cut exact answer to this tough question. However, if we examine what music does to our state of mind when we are listening to it then this provides is with some clues. Music has a profound effect on our psyche.  We have all experienced this deep effect that music can have on our state of mind. Music can pump us up and calm us down. It can make us happy or even sad depending on what the song is about and the context in which it is being played. It’s no wonder so many people listen to music when they are exercising.  The right song pumps us up and makes us want to push ourselves harder. This is obviously very helpful.  Now not only can music pump us up but it can calm us down as well.  Whether or not the music that we are listening to is going to hype us up or relax us depends heavily on what genre of music it is, the speed or beats per minute of the song, and how loud the volume is turned up. This all probably comes as no surprise to us as the majority of us have experienced how a loud rock and roll song can hype us up while we are running or how a soft classical song can put us to sleep.  The point is that music has a deep effect on our minds and this can be a very useful tool.

When we are tired in the morning before a long day at work or school we can try listening to something that is upbeat and happy as this will wake us up and get us into the right state of mind for that time of the day.  On the other hand, after a long day has passed and we are on our way home work of school we can try listening to some calm or soft music to help us relax and unwind after a tough day. It’s not hard to see how useful of a tool this can be for many of us.

Music is obviously an interesting phenomenon in human life. If you are wondering who invented music and when you maybe surprised to learn that it was never really invented. Music has actually been around since before recorded history began so we can only speculate as to where originated from.  It has been around as long as humans have been around and it has evolved over time just as humans have evolved over time.  As time continues to go on we can only wonder how music will change with it, but we can probably safely assume that music will continue to be a deep part of human life for a long time to come.

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Meet The Mowgli’s

The band in San Francisco at Fisherman's Wharf during America's Cup 2013

The band in San Francisco at Fisherman’s Wharf during America’s Cup 2013

Velodyne has recently partnered with The Mowgli’s, an 8-piece alternative rock band with a feel-good message of joy and love. They are best known for their song, “San Francisco”, which reached the 11th spot on on Billboard’s alternative chart in this year. Contrary to popular belief, most of the band hails not from San Francisco but from southern California. Velodyne was initially drawn to this band for their folk,indie-rock sound, rooted in collaboration with their large group of artists, musicians and friends. We saw an alignment to our company values in their support for charities such as charitywater.org, relayforlife.org and URawesome.org and their desire to change the world by performing random acts of kindness and being great human beings. Notably, when a recent Austin City Limits performance was cancelled due to rain, the band held an impromptu concert at a homeless shelter and  encouraged attendees to bring canned goods. The Mowgli’s…such good souls! This year’s tour is aptly named, “Random Acts of Kindness” and we at Velodyne could not be more thrilled to nurture the band on their trek across the U.S., leaving smiles and happiness in their wake.

Currently the band is finishing their tour supporting Walk the Moon, but we are looking forward to spending more time with them when they kick off their headlining tour to promote “Waiting for the Dawn”, their major label debut on Photo Finish Records/Island Records.

Enjoy this song, which was the theme for the San Francisco Giants 2012 season and was prominently played during their World Series-winning year.

Visit our Celebrity Spotlight page for more information and a signed headphone giveaway.

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Finding Sanity In Music

Lately, I’ve been staying up late into the night, typing up various papers, reading entire novels, frantically studying for that next midterm. The only thing that’s kept me sane throughout this quarter has been my music. And coffee. But really it’s been the music. At first I was just listening to the same old songs, the ones on the radio, the new pop songs. But after a while, I felt like I was lacking something crucial. These songs weren’t enough to keep me going night after night.

I needed to find new motivation. I searched my iTunes library, hoping for something to pop out at me. I tried Afro Celt, a unique mixture of African beats and Celtic instruments, but it couldn’t keep me up for more than an hour. Then I thought that maybe I needed to hear some of the old classics, the ones of my childhood. Which turn out to be the same songs my parents enjoyed in their youth. Soon, all that was emerging from my vFree was good old Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, the Moody Blues, Rush, the Who, Boston, Kansas, the Beatles, and other classic rock. It brought back pleasant memories, and revived this wonderful fondness in me for these bands. They got me through many a late night.

But there came a time when I began yearning for something new, but not any radio pop. I wanted something new to me, but still with that classic rock feel. I guess what really helped me then was Pandora, bringing me variety, with some songs that I knew, and some that I had never heard before.

I also took a stab at watching The Voice, to see if any of the contestants had what I was looking for. One caught my attention right away. Singing the Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” Terry McDermott of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, stole the competition, at least for me. I’ve been following his work, and each song has been beautiful, especially his rendition of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” I began to wonder if McDermott had any original songs to offer, and I began to search for some. It turns out he had been in multiple bands—the two most prominent being Driveblind and Lotus Crush. Driveblind was formed in Scotland, and came over to the U.S. in the early 2000s. It caught my fancy right away, and I’ve been listening to it ever since. It helped me get through my last midterm, just last Friday. Specifically, the song “Autumn Red” got me through the midterm. I did receive some pretty strange looks in the library, with my vPulse in, rocking out to my new favorite band, but I didn’t care. It helped me keep my sanity throughout this first quarter of college. I’ll always be grateful for that.

Here’s a listen to the song that brought Driveblind to America, “The Fool Rides Again.”

http://soundcloud.com/terryvox/the-fool-rides-again

Also, for a look at what he’s done on “The Voice,” here’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” (skip to 1:22 for Terry’s performance):

http://youtu.be/EAkDasYZr88

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Wordless Wednesday

It’s Hump Day! Time to pop in your vPulse in-ear headphones and JAM.

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Wordless Wednesday

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