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3 Tips To Peaceful Sleep

 

If you want better sleep then you should read below and learn more on how to achieve it.  

1    Optimize Your Bedroom For Sleep 

Sleep can be somewhat elusive, especially if your sleep environment isn’t conducive enough.  Creating a comfortable and soothing bedroom environment can, however, make sleep more enjoyable. Here are a few tips on how to make your bedroom sleep-friendly. 

a    Turn off all the lights:  Make sure the bedroom is dark enough whenever trying to sleep. Consider investing in blackout curtains or a sleep mask if there’s invasive light. Making the room dark will help improve the release of sleep hormones.

b   Dampen any noises: Do you live in a noisy neighborhood? If yes, consider investing in a white noise machine, a fan, or even better earplugs. Drowning the noises will make sleeping and staying asleep much more effortless. 

c   Keep the bedroom cool: Make your bedroom cooler than other rooms. Experts recommend setting it a few degrees lower, preferably 68 degrees Fahrenheit, to promote sleep.

d    Invest in a comfortable mattress and beddings: How comfortable is your bed/mattress.  If not, then consider investing in a more comfortable and supportive bed. Read these customer reviews about Made Trade. Although a significant investment, going for the best quality bed can make your nights more enjoyable. 

e  Valerian root and other similar supplements can be helpful to relax you and help you fall asleep. It could be worthwhile investing in some of these supplements. 

  1.     Have A Regular Sleep Schedule

Make a habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This will help keep the circadian rhythm in check, making it easier to drift to sleep each time you hit the blankets. According to sleep experts, irregular sleep cycles can/do interfere with melatonin production. Inconsistent melatonin production translates to poor sleep cycles and sometimes no sleep at all.  Keeping a consistent sleep cycle will also help the body regulate the production of hormones responsible for controlling sleep and wakefulness.   Here are a few tips on how to keep a regular sleep schedule: 

i.       Have a fixed wake-up time: What time do you wake up every morning. Depending on your schedule, most people prefer to wake up at 6 in the morning to prepare for work. Make this your daily wake-up time regardless of the day (holiday, weekend, or not.).  

ii.       Allocate enough time for sleep: The average healthy adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep every day.  That said,  you want to ensure you get at least 7 hours of sleep and not more than 8 for a healthy sleep cycle. 

iii.      Make gradual adjustments to your sleep schedule:  If you have to adjust your sleep schedule to accommodate changes in your work times or travel, you then shouldn’t do it abruptly.  Little adjustments of say 1-2 hours will enable your body to readjust quickly. 

  1. Increase Your Exposure To The Morning Sunlight 

Soaking in the morning sunshine not only improves your wakefulness but your quality of sleep at night.  The natural morning sunlight helps reset the internal clock, enabling the body to cut down on melatonin production and trigger increased body activity.  Resetting the circadian rhythm also helps activate other essential processes and functions as well. 

The morning sunshine helps trigger increased production of cortisol while inhibiting melatonin in the process. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for increased heart rate and various other functions of the body. This explains why basking in the morning sunshine leaves you feeling energized, ready to take on the day’s events. Unknown to many, allowing the morning sunshine to soak in does help reduce sleep disturbances and improve your overall health. It also reduces the risk of sliding into depression later in the day.  Add a few exercises in the morning, and most of your sleep woes will start to fade away.  

According to research, the amount of morning sunshine one gets, translates to an equal number of restful sleep at night. In another study, researchers were able to determine that basking in the morning sunshine does help reduce stress and depression levels and contributes to good quality sleep at night. You, however, do not have to depend on the natural sunlight to experience these benefits; artificial light sources mimicking the sun’s spectrum do come in handy too. Consider investing in these to use during winter. 

 

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Home Life Play

5 Tips for a More Fulfilling Lifestyle

 

Having been through the pandemic and its associated lockdowns (and we aren’t in the clear from them just yet!) many of us have had some extra time to think about where we are, and where we would like to be. The outcome is that a lot of us realised we want to live a more joyful and fulfilling life.

Sound selfish when there are people in the world struggling for every bite of food they eat? I don’t think so. One person’s more fulfilling lifestyle might include volunteering at a shelter, a soup kitchen, or a food bank, or even taking a 6 month sabbatical to go to a developing country to dig latrines. Fulfilment is all about personal choice, after all – we don’t all crave Ferraris and Gucci bags to feel like we have wrung all the juice out of life.

The upshot is, we all have one life (as far as I know) and it’s probably not a bad idea to enjoy as much of it as we can!

Work, family, various extra-curricular and social commitments can all add up to a full and draining calendar, and it may seem impossible to find time for yourself or your hobbies, or the things you think might really push your life in a different direction. I’m talking about going back to college to study for a different career, learning a language to prepare for retiring abroad, or even try a series of little hobbies that make you feel like life is that little bit richer.

If you are pushed for a gap in your schedule to create some lifestyle changes, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of the spare time you do have.

We’ve got five tiny and manageable tips to help you live a more fulfilling life and feel happier with your busy schedule right here:

1) We all need time for ourselves- it is so important to take a little time every day for something you find nourishing. It could be ten minutes of meditation, taking care of your houseplants, baking bread, or even sitting with a cup of tea and your journal. I find the important thing is that this slot is regular, and isn’t spent on an activity that takes too much concentration. During this time, your brain has a moment to decompress, to unwind a little from everything else it has to deal with being thrown at it all day. This is an easy way to get some self-love in without taking too much time out from work or chores around the house. You might find that practicing this time-out gives your brain the space it needs for inspirational thoughts.

2) Invest in your hobbies, no matter how small they may seem- this investment could be time or money, or energy. For instance, running doesn’t need to be an expensive hobby- a pair of trainers and some PE kit is all you need to start, but as you grow more serious, you might invest in things to enhance the experience. Perhaps gloves and a hat for cold weather, more technical trainers, specialist socks, or even a pedicure for those tired feet! An investment in a mini greenhouse will give a budding gardener so much scope to grow the number of seedlings grown for spring, it will enhance the experience through the whole growing season. This ranges right up to investing in a qualification that could change your life significantly, re-training in another career, or to start a side hustle as a bookkeeper, for example.

3) Learn something new every day, even if it’s just a few words in another language. I use Duolingo for this very purpose! I don’t have the time for a full on language course right now, but I can easily find five minutes a day to learn a little. And by learning a little every day, you build on your knowledge base exponentially. I feel like I have learned more than when I have previously taken language classes, and because I practice it daily, it is sticking better than a weekly class where all of last week’s knowledge gets buried under everything else that has happened since. Again, this could be on any topic, not just language learning. You could look up a new word in your own language, or pick a topic you know very little about and commit to learning one additional fact about it every day. The point is more that learning expands our horizons, and the more we practice learning, the better we can see the world around us.

4) Say no – it’s a complete sentence. Now this is a harder one!! Most of us have done something that feels like an obligation rather than a choice, be it sitting on a PTA committee or attending work drinks because you think you should be ‘seen’ to do so. If you want to feel more fulfilled, even a little, these obligations have got to go. This needs to be handled delicately, but if you have a feeling of dread around any obligations, it’s probably a sign that they aren’t enriching your life any! Of course some things you might chose to continue because, for instance, you want your children to feel supported by you sitting on the PTA committee, but if there’s no justification balancing out that obligation, there will always be a way to reclaim that time commitment.

5) Give back by volunteering – you might just make a new friend! If you have said no to something that doesn’t fulfil you, this is a perfect time to find something that does. Volunteering can take a million forms these days, from spending a few hours helping in a charity shop to joining a committee to raise money for your favourite charity. Every cause is looking for any help available, be it a couple of hours or a couple of pounds, or some useful knowledge or contacts you may have. My parents have volunteered at the same charity shop for over 20 years and have made a huge circle of friends as a result, not to mention all the good work they have done.

So there you have it, a brief guide to taking your first steps on the journey to feeling a little more fulfilled.

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Home Life

Intentional Cleaning

As we move into the autumn-winter season, I have been thinking about how to keep my home clean in a more intentional way.

In the past I have just fitted in housework around other tasks – pushing the vac round while I’m waiting for the pasta water to boil, scrubbing the shower tiles while I’ve got conditioner in my hair, that sort of thing.

At this time of year I like to slow down a bit, take more time over cooking and eating, spending more time snuggled up and getting cosy, so the rushing around, squeezing in 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there into my housework schedule just doesn’t seem to fit right now.

Headspace do a wonderful mindfulness exercise called ‘Mindful Cleaning for Sleep’ – the theory being that if you can’t sleep at night, you can get up and clean something while also clearing your mind, and this has inspired me to bring mindfulness into my housework.

Firstly: make sure your headphones are charged!  You might want to stream something like a podcast or soothing music, maybe even a mindfulness exercise for while you are doing quiet tasks like dusting or tidying.

Second: Set aside a specific time every day to clean or tidy if you can – this will help you to be more mindful about the whole of your daily schedule as a side benefit.

Third: Be mindful of the cleaning products you have in your home – eco friendly is best, not only for the environment, but for you and your family as well.  Many chemicals used in house cleaning are having unseen effects on our health and even can affect our gene expressions, so stick to the natural stuff wherever you can. As an added bonus, you will save money and can add your own scents to cleaners, such as steeping citrus peels in white vinegar for a couple of weeks- the resulting scented vinegar leaves a lovely aroma after the initial vinegar tang has worn off.

Fourth: When you have settled on your time to clean, and the task to be completed, try to stay completely in the moment – no checking your phone, no stopping to answer an email, no watching the news for five minutes before you ‘get on’.  In fact, unless someone has dropped by for a chat or a family member needs urgent assistance, I’d suggest you do your best to stay on track to be as in the moment while you clean as you can. I’ve tried it, and truly, it makes cleaning less drudgery and more of a cleansing experience.

Lastly, light up a lovely scented candle and step back to enjoy your handiwork, knowing that you have taken time out to not only clean your home, but also to clear your mind a little. It’s an interesting concept to think of housework as ‘me time’, but it could just work for you!

 

 

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Home Life

So You Want to Shrink Your Energy Bills?

Utility bills – UGH!  Of course, we all love our creature comforts but my combined gas and electric bill is, well, higher than I would like!  One thing I’m looking at lately is saving power more around the house, especially electricity, with the aim of being both a little more sustainable and ‘green’ and to save myself a few pennies at the same time!

There are lots of little steps to take to conserve energy, waste less and cut back on utility bills.  Here are a few you can start looking at today. 

Use natural lighting and air conditioning 

The best source of light is the enormous ball of fire in the sky–the sun. And while it might not always be around, depending on where you live, it is great to use it when it is. Natural light is the best way to light your home and costs nothing. So open up those blinds, pull the curtains right back and ensure plenty of that natural light can get into your home. It can also help warm the house in cooler months if you are lucky enough to have decent double glazing and windows that face the right way to catch the sun’s rays! 

In the same way, open those windows and let that fresh air flow through the home, rather than using air conditioning systems. Open windows don’t cost anything, and the air flow is less likely to contain any bugs that can build up in air con units. Besides, a fly or two is hardly a problem, especially if you have a cat like I do who loves to catch and eat them.

Turn off lights when leaving the room 

Using lights is pretty unavoidable in modern life, especially in winter. But, you can conserve a little energy by turning off lights when leaving the room. This means they aren’t using power lighting an empty room, will make the bulb last longer, and if you have left a door or window open- will attract fewer bugs into your home. If you are a fan of smart tech, you can get connected lightbulbs with motion sensors to set up that they turn out when you leave the room! 

Energy efficient appliances 

When it comes to replacing any appliance that uses electricity, look at the energy efficiency of the new one before committing to it. From kettles to fridges, washing machines and dishwashers, even boilers, they all have to have a rating on them with A being the best.  Don’t forget to check your laptop or pc as well, remember to switch it off at the end of a hard day’s work or gaming!  Check out Which? for UK recommendations.

Check your home’s insulation 

One of the biggest causes of wasted energy is poor insulation. Heat rises, vanishes through the roof and vanishes. Therefore, looking at the quality and thickness of the insulation in your roof or loft can be key to improving the home’s energy efficiency. Wool is a great eco friendly and very efficient option.

Producing your own power 

Not as wacky a suggestion as perhaps it used to be, we can now consider producing some of our own electricity right at home! There are lots of renewable options for almost any home to generate electricity, cut down utility bills and even make a little money selling unused power back to the national grid. 

Solar thermal 

A solar panel can heat hot water and works alongside an existing system. This means when there is sunlight, you can generate power to create hot water and not need to use gas and electricity to power your boiler for the job. You may need to get a new tank that works with this kind of system and you need a house facing within 90 degrees of south. 

Photovoltaic 

This is another type of a solar panel that creates electricity from sunlight. You have the panels fitted to the roof so again, a 90 degree of south angle is preferred. It can be expensive to set up but if you general more power than you need, there are schemes to sell it back to utility companies.  

Not everyone will be able to produce their own electricity at this point, but we can all do more to conserve it and therefore make our homes more energy efficient. It also has the benefit of saving money on those utility bills as well! 

Layer Up

An old school tip! When the temperature cools and you are at home, take steps to stay warmer for longer with jumpers, thermal underthings, and blankets! A nice touch to keep the atmosphere cosy in the winter while you are under your cosy blanket is burning a candle or two. You can leave the big electric lights off, and have an atmospheric lighting scheme with a couple of candles scattered about your living space.

Bonus Tip

There are hundreds of ways you can reduce both the money you spend, and the consumption of resources – both excellent outcomes for you and the world at large. Have fun trying out as many as you can think of!

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Home Life

So You Want to be More Sustainable?

Sustainability is a hot topic these days, as many of us realise that if we want to carry on living on this gorgeous planet we call earth, we need to change up our lifestyles a little!

Sustainable living means reducing your carbon footprint by changing what you buy, what you eat, what you use to do things around the house, and what kinds of transportation you choose.

Some people think that this way of living is only for wacky eco warriors, environmentalists or those who are trying to fight climate change on a grand scale. However, there are many benefits that will pay off straight away, not to mention that future generations will thank you for it!

In simple terms, we could describe sustainable living as living with what you already have and reducing what goes to waste. It’s about consuming less, producing less garbage, wasting less water, using natural resources sparingly, and looking for ecologically sound substitutes wherever possible, eg using solar power instead of fossil fuels.

Sustainable living doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming! It just requires a conscious effort on your part – that starts with what you buy at the grocery store! You could start by switching to a reusable grocery bag, getting your own coffee mug and water bottle for the office, or calling in an order from home instead of going out to eat. There are lots of small things that you can do to live more sustainably!

Here are some easy guidelines to follow:

Reduce what you use, buy less stuff, produce less, consume what you have. Make a list before you do food shopping and don’t buy more than you need- wouldn’t you rather have a few extra pennies than throw away those perishable goods you didn’t really want or need?

Purchase products that are reusable or recyclable instead of disposable, like glass water bottles, fabric shopping bags and reuseable coffee cups. Also remember to finish up products, don’t just throw things away when you have bought a replacement.

Recycle what can be recycled, aluminium cans, glass jars, many plastics, and think about composting what’s not able to be recycled. Many councils have a food bin service to take away scraps for composting, which is a great idea. Take used clothes to thrift shops or to a garment collection service for re-use or recycling. If it ends up in the bin, it will sit in landfill unable to rot down.

When we use these three steps in our life, we create a sustainable lifestyle and are not contributing to climate change. By reducing what you buy, what goes into the trash, or what’s wasted you’re helping reduce what contributes to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere!

Check out this program for more info on sustainable living.