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Back To The Swing Of Things: End Of Summer Routines For Students

August calls for the hottest of days, great seasonal fruit, late evening outdoor activities, and an altered schedule for children off on summer break. Although it is incredibly tempting to soak up the last four weeks of summer by avoiding the doomed “back to school” month quickly approaching, establishing a routine today can lessen the morning headaches in September without sacrificing ALL of the summer fun. These quick tips will make the back-to-school transition a breeze for both parent and child.



Get Enough Sleep:


Most of us know that children require eight hours of sleep in order to optimize brain function. Unfortunately with camping trips, early baseball games and relaxed summer curfews, those precious eight hours during the summer months are cut down and inconsistent. The first step to ensure a non-grumpy, functioning child in the Fall, is to ensure they are getting enough sleep NOW.


Establish a Wake-Up Time:


Tying in with getting their eight hours of sleep, it is equally important your kids are getting used to waking up earlier once again. Starting a few weeks before school starts, establish a broad bedtime and wake-up time. Every two or three days, have wake-up time earlier by 10 or 15 minutes. Although subtle, the earlier wake up times will prep your child to get up to catch the bus at 7:30am when their summer schedule allowed sleeping in until 10am.


Make Routine Checklists:


Kids, especially younger ones, are visual learners. Get creative with your children by listing morning routines (brushing teeth, breakfast, making the bed) and creating personalized checklists per child with fun colors and pictures. If you have more than one child, make it a friendly competition: who can wake up and do their morning routine the quickest? These games and routines will also engage their brain in mental activity and therefore prepare them for learning in the classroom.


Partake in Brainy Activities:


As mentioned above, mental stimulation is a much needed factor in back-to-school madness. Thankfully there are a variety of fun activities available for you and your child to partake in to help with September preparation. From having your kids join in on school list shopping, to reading and discussing a book together as a family: engaging your kids in these ways will ignite their brain into learning mode.


It is always a challenge to establish a routine after falling out of touch with one for two sunny months. The key to success with the above tips lie in gradual implementation and patience as your young ones adapt to a former routine. By the beginning of September, both you and your kids will enjoy a headache-free journey back into the swing of things. 

Top 10 Sleep Myths

The average person will sleep a third of their life sleeping, myths come in hordes. Here just a few of these myths.




1. To Function Best, You Need to Get Eight Hours.


Everyone is different, so your sleep needs are going to be different from anyone else’s.


2. Some People Function Perfectly, on Four Hours of Sleep!


No, they don’t. It’s really them not knowing how tired they really are. Too little sleep is bad for your health and your image.  It can make you ineffective (it impairs performance, judgment, and the ability to pay attention), sick (it weakens your immune system), and can affect a person’s weight.


3. More Sleep is Healthier


We all wish. Some studies have found that people who slept more than eight hours a night died younger than people who got between six and eight hours. What scientists have not figured out yet is whether sleeping longer causes poor health or is a symptom of it.


4. Lost Sleep Can Be Made Up On the Weekend


A Pennsylvania State University study tested the idea on 30 people. Participants slept eight hours for a few days to establish a baseline, then slept only six hours for six days followed by three days in 10-hour recovery sleep.


What they found was that two days of recovery sleep alleviated daytime tiredness and inflammation, but that attention performance did not rebound following recovery sleep.


5. You Need Less Sleep When You're Older


This myth spurred by the observation that older people tend to sleep for shorter durations of time. Short sleep among older people has also been linked with an increased buildup of brain plaques associated with Alzheimer disease as well as increased risks of hypertension, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis.


6. A Nightcap Helps You Snooze Better


An alcoholic drink can leave you feeling more relaxed and a little drowsier, so it's easy to see how this myth developed. But the way alcohol works within your body actually impairs sleep. Studies show that alcohol can make it easier to fall asleep initially for some, but that overall it reduces sleep quality, makes you more likely to wake during the night.  Furthermore, it reduces REM and other sleep phases, and it can also impact slow-wave sleep.


7. Daytime Naps are Waste of Time


Surprise! Naps are great for you. A NASA study in 1989 showed that pilots without a rest nodded off 5 times as much as those who took a 25 minute nap during their shift. Also, many famous people like Einstein, Thomas Edison, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton love their naps.


8. Early to bed, Early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.


Benjamin Franklin and Aristotle are wrong on this one. A University of Liege study concluded when larks and owls were compared, it was found that there was no noticeable difference in mental performance when the groups were tested in the morning. However, when it came to the evening, the larks performed noticeably worse on most tasks compared to their owl counterparts.


9. Rolling Over Stops Snoring


Ok, this is a little bit true as sleeping on your back makes you more prone to snoring. But snoring won't always stop just by moving to your side. An Israeli study found that 46% of the 2000 snorers were non-positional, meaning side or back sleeping made no difference.


10. Your Bedroom Should Be Warm and Cozy


A cooler environment is easier to fall asleep in, than a warm room. This is due to the body trying to regulate the temperature.   

8 Tips On How To Get To Sleep And Stay Asleep

The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated. You are always in a much better frame of mind and lighter mood when you have a good night’s sleep. It’s not only more energy that you get but studies show that the benefits of a good night’s sleep even extend into a stronger immune system, better heart health, and even increased life span!


If you are not able to get to sleep and stay asleep, find yourself tossing and turning in bed and waking up multiple times even after you go to sleep, then you definitely need tips on how to get to sleep and stay asleep! While some of these tips may seem too simplistic, remember that sometimes it is the simple things that have the most long lasting results.






1.  One hour before you plan to sleep, switch of distracting electronic devices. This would mean the television, PCs, laptops, and of course, your phone! Of course, it might be difficult for most people to switch off and unhook themselves from the maze of social media applications. If you are one of the people addicted to any of these, it would still be in your best interest to cut down on your use or stop completely in the one hour leading to your bedtime. The light that emanates from most of these devices is very stimulating for the brain, making it difficult to relax. So, give your brain time to wind down before you hit the bed!



2.  Avoid heavy meals at bedtime. If meals are heavy and spicy, they could cause problems with indigestion and heartburn, making it difficult to get uninterrupted sleep or even get to sleep. So go for light meals at dinner. Try to finish dinner at least 1-2 hours before bedtime.



3.  Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep as it stimulates the brain. So stay free from caffeine, caffeinated drinks (even that tiramisu!) and any alcohol before your bedtime.



4.  Check if your mattress and pillows need to be changed. It is good to get new mattresses every ten years.



5.  Minimize distractions from sounds as much as possible. If you live in a house or apartment that is exposed to sounds from the street or you live with a partner who is prone to snoring, then there are ways to get a good sleep without having to change your home or your partner! Get a good pair of earplugs or white noise machines to help you get your beauty sleep.



6.  Avoid napping during the day. Napping might be a good habit to increase productivity and energy levels during the day, but if it is keeping you from sleeping at night, then it is better to swap your nap for a good night’s sleep instead.



7.  Create a bedtime ritual that is relaxing and meaningful for you. This could be something calming, like reading a book or peaceful like prayer and meditation.



8.  Guided meditations can get you into a deep sleep. Just be sure to have someone switch of your player or unplug your earphones for you once you go off into your deep sleep!


How To Handle A Snoring Partner

Snoring is so annoying especially when you are trying to get to sleep at night. Your snoring partner causes you to toss and turn and think of all the ways you can stop them from snoring. You are irritated, tired in the morning and snappy. Before you clamp that pillow over their head, there are ways you can handle a snoring partner.




There may be an underlying health issue that leads to snoring. Your partner may be overweight; which results in snoring. Extra weight places pressure on the airways, and the result is snoring. The buildup of fats around the neck leads to pressure in the airways. Your partner may also be experiencing a partial collapse in that region of the neck.



Helping your partner work out regularly can help shed pounds and stop some of the snoring that disturbs your sleep. Exercise helps get rid of muscle tension. If your partner takes sleeping pills, reduce the intake. Sleeping pills depress the central nervous system that leads to jaw muscles relaxing snoring. Have a smoking partner? Help him stop this practice. Smoking compresses the airways and snoring is the result.



Roll your partner over. People tend to snore less when they are sleeping on their side. If you partner insists on sleeping on his back, don’t let him put his hand on his chest. A hand on the chest creates pressure on the airway. This leads to snoring. Keep your partner, sleeping on their side of the bed and close to the edge. Put pillows under his back so he will not turn to his earlier back sleeping position.



Purchase earplugs and put them in your ears to muffle the sound of your snoring partner. You can purchase custom shaped earplugs available from audiologists. You can also make your own earplugs. Use a dense material that will not shred when pulled out. Do not use cotton. Cotton shreds easily and does not muffle the snoring. Filters from cigarettes make good earplugs or use cylinders of compactly rolled fabric.



Listen to music with headphones. If you listen to certain types of music during your sleeping time, it will calm your mind and help you fall asleep. After a few days, your body will condition itself to this method of sleeping and the moment you start the song you will be asleep. Your body will associate this song with sleeping.


There are exercises that help prevent snoring. Consult a doctor to get good ideas for exercise. Have you partner act as if they are chewing on something. This releases the contracted muscles in your throat and jaw that are the primary reasons for snoring, these types of exercises loosen the muscles in your throat and helps to free the airway.



You don’t have to lie awake at night tossing and turning due to the snoring habits of a bed partner. Try out snore relief aids that maximize nasal breathing during sleep. Oral breathing during sleep results in dry mouth and snoring.

Spring Cleaning Your Bedroom Equals A Better Night's Sleep

Spring is the most wonderful time for flowers, warmth, and shorts. It is also a great time to get your hands dirty by scrubbing your home from the attic to the basement. Do your personal bedroom first this year. You will sleep much better and a good night’s sleep will keep you active and healthy and ready to tackle the rest of the house.




Clean off your nightstand. Try not to leave your smartphone next to your bed. An early text message can wake you up, and the blue light that the phone emits will disrupt your circadian rhythm.



Dust, polish and get rid of old cups and tissues. Change your light bulb to one that is conducive to reading, and take off old magazines and books that you don’t read anymore off your nightstand. Keep it uncluttered and you will feel better.



Don’t leave dirty dishes on your nightstand or chest of drawers. A cluttered and dirty nightstand is unhealthy and could cause allergies that disrupt your sleep.



You probably wash your top and bottom sheets plus pillow cases on a regular basis, but you do need to wash your comforter or duvet on occasion, too. It may not touch your body directly, but it collects dirt, dust mites and dust. When the bedding, including the sheets, the covers and even the mattress cover is clean and fresh, your night’s sleep is much better.



Wash your pillows and mattress in the spring. Throw your pillows into hot water and detergent and clean your mattress. Thoroughly vacuum your mattress, turn it over and vacuum again, and even wash off spots. Vacuuming and washing your pillows and mattress will get rid of the dust mites that survived the winter. You might want to consider investing in dust mite protective covers for your pillows and mattress. These covers will keep allergens from penetrating the fabric and causing your allergic reactions. Better sleep will be the result.



Get rid of clutter in your bedroom. Dusting and sanitizing surfaces, washing walls, and professionally cleaning the carpet is awesome, but a little extra time getting your bedroom in order would bring on a good night’s sleep. A clean and uncluttered room puts your mind at ease, makes it easy to rest, and brings a smile to your face.



Get rid of dirty laundry on the floor, and maybe rearrange the furniture. Rearranging your furniture will make you feel as if you have a new space. Your bedroom will feel more welcoming, and you will have a free feeling if you room is clean and fresh.



Once you have a spotless room, you will find relaxing in your bedroom is wonderful and going to sleep at night is delightful.



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