Tag Archives: bedroom
Things We Like: Debunking The Eight-Hour Sleep
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Perhaps the most universal sleep instruction prescribed to all is to get eight hours of sleep, give or take an hour or so depending on the person. On its surface, this sleep regime seems to make perfect sense and I’ve never had any reason to question it before. However, I recently came across some references to a professor who discovered some historical references to the idea of segmented sleep and I decided to do some digging.
Roger Ekirch (don’t ask me how to pronounce that), a professor of history at Virginia Tech, published a book back in 2006 titled, At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, which explores how society “dealt with” the nighttime throughout history. As the stories go, while Ekrich was researching this book he discovered over 500 references to the idea of segmented sleeping patterns, i.e., sleeping for a few hours after dusk, followed by a waking period of a couple hours, and followed again by a second sleep.
Ekrich’s findings, corroborated with an experiment conducted by Thomas Wehr, a psychiatrist, suggests that a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where restless people wake in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep, may actually be explained by our history.
Basically, the late night restlessness many of us try to overcome is the way we may have actually been intended to sleep before the advent of cheap electricity and plentiful street lighting used to illuminate our previously dark and frightful nights. Now brightened with light bulbs (oil lamps in the past), spending time after sundown has become a more legitimate, if not fashionable, way to spend your time. Today, many of us with sleep problems may simply be two-sleep people living in a one-sleep world.
I highly recommend Ekrich’s book, especially if you’re on the hunt for some late night reading (no pun intended). BBC News has an excellent article discussing Ekrich’s findings if you need some more convincing. Jessa Gamble also did a 6 minute or less talk for TED about the myth of the eight-hour sleep.
In the mean time, if you’re having trouble waking up and falling back to sleep at night, do not despair; use this time to reflect on your dreams, read a book, or chat with your wife (if she’s likewise awake). Waking between sleeps may not be as bad as you thought it to be.
Things We Like: Avoiding Jet Lag
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
I recently returned from a short trip to New Orleans, and I’ll be the first to tell you that I really enjoy traveling. Breaking up the daily routine, taking in new sights, meeting new people, and eating exotic foods are all check marks that keep me eager to explore the world. However, the inevitable downside of traveling (especially if you’re destination is overseas or cross-country) is jet lag. Even traveling across two or three time zones is enough to throw your body off, and nothing puts a damper on your day like a bad night’s sleep—especially if your body is confused about when it’s supposed to sleep in the first place. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and tricks that can help you avoid the effects of jet lag and make the most of your vacation.
What is jet lag?
Jet lag is a relatively new phenomenon brought on by the advent of commercial air travel. In the medical community jet lag is known as desynchronosis, which is a physiological condition resulting from rapid travel across multiple time zones. Jet lag isn’t caused by the act of flying on a jet; rather, it is purely due to your body trying to adjust to a different sunrise/sunset schedule than you’re used to at home.
How to avoid jet lag
Jet lag affects people differently, and the amount of time your body needs to readjust depends on a number of factors. The general rule, however, is that you should allow one day per time zone crossed to let your body adjust to its new schedule. If you’re traveling from New York to Los Angeles, for example, which has you cross 4 time zones, you often don’t have 4 days to get back in the swing of things. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to minimize the effect of jet lag.
While none of these recommendations are a surefire way to avoid jet lag, they are certainly worth a try—especially if it means feeling rested and ready to make the most out of your travel adventure.
- Drink plenty of water. When traveling on a plane, you are more susceptible to dehydration, which can result in a general feeling of fatigue. This one is pretty easy to avoid, and you should be drinking lots of water regardless of your travel schedule to improve your overall health. Drinking alcohol on a plane makes you more susceptible to dehydration, so save your Mai Tai’s for the beach.
- Exercise before your flight. Regular exercise can help you sleep better in general, and is even more important for long-haul flights. Since you’re stuck on the plane anyway, you might as well try to recharge your batteries before arriving at your destination. While sleeping on a plane will never make up for a good night’s rest in your own bed, neck pillows and blankets can help make you more comfortable on the plane.
- Fight your usual routine (don’t sleep during the day). If you land at night, then you should go to sleep and wake up as usual. However, if you land during the day it’s important to fight the urge to go to sleep and power through until a normal bedtime (for that area). This will help force your body to get used to its new schedule. Coffee (caffeine) can be helpful for powering through the first day, but don’t go overboard with it. You can also try adjusting your schedule to your destination time before your flight. Shifting your sleep schedule at home by a couple hours can help get you used to a different time zone before you depart.
For the ultimate regime, there are several apps available for download on your phone that will offer some steps you can take to combat the effects of jet lag. Many of these apps simply require you to set your home, your destination, your usual wakeup/bedtimes, and the length of your visit. Using this information, these apps will offer a number of recommendations, such as a pre-flight sleep schedule, that can help you offset the effects of jet lag.
Do you have any tips for avoiding jet lag? Let us know in the comments below.
Bedroom Design: Solar System Mobiles
Lately, I’ve been looking at solar system mobiles. Here are some of my favorites.
This one was created by Alanna George @ the Craft Nest from the Creatology Solar System Kit from Michaels. I love the fact that they painted the pieces themselves. It is one of those pieces I could see a kid holding onto long after they’ve outgrown the interest because it’s his/her work of art.
Here’s another do it yourself solar system by lady poppins. I like the stylized representation with the mixture of patterns bringing a lot interest to this piece.
Less personal, but more realistic for a non-crafty mom like myself is this motorized solar system that rotates the planets around a sun that you install as an overhead light color. It also comes with a 15-minute audio tour of the solar system.
Finally, for those who want scientific precision in their solar system mobile, this one from Edmund Scientifics has planets that follow their actual orbit paths as they spin independently of one another.
Don’t forget that the Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks the night on April 22, 2013. Get outside and watch Nature’s own mobile show.
Things We Like: Allergy-Proofing Your Bedroom
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
As many seasonal allergy sufferers already know, spring is well underway. While I welcome the warm sunshine and longer days, I’ve had my fair share of allergies to contend with (and expect a few more bouts before summer is here). To help you make it through this year’s wave of pollen, I’ve put together four tips to help you transform your bedroom into an allergy-free haven.
1. If you like flowers, get a printed comforter cover.
Flowers are a wonderful way to show your friends and love ones that you’re thinking about them; however, they can be a real bother on your allergies. If you have a bouquet of fresh flowers, keep them where everyone can enjoy them (not your bedroom). You should also avoid certain types of flowers such as daisies and sunflowers, as these are two of the worst types of flowers for allergy sufferers.
2. Keep up with your pets’ hygiene, and keep them out of the bedroom.
If you keep a pet in your home and are allergic to him/her, then you absolutely must keep your pet out of the bedroom. Bedding has an uncanny way of trapping allergens that can be especially difficult to get rid of once they’re lodged in there. To help cut down on allergens throughout the house, you should also give your pet a bath regularly, wash its bedding, and consider using a HEPA filter on your vacuum to be sure you’re trapping as much of your pet’s allergens as possible during regular household cleaning.
3. Give your mattress a deep clean.
While you probably wash your sheets regularly, when is the last time you cleaned your mattress? Mattresses collect more dust, dirt and debris than you’d care to think about, and a dirty mattress can aggravate your allergies or cause other respiratory problems. A quick and easy way you can clean your mattress is by sprinkling baking powder (which helps trap moisture and smells) over the top and then sucking it back up with a vacuum cleaner attachment. In addition to cleaning your mattress, you should also flip it or rotate it regularly to ensure even wear (and give yourself another reason to clean it). For dirtier mattresses, you can use a handheld steamer. Finally, don’t forget to clean under the bed—it’s one of the dust bunnies’ favorite places to hide.
4. Invest in an air purifier.
I’m a big advocate of air purifiers, and for good reason: they are an effective way to circulate clean air throughout your home. They trap allergens, dust, and can even kill viruses and bacteria. I wrote an article a couple months back explaining the differences between the types of air purifiers for the bedroom. Just a quick reminder: an easy way to compare air purifiers is by their CADR rating, and cost of replacement filters.
By reducing allergens in the bedroom, you can create a much more enjoyable environment for your body to restore itself every night. Do you have any tips for allergy sufferers this season? Let us know in the comments below.
Bedroom Design: The White Room
Post by Erin Sears.
I love stuff. Accessories, accoutrement and adornment are some of my favorite words. More, more, more, pretty, pretty, pretty. No store left unshopped is my motto and you’d think I was part raven with my attraction to shiny things. Lately however, something has shifted for me and I want to feel unburdened by possessions. I think it may be the spring air. With the change in season, it’s time to throw open the windows, clean out the nooks and crannies and make everything new again. Gone are the layers of blankets on the bed. Fresh, crisp, clean and bright are my current adjectives.
There is something so simple, so beautiful about a white room. Bright yet calm, a white bedroom could be just the thing for spring. Here are some white rooms to get you started:
This room embodies the idea of fresh and clean. White walls, white bed, white duvet. Throw open the windows and you’re all set. Dreamy.
Now for something a little more Scandinavian. If you’ve got a modern heart, this is the white room for you. Adding small touches of color in the form of a throw, some decorative pillows or even your favorite outfit will really pop on a canvas of white. Faux fur rugs can be a year round fixture in any room. Your feet will thank you.
I love the textural juxtaposition of the crisp white tufted headboard and this elegant wallpaper. Don’t be afraid to mix and match white and off-white tones until you get a rich and pleasing combination.
Your bedroom should be a haven for rest and relaxation. This season, try toning things down with white and limiting your accessories to the things you love most. May you have sweet dreamy dreams!