Things We Like: Getting The Right Amount Of Sleep


Post by Kyle St. Romain.

One thing you’re unlikely to hear someone complaining about is getting too much sleep. In fact, most of us long for sleeping in on the weekends or catching up on some much needed sleep that work, family, and other responsibilities deprive us of. However, sleeping too much or oversleeping can be just as unhealthy as not sleeping enough. The trick to sleep, like many things in life, is balance.

Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, just like different cars need a different amount of gasoline to travel the same distance. The general rule is that you should try to get around eight hours of sleep per day, and most people will fall within one hour of this requirement. Your actual need for sleep depends on the amount of stress your experiencing and how physically active you are, to name a few. If you don’t sleep enough, you accumulate a sleep debt; however if you sleep too much you don’t necessarily accumulate a sleep credit.

Oversleeping, also called hypersomnia, is a serious medical disorder. Symptoms associated with hypersomnia include anxiety, low energy, mental problems, and a constant need for more sleep. Hypersomnia has also been linked to increased risk for diabetes, obesity, headaches, back pain, depression, heart disease, and even death. If you’d like to read more about how hypersomnia increases your health risks, check out this article on oversleeping by WebMD.

The good news is that hypersomnia is a very fixable problem. Sometimes, hypersomnia is brought on by underlying medical conditions, which you’d need to see a doctor for; however, it’s more common that hypersomnia is simply a result of poor sleep hygiene. Below is a list of tips and suggestions to help you regain control over your sleep habits.

1. Establish a regular sleep routine. Humans are creatures of habits, and if you can discipline yourself to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, getting the right amount of sleep will be easier. It takes about 30 days of doing something or not doing something before it becomes a habit, so it’s important to stick with your sleep routine for at least one month.

2. Plan your day. If you have a plan of attack going into each day, you’ll know exactly how much time you need to get everything done. Having a plan can help you realize that oversleeping is depriving you of doing the things you want during the day.

3. Optimize your wake up routine. It’s important to look forward to getting out of bed in the morning. Since the morning commute likely isn’t a big motivator, think about all the things you love doing before you officially start your day. Set aside some time in the morning especially for yourself. Do you love a fresh, hot cup of coffee in the morning? Do you like to read the newspaper before getting your day started? Maybe you like to take a hot shower with an invigorating body wash. Whatever it is, figure out what makes you happiest in the morning and you may actually look forward to getting out of bed.


4. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before you go to bed. Stimulants and depressants can affect your body’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. If you want to drink something to help you sleep, try a warm glass of milk before bed.

5. Exercise regularly. Exercise is linked to a number of health benefits, including better sleep. Going for a jog, participating in a yoga class, or lifting weights at the gym helps cleanse your body of impurities that build up throughout the day. Exercise also drains any extra energy you may have left over from the day, which can help you fall asleep faster.

The above suggestions are just a couple ways to help you improve your sleep hygiene. If you find that you cannot break yourself of oversleeping, you may also want to consider making an appointment with your doctor.

Do you sleep too much, or not enough? Do you have any morning rituals you can’t live without? Let us know in the comments below.

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Breakfast in Bed: Corn Bread Hot Browns


by Alison Hein

My husband and I are back from our extended Caribbean stay – back home (good) and back to the cold (not so much). Wintry weather calls for homey comfort food, so when Kevin requested chili for dinner, I was quick to comply. In my world, a bowl of mouth-burning, spicy chili is not complete without a fresh-from-the-oven batch of buttery corn bread. It’s so easy to make your own, with multitudes of personalization options. Sometimes I make it unsweetened, or zest it up and make Lime-Cilantro Corn Bread with Honey Butter. This time, though, I just made straight up old-fashioned corn bread – the perfect foil for our fiery stew.

In the morning, I decided to use some of the corn bread for our morning meal. But what? Then it came to me: a play on Hot Browns, the legendary late-night breakfast dish from The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. I switched it up a little, omitting the turkey and using Irish bacon. Just wait for that hot, bubbly, bacony dish to come out of the oven. Just wait for a legendary Hot Brown breakfast in bed.

Learn more about the historic Brown Hotel and see the original Hot Brown Recipe here:
http://www.brownhotel.com/dining-hot-brown.htm.

Ingredients
2 thick pieces of corn bread
1 Roma tomato
2 – 4 slices Irish (or Canadian) Bacon
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
Paprika, for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley

Preparation
Slice corn bread pieces in half, and place two each into two oven-proof dishes. Cut Roma tomato into four thick slices, and place one tomato slice on top of each piece of corn bread. In the meantime, fry bacon over medium low heat to a crispy brown. Drain on paper towels. Set aside and keep warm.


To make cheese sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add grated cheese and stir until just melted. Pour half of the cheese mixture over each dish of corn bread, covering bread and tomatoes completely.

Broil Hot Browns 6 inches from heat, until cheese sauce is bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 1 minute. Top each dish with a slice or two of crispy Irish bacon, sprinkle with paprika, garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

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Bedroom Design: Reading Nooks for Kids’ Rooms

Post by Stephanie Noble.

Teaching my son a love of books and reading is one of the great joys I have discovered since becoming a parent. He is lucky to have family and friends who gift him with clever books that engage him so completely that many of his first words came from books. Currently, we have a small corner of our living room devoted to our books. They fill vertical shelves that we installed to fit a corner that was dead space -tough to utilize because of a window on one side and a door on the other. While this is a perfectly serviceable solution for our small space, I dream about creating the perfect reading hideaway for my boy. A cozy corner of his bedroom devoted to losing himself in stories.

Pinterest.com is a great place to assemble ideas for this dream. I’ve been pinning ideas for the last year. Pulling bits and pieces out of different designs to implement when the time comes for the reality, I’ve created what I hope will one day become his imagination nook.

 

Because he loves to climb, I visualize a vertical space with a space for books, found treasures and space for his artwork. I’m just not certain how this little girl accessed her reading shelf. I would add a ladder.

In our current home, this swinging seat might have to replace an entire nook. It would still give him a spot to cozy up with a book that would feel different from the rest of the house.

 

If possible, I’d like there to be a lot of natural light, so he doesn’t strain his eyes. Also, so that he can pause and look out the window to dream about the world. In this picture, I like the books hanging from the ceiling. Excess books are being turned into great art, I’d like to include some book art in his space.

 

If the vertical plan doesn’t work out, a window seat is a classic reading space. I like the built in shelves in this space. I know that it has been styled for this photograph, but I laugh thinking what it would look like after a child took control of the space. I think that’s the most important thing to remember when designing a kid’s space. An adult has a perfected magazine perfect concept that may last for one brief moment before the child takes possession. Then a beautiful chaos will ensue. That chaos is the point at which the child makes the space his or her own. It’s important to not become so attached to the design that you’re unable to let go and let the space become the child’s space.

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Bedtime Stories: Conquering Your Fears

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Being a kid is both awesome and awesomely horrific. From an adult perspective, we recognize the wonderful liberation children have from work, bills, stress. But on the flip side, being a kid is rough. For one thing, relatively minor, if not downright harmless things can be terrifying; darkness, spooky stories, chestnuts. So here are two books about confronting childhood fears and overcoming them.

Willoughby and the Moon by Greg Foley.

Young Willoughby relies on the moon to illuminate his bedroom at night. Inexplicably, the moon seems to be getting smaller by the day. Suddenly, the moon disappears completely. When Willoughby opens his closet door, he discovers he is on the moon and in the company of a giant silvery snail looking for his ball. Willoughby is scared of the dark, the snail is scared of everything else. Somehow between the two they learn that none of that stuff is really worth getting worked up over.

The Scariest Thing of All by Deb Gliori.

This little rabbit is scared of everything, from reasonable things like these trolls which, in this book, are totally real, to chestnut pods which are also real but an unreasonable thing to fear. Through a dubious leap of logic, the rabbit realized that he is the scariest thing in the world and all these monsters are afraid of him. I don’t like this book; it’s too cutesy and moronic. My kid makes me read it nearly every day. Maybe you will have the same fortune.

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Movies in Bed: Overboard

Post by Josh Zinn.

Hello Dear Readers!

Now that I have returned from that grueling conference on pygmy populations (you may recall I handed over review duties a few weeks ago to my delightful niece, Janie), I thought I would share with you all a bit of a meditation/imagination exercise that guest speaker Deepak Chopra imparted, along with his new book and fragrance, to all the attendees. Mind you, this can be a bit intense and scary, but what it is meant to do is invoke the deepest passions in the subject’s loins, thus allowing them to focus on what truly matters to their heart.

Let’s begin!

Imagine, if you will, a desert island. No one is there but you and, perhaps, a ferret named Simone. All around this island is a family of man-eating sharks with a hunger for blood, an insatiable appetite, and a love of Anne Murray to boot. There is little food to speak of other than a few coconuts, a banana plant, and a curious lifetime supply of Chef Boy-R-Dee ravioli that come with a note of affection from your Great Aunt. Things are dire.

Now, on top of this tropical maelstrom of misery, imagine that there is also a television playing one movie on a continuous loop from now and into eternity. While you are not required by any sort of island law to watch said movie, there is also no way to turn either the picture off or the volume completely down. This movie is going to be a constant part of you life… for the rest of your life!

Now, close your eyes and breathe… Deep. Breathe…. Take in your life force and the life force of any children near you… Phew… Aahhh. Wait… Wait… You are waiting to exhale… Shoop. Shoop… And… Let go.

Now, the question is: what movie would you choose to be your single and only lifetime companion?
I pondered this question for a whole bunch of seconds, dear readers, and the answer I came to was both curious and comforting, verily whisking me away to the halcyon days of my childhood.
“Overboard.”

Yes, “Overboard.” That delightful fish-out-of-water folly starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell as mismatched lovers whose differences are no match for the truth that lies within!

Though I hadn’t thought of—much less watched—this movie in quite some time, when I asked the spirits what film would best represent and empower my 89th chakra, the answer was so clear. Of course a film about a rich woman who’s mean and nasty to a backwoods carpenter, falls off a boat, gets amnesia, is eventually adopted by said scorned carpenter and his four out of control boys, actually falls in love with her new family because, hey, it’s better than being married to the vampire dad from “The Lost Boys,” and then subsequently gives the carpenter the extra boost of inspiration he needs to realize his dream of owning a wonders-of-the-world themed mini-golf course would be the film my instincts would draw me towards!!

“Overboard” works as a film for all time because the spiritual lessons of “Overboard” are timeless. You may believe that what matters in this world are fancy yachts and caviar cravings, but let me tell you something, bub: our soul’s true treasures may only be found when—and only when—lies are told to snotty society sirens, filthy children speak like Pee-Wee Herman, and fiberglass sphinxes spit out golf balls; everything else is immaterial.

As you may have gathered by now, dear readers, my heart was awakened—Awakened!—by the time and money I spent listening to Mr. Chopra. No longer do I seek to simply deliver unto you the finest in film reviews. Now, I want to change your life by providing enlightenment alongside entertainment. Fun! I mean, ommmm… Tee hee!
I have given you the gift of “Overboard.” Now, why don’t you make yourself a soothing cup of chamomile tea, slather some pecan butter onto that delicious spelt bread you baked, slip into your favorite pair of organic pajamas, and tell me: what movie speaks to you?

The answer is only your soul’s cry away.

Namaste.

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