Health · sleep

How to Cope with the Winter Months

How to Cope with the Winter Months
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

I don’t know if it’s because I was born in June, but I am definitely a summer person. The longer days make me feel energised and I’m never happier than when the sun is shining. I always joke to the kids that I’m solar powered, but I think there’s a little bit of truth to it. When autumn and winter roll around, I tend to retreat from the world a bit, which isn’t always healthy for me, physically or mentally.

This year, I’ve decided to try to do things differently, and I’m putting together a plan of action for keeping myself from slipping into unhealthy habits, and I thought I’d share some of them with you today:

Healthier Sleep Habits

I have a terrible habit of hibernating when the nights get longer, which means sticking my pyjamas on almost as soon as we get home from the school run, and doing way too much dozing on the sofa. I’m planning to have a set bedtime so that I get a proper 8 hours a night, and I’ll be cutting back on the coffee. I’ll definitely drift off easier with Snooze, a non-caffeinated drink designed for bedtime.

Eat Well

Our dinners are always different in winter – gone are salads and cold food and in come stews, casseroles and other warming slow-cooker suppers. As well as avaoiding junk, I’ll be making sure we get a good variety of different veg in our diets to make sure our iron and vitamin levels stay up.

Exercise

The motivation to exercise doesn’t come easily to me, and it’s always worse on cold or rainy days, but Maureen still needs to be walked even when the weather is bad. Instead of doing one long, epic walk a day, I’ll break it up into two smaller walks so that she and I are still getting plenty of time outside but it doesn’t feel like so much of a slog as doing it all at once!

Stay Hydrated

I’m very guilty of forgetting to drink water in the winter. I drink loads in the summer because I’m hot and get thirsty, but I do tend to forget when it’s cold outside. We’ve just got a fridge with a water dispenser, so I’m hoping that this will help me to remember to drink more. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, headache, lightheadedness, sleepiness and a lack of tear production. When the eyes stop producing tears, they are no longer properly lubricated, which can lead to dry eye, eye strain and vision problems.

Take a Multivitamin

We always strive for a balanced diet, but getting plenty of vitamins and monerals is especially important in winter, not least of all to bolster your immune system against nasty winter viruses. Make sure you get one which contains zinc and vitamin D as these are often the ones which are most depleted during the winter months. Viruses, such as the common cold, are more likely to strike during the winter months so zinc’s immune system support can decrease your risk of being struck down with the illness.

sleep

Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep HygieneAlthough I’m not someone who very often struggles to get to sleep (Husband is often in awe of how quickly I fall asleep after my head hits the pillow), I do often awaken feeling as though I haven’t had a very good night’s sleep, and I think a lot of that is to do with my lack of sleep hygiene. If you haven’t heard that expression before, it’s nothing to do with going to bed dirty! Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. Here are a few changes that I think I need to make in order to improve things:

Devices

As much as I have grand ideas about putting my phone or laptop down well before bed so that the blue light doesn’t affect my circadian rhythm, I’m also an absolute terror and very rarely do. There are, however, apps and programmes that you can install on your devices which offer blue light protection. They alter the tone of your screen ever so slightly to stop too much blue light being absorbed by your eyes.

Routine

 Routine

At the moment, my bedtime routine is usually “fall asleep on the sofa until Husband wakes me up to get into bed”, and it’s not great because my sleep cycles are interrupted. This is where the sedative properties of the maeng da strain of kratom could be beneficial. I know that were I to, say, have a cup of kratom tea before bed, this could really help me to drift off for a good night’s sleep. Often, I’ll wake up after being asleep on the sofa and feel too wide awake to go back to sleep, OR I’ll get back to sleep but feel like my alarm is going off about five minutes later. A combination of getting in bed when I’m ready to sleep instead of sofa surfing and a supplement like kratom would be much healthier.

Bed Hopping

I’ll be honest, it’s a rare night when I don’t end up in bed with Burrito Baby instead of sleeping in my own bed and although I still love snuggling up with her, it’s probably not conducive to a great night’s sleep! We often wake up too hot, or because one of us is snoring, so I need to try to maintain an “everybody in their own bed” system!

Eating Late

I’ve always been a late-night snacker, enjoying a bit of supper with Husband once the girls are asleep, but going to bed on a full stomach isn’t good for you. I get a lot of acid reflux when I eat late, which wakes me up several times a night, so imposing a ban on eating after a certain time would probably do me a big favour.

Caffeine

I’m a bit of a caffeine junky, and I definitely feel the difference in my sleep quality on days where I’ve had more than usual. A lot of people I know switch to decaf after 6pm, and I definitely think that this could be something which would help to let me get a better quality of sleep.

What’s your sleep hygiene like? Do you have a strict bedtime routine? Leave me a comment below.

sleep

Getting the Best Night’s Sleep #SleepExperts

SleepSleep is a massively varying issue in our house; Husband is an insomniac (as in a proper, can’t sleep for days at a time insomniac) whereas as it’s a running joke in our house about how easily I fall asleep. I once fell asleep STANDING UP and almost broke my neck by falling backwards like a felled tree and catching myself at the last second. The girls seem to fall somewhere in the middle; Sausage fights sleep every single night and stubbornly forces herself awake for as long as possible, whereas Burrito Baby is a dormouse like Mummy and falls asleep with ease most nights…unless she’s napped late and then she can sit awake, sometimes until 2am! Zzzzz…..

Getting a GOOD night’s sleep is actually really different to be able to FALL asleep though and many mornings I’ll wake up not feeling very rested at all. I think I have mild sleep apnoea (based on how loudly I snore most nights and the fact that my friends used to be terrified at sleepovers because I’d take one big breath and then not breathe again for about a minute, I’d say it’s pretty certain) which obviously interrupts the actual quality of my sleep. I’ve also noticed that since I upped my exercise schedule, I’m far more tired every day just because I’m physically doing so much more.

The guys at Adjustamatic have been doing a load of research into getting a good night’s sleep and their #SleepExperts have put together some advice for everyone to follow. Watch the video to find out more:

I actually LOVE the idea of an adjustable bed; Husband and I often say that we should get two single beds and push them together because he prefers a hard mattress and I like something with a little bit of cushion. He’s a light sleeper and I turn over with a LOT of gusto, which often wakes him up. He likes a bit of hip support whereas I need my neck and shoulders a bit more propped up. We’re compatible in marriage a lot more than we are in sleep, it seems!

I must admit, I also quite often end up in bed with Burrito Baby – we’ve co-slept pretty regulalry since she was born and she’ll still call out for me most nights and it’s easier for me to just go and slip in with her. She’s sleeps in the bottom bunk and she’s still absolutely tiny for a three year old so I get plenty of space, lots of snuggles and she never complains about my snoring 😉

Do you share your bed with a Husband, Wife, partner or co-sleeping child? Have you ever considered single beds, pushed together as one big bed?! Would you benefit from an adjustable bed? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please do leave me a comment below!

 

sleep

Getting #ASoundSleep with MattressNextDay

Ever since I was little, I’ve always preferred falling asleep with noise in the background, be it the telly playing or music, and Husband is the same. Over the years I’ve developed a preference for certain TV shows to watch in bed and fall asleep to and some of them have such a soporific effect on me now that I think watching them at ANY time of day would help me to drift off! MattressNextDay is currently running their #ASoundSleep campaign, asking people to share their aural bedtime preferences and I thought I’d give you a little run-down of my favourite shows to watch (or, mostly listen to!) in bed:

The Golden Girls

My current favourite bedtime viewing is the complete boxset of The Golden Girls. I absolutely ADORE this show and never fail to be impressed by the topics they tackled way back in the Eighties. There’s something about the incidental music that I find really comforting, which makes it the perfect show to drift off to.

The Good Life

This is probably one of my favourite TV shows of all time and even though there were only 30 episodes made between 1975 and 1978, I could probably watch them all on an endless loop! There’s something about the gentle humour and banter between Margot, Jerry, Tom and Barbara that makes me drift off to a restful slumber.

Red Dwarf

This one comes from when I was a kid – I was allowed to watch TV in bed on a Friday night, on an old black and white TV which used a dial to find the channel, and Red Dwarf was always on at 9pm, right after Gardeners World. I’d sit through the end of Alan Titchmarsh warbling on about hardy shrubs so that I could watch Red Dwarf straight after and would inevitably fall asleep within about 2 minutes of the show starting, but I still adore it to this day and get super-cosy vibes from the theme tune.

The Mighty Boosh

I’d never seen The Mighty Boosh until I met Husband but it soon became a huge favourite and I still watch it in bed fairly often. I absolutely adore the humour in the show and there are a couple of episodes that I can’t have on while I’m trying to doze off as I’d spend more time laughing than drifting off!

Alan Partridge

I’ve come to the conclusion that Alan Partridge is the televisual equivalent of Marmite – people seem to either love it or hate it, or at the very least can’t handle the sometimes ENORMOUS cringe-factor that Steve Coogan injects into his most famous character. However, it’s an all-time favourite of mine and I know the episodes so well that I could recite them in my sleep. It’s perfect for watching in bed and always sends me off with a little chuckle!

Are you a bedtime TV watcher? What graces your screens while you’re trying to doze off? I’d love to hear all about it so do leave me a comment below.

Kids · sleep

Making Sure Your Child is Safe in the Bedroom

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Our children tend to spend a lot of time in the bedroom sleeping or playing, and this is usually alone without the supervision of an adult. With this in mind, it is little wonder that most parents are eager to ensure that their child’s bedroom is not only a comfortable and secure place to be, but also a safe one that is as free from hazards as possible.

There are all sorts of things that could increase the risk of accidents and injuries in the home. In a child’s bedroom, there can be clutter lying around on the floor, through to electrical items and wiring, ornaments or furniture that are made with glass, unsafe or unsteady furniture, as well as sharp edges and more. As a parent, it is important to check your child’s room for potential hazards and then take relevant steps to increase safety levels and provide valuable protection for your child.

Some examples of hazards and solutions in your child’s bedroom

The exact hazards and dangers that pose a risk to your child in the bedroom will depend on the room itself and what you have in it. However, there are some common ones that most parents will have to worry about. These include:

l Electrical sockets and radiators: Both electrical sockets and radiators can pose a serious danger to younger children. It is therefore important to make sure that you invest in items such as protective radiator covers from places such as GE Little Group to stop the child from getting burned. Also make sure you use socket covers to ensure they don’t tamper with electric sockets.

l Furniture that is not sturdy: Unsteady furniture could collapse and end up causing your child a serious injury. For example, an old bed that is on its last legs could collapse whilst children are sleeping or jumping on it. So be sure visit a reputable bedroom furniture retailer such as Bedstar who have built a reputation for supplying a wide range of respected bed brands that will ensure that your children are safe and secure, no matter how unruly they get in the bedroom.

l Get rid of clutter: Of course, a child’s room can get very messy, but if there is too much clutter and too many toys left lying around, the child is more likely to trip and sustain an injury. You therefore need to make sure you invest in suitable storage so that everything can be stashed away safely after use – and take some time to talk to your child about the importance of putting things away.

l Use window locks: If your children are tall enough to reach the windows then they are tall enough to fall out of them, You should always ensure you use child locks on windows so that they can be opened safely without the risk of your child falling out of them.

By acting upon these common safety hazards, you can make the bedroom a far safer place for your young child to sleep and play.