Clear the Clutter

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you wish you could sleep like a baby?  Do you wish you could fall asleep and STAY asleep all night?  Do you wish if you woke up to go to the bathroom, you could easily fall back to sleep?  Do your kids have a bedtime routine?  Then why shouldn’t you?

I seem to have little to no trouble falling asleep BUT these days, I have trouble staying asleep.  It seems like after 2 or 3 hours, my body wants to wake up and then I can’t get back to sleep.  I have tried many natural alternatives but most leave me feeling like a zombie in the morning.  Mornings are rough with the MS so I don’t need to complicate things with any thing that may have helped me sleep during the night.

Hubby researched this and came up with a pre-bedtime routine—a.k.a practicing good “sleep hygiene”— which they said would help me fall asleep more easily at night and stay asleep until morning. Honestly, some nights it works and some nights it doesn’t but I think it is an MS thing….. So if you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, here are some times which might help:

#1: Stay on Schedule.

Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day—even on weekends—is crucial for setting your body’s internal clock, which experts call your circadian rhythm. Staying consistent also means the quality of your sleep will be better.  I know this one is tough but it really does make a difference.  Most nights, I am in bed or at least headed to bed by 10:15PM.  It allows me to fall asleep easily but it doesn’t always guarantee I will stay asleep during the night.  Believe it or not, in the beginning I actually wrote it in my planner to go to bed at 10PM just do I would remember.  LOL

#2: Be Mindful of What you Eat and Drink—and When.

I grew up hearing “don’t eat before bed” but it never really made sense to me.  Then while on my weightless journey, I never ate at least 2 hours before bed because I didn’t want to gain weight.  LOL.  We all know nicotine and caffeine are stimulants and take hours to wear off, so they make it harder to fall—and stay—asleep. The key is to avoid them for 4 – 6 hours before bed.  Alcohol can initially make you feel sleepy, BUT it lowers the quality of your shut-eye.  Go easy on any liquids before you bed to prevent trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

#3: Create a Comfy Bedroom.

Is your bedroom an oasis?  Do you feel relaxed when you walk in or is it full of clutter and you get stressed?  Your room should be peaceful and conducive to sleeping by keeping it quiet, cool, and dark.  Earplugs can help if you live in a noisy area. Noisy environments interrupt your sleep and reduce its quality, even when you don’t realize that it’s happening.  Outside light can keep you awake, so try room-darkening shades. Did you know your mattress and pillow also make a big difference?  Ideally, mattresses should be replaced every five to seven years and pillows should be replaced annually. A mattress should feel comfortable, and if you sleep with a partner, make sure it’s big enough so you both have plenty of space.  I find the smallest noise wakes me up so I sleep with a fan going year round.  This blocks out the sound and the hum is soothing and helps me to fall asleep.

#4: Start an Evening Ritual.

Whether it’s curling up with a book, listening to calming music or taking a warm bath, doing the same, relaxing thing every night will signal to your body it’s time to settle down.  Do you read with a “paper” book or do you read on a kindle or electronic devise?  Believe it or not,  watching TV, looking at a laptop, tablet or smart phone screen before going to bed can trigger your brain to stay awake. The safest strategy is to just put all electronics away in the evening, or at the very least, about 30 minutes before bed. Give yourself 20 minutes before bed for the one thing that calms you down. Maybe you read a book, do a guided meditation, sketch, or have some tea. Can’t shut your brain off?  Try “brain dumping” by writing everything down before you go to bed.  This empties your mind and allows it to relax just long enough to fall asleep.

#5: Don’t Watch the Clock.

Staring at the clock when you can’t sleep can stress you out and make it even harder to snooze. Keep your bedroom clock turned away from you so you won’t be tempted to watch time tick by. If 20 minutes pass and you still can’t fall asleep, get out of bed and do something peaceful until you feel drowsy.

What is your nightly routine to help you sleep at night?  Have a tip to help you relax?  We would love to hear from you…

Have a blessed day!

Clear the Clutter

How To Save Water in Your Kitchen

11 Easy Tips to Save Water in Your KitchenDespite the crazy weather in some parts of the country  – flash flooding and lots of rain – some areas are struggling with a drought where their water use is restricted.  If you have never been without water, this probably seems foreign to you, right?  What is the big deal, you can’t water your lawn or wash your car?But have you ever thought about what life would be like without water? You go to brush your teeth and suddenly the tap runs dry. Annoying, right?

Many people are making a conscious effort to conserve water.  Many are doing their bit. Let us do ours too.  The kitchen and the bathroom are the two rooms where water is a necessity, be it cooking or cleaning.

Here are some ways to save water in the kitchen:

 1.  A sink full of dirty dishes to wash.

When you are washing dishes, don’t keep the water running. Make sure that you scrape the dishes clean before putting in the sink. Try and use the same pot or pan for cooking multiple dishes, one at a time.

2. Choose utensils wisely

When picking a pan for cooking, pick one that is the right size not TOO big.  If it is too big for a smaller quantity or food, it will need more water to cook.  I usually make this mistake when cooking pasta.  What if you ditched the pans, and eat more of raw veggies and fruits. Feel healthy and save water!

3. Oops!! I forgot to thaw chicken for dinner.

Don’t throw frozen meat in running water to defrost it for dinner. Take it out of the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator for use, well in advance.  Or use a crock pot and place all of your ingredients including the frozen meat in it to cook.  Save time and energy with dinner preparation.

4. Steam away

Did you know that steaming food (especially veggies) instead of boiling is healthier. When steaming multiple foods, try to steam in one go, using separate sections in the steamer.

5. Washing the produce

Use a pan full of water to wash fruits and vegetables rather than using running water. This will reduce water use and the dirty water can be reused for watering house plants.

6. Choose your menu wisely

Try sautéed dry dishes, which will be more flavorful. Do you know sautéing in oil originated in arid regions of the world because of scarcity of water?  Coconut oil is one of my favorite to cook with.

7. Measure me!

Put only required quantity of water while cooking food. Adding more water will consume more fuel and time as well as waste water too. It will also lead to more loss of nutrients.  I am so guilty of this!

8. Gosh!! It leaks!!

This may seem like a no-brainer BUT get your leaky faucets repaired. Constant dripping wastes a big amount of water.

Remember, small adjustments can make a BIG impact. There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.  What do you do to save water in your house?  Share your best tips with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!