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How to Get Great Sleep in all Seasons of Life

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How to Get Great Sleep in all Seasons of Life

The average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep per night. But, more than one-third (35.5 percent) of adults report getting less than that on a regular basis.

Chronic sleep deprivation affects nearly every aspect of our lives, from our performance at work to our ability to manage our emotions.

There are a number of reasons why people aren’t getting as much sleep as they should be, from stress to chronic blue light exposure. Many people also find their sleep quality is dramatically influenced by the changes in seasons.

Do you feel like you get great sleep in the winter but not in the summer? Does “springing forward” for Daylight Savings Time leave you feeling like a zombie for weeks?

If certain seasons come with irritating sleep obstacles, keep reading. Listed below are some tips that will help you get great sleep during every season of the year.

Spring

Daylight Savings in the springtime does bring about longer, sunnier days, which many people love. But, many people also have a hard time dealing with the loss of a precious hour of sleep.

One hour might not seem like much, but the loss can wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm. It also brings about a number of obstacles that go beyond feeling more tired during the day.

For example, research shows that losing just one hour of sleep can cause you to overeat the following day. It can also hinder your school, work, and workout performance, and many businesses report an increase in employees “cyberloafing” in the days following Daylight Savings Time.

Clearly, the arrival of springtime has the power to significantly interrupt your sleep. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to lessen the impact of Daylight Savings Time, including the following:

  • Write in a journal, plan a fun activity, or make a to-do list to offset anxiety about losing sleep
  • Go to bed one hour earlier than usual
  • Turn off the TV and put away your smartphone earlier than usual to minimize blue light exposure
  • Cut off caffeine by 12 p.m. to make sure you’re not overstimulated before bed
  • Keep your room dark (install blackout curtains if you need to) — the sun might stay up later, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay up with it
  • Expose yourself to plenty of sunlight during the day to maintain alertness and cement your circadian rhythm

Summer

Long, sunny summer days are great for outdoor activities, but they can also negatively affect your sleep. When you’re constantly exposed to the sunshine, your body may not produce as much melatonin as it needs to properly regulate sleep and wakefulness.

Increased temperatures in the summertime can also make it harder for you to get comfortable at night. Cool temperatures are best for getting quality sleep, but those can be hard to come by during the summer months.

To minimize sleep disturbances and ensure you’re getting quality rest during the summer, keep these tips in mind:

  • Limit evening sunlight exposure — a couple of hours before bedtime, close your blinds and dim the lights to make your home a little darker and send a signal to your body that it’s time for bed. You should also wear sunglasses if you need to leave the house in the evening.
  • Keep your room as dark as possible (definitely install those blackout curtains or buy a sleep mask) and invest in a fan or air conditioner to keep your room cool (68 degrees or lower is ideal).
  • Invest in light blankets and pajamas that will keep you cool and comfortable at night.

Fall

While “springing forward” is a major irritant for most people, “falling back” and gaining an extra hour of sleep also comes with its own challenges. In the same way that losing sleep throws off your circadian rhythm, so does gaining an hour.

You may feel more fatigued during the day, and the lack of sun exposure that typically accompanies shorter fall days can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

To minimize the negative effects of Daylight Savings Time in the fall, consider making these changes:

  • Get as much sunlight as possible during the day — open your windows, eat lunch outside, go for a walk in the afternoon — expose yourself to all the sunlight you can (you’ll have plenty of time to relax and wind down in the evening since it gets darker earlier).
  • Keep your home cool — it might be tempting to light a fire and curl up in a warm blanket, but keeping your home cool will help you sleep better. Try not to let your thermostat go above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Exercise regularly, spend time with loved ones, and find activities that you enjoy to help stave off feelings of depression that often arise in the fall.

Winter

In the same way that long summer days can negatively affect your sleep, so can short winter days. Dry winter air also doesn’t help promote good sleep quality, and neither does the influx of carb-heavy holiday food that people tend to indulge in when the weather starts to get frightful.

It can be hard to get quality sleep during the winter months, especially if you live somewhere like the Pacific Northwest where the sun often sets around 4 p.m. These changes can help:

  • Don’t overheat your bedroom — you already know that high temperatures negatively affect your sleep, but take extra care during the cold winter months.
  • Exercise regularly to promote quality sleep — just make sure your workout ends about three hours before bedtime so that your cortisol (stress hormone) levels have time to return to normal
  • Keep your diet as healthy as possible — you can indulge in some treats here and there, but too much rich, sugary food will throw off your digestion and make it harder for you to rest at night
  • Get outside whenever you can — in the winter, sunlight is even more limited than it is in the fall, so you’ll need to be extra vigilant about spending outdoors during the day.
  • Make sure your nasal passages stay moist — indoor heating can dry out the air and cause nasal congestion, which causes snoring and can make it hard for people to fall asleep. Use a humidifier at night, stay hydrated during the day, and use a Neti pot to flush out your nasal passage before going to bed.

Conclusion

As you can see, every season of the year comes with its own sleep obstacles. It’s important to be adaptable as these changes occur so that you can maintain good sleep hygiene and stay as well-rested as possible.

These tips are a great starting place — if you feel like your sleep has been lacking, implementing some of them and switching up your routine might be just what you need. Also, there are more sleep related tips that would help you. Visit Counting Sheep Research.

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Lifestyle

Birthday Gift Ideas for Nieces From Aunts

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Birthday Gift Ideas for Nieces From Aunts

As young girls grow, it is important for them to have positive female role models. Mothers and grandmothers are perhaps the most important, but not far behind are the aunts, whether adopted or biological. One of the fun parts of being an aunt is spoiling your niece on her birthday, and there are lots of ways to do so.

Special Outing

Although kids love to unwrap presents, something they may love just as much or more is spending quality time with you. Take your niece on a special outing with just the two of you. A trip to the aquarium, zoo or amusement park could be a wonderful experience for both of you. Include a stop for lunch or ice cream and just about all her dreams will have come true by the end of the day.

Start a Collection 

Collectibles are a great way to start a fun tradition with your niece. She will love getting a new addition to her precious moments princess train set or a new purse every year for her birthday. Even though she may come to expect a certain type of gift, she can still look forward to adding something special to her collection.

Remember Her Interests 

Keep in mind what your niece is interested in. Does she love science, books or art? Try and find something that will help foster her interests and you may just watch her confidence grow along with her talents. As she gets older, these interests will change, but she will always remember her first science kit or that series of novels that her aunt introduced her to.

There are lots of ways to be a good aunt, not the least of which is spoiling your precious niece for her birthday. Choose a gift that shows her just how special she is. These gifts and experiences make wonderful memories that she can treasure for her whole life.

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Lifestyle

Basic Camera Care All Photographers Should Learn

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Camera maintenance, Camera care tips

Whether you are a seasoned business portrait photographer with several years of experience tucked under your belt, or just a newbie who has started dipping his toe in the hobby, one of the critical lessons that you need to learn and master by heart is camera care.

Knowing how to care for your camera correctly will not only allow you to take care of your investment. Proper attention can also ensure that your gear performs optimally, enabling you to make the most out of it, whether for business or fun.

Store Your Gear Correctly

Dust, moisture, and sunlight are the greatest enemies of your photography gear. This should be your guiding principle when storing your equipment.

Cameras and batteries are best placed in a cool area where any temperature fluctuation should be minimal. High temperatures can damage your camera’s central processing unit and sensor, while cold temperatures can pose serious harm to its LCD.

Make sure that your camera’s storage area is well-ventilated with a humidity of around 35 to 45 percent. Excessive humidity, coupled with moisture, will only invite mildew and rust. Extreme dryness, on the other hand, adversely affects the lubrication of different parts which can fast-track wear and tear.

Whether you are storing your camera and lenses in a box or a bag, put some silica gel inside to counter moisture.

Invest in a Good Camera Bag

An essential aspect of caring for your camera is using a camera bag.

Most cameras are susceptible to dust and scratches which can be easily avoided by storing them in a proper bag. Furthermore, water-resistant bags can shield your precious gear from rain.

Make it a Habit to Turn Off Your Camera

Turning off your camera allows you to conserve the power of your batteries and increase the overall lifespan of these.

But more than conserving battery juice, there is another reason to turn off your camera’s power – to protect it from damage.

Avoid leaving batteries inside your camera as much as possible, especially if you are storing your camera for an extended period. Batteries can corrode when stored in a moist area or if left completely drained off.

Whether you are changing your lenses or removing the memory card or attached cables, make it a habit to turn off the camera first. Changing lenses when the camera is still turned on increases the risk of dust getting into the sensor. On the other hand, there is a significant chance that you can damage your memory card by pulling it off from the camera when it is still running.

Clean Your Gear Right

First things first – before you schedule a cleanup for your camera, make sure that you have a special cleaning kit on hand. Under no circumstance should you touch your camera with ordinary household cleaning materials.

Go to a reputable camera shop and invest in a few brushes, a microfiber cloth, and specialized cleaning solutions.

Don’t waste your money on canned air. You might see a few people cleaning their gear with it, but you can seriously damage your camera and its accessories if you insist on using it.

Canned air contains chemicals which are harmful to your equipment. Instead of canned air, consider using a brush or a squeeze bulb for hard-to-reach areas.

Protect Your Lenses

It is relatively easy to damage lenses. And unless you are willing to cough up money over and over again, it is sensible to invest in lens protection.

A simple filter can prevent breakage, cracks, dents, and scratches. Additionally, filters offer a variety of uses, depending on the type you get, ranging from glare reduction to reduction of shutter speed.

Care for Your Memory Card

Memory cards are a vital item of photography gear that can be easily overlooked. If you want to get more out of your memory cards, you need to learn how to care for these properly.

First, invest in a protective case which will help keep your memory cards dust-free. Second, do not expose the cards to heat. Place these in a cool, dry place. Finally, never put your memory cards near magnetic sources.

Camera care is an essential skill that anyone can and should learn, whether you are a hobbyist or a professional photographer. From a financial standpoint, this vital skill can help you save a lot of money. And from a functional perspective, keeping your gear in good order can help your equipment perform optimally.


AUTHOR BIO: Stefanie Descheemaecker is the Studio Manager at Stu Williamson Photography at The Palm Jumeirah – Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. She has been with the company for almost 3 years and is the driving force behind the success of the business. A keen amateur photographer, Stef combines her natural creative eye with a strong business acumen to help Stu Williamson Photography become the most trusted and successful photography business in the UAE.

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Fitness

How To Get In Shape While On Holiday

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Vacation. This is a word that can mean so many different things. Some people consider vacation as a time away from all the hassles of their daily work. Others look at it as a way to break away from routine and there are also those who just want to use up their vacation leave. Whatever your purpose is on your next holiday, there is one important thing that you need to make plans for – your fitness regimen.

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Shopping – A Great Form of Exercise

Since a huge chunk of every vacation is one’s shopping spree, then you might as well use this opportunity to stay fit. Imagine walking all over the different malls that you can find. To add to this, you also get to carry the things that you buy so this is an effective way to work off on self-indulgence.

Do not just buy the first items that you find. Ask around first so that you get to find the best bargains on athleisure while you also spend more time (and more energy) going from one shop to the next. Also, make it a point not to use elevators or escalators, utilize the stairs so that you will burn more calories.

Utilize the Hotel Gym / Boot Camp It

Yet another part of any holiday is the need to stay in a hotel. Most hotels now have indoor gyms so it would be a waste if you do not use the exercise equipment there. Being on vacation is no excuse to stop your exercise regimen. What you need, though, is your strongest willpower and an activewear. Have the determination to continue exercising and you will surely reap the benefits later on.

Another fun way to get into shape is to go to a bootcamp. These prove to be a super fun way to burn excess pounds, test your body’s limits, and learn new and positive habits. Imagine how much better you’ll feel in that bikini after you’ve been sweating it out in a boot camp!

Pack Some Exercise Essentials

If it is impossible to hit the gym during your vacation, then you might as well take any of these with you – light weights, exercise band or a jump rope. Toning your muscles isn’t all about sweating in the gym. Sometimes, you just need to be disciplined enough to exercise on your own and make do with your packed resources while vacationing.

Steer Clear of Some Foods

One other thing that is equated to vacation is food, especially if this is your first time to visit a certain place. For instance, if it is your first time to go to Germany, you might be instantly tempted to try their different types of beers and fattening cuisine. If you do not curb your urges, you could end up trying every bit of food that you could lay your eyes on – and this is not good for your figure.

The secret is to try one, unique meal at a time and then to couple this with your usual fruits and vegetables; this way, you maintain your healthy diet while still getting to taste exotic cuisine.

Swim That Body Fat Away

If your destination for your holiday vacation is a beach resort, then make good use of the resource that you have right in front of you – the rolling waters! Swimming is an activity that can help you trim down while keeping your heart healthy – technically, you are hitting two birds with one stone. If your vacation does not involve any water activities, then plan for a lot of walking. Rather than ride a cab, it is best to walk and enjoy the scenery or architectural wonders around you. Tuck that pedometer and you’re just about ready to walk around a city!

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