Taking My Own Advice – Pen and Paper Edition

There are times where I do take my own advice, and then there are times where I forget good sleep hygiene and boy does it make a difference.  For instance, last night.

And excuse me while I channel my inner Sophia Petrillo – Picture It – Me, all cozy in my bed ready to go to sleep:

“Oh, I need to change something up on my Services page on my website.  Will I remember to do it tomorrow?  I’m not sure I’ll remember, I should write it down, but I don’t know where my pen and paper went.  It used to be next to my bed, but I must have put it somewhere.  Too bad I moved that.  Ok I’ll just have to think about it and remember to change my services page.  It’s kind of funny, I’m thinking about something to do about my business, while not taking my own advice, and that’s keeping me awake.  I should write a blog post about not taking my own advice.  I hope I remember to do that.  I should write it down, but I wonder where my pen and paper went.  If I had that I could write down the blog post idea and the other idea I had.  Wait, what was that idea?  Ummm . . . . Oh yea, my services page.  I could get out of bed and write it down somewhere.  But I’m very comfortable.  I don’t think I want to get up.  I wish I still had that paper next to my bed.  What ever happened with that anyway?  Ok, so tomorrow I want to write a blog post about not being able to fall asleep without my pen and paper, and also I want to update my services page.  I hope I remember that.  It may be easier to get up and write it down.  No, I don’t want to do that.  I’m just gonna lay here and think about it.  Or maybe I should actually try to fall asleep.  Ok, I’m going to focus on my breathing, but wait, if I write a blog post about this, how will I describe how I focus on my breathing.  Wait, I’m not focusing on my breathing, I’m still thinking.  Ok, I’m going to breath in, and think Re, and breath out, and think Lax.  Re – Lax  Re – Lax, Oh I hope I remember to update my services page and write a blog post about this.  STOP IT, you’re supposed to be going to sleep!  Re – Lax, Re – Lax.”

I wish I could say this was the only time I had these thoughts, and during the day, I forget to get the pen and paper.  But guess what?  I just put the pen and paper next to my bed!

As I was writing this, I was thinking about how kids can have a hard time falling asleep too.  We need to give them tools to be able to get their thoughts out as well.  A pen and paper can help for older children as well.

And to get you started, here is a link to a bunch of pen and paper sets I searched for on Amazon – http://amzn.to/2EATKMh

Check out this adorable set I found for girls (or anyone who loves unicorns!)

And here are some more choices for kids – http://amzn.to/2BBS4zo

 

Please Note – Some of these links may be affiliate links which means I may earn a portion of your purchase price, with no effect on what you pay.

Your Mattress: Why You Should Always Invest In Quality

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No one likes spending more money than they have to. It’s human nature to want to hold on to your hard-earned cash for as long as you can. But some purchases are unavoidable. If the time has come for you to buy a new mattress, it can be tempting to save a little bit of money by opting for something mid or low range. However, below are a few reasons why you should stretch your budget to something of a higher quality to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.

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Buy cheap, buy twice

Many of us have heard the phrase buy cheap, buy twice. And it is doubly true for mattresses. A good quality mattress will need to be replaced every eight years or so, but if you buy something cheap or not fit for purpose, that time frame could well be halved. Most retailers offer various finance options for some of their more expensive products. Failing that, companies like https://personalloan.co/ could provide a small loan to allow you to stretch your budget to something that will provide better support and last longer for you.

Support for you

Speaking of support, getting the right level of support in a mattress is a tricky thing to manage. It must be soft enough to be comfortable and mold to the shape of your body, but it must also be firm enough to provide a decent amount of support. Too soft and it would be like sleeping on a bean bag, too firm and you might as well sleep on the floor. Quality mattresses use a variety of materials and structures to allow them to provide just the right balance for you. Your requirements will depend on how much you weigh and what position you sleep in. Some manufacturers even offer dual firmness mattresses that offer different levels of support on either side. Ideal for those who have marked differences in weight or sleeping style between the occupants.

Overall health

The most important reason to invest in a quality mattress is simply because it is good for your overall health. The body needs good quality sleep in order to repair and recuperate. You would be surprised how quickly the human body can become sleep deprived. Not only does it make you irritable, as well all know too well, but it also makes it more difficult to concentrate, harming your productivity. Lack of sleep also weakens your immune system, which is why you start to feel run down and seem to pick up colds so much more easily when you are not getting enough sleep. There is a whole host of other side effects that lack of sleep can cause in your body, all of which are easily avoided by helping yourself the get the eight hours a night that you need to function best.

Hopefully, these reasons have helped to underline the importance of investing in a quality mattress for your bedroom. You spend a third of your life in bed, so it makes sense to ensure that you are spending that time in supreme comfort and support.

Sleep Coaching vs. Sleep Training

I like to use the term “sleep coaching” in my work, instead of “sleep training” and wanted to discuss a little why I like this term better.  I feel like coaching implies a more interactive approach, you can coach a child to do something but they have to be involved in the process.

Like a soccer coach, the parent is coaching the child to sleep well.  A soccer coach will teach children basic skills first before expecting them to know how to play a game well.

So we work on small skills first with sleep, working with a child to learn how to spend some time alone, working on them knowing that their room and sleep area is a safe place.  Once they learn small skills, then we can start expecting them to learn the larger skill, sleeping through the night.

And if the child has trouble, a good coach will help them learn, not scold them for not playing well.

If the child is having trouble playing the game, a coach will not get in the game and play for the child or the child will not learn.  While sleep coaching, if the child is having trouble falling asleep, if the parent put the child to sleep, they are, in essence, playing the game for them.

I like to think that when I work with a family, everyone is involved in making the changes and supporting the child.  I am the coach for the parents, coaching them through, then the parents in turn coach their child, helping them learn how to play the “game”, which in this case is sleeping well!

Nature Nurturers: Empowering Kids In The Outdoors

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A lot of people like to think that children have changed over the last couple of decades. With less of them out on the streets, in the fields, and in other outdoor areas, it can seem like they have let go of the natural side of life. This line of thought is so powerful, in fact, that a lot of parents will work very hard to try and turn it around. In reality, though, it isn’t that your kid is bored of the outside, they simply haven’t had the chance to experience it properly yet.

This is where you and your excellent parenting skills will come in handy, and it will be your job to get them out in the great outdoors. Achieving this goal can be done through a number of different methods. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of them, giving you the chance to tackle this part of your child’s life. Spending time with nature will always have a positive impact on a young person. So, it makes sense to work hard to give your children enough exposure to it.

The Student

The natural world is a fascinating one. From the tiny insects and plants you see each and every day, to the great and wonderful natural marvels which take your breath away, this part of life has an incredible amount to offer. For a child, it’s very easy to be inspired by nature, and this makes it into an incredible learning tool. This sort of approach is great when you see potential for your child to be a biologist or scientific communicator.

Starting this journey, books and other resources will be enough to satisfy your child’s appetite for knowledge. With the right options in hand, you will be able to leave your child to improve their reading skills while also learning about something useful. Of course, though, as time goes on, their need to learn will become too great to be handled by simple tools, and you will need to give them some practical experience of nature.

There are loads of ways that this sort of work can be done. To begin, simple activities like exploring the woods or going to the beach can be very good for your child, as they will give them the chance to learn by themselves. Of course, though, you could also look for SeaQuest aquariums near you to give your children an interactive experience with some animals. Getting the chance to handle some exotic creatures will be very exciting for any child.

The Conservationist

Of course, some natural goals are a little bit different, and won’t involve so much learning. Instead, passion will be the key, and is very important when it comes to a field like conservation. Developing your child into an environmentally conscious individual doesn’t take too much work throughout their life, and most parents already have everything they need to get started.

To begin with this, exposure to the outside world is one of the best ways to build some compassion for it. If your children get to experience the wonders of the great outdoors, they will naturally want to protect it. Of course, though, children are very basic creatures, and they won’t always retain interest in something unless they are given something to champion.

Animals are by far the best way to do this, and it’s very likely that you already have some good candidates nearby. For example, bats are very common when you ignore the individual species which make up their population. There are loads of endangered bats, though, and a lot of them aren’t getting much help. A child will find it much easier to love these creatures for what they are than an adult can, making them into the perfect little conservationists.

This sort of field opens up loads of options for careers and jobs when your child gets older. Large companies which have an impact on the environment will almost always employee people with a background in conservation to make sure that they’re doing things efficiently. Along with this, though, a lot of people are able to make their living through saving animals, and this is a very honorable goal.

The Artist

Finally, as the last way to inspire your children to enjoy the outdoors, it’s time to think about the creativity the outdoors can inspire. Artists have used this part of life to give them creative ideas for thousands of years. Life brings artwork off of the paper, making it much more immersive and pleasing to view than other works.

When trying to do something like this, a lot of parents will fall into the trap of thinking of art as merely painting or drawing. In reality, though, art is merely an expression of who you are, and this means that it can come in loads of different forms. Some people will like to paint when they are doing this. But, other people will prefer the idea of making sculptures from rock and clay. Finding your child’s area of artistic passion will take a lot of work. Once you get there, though, it will be well worth it.

The road to outdoor art has to start with taking your child out into the world. Visit after visit to the woods or other natural area you have close by your kid will be inspired more and more, giving them the desire to create out of what they see. When this first starts, you should give your children as much freedom as possible, providing them with the tools to experiment. It won’t take long until passions start to show through, and this will give you a great place to launch from.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working to inspire your children. The outside world is a great place to help your child learn, with their time there impacting almost every aspect of their life. Not a lot of parents put this sort of effort in, nowadays, and this is why it seems like children are moving on from the outdoors.

White Noise Machines – Why Does Everyone Recommend Them?

I received a comment awhile back on a post I wrote asking why every sleep specialist recommends white noise machines (and asking if I worked for a white noise machine company!).  While it may seem that many people are recommending them, I do want to say they are not by any means a magic wand.  I never say to people, “Oh, buy a white noise machine and you or your children will be sleeping all through the night!”.  In fact using only one of my tips or recommendations probably will not cause a dramatic change in your sleep.  Using several together however will (including a white noise machine)!

 

So why all the fuss about white noise machines?  What can they really do to help us sleep better?

Block Out Noises

One of the main advantages to using a white noise machine is their ability to block out noises when you or your children are sleeping.  Tired of tiptoeing around the house in the day when your baby is sleeping?  Tired of having to keep everyone quiet at 7:30 when your child is sleeping?  A white noise machine can help!  It can also help if you have more than one child.  For me, it helps keep out the noise of our roosters crowing, or the dogs walking around on the hardwood floor.

Create a More Consistent Environment

Another advantage to a white noise machine is that it provides the same environment (at least noise wise) all night long.  So when you or your child fall asleep, you hear the noise, and when you have a partial awakening during the night, you hear the same noise.

Replace the TV

One of the biggest challenges I hear from adult clients is that they cannot fall asleep without the television on.  I used to have this problem as well.  I would turn it down so I could barely hear it, but I could not fall asleep without it on.  This is exactly what white noise can help with.  White noise can give your brain something to focus on other than the thoughts that may be going through your head while you are trying to fall asleep.  And when you have a partial awakening during the night, the white noise can keep your brain from starting to wander.

What About White Noise Apps?

While white noise apps can work, but it is better to not have electronics in your room while you are sleeping at night.  The lights from them can stop your body from producing melatonin, a calming hormone, and the electromagnetic waves are not great for you to sleep with.

My Favorite White Noise Machines

Here are two of my favorite white noise machines*, but there are tons more and any will work for you.

If you would like to see more about the Marpac Dohm, check out my review here.

 

*Please note that these are affiliate links and so, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a small portion of your purchase price.