How To Make Your Home Feel More Relaxing: DIY IdeasBy
August 16, 2016
With our lives constantly becoming busier and busier it would be nice to come home to a relaxing sanctuary. A home that is chaotic or over cluttered can be difficult to relax in, so follow our DIY ideas to make your home feel more relaxing.
Have Succulents in Your HouseSucculents are a low maintenance plant so even if you are not a green thumb this is a great option and more easily sustainable than house plants. Succulents not only look tranquil but purify the air.
Chose Soothing Colors For Your HomeDid you know that cool colors or warm earth tones provide a soothing effect? Try painting your house or feature walls in soothing colors.
Or Go WhiteNot wanting to paint your house with color? No worries go white for a clean and minimal feeling. Natural sunlight will also increase the calming feeling in a white painted house.
Use Shadowboxes to Display TrinketsReduce clutter and display trinkets in a pleasing to the eye style with shadowboxes.
Keep Small Items In Nightstands or DrawersTake advantage or your nightstands or drawers to hide small items and keep tops minimal and clean. Less visual clutter leads to a calm mind.
De-clutter Your EntranceYour entrance way is the first impression you give of your house. Keep you entrance way de-cluttered with shoe racks or coat hooks.
Hide Clutter On ShelvesKeep clutter hidden on shelves including your garage by covering shelving with curtains.
Gallery Display Art and PhotosTry displaying your photos or art in an interesting display that inspire you and your guests. This also allows you to display your photos in one single area rather than over cluttering all your walls with images.
JUNE 2, 2016
On a recent flight from London to Atlanta, I had the good fortune to sit next to a very gracious woman. We bonded, not because we had a great number of things in common but rather because she did not complain or object when I inadvertently fell asleep on her shoulder.
Maybe not drooling on her neck pillow saved me.
When I awoke, we laughed at my narcoleptic tendencies and shared a few tips about how we both manage to sleep on a 500-seat tin cantraveling at 567 miles per hour (912 kilometers per hour).
As my wife can attest, I have become proficient at falling asleep within minutes of laying down to snooze. And while I may not have an advanced degree or certification in the subject, I have devoted almost a third of my life to the art of sleep, so I consider myself something of an expert.
Related: How Scientists Want to Trick Your Jet-Lagged Body Into Feeling Sleepy
Each one of us should, in fact, be experts. We all started out as small humans with a propensity to sleep for hours, seemingly at anytime of the day and under any circumstance. The sad truth is that we teach ourselves to sleep poorly though bad habits.
In order to re-master sleeping, first understand that focus should be on the quality rather than the quantity of sleep -- and the key to success is conditioning the body and brain by creating habits and an environment that is conducive to sleep. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Use your bed to (only) sleep.To get the best rest while between the sheets, our bodies need to be conditioned to associate sleep with our bed. This is easiest to accomplish by eliminating all other activities in bed aside from sleep, such as watching television or reading books.
Of course, there is at least one other activity many of us perform in bed, one that serves as tremendous stress relief, but when not engaged in whoopee, stick to a routine of sleep only.
2. Invest in a great mattress.Consider that human beings spend one-quarter to one-third of their entire life sleeping, so it just makes sense to invest in the one apparatus that will make this time as comfortable as possible. Test mattresses for firmness and size, or consider any one of the new startups, such as Casper, that will deliver a new mattress to your home and give you 100 days to test it. While this may be an unconventional business model, you can take advantage of it to find a mattress that fits you best.
Most important, do not settle for less because of price. Remember that if treated properly, mattresses can last up to 10 years, so the cost is simply a long-term investment in your happiness.
3. Install really dark curtains.Our bodies are attuned to daylight, so avoid letting it creep into your room and disrupt your slumber. In the rooms you sleep, install dark curtains that allow you to block out unwanted light. And, for the ultimate in blacking out the light, consider a good sleeping mask.
Related: Why Food, Sleep and Exercise Are Critical to Success
4. Eliminate or drown out noise.Unless you are like me -- someone who can (and has) slept through fire alarms and tropical storms -- consider a noise machine for your bedroom, which will aid in blocking unwanted background noises as you sleep. If you happen to use your phone as your alarm or an alarm clock charger, consider any number of the sleep aid apps, many of which have very customizable features.
5. Rethink your diet -- at least late in the day.Many experts believe it is best to cut out the consumption of large meals at least two hours before you hit the sack. For those who are more sensitive to caffeine, it is also a good idea to cut out caffeine several hours before bed.
As for alcohol, some people -- myself included -- find that a glass of wine or beer helps take the edge off, but as always, moderation is important. While too much alcohol may make you sleep longer, itdramatically reduces the quality of the sleep you get.
Lastly, consuming high-sugar and highly processed foods throughout the day can wreak havoc on insulin levels and metabolism, so consider adding high quality foods to your diet that will provide energy during the day and not disrupt your sleep at night.
6. Relax and decompress.For most entrepreneurs (Zen masters excluded), business is stressful, and the source of many restless nights. For this reason, give yourself a "mental runway" to sleep. Turn everything off, from your phone to your brain, and allow yourself a few minutes (as many as 30) ofcomplete silence. You can use this time to meditate or to simply talk yourself down with daily affirmations. The key is to clear your mind before you hit the sack.
7. Remove the phone.Unless you use it as an alarm clock (see above), leave your phone outside the bedroom. Having it on the nightstand next to your bed just gives your brain license to command a quick glance at tomorrow's schedule -- which, as we all know, will devolve into an hour of checking email.
If you must keep your phone in the bedroom, use the "do not disturb" feature, and remember that the blue light emitted from the smart phones can wreak havoc on your ability to fall asleep, so avoid using it immediately before bed.
8. Have a regular morning routine.After conditioning yourself sleep, make sure you condition yourself to wake up. Formulate and keep to a great morning routine that will cap off an extraordinary night of sleep. A simple habit of waking 30 minutes earlier, consuming a glass of water, stretching and taking a brisk walk can give you a boost of energy that will last the entire day.
Of course, sleeping routines and patterns can differ dramatically, so the key is not to implement every tip you receive but rather find what combination of tips works for you. Also, mastering sleep requires time and practice. I made a significant investment, financially and in time, to become proficient at falling asleep and making my sleep count. You will find, however, that the resulting improvement to the quality of your life is well worth it.
Related: The Rock Releases an Alarm Clock to Get Jabronies Like You Out of Bed
One last tip: When traveling, invest in a comfortable travel pillow, as your newfound proficiency for sleeping may not be as welcome to those sitting next to you.
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
MAY 29, 2013Walking and running are the most popular physical activities for American adults. But whether one is preferable to the other in terms of improving health has long been debated. Now a variety of new studies that pitted running directly against walking are providing some answers. Their conclusion? It depends almost completely on what you are hoping to accomplish.
If, for instance, you are looking to control your weight — and shallowly or not, I am — running wins, going away. In a study published last month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, and unambiguously titled “Greater Weight Loss From Running than Walking,” researchers combed survey data from 15,237 walkers and 32,215 runners enrolled in the National Runners and Walkers Health Study — a large survey being conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.
Participants were asked about their weight, waist circumference, diets and typical weekly walking or running mileage both when they joined the study, and then again up to six years later.
The runners almost uniformly were thinner than the walkers when each joined the study. And they stayed that way throughout. Over the years, the runners maintained their body mass and waistlines far better than the walkers.
The difference was particularly notable among participants over 55. Runners in this age group were not running a lot and generally were barely expending more calories per week during exercise than older walkers. But their body mass indexes and waist circumferences remained significantly lower than those of age-matched walkers.
Why running should better aid weight management than walking is not altogether clear. It might seem obvious that running, being more strenuous than walking, burns more calories per hour. And that’s true. But in the Berkeley study and others, when energy expenditure was approximately matched — when walkers head out for hours of rambling and burn the same number of calories over the course of a week as runners — the runners seem able to control their weight better over the long term.
One reason may be running’s effect on appetite, as another intriguing, if small, study suggests. In the study, published last year in The Journal of Obesity, nine experienced female runners and 10 committed female walkers reported to the exercise physiology lab at the University of Wyoming on two separate occasions. On one day, the groups ran or walked on a treadmill for an hour. On the second day, they all rested for an hour. Throughout each session, researchers monitored their total energy expenditure. They also drew blood from their volunteers to check for levels of certain hormones related to appetite.
After both sessions, the volunteers were set free in a room with a laden buffet and told to eat at will.
The walkers turned out to be hungry, consuming about 50 calories more than they had burned during their hourlong treadmill stroll.
The runners, on the other hand, picked at their food, taking in almost 200 fewer calories than they had burned while running.
The runners also proved after exercise to have significantly higher blood levels of a hormone called peptide YY, which has been shown to suppress appetite. The walkers did not have increased peptide YY levels; their appetites remained hearty.
So to eat less, run first.
But on other measures of health, new science shows that walking can be at least as valuable as running — and in some instances, more so. A study published this month that again plumbed data from the Runners and Walkers Health Study found that runners and walkers had equally diminished risks of developing age-related cataracts compared with sedentary people, an unexpected but excellent benefit of exercise.
And in perhaps the most comforting of the new studies, published last month in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and again using numbers from the versatile Runners and Walkers Health Study, runners had far less risk of high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol profiles, diabetes and heart disease than their sedentary peers. But the walkers were doing even better. Runners, for instance, reduced their risk of heart disease by about 4.5 percent if they ran an hour a day. Walkers who expended the same amount of energy per day reduced their risk of heart disease by more than 9 percent.
Of course, few walkers match the energy expenditure of runners. “It’s fair to say that, if you plan to expend the same energy walking as running, you have to walk about one and a half times as far and that it takes about twice as long,” said Paul T. Williams, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the lead author of all of the studies involving the surveys of runners and walkers.
On the other hand, people who begin walking are often more unhealthy than those who start running, and so their health benefits from the exercise can be commensurately greater.
“It bears repeating that either walking or running is healthier than not doing either,” Dr. Williams said, whatever your health goals.
For confirmation, consider one additional aspect of the appetite study. The volunteers in that experiment had sat quietly for an hour during one session, not exercising in any fashion. And afterward they were famished, consuming about 300 calories more than the meager few they had just burned.