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Improve Your Sleep

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Good sleep is an essential part of our overall well-being and is not something to be taken lightly. The average person spends 26 years of their lives sleeping, and 7 years total attempting to go to sleep (Huffington Post), so a concrete sleep schedule is definitely something you want to make sure is a top priority in your life. Not only do you want to maintain healthy sleeping patterns because you’re sleeping for over a quarter of your life, but it also benefits you immensely (Healthline)! A great nights rest will help you maintain/lose weight, become more productive, gain better concentration, help with your athletic abilities and all around will improve your body externally and internally.

1. Create a Pre-Sleep Routine

Transitioning from wake time to sleep time can be sometimes difficult to do if you have a lot on your mind, or if you’re feeling tense. But, if you make some sort of nightly scheduled routine beforehand it will help this transition go a lot smoother for you. You should give yourself about an hour of downtime before hitting the hay, and this should be something that relaxes you mentally and physically. Some things that you could try out are taking a bath or shower, practicing relaxation exercises, reading, drawing, writing, do some yoga, etc (Healthy Sleep). Just about anything that helps you wind down towards the end of the night is ideal for a routine before bed.

2. Turn off Your Devices

(silverkblack, Adobe Stock)

We all love to scroll our feeds and turn on an addicting television show once we get home and it’s time to unwind, but in reality a lot of us are doing it a little too much. They can be not only toxic for relationships with loved ones, but they also can interfere with a healthy sleep schedule too. The light that comes off of screens can slow down the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that controls your sleep cycle. To prevent technology interfering with your sleep, try and turn off your devices 30 minutes of time so you can transition into sleep mode properly. Another problem with screen time before bed, is that your brain will still be engaged and tricking you into thinking that you need to stay awake. Anything you take away from whatever piece of technology you’re using, it will make it hard for you to fall into a deep sleep (National Sleep Foundation). So next time you feel like browsing Instagram at the late hours of the night, just remember that whatever you’re looking at will be there for you tomorrow when you wake up. No need to do it at such a critical part of your day.

3. Increase Nutrient Intake and Cut Back on Caffeine and Alcohol

What you consume fuels your body, and sometimes we don’t always track what we’re putting into our system, but those types of things can heavily alter how well you sleep. Foods that are high in magnesium and the vitamin B complex are majorly useful sleep aids. For example, halibut, almonds, cashews, spinach, veggies, nuts and legumes are great sources of those nutrients that help you fall asleep effortlessly. Some things you’re going to want to avoid, or at least limit, are alcohol and caffeine (Greatist).  The affects may be subjective with these things like this, but for the most part these two things don’t normally impact a persons sleep in a positive way. Alcohol may make you fall asleep quickly, but that doesn’t mean that you’re in the correct sleep state. It prevents us from achieving the correct amount of time in our deep sleep stages. This will cause you to feel unrefreshed, irritable, groggy and may add to a potential hangover. Caffeine suppresses adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel drowsy (Tuck). While a nice cup of Joe does help some people go to bed, it can delay your body clock timing, which then cuts down on your total light and deep sleep time throughout the night (Sleep Education).

4. Invest in a High Quality Pillow and Mattress

What you sleep on is the utmost important factor of how you sleep. If you’ve ever had any sort of sleep issues, your pillow or mattress could be the problem. Your pillow has an affect on the way your neck aligns with your spine, (Healthy Back) and your mattress affects your spine as well, on top of helping reduce joint and back paint (NearSay). Both of them have an influence on how long you’re sleeping, how comfortable you are and even helps prevent snoring. If you don’t pay attention to this and sweep it under the rug, you could be facing issues like back problems, headaches and sleep disruption. It may seem like nothing major, but over time these things can add up and potentially be extremely harmful to your health.

Don’t feel guilty about spending a Friday night in to catch up on some rest, your body needs it. Our body isn’t designed to constantly be on the go, and we can’t treat it like it is. Be sure to follow some of these tips to help you get started on bettering your sleep to better your life!

Staying Hydrated Is Never Overrated

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With the days getting hotter and hotter, we want to make sure our bodies are constantly prepared for anything thrown at us. That includes a big one, being dehydrated. It’s common in the summer to feel like you aren’t taking in enough water since summer time is all about go, go, go. But, you have to remember that keeping your health in tip top shape is the best thing you can do for yourself no matter what season it is, or how busy you may be.

1. Water, Water, Water!

Even though the amount of water you should intake daily can vary depending on a variety of things like weight, height, age, etc. there are still some set recommendations that have been found in different studies to give us a rough idea on how much water we should consume each day. Water is a necessity for our everyday life to keep your body at a normal temperature, to help with joints, to protect tissues, to give you energy, and get rid of waste (CDC). One great way to remember to drink more water is investing in a water bottle. Not a plastic bottle that you’ll end up possibly forgetting to recycle, but one that is dishwasher safe and BPA free plastic or glass bottle. This will not only help you, but it’s great for the environment as well! We suggest you get a few different sizes to cover all your bases. Purchase a larger one for when you’re just sitting around, and get a more reasonably sized one for traveling and exercise. This will promote more water intake and prevent less waste at the same time! If you aren’t big on drinking just water by itself, add some pizzazz to it! You can do this by adding fruit slices or coconut ice to your water, or by trying out unsweetened flavored waters. Then eventually try and get into the groove of slowly taking out the additives and embracing the simple, yet satisfying, effects and taste of plain ol’ H2O.

2. Stock up on Water Enriched Foods

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Water is the most obvious answer when it comes to staying hydrated, but keep in mind that some foods are super rich in water too! It’s sometimes hard to stay on top of consuming a certain amount of water per day, but incorporating hydrating foods is a great way to keep dehydrating away, and bring in lots of water. Some of the most hydrating foods are cucumbers, cantaloupes, watermelon, bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli. You can find a full list of even more hydrating foods here. Even things like applesauce, popsicles, yogurt and jell-o are super hydrating, but we suggest everyone sticks to the fruits and veggies as much as possible to ensure you’re getting the most pure vitamins and nutrients out of your hydrating foods.

3. Vitamins Can Hydrate You Too

People tend to gravitate toward things like Gatorade when they’re trying to hydrate themselves since it has electrolytes in it. Only issue is that Gatorade drinks are typically heavy in sugars, carbs and sodium. You can get the proper vitamins naturally by taking supplements in unpleasantly hot weather conditions if you aren’t getting them in your diet naturally. Electrolytes are in charge of directing water and the nutrients along with it to where your body needs it most (elete). Calciumchloride, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium (The Vitamin Shoppe) are all what make up the electrolytes we need to function. To kill two birds with one stone, we sell a pill container and water bottle together that would be super useful for keeping track of daily vitamins, and getting in that daily water intake too!

4. Pay Attention To your Weight

(Rostislav Sedlacek / Adobe Stock)

The more you sweat, the more you gotta sip! No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, you’re losing water in the process. Dehydration while working out can cause drowsiness, exhaustion, headaches, cramping and decreased coordination (Very Well Fit). A suggestion to stay hydrated during your work outs is to weigh yourself before and after your workouts. Once you determine this you then can base how much water you need to drink post-workout. You should drink about 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound you’ve lost (Health.com).

Consuming just the right amount of water is beneficial for you in so many ways internally and externally. If you’re not taking the time to hydrate yourself there are short term and long term effects that can be brutal to your body. Things like a dry mouth, under eye bags and feeling weak (Noble Beverages) are just some of the short term issues that dehydration causes. As for long term it can effect how your brain functions, the intensity of your mental health issues, your skin, your organs and immune system (Foxelli). So be sure to fill up on plenty of H2O to keep your body happy and healthy, especially during these upcoming summer months!

Getting Summer Ready

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Summer is coming around the corner quick, and being prepared to stop hibernating and start getting out there again isn’t always easy…especially since winter has seemed a bit more rough than normal. Luckily we have some tips for you to help get you summer ready and STAY summer ready all season long.

1. Take Your Vitamins

It’s encouraged to take vitamins year round, but some can be even more valuable in the summer due to the benefits correlating with this time of year. One of the best supplements you can take during the summer time is a vitamin A. There have been studies on the link between vitamin A and preventing skin cancer. The evidence in the studies suggest that if vitamin A is taken daily it can reduce the risk of melanoma. It can even help with already damaged skin from sun exposure! Vitamin D does naturally come from the sun, so you may not think you need to take it during the sunniest season of them all, but there are quite a few things to consider before determining that you don’t need it during the summer. There are exceptions depending on where you live, how exposed you are to the sun, if you’re wearing sunscreen, how much sun you are getting daily and what time of the day you’re outside. Most people don’t get the sun exposure they need during peak sun hours, so taking this supplement will boost your vitamin D levels you are missing out on. Vitamin C is chock full of nutrients that are essential for summer. It has been show throughout studies that it actually helps the body react properly to stress that is induced by heat. Vitamin c also helps bring down the risk and chance to develop things like heat rashes and exhaustion goes down.

2. Consume Lots of in Season Fruits and Veggies

(Aleksandar Mijatovic / Adobe Stock)

There’s no denying that it’s pretty effortless to enjoy fruits and veggies during any season, but when they are in season it means they’ll be in tip-top shape just for you! Not only will their taste be at it’s prime, but they’ll be in their most nutritious state as well. Eating vibrant produce that’s in season during the summer will be a huge help to stay on top of essential nutrients that you’ll need to keep your energy up and have you feeling refreshed. Some suggested fruits to consume during the summer include; apricots, Asian pears, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapefruit, jackfruit, key limes, mulberries, peaches, strawberries and watermelon. Some veggies that should be added to your grocery list this summer are; beets, bell peppers, crookneck squash, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, lima beans, peas and zucchini. You can get a full list of in season summer fruits and vegetables here.

3. Activity

If you are someone who normally is more into short walks to the couch with three huge heaping scoops of ice cream, rather than long strides around a track, no problem! We tend to sometimes scare ourselves with the word exercise, when in reality it can actually be something we find just as pleasurable as sinking into our beds after a long work day. There is no denying that it is hard to transition into being an even somewhat active person again after being cooped up all winter. But you can start getting back in the groove by taking time out of your day for minimal and enjoyable activities. Try to at least get a minimum of 60 minutes of some sort of physical activity. Whether it’s casual biking, going on walks, doing some yoga, or even starting up a garden, you can find ways to get in an hour of activity and exercise while still keeping it entertaining.

4. Plant Indoors

(mettus / Adobe Stock)

Loads of people love when summertime comes because this means everything is in full bloom, and planting lively and beautiful living organisms is a huge spirit booster. One thing some people don’t always consider is planting more indoors. There is an assumption that it is easier to sustain a plants life with it living outdoors, but that isn’t always true! Some plants are easier to take care of indoors than outside. The main benefit of having houseplants is that they are natural air purifiers. They act like a sponge and remove toxic elements out of the air within your home. NASA had even done a study on this and found that you could prevent yourself from getting sick by having certain plants in your living space. Not only do they help with your physical health, but they can improve your mental health as well! There have been studies that show having indoor plants can reduce stress, drive creativity and can improve your mood all around. If you end up planting fruits and vegetables, this can be a great way to save money! Saving money is always important, but with summer means more things to do, and with more things to do comes spending more money. So in doing this, you’ll be able to not only benefit health wise, but also boost your bank account! Even from an aesthetic point of view, they always add a great pop of color and peppiness to any indoor space.

 

Being summer ready doesn’t always need to be about achieving Kim Kardashian’s body in under a month, but it is always about feeling your best by making simple yet effective changes that will improve your mental and physical being.

Repurposing Everyday Items

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Repurposing is a great way to save money and possibly even earn money. If you associate repurposing just with furniture pieces, then you’re wrong! You can repurpose just about anything you want, if you set your mind to it.

1. Toys

Once kids start growing up, it’s inevitable that they are going to grow out of their toys, but GOOD NEWS! That doesn’t mean you have to throw them out just yet, just means you have to put a little bit of time and effort into transforming them into essentially something entirely brand new. Just because a child grows out of certain toys, doesn’t mean they necessarily grow out of certain themes that they’ve enjoyed during their childhood. When your child starts growing up, have their toys grow with them. If a child enjoys dinosaurs, but isn’t into their dinosaur action figures anymore, take those action figures and give a twist to them. Make them into wall art, drawer handles, bookends, magnets, etc. Children’s toys can surprisingly even be beneficial to adults as well. Lego’s can be super useful since they are so diverse and interchangeable. Making holders for your counter tops and walls, bases to lamps, and quirky jewelry designs, are just a few of the countless amounts of ways even YOU can benefit from Lego’s. But hey, if you’re an adult, don’t shy away from using those dinosaur action figures for decor around your own personal spaces either!

2. Textiles

(Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com)

Fabrics on items we have lying around aren’t something we normally think twice about. For example, taking the fabric from a bassinet you haven’t used in years isn’t probably something that crosses your mind. Usually that’s something you’re more than likely just planning on throwing out, but it actually can be used as something that repurposers can take advantage of. Making clutches, cushions, table runners, blankets, ponchos, scarves, bookmarks, headbands, and stockings just to name a few. JUST ABOUT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! With even a little bit of sewing practice and skills, these can all be easy things to create using old fabrics. Sometimes you won’t even need any sewing skills to create astonishing repurposed pieces out of fabric. Fabrics are extremely versatile, so don’t let them go to waste.

3. Glassware

Using glassware is a unique way to create head turning displayable storage. You can use this for anything from makeup brushes, silverware, office supplies, faux flowers, etc. Realistically it can be for anything that you need storage for that you’re willing to put on display. When it comes to glassware, most of the time people buy them in sets. This means you can create a personalized matching set with your desired design! A great way to spice up glassware is with paints, ribbons, twine, dried flowers, glitter, etching, etc. The possibilities are endless when it comes to glassware.

4. Pill Bottles

(Miro Vrlik Photoography / Shutterstock.com)

One of the many things you can do with old pill bottles is turn them into travel size containers. It is a pain already having to stress about what you are able to take on certain trips, and how you are going to transport them. Whether it be because you need to save space, or there is a maximum on how much you can take with you, old pill bottles are an easy solution. They do have certain travel size containers you can purchase at the store, but if you are going on a trip, saving money in any way possible is ideal. Just grab a sharpie and simply label them as desired. You can of course customize them too in any way that you want with other crafting products. Add some stickers, paint, or even just go in with that sharpie and make it look all your own.

 

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