How Daily Exercise Can Help You Sleep

How Daily Exercise Can Help You Sleep

One of the biggest robbers of sleep is stress. Stress affects the way we eat, the way we think and feel, and yes, how we sleep. Our eyes may become heavy and as we lay in bed ready for sleep, our mind suddenly turns on. All the events of the past day or the last 40 years vividly appear for re-examination. We close our eyes tighter hoping the movie will stop playing, and then, the morning alarm goes off.

According to many studies, not only does exercise have a big impact on our health but also the quality of our sleep. When our bodies are constantly in motion, it not only keeps us flexible and focused but also tires us out! Research shows that daily exercise is very effective in helping us manage the stress of the day or accumulated over the years. A gym routine 3 or 4 times a week is great, but our bodies work best if we add as little as a 30-minute brisk walk a day.

An Evening Routine

Turn your evening routine into a ritual. You work a stressful job and have a house and family that need your attention, still, you need to carve out some “Me Time”. When all the end-of-the-day tasks are completed including dinner, clean up, homework and lunches, drop into your self-care routine. Your sleep should be very important to you, so make sure you do everything you can to ensure it comes easily and lasts throughout the night.

Whether you had a date with the gym earlier in the morning or at lunch, your evening ritual should always be the same. For example, what releases the stress of the day and helps me wind down is a 30 to 45-minute walk. Some get the same results from a long soak in the tub, or perhaps yoga.

Everyone is different and you need to find what works for you. For me, since starting this routine of getting my body moving at the end of the day, it has helped me relax into the best sleep I have ever had. I may be temporarily energized but my body quickly finds that moment when it’s all systems off!

Stretching in bed

An Early Morning Routine

As soon as you wake up, do a few stretches to get your blood flowing and get the kinks out of being still for many hours. This daily routine will easily set you up for a great day feeling energized and mentally focused.

Here are some stretches you can do while still in bed. First, sit up and reach for the sky and with a little lean to the right and then to the left, get things started. Then grab one knee at a time and pull it towards your chest a few times and then repeat on the other side. Once your feet touch the floor then reach for your toes and feel that pull in your back. That feels great, right?!!

Get energized morning, noon, and night, and welcome a healthier body and a better sleep!

Gerry, Your Sleep Expert

Where to Splurge and where to Save: In the Guest Room

Where to Splurge and where to Save In the Guest Room

When you close your eyes and envision your dream home and the guest room you’d have, I bet it’s a serene oasis filled with comfort, style, and all the luxuries of a fine hotel including white bed linens. Here’s the trouble with this though, it’s not real life for most of us. For many of us, a guest room is a spare room, an office, a reading room, spare TV room, and so much more. Because honestly, who has enough rooms to keep an entire proper bedroom (and then some) in their house for the odd guest? Nope, for most people, a guest room is a multi-functional room and should be treated like such (rather than just another bedroom).

With that in mind, it’s time for another edition of Splurge VS. Save: Guest Rooms.

Where to Splurge

Sofa Beds

Yes, sofa beds. Forget about a traditional mattress in the guest room and make the room much more functional (and multi-purpose) for your everyday life by investing in a quality sofa bed. Not only will you enjoy a quality sofa bed in its sofa form on a day to day basis for reading, working, or vegging with Netflix, but the quality of the sleeping experience will make it a happy one for guests.

This room offers up a serene oasis for every day working and living, while offering up the same for guests when the room requires – the best of both worlds!

Source: Houzz

A funky sofa bed in a kid’s room is also a fun way to add extra sleepover space.

Source: Houzz

Lighting

As a multi-functional room, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right lighting for all your needs. Depending on all the room’s various uses (reading room, guest room, Netflix, or office) you’ll want to be sure you have appropriate task lighting or ambiance for each. And while of course, you can really splurge on each fixture – what we mean here is, splurge on the amount of lighting – really make sure you have a great ceiling light, floor lamp, and maybe a small desk or side table lamp to create the most inviting space for any need.

Where to Save

Bookshelves

With incredible big box store bookshelves at bargain basement prices, this is where you’ll want to save your pennies. Adding some moulding to multiple store bought units and covering up the tell-tale big box ‘holes’ gives your multi-purpose guest room huge amounts of storage for a small price. The bonus is not only are all your books, photos, and other collectables displayed but your guests also have a good book at their disposal as they snuggle into your comfortable sofa bed.

Source: Houzz
Source: Houzz

Side Tables

In your master bedroom, a good side table is a must. In a guest room, however, is where you can use fun alternatives depending on how much an actual ‘side table’ is needed (ie: when that awesome sofa bed you splurged on gets used). Forget the traditional pair and maybe opt for one or better yet, scrap them all together and use a funky occasional chair when there is a need to pop a little alarm clock, a book, and that ever-important small bedside lamp.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out this great round up on The Spruce of bookshelf hacks.

Rebecca, Your Furniture Expert

Which kitchen layout is best for me?

When it comes time to remodel the family kitchen it’s time to start thinking beyond the traditional triangle (fridge, stove, sink) and think instead of functional work zones or task centres. The good news here is, unlike focusing on the triangle, focusing on functional task centres works with all the various kitchen layout options.

Source: Houzz

To see a great resource on kitchen layout types, check this one out from HGTV. It’s even got free downloadable templates. Top 6 Kitchen Layouts

The room or space you have to work with will really help guide which ‘shape’ your kitchen overall will take. But since today’s kitchens are used by multiple people at the same time, rather than just one person, we no longer need our kitchen to work for one – we need it to work for all of us. This gives us a lot more freedom to place our appliances in spaces best suited for them in the room, rather than letting a boring triangle dictate its placement. Even the smallest of galley kitchens can be configured for optimal multi-person work zones with the right amount of planning and consideration.

Source: Houzz

So, which layout is right for you? The short answer is whichever one you like best (and works for your space) will be the right layout for you. Where you’ll want to really put your thinking cap on is looking at your daily cooking and eating habits and seeing what work zones you need, and how you and your family use the space – or don’t and how much you bump into each other!

Make a list of common activities, like chopping or mixing, and you’ll start to see your space take shape. You can then place the sink the best place for a view of the yard, the oven or cooktop in the best place to watch and chat with guests, and the fridge in the best place to unload groceries – regardless of how they meet (or don’t) in a triangle.

Want to learn more?

The key in planning your kitchen’s layout is to make sure it works best for you and your family’s daily life.

Isabelle, Your Appliance Expert

5 Ways to Keep Your Nightstand Clean and Tidy

5 Ways to Keep Your Nightstand Clean and Tidy

Clutter is distressing! What’s worse is clutter next to where your bed. Just when you have organized this space, non-essentials seem to appear magically while your eyes are shut! There is an interior design concept that states anything with a flat surface will accumulate clutter. There is also a principle that states that things will accumulate to fill the space available to it. Either way, junk and other things grow exponentially if we let them.

A nightstand should convey, to some degree, a space of rest and relaxation. A book, a candle, and a lamp are ideal for this space. So, why do we find an old crumpled receipt, stale candy, or last night’s crumb-filled dish? Distraction, laziness, or mental exhaustion are some reasons why we let things run amok, especially on our nightstands. Unlike any other space, your bedroom must promote restfulness and relaxation so here are some tips on how you can keep your nightstand functional, organized, and clutter-free.

Tip #1 Use Decorative Baskets

When you opt for a clear glass table with a couple of shelves, everything is visible, so you really need to keep that thing neat and tidy! Using decorative baskets with specific functions will keep things in their place. If you are reading a couple of books, designate a basket for that on a lower shelf while keeping the top shelf for a candle, a favourite picture and lamp only.

Tip #2 Drawers, Drawers, Drawers

Drawers, drawers, drawers. The best way to keep things away from view is to designate a drawer for them. Keeping the flat surface clear with minimal essentials, using the drawers for things such as books, candle accessories, extra bulbs for your lamp is the best way to keep things neat.

Tip #3 Trays Are Chic & Functional

Using a tray on top of your nightstand can be chic and functional. Include only small items including reading glasses, hand lotion, and perhaps a glass of water.

Keep you nightstand clean and tidy with trays

Source: chango & co.

Tip #4 Put It on a Shelf

If you are a true minimalist or have a small space, a decorative shelf hung on the wall on either side of your bed will keep things tidy. The least amount of surface space you have, the less will accumulate; remember the principle above! An adjustable lamp, a small painting leaning against the wall and just enough space for a book will serve the purpose.

Tip #5 Go Camouflage

If you need motivation to keep things tidy, then choose a nightstand that is the same colour as your wall! Anything you place on the surface will stand out so choose what you leave on it wisely. Choose a piece of furniture that can easily be painted over when you change up your wall colour.

If you’ve noticed, I never mentioned adding your devices on your nightstand. Not only is the vibrating, and blue light distracting but energetically it is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. I suggest that you create a designated area away from your bed to recharge your devices.

Additionally, interior designers are encouraging clients to focus on creativity as well as functionality. Bedroom sets are not as popular as they used to be. Clients are now inspired to focus on the best bed design while mixing and matching nightstands and dressers that suit their needs. Have fun, get creative and keep things tidy!

Angela, Your Sleep Expert