Sleep Your Way to Success!

Let’s face it, we aren’t getting enough rest. We’re all guilty of it with today’s fast-paced lifestyles getting in the way of what really matters – our health. These days, we think we’re invincible and believe that since we’re ‘managing’ without sleep, it’s not really going to catch up with us. WRONG.

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Sleep is integral to both our physical and mental health. Whilst some can survive on four hours a night, eventually they’ll find themselves prone to illnesses such as heart disease.

The National Sleep Foundation indicates those who rest fewer than six hours are twice as likely to have a stroke than those who get more shut-eye. That’s regardless of their age, weight and recreational habits.

However, Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington says that times are changing. Whilst lack of sleep was previously seen as a ‘badge of honour’, people are turning to prioritising health and well-being. She’s calling it ‘the sleep revolution’, whereby people are encouraged to get more sleep in order to achieve success. Huffington also predicts that we can expect to see as many nap rooms as conference rooms in the future!

Whether or not this ‘sleep revolution’ will come to fruition is questionable. Especially as we’re always on the look-out for ways to conquer tiredness without turning to the pillow – i.e. coffee! What is clear is that as technology continues to dominate, we cannot get away from our basic human need. We haven’t found a food replacement. In fact, we’ve more than doubled our appetites compared to that of 50 years ago. However our attitude to sleep still has our seven to eight hours sitting on the back-burner as a luxury to enjoy every once in a while.

How Successful People Sleep

Turn off devices at least an hour before bedtime…

Whether it’s browsing Twitter or watching a TV programme, they’re all doing the same thing – sending your brain into a ‘hyperactive’ mode. Staring at a bright screen, which we already do enough of during the day, is not conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Studies have also found that the quality of sleep gained is far less than if you switched off a lot earlier. So the next time you find yourself yawning before the day has even started, try switching off. Give your brain a break!

Eat at least two hours before bedtime…

When we eat we do automatically become tired, however it’s best to leave it a while before you hit the sack. Mainly for reasons such as weight gain. Give yourself a chance to digest. Take a walk after dinner instead of sitting down straight away. You’ll not only have great sleep but you’ll find yourself feeling less stodgy in the morning!

Exercise for better quality sleep…

Exercise is great not only for physical well-being and fitness, but also for our mood. The endorphins released during exercise help us feel happier and more alert, whilst also helping us get a restful night. Find what suits you, whether it’s exercising in the morning or evening, and you’ll find you will sleep deeper and sounder.

Set a routine and stick to it…

If you go to bed at 9pm one night and 12pm the next, but wake at the same time each morning then you’re sure to feel tired. Our bodies are quick to adapt and prefer routine. So if you go to sleep and wake at the same time each day you’ll eventually only need your alarm for formality’s sake.

Be strict with yourself and give your body that time to shut down and regenerate. Don’t be disheartened if at first you just find yourself staring at the ceiling or counting sheep. You are still resting even if you haven’t yet fallen asleep. Be patient and eventually you will nod off and just continue to stick to that routine.

Avoid alcohol and – unfortunate but necessary – caffeine…

Clogging your body with toxins and stimulants is not the way to go for overall health. Some may find having the odd glass of wine actually helps get them settled for bed, but you need to nip that in the bud.

Whilst it can make you drowsy, making this a habit will mean that the quality of your sleep will be next to none. You’ll wake up both dehydrated and feeling as if you’ve barely slept a wink. Try cutting down the alcohol and avoiding caffeine from the mid-afternoon for a better night’s sleep. Cut it down gradually so your body can adjust. Eventually you’ll find yourself wondering why you ever relied on it.

Trust a blackout blind!

Whether your a working parent or a shift-worker, blackout blinds are a fantastic sleep accessory for both adults and kids. Click here to find out why blackout blinds are the ultimate sleep solution.

Posted in How To Get A Good Nights Sleep

Clocks going back: how to prepare your little one!

It’s that time of year again: sneezing left, right and centre; wacking the heating up; feeling extra groggy in the ‘midnight’ mornings; and preparing ourselves for the run up to Christmas.

This weekend will see the end of daylight saving time for 2015 with the clocks going back an hour this Sunday 25th October.

For those of you with little ones, you’ll know how sensitive their sleep pattern is, so here are a few tips to make the process a little smoother.

Steer your child away from sugary food and drinks, particularly after 2pm

Sugary foods and fizzy drinks aren’t great at the best of times, but for a good night’s sleep it’s important your child steers well clear of them in order to wind down, otherwise the energy boost could see them staying up well past the hour!

After dinner, instead of a sugary dessert, why not try giving them fruit such as bananas, oranges or cherries? They’re known for helping the body to produce the ‘sleep’ hormone, melatonin, which basically controls our body clock. If your child experiences troublesome sleep, it’s definitely worth trying!

cupcake

“I’m off to bed now, too!”

Let’s face it, children are copycats – if they see/hear that you’re up it’s likely they’ll want to stay awake too. See this as the perfect opportunity to give yourself a break as well and get the early night you deserve! If you’re all in sync it’ll make the process even smoother.

bed-sharing

Fill the time with a fun activity

Usually, children will adjust to the new routine anywhere between a few days and a week, but in the meantime fill the time with something that will make your little one barely notice the time go by. Read something to/with them they love or play a game they enjoy. Allowing them to exercise during the day is also great for winding them down, but try and avoid television right before bed as that’s more likely to produce a less restful night’s sleep.

bedtime stories

Block it out with a blackout blind

The beauty of a blackout blind is that it allows you to enjoy great sleep without the disturbance of outside factors such as light (and even noise!), thereby creating a cosy sleep sanctuary for both babies and parents to enjoy. With a blackout blind in your little one’s nursery or bedroom, they’ll snuggle up and doze off, even if it is still light out – they’ll be none the wiser. It’s great for being in complete control of your little one’s sleep pattern. Check out our reviews to find out why parents trust our products to give their children (and themselves!) great sleep!

With the winter months coming up, blackout blinds also provide great heat insulation – saving you a little on the heating bills! See more fantastic reasons to invest in this popular sleep solution here.

Easyblinds april comp

And now you’re all set! Got any tips you’d like to share with us and the rest of the parenting community? Be a part of the conversation with us on Twitter @easyblinds or on our Facebook page. Reminder: clocks will go back at 2am this Sunday 25th October!

Posted in Baby advice, Benefits of Blackout Blinds, How To Get A Good Nights Sleep, Sleep Routines

Get motivated with meditation

woman-meditating-on-the-beach

 

Admit it – you don’t relax enough. Don’t worry, we’re all guilty of it. In fact, if it wasn’t for our body’s necessity to sleep, we’d probably never give ourselves the chance to recuperate and rest. And in this day and age with all of the distractions and responsibilities, it’s more important than ever to take a few moments each day even to just sit back, relax and breathe.

Meditation, unlike what we all tend to think, doesn’t have to mean sitting in an awkward position with some vanilla incense burning away in the background whilst we try our best to quiet our mind to the sound of the ocean. For those who aren’t used to silence or trying to relax your thoughts, it can be difficult, but I can promise you – once you’ve embraced it you will reap the rewards.

meditation on beach

Photo by Michael Sweet

Whether you’re facing a tough patch in your life or you’re just looking for a way to feel more at ease, meditation is for you. No matter how busy you think your schedule is, you can take a few moments each day to try some easy steps to cleanse your mind and organise your thoughts and priorities, simply by stepping back and allowing yourself to be calm. Ever found how when you walk away from a situation and you come back to it later (sometimes from a long sleep) and suddenly it doesn’t seem as bad any more? It’s the same idea. Have you ever considered that maybe the severity of the situation hadn’t changed but it was, in fact, the perception you had of yourself being able to handle the situation that changed?

Motivation, or a lack of it, is something we all experience. But, as the old cliché dictates, we are in complete control of what happens to us in our lives. And meditation is great because it helps you to relax and be confident and motivated about your decisions. I can guarantee that a decision made in haste won’t always work out, but a decision made after some alone time is something you won’t regret doing, e.g. think of Yoda – meditation definitely had to be one of his secret weapons!

On top of this, meditation has also been found to have the following benefits:

  • lower blood pressure
  • improved blood circulation
  • less anxiety
  • increased feelings of well-being
  • decreased stress

So here are a few tips to get you started…

1. Find a place that’s quiet and comfortable

You could be lying on your bed or sitting on the floor, out in the garden – whatever works for you. Don’t worry about having a completely silent environment as that’s sometimes near impossible, and the ability to drown out your environment and not allow external sounds to dominate your thoughts is actually a sign of successful meditation.

2. Be patient and start with just a few minutes at a time

Usually, the more anxious you are as an individual, the longer it will take you to get used to meditation. This could be because of stress and your impatience to see results. Start with just a few minutes at a time and just focus on slowing your breathing. Check out some meditation podcasts you can listen to.

3. Start with a mantra or focusing on a visual object

You may at first find it hard to clear your mind, but it’s important to focus on only one thought at a time. If you’re struggling, try breathing deeper and slower and close your eyes. If something is worrying you, try some mental exercises, for example visualising your problem as an object that you can put in a box and watch it float away. Allow your mind to open and go wherever your imagination takes you – almost like dreaming, except you’re in control and you’re awake. The more you do it, the more you’ll get used to it and feel comfortable with your thoughts and your ability to deal with them.

4. Try to meditate at the same time every day

Typically, we only really stick to something when it becomes a part of our routine. Doing it every day means that you’ll give yourself this time without allowing the day to get ahead of you. Even if you are feeling motivated, still do it, don’t only turn to it as a moment of “me time” during a rough patch – if things are going on and you’re having a good day, reflect on it, think about your goals and what you’re grateful for.

5. If it’s not for you, try some other relaxation techniques such as walking

If you find that it’s not quite for you, why not try taking a long walk to relax and have some alone time? It’s great to get out there and breathe the fresh air, as well as get some exercise. Experiment and see what works for you. Maybe it’s yoga or taking a run – as long as it motivates you and makes you feel more positive, energetic and in control as a result then it’s worth it!

meditation on rock

Let us know how you get on or share your tips with us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

 

 

Posted in How To Get A Good Nights Sleep, Miscellaneous

How to sleep better in the heat

So summer is here, the time we’ve been waiting for all year! But unfortunately for some, it’s not all fun and games and nights are often spent tossing and turning because of the heat.

Here’s a few simple tricks to help you drift off, even for those days when it’s absolutely sweltering:

1. Drink a tall glass of iced water before bed and keep it by your bedside

This will keep you well hydrated, which is so important, even when you’re not boiling hot! It’ll also come in handy for the middle of the night and the morning when you wake dehydrated and your tongue feels like a towel…

water

2. Avoid heavy meals towards bedtime

This will make you feel uncomfortable, bloated and therefore make it harder for you to drift off. Opt for lighter meals and foods such as eggs, nuts, milk and tuna are particularly good for aiding sleep.

3. Sleep with your head at the other end of the bed

Sometimes it’s nice to have a change and switch sides, and it’s definitely a great idea for those hot nights. The change will be comfortable and you’ll see yourself drifting off in no time.

4. Get rid of those thick covers 

Sleep with a thin sheet and minimal clothing – sometimes adding some moisturiser before bed is also a great idea as this will have a cooling effect, plus it’ll be great for your skin!

5. Rub some ice cubes on your forehead and at the back of your neck

You just have to do it to understand. A must-do for really hot nights. You can also put a cold flannel at the back of your neck and on your feet for long-lasting cooling comfort.

6. Keep the fan on!

Although be careful not to have your back to it, as you can wake up feeling a bit stiff with a cold draft on it all night!

7. Get a blackout blind!

Our blackout blinds have light and heat reflecting material, keeping rooms cooler in summer and warmer in winter! See all 11 reasons why a blackout blind is a great summer buy!

Easyblinds (1)

Happy #easysleeping!

 

Posted in How To Get A Good Nights Sleep

Try new BlindSides for a better night’s sleep

Looking for an effective solution to block out the light in your bedroom? BlindSides are a new and simple solution that helps to banish light from the sides of your blackout blinds and curtains.

blindsides pack 2-500x500

 

Maybe you’ve got roller blinds in your home and you’re just looking for a quick and easy way to block out the light that’s creeping in through the sides. Instead of using a blackout blind, there’s BlindSides – the effortless solution that covers those awkward gaps!

What’s more is BlindSides is completely portable – just hook over the top of roller blinds or curtain poles!

Why not give them a go and see how you could make a difference to your bedroom? It’s the perfect accessory for those who struggle to get decent sleep during these longer days, and kids who need to maintain a healthy sleep routine as the summer holidays approach.

Click here for more information and message us on Twitter or Facebook if you have any questions!

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Posted in How To Get A Good Nights Sleep

Get your child in the back to school sleep routine!

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It’s almost time for the kids to go back to school! However, getting back into the usual routine can be tough, especially after a relaxing couple of weeks. Here’s 5 tips to help get your child back into the school sleep routine:

1. Encourage your child to sleep at the usual time of a school night a couple days before school starts

This will help them to get back into the routine before school even starts so they’re not so groggy on the day they know they’ve got to wake up. Entice them with a day of fun activities so they know they have a reason to stay up as well, instead of feeling like they’re waking up earlier for no reason. Having a set waking and sleeping time also helps the body to adapt its body clock so your child will feel fresher on a school morning.

2. More exercise

One of the main reasons we all feel reluctant to head back to school/work is because we’ve become lethargic. Relaxing is beneficial but there does come a point when you’ve done too much of it that you don’t want to do anything else! Try and have some more exercise with your child, making it fun, so they feel more in the spirit of being active. The exercise will also make them more tired towards the evening, making them more inclined to sleep earlier and have better quality shut-eye.

bikes

3. Make bedtime interesting

Children nearly always don’t want to go to bed but then don’t want to get out of it in the morning. Make bedtime fun and interesting – read them a book they love or tell them a story. If they’re not in the mood for sleep, a hot chocolate and a bath might do the trick!

4. Blackout blind it

Use a blackout blind in your child’s bedroom to shut out all light, which helps to produce the hormone melatonin and makes sleep more inviting. It also helps to prevent disturbances from outside light as the sun rises in the morning, so they sleep right through until their alarm (or Mum or Dad) wakes them up! Check out our range of blackout blinds here. Our new portable blackout blind, easynight™, is just £12.95 and includes suction cups!

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5. No sugars in the evening

Try and eliminate sugary foods and drinks at least 4 hours prior to your child’s bedtime as this will only increase their energy, making it harder for them to get to sleep.

Have you got any back to school sleep tips? Share them with us @easyblinds or on Facebook.

 

 

Posted in How To Get A Good Nights Sleep, Sleep Experts

How to make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary

Don’t worry, you don’t have to become a Feng Shui expert to make your room a sleep sanctuary.

One of the best ways to get great sleep is to have an environment that facilitates and encourages it, so here are five ways you can make your room a bedtime haven!

1. Add a little jasmine and lavender 

Picture via bathedit.com

Picture via bathedit.com

Herbal oils and sprays such as jasmine and lavender can be found at your local pharmacy and are popular sleep remedies. As well as making your room smell gorgeous, jasmine is known for it’s calming effects, especially if you are stressed out, and lavender aids a faster and deeper sleep. Keep a small bottle of each by the bedside and sprinkle a few drops on your pillow – it will work wonders!

2. Cut out the light

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The interruption of either natural or unnatural light is one of the main causes of a lack of sleep. Our blackout blinds are great for solving this problem as it cuts out all light (as long as there are no lights on inside!) so you don’t need to worry about street-lights or the sun peeking through. They’re easy to put up and take down so you can turn your room into a sleep sanctuary fast and effectively.

3. Keep it quiet

easyblinds pic3

Noise is another important issue, but with our ear plugs, you can guarantee that you’ll have sounder sleep (they even come with a free eye mask!). They’re equipped with a special filter allowing certain sound frequencies to be heard, whilst limiting others, so whilst traffic and ambient noise can be kept at bay, sounds such as a crying baby or an alarm will remain sufficiently audible.

4. Reduce clutter

bedroom

Remove all paper-work and clutter that could be making you stressed. For your bedroom to be a sleep sanctuary you need to make it all about sleep and relaxation, so limiting what you have and making the bed the focal point of the room will make it easier to shut off when you get in.

5. Keep it cool

Ever wondered why you sometimes wake up feeling shattered even though you’ve still had a decent amount of sleep? Sometimes this is due to temperature, as during your sleep, if you’re too hot or too cold, you’ll toss and turn and fall into light sleep rather than deep sleep, making it easier for you to wake and reducing the positive effects you need from enough deep sleep. The average temperature people tend to like when going to bed is 18 Celsius, but this can change from person to person. Just make sure you are comfortable with the heat of your room before deciding to climb in for a night of slumber.

And there you have it! Have you got any tips that have helped make your room more suitable for sleep? Share them with us @easyblinds or on our Facebook page.

Posted in Benefits of Blackout Blinds, How To Get A Good Nights Sleep

Give Yoga A Go!

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It’s all about breathing. Half the problem of not getting to sleep is not being able to relax. So, what’s the best way to relax? BREATHE.

That’s why so many people take up hobbies such as yoga, meditation and pilates!

Judi Bar, a Yoga Program Manager at the Cleveland Clinic, says: “Relaxing the muscles, steadying your breath and quieting your mind will help you sleep better.”

Have a look here for Judi’s three yoga movements to help you get relaxed and ready for a good night’s rest. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t tried yoga before, they’re super easy!

If you struggle to find the time to join a class or would just prefer to be in your own space, there are a number of yoga tutorials to try at home.

For all the mums out there, did you know that you can also do mum and baby yoga? According to fitpregnancy.com, doing yoga activities with your baby can mimic the rocking movements your baby felt whilst in the womb, which will aid their relaxation. So now there’s a sleep solution for the both of you! Check out this website for some positions to try out with your baby.

Let us know how you get on and if your sleep improves after trying some yoga @easyblinds.  P.S. Don’t forget to breathe!

Picture via Yogaims

Picture via Yogaims

 

Posted in How To Get A Good Nights Sleep

The 7 Hours 7 Days Sleep Challenge!

Are you getting enough sleep? The answer is most probably “no”. For the majority of the population, adults are getting on average 6.5 hours a night on weekdays. However many sources, including WebMD,  say that we actually should be getting between 7-8 hours per night. That’s over 120 hours of lost sleep every year!

This is where the 7 Hours 7 Days Sleep Challenge comes in! We, here at easyblinds, fully support maintaining a healthy lifestyle and, particularly, a healthy sleep routine. So, for 7 days, starting from this Sunday 7th September until Sunday 14th September, we’re encouraging as many of you as possible to get 7 hours of sleep each night. Go on, we know you can do it!

With the right amount of sleep, you’ll feel happier, healthier and more energetic. Sticking to the same sleeping hours every day will also keep you from feeling lethargic on a regular basis.

For those of you who struggle getting to sleep at night, and find yourself tossing and turning, try out these tips:

1. Cut caffeine out before bed. You’ve heard this one before, but so many still do it!

2. Try not to watch TV before bed, instead try reading a book – that usually does the trick!

3. Even if you feel like you can’t sleep, just lie there. Seriously. Close your eyes, lay still and get comfy. Music can also help. You will get there eventually, and even so, the time relaxing there motionless still counts as resting.

4. If you know you usually take some time to get to sleep, trying getting into bed and doing tip 3 around half an hour before you actually expect to be asleep.

5. Make sure light in your room is limited and the temperature in the room suits you. This is where easyblinds comes in! At the moment, we have two competitions running – one to win our new blackout blind, easynight, and another with our Go Anywhere blackout blind up for grabs! Click the links to check them out and enter!

Good luck! Let us know how you get on @easyblinds.

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Posted in Benefits of Blackout Blinds, easyblinds competitions, How To Get A Good Nights Sleep, Sleep Routines

Is Oversleeping Bad For You?

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Getting lots of sleep? That’s great – around 65% of the adult population are said to not be getting the correct amount of sleep – but you’re not one of them! It also means that you’re giving yourself less of a chance of developing all sorts of chronic illnesses by allowing your body, particularly your brain, to regenerate – ready for the next day.

However, like anything, too much of it can be bad for you. Are you getting over 9 hours every day, sometimes more, and even incorporating daily naps into your sleep cycle? Studies show that between the ages of 21-65, sleeping this often can actually cause similar effects to under-sleeping, such as exhaustion. According to WebMD, oversleeping has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and depression. Obesity, headaches, and back pain are amongst some of the physical side-effects of long-term oversleeping.

Depending on the person, your sleep needs will differ, but typically, between 7-9 hours every night is the amount most adults should aim for. Don’t confuse oversleeping with just getting an extra hour more than usual for a night or two – you will know when you’re oversleeping as you will feel incredibly groggy and lethargic! Treating yourself to an extra long night can be refreshing, just avoid doing it on a prolonged basis.

So, what do you do about it?

It’s simple – don’t panic and set a structure, then stick to it. A lot of people think that your brain only wakes you up when you’re ready, and that oversleeping is just a sign of “body regeneration”, but don’t be fooled. Ever feel like sleeping longer when you’ve just woken up? Of course you do, that doesn’t mean “sleep more”, it just means that you’ve woken from a deep state of unconsciousness (REM sleep) and you’ve probably got loads of sleep residue in your eyes. Jump in the shower and you’ll soon wake right up.

If you’re finding that oversleeping is less of a habit and more of a necessity, consult your doctor to test for hypersomnia or depression.

Did this help? Tell us @easyblinds.

Posted in How To Get A Good Nights Sleep, Sleep Experts, Sleep Routines