How to make bedtimes easier when the clocks go forward.

As the days get brighter we all eagerly await the warmth of spring and the longer, sunnier days. However, first we need to get through the clocks changing, and for those with young families this can be a challenge. Those hard worked for sleep routines are about to get challenged. Here are our tips to survive the clock changes and to limit the impact as much as possible.

1. Make the change gradually.

In the days leading up to the clocks changing, begin moving your child’s bedtime by 10 to 15 minutes so by the time they do change your child should be unaware there is anything different. Remember to gradually change other aspects of the day such as meal times and nap times too.

2. Get some blackout blinds.

Being able to control the light which enters your child’s bedroom can have a big impact on their sleep. By using blackout blinds as the clocks change and the days become longer will not only help with the initial clock changes but to create and maintain a bedtime room and sleep pattern throughout the year. Have a look at www.easyblindsonline.co.uk to find one that suits your needs.

3. Maintain a bedtime routine

Bedtime routines are an important part of sleep for children. Try avoiding electronic items in the hour leading up to bedtime, ensure play is calm and relaxed and share a bedtime story each night. Make sure to keep the routine the same each night.

4. Relax

Whatever happens this weekend, keep relaxed and with a relaxing and structured bedtime routine your child should soon adapt to the new time.

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Planning a nursery? Here are our top tips.

No matter the size of the room you have available for your new addition, or even if it’s setting up an area in a shared bedroom, the main considerations are the same to create an effective nursery.

1. Cot
There is every size and shape of cot available with a whole array of extra functions. As far as sleep is concerned, a cot with a new, firm mattress is more than suitable. Importantly, cots should be kept free of anything non essential so find a shelf for babies cuddly toys and leave the cot area uncluttered. Cellular blankets or sleep sacks are ideal solutions for keeping baby warm and safe. Consider the placement of the cot in the room. Try not to place it next to windows or radiators and consider it’s closeness to switches and plugs.

2. Changing area
Having everything close to hand is the most helpful advice here. Consider where you will have your changing mat and then work from there. Make sure wipes, nappies, nappy bags, creams etc are all within easy reach so you never have to leave baby to get something. A shelf or storage unit above the area where you change baby is one solution.

3. Furnishings
Furnishings are a great way to enhance or add colour and pattern to babies room. Lots of shops do themed ranges or you could chose a pattern or colour to tie everything together. Seating is really helpful but doesn’t need to be expensive. Somewhere to sit and feed or read a story before bed can make bedtime and middle of the night visits much easier. Blackout blinds mean you can transform the bedroom from day to night quickly and simply -essential for day time naps. With easyblinds, these can be put up simply and used with other blinds and curtains.

4. Storage
If your lucky enough to have built in wardrobes, consider adding a second rail ( children’s clothes are obviously smaller so you can hang twice as much this way) or add extra shelves or a storage unit in the bottom to give you more space. It’s amazing how such small clothes can take up so much space. Storage shelves such as Ikea’s Kallax are a great way to store toys so they are easily accessible but neatly stored away. Consider hanging nets for soft toys so they don’t take up too much floor space.

5. Extras
Monitor’s for some are essentials, for others, where baby can be easily heard throughout the home, less so. Consider your needs: are you going to need something portable so you can move around the house during nap times? Do you need to be able to see baby or is hearing them enough? Do you want to be able to view them from your phone or enable others to check in and see them from theirs?
Thermometers can be reassuring. Check your baby monitor doesn’t already have one built in. Using the thermometer to judge how many clothing layers/blankets are needed can be useful, especially in summer months.
By the time your baby goes into their own room you will know if they need an interactive mobile above their cot to settle or if they need white noise to drift off. For that reason leave these purchases until you know you need them.

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Are you ready for bed?

Many of us are more than ready for bed at night after a long day, but are we truly ready for bed? In a world of technology, we are exposed to constant bombardment from the internet, television and social media. As well as this, the working day often doesn’t finish at 5pm and therefore it’s getting harder to relax before bed. Here are some ideas to help make sure you are truly ready for bed….

1. Put your phone down…. and leave it alone.
Many studies have shown the use of technology before bed causes difficulties in falling asleep. An article in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine https://dx.doi.org/10.5664%2Fjcsm.3272, showed a particularly significant relationship between poor sleep and using the more interactive technologies of phones and laptops an hour before bed. The hour before bed seems to be the important window for sleep and therefore is an important hour for us, and our families, to find a more relaxing and calming activity to help us fall asleep more easily.
2. Keep your bedroom cool.
For most of us, keeping our homes warm in winter is as easy as the turn of a dial or the press of a button. However, does this mean we are making our homes too hot? In summer this can be a little trickier unless you have air conditioning fitted, but what temperature should our homes be to help us sleep better? According to The Weekend Australian https://goo.gl/aLbDg3, a temperature of between 16 and 18 degrees centigrade has been found to be the most suitable for sleep. So, turn down the heating a bit (or a lot) and see if it helps you sleep better tonight.

3. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet
In the modern world most us have electric lighting meaning we can work and play for as many hours as we like, unlimited by daylight hours. It’s not just indoor light either, street lights and light from other houses and industry pollute our night sky meaning its never truly dark. As humans we require darkness to produce melatonin, which tells our bodies to sleep. Blackout blinds are a great way to prevent external light entering the bedroom. At easyblinds www.easyblindsonline.co.uk our blackout blinds leave no gaps so are a great solution to external light for all the family. Don’t forget to turn off night lights and other devices which omit light too!

4. Avoid caffeinated drinks and foods
Coffee, chocolate and soft drinks all contain caffeine which is detrimental to sleep as it is a stimulant. Try to reduce or avoid its consumption in the evenings to ensure it is not impacting on your sleep as The Sleep Foundation https://goo.gl/nMfxVE reports it can take 6 hours for half of the caffeine consumed to leave your body.

5. Create a bedtime routine
We all think about creating bedroom routines for our children but forget about the importance of creating one for ourselves. Decide on a suitable bedtime which will give you the right amount of sleep. Try to create a routine which leads to that bedtime, concentrating on the hour before bed and ensuring it is relaxed and allows you to unwind. Try to stick as closely as possible to this routine to allow your body to adapt and gain the positive effects.

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5 great uses for easyblinds…

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Back to sleep in time for back to school!

Getting back into your usual sleep routine can be tough, especially after Easter break. Whether your child has just gone back to school or is heading there this week, here are 5 tips to help get your child back into the school sleep routine and make those early starts just that little bit easier:

1. Make bed times as consistent as possible!

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. 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. According to WebMD, children aged 3-6 should get an average of 10-12 hours sleep a day, 7-12 year-olds should be sleeping for 10-11 hours a night and 12-18 year-olds should have between 8 and 9 hours.

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! Exercise can be great fun, especially when you get the whole family involved, and it can also make kids (and adults!) more tired towards the evening, making them more inclined to sleep earlier and have better quality shut-eye.

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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. 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. This is a given, but you’d be surprised how many foods contain high levels of sugar!

5. 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! Our easyblackout kit is so easy to use, follow 3 simple steps, attach with Velcro and you’ll have your sleep sanctuary in no time! Read our reviews to find out how we’ve helped other Mums, Dads and kids get great sleep. We’re giving away 7 of these with our Babyworld competition this month – find out more here!

 

Easyblinds

 

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

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6 Tips to get you motivated and back to the gym!

With spring finally approaching and summer not too far around the corner, it’s time to start putting our new year resolutions in action and actually get healthier!

Being a mum is sometimes like being on a permanent diet or a long-winded marathon, but too often than not we’re not treating our bodies the way we should.

So here are a few tips to get us motivated. Share your tips with us @easyblinds.

healthy

1. There’s never a right time…

With busy lifestyles, it’s difficult to get into a fitness regime, but I’m sure most of us can agree that there’s pretty much never a right time. The first step to doing anything we feel we don’t have time for or don’t particularly feel motivated for is to just get started. Once you go, even for half an hour, you’ll feel better and that will set you up for wanting to continue on. Get yourself some sticky notes and keep reminders around the house so you’ll definitely remember! After the first couple of sessions are under-way, the rest will follow!

2. Establish why you’re doing it

It’s time to stop thinking of heading to the gym as a chore but more as a time for you to chill out and have some “me time”. When you haven’t been for a while, the gym can seem more time-consuming than worth-it but once you start going, you’ll feel healthier, fitter and happier. Remember, exercise releases endorphins (the hormone that makes you happy!) so if you’re having a rough day, swap a night in front of the telly for a gym session.

3. Drink more

If you start forming healthier habits, you’ll find yourself feeling more motivated to get to the gym. Drinking more water is great for feeling revitalised, making you feel less lethargic and more in the mood for a workout.

4. Get more rest

Exercise is great for doing two things a) helping you sleep better and b) making you feel more energised. Seem contradictory to you? It is, but it’s true. Use exercise to help kick-start your day or feel the benefits of a great night’s sleep after an evening workout. However, if you’re not getting enough sleep in the first place, you’re less likely to feel enthused to do it! Sleep experts recommend 7-8 hours a night. Struggling to get that? Try a blackout blind! See our customer reviews to find out how our blinds have helped them create a sleep sanctuary in their bedroom.

5. Get your friends involved!

Studies show you’re more likely to stick to an exercise regime when you’re with friends. Make getting fit fun and plan regimes with your friends and you can help each other stay motivated.

6. Do what makes you happy

If the gym isn’t for you, don’t do it. Do what works for you and makes you feel the most comfortable. Take up a sport or head to your local fitness centre for a swim – find what you like and you won’t need to build up the motivation, you’ll want to do it anyway.

Enjoying the sun

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How to avoid the winter blues

Shivers, chattering teeth, getting your scarf trapped in the zip of your coat – yes, it’s that time of year again. WINTER. It’s the time of year we associate with layering up (especially on the waistline), Christmas, and running late because of underestimating the amount of frost on our car windscreens.

It’s not the worst time of year, but let’s face it – it’s not summer. Here are six cheery tips to help you avoid the winter blues:

1. Make mince pies!

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During winter when the weather’s not so great, we’re more likely to get lazy, which is good in moderation for relaxation but too much of this will lead to lethargy and decreased spirits. Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. Baking is a great way to both relax, keep your mind and body active, and it can fun for all the family. Mince pies are at the top of the list right now, of course!

2. Take long walks

WALKING ACROSS HAMPSTEAD HEATH

Even though it’s cold, it’s still important to get enough exercise, and a chilly walk can often be very refreshing. Exercise also releases endorphins, the happy hormone, so taking a brisk walk and getting your heart rate up is brilliant for both mind and body. Also whilst you’re outside, you’ll be soaking up lots of Vitamin D from the sunlight, which is important to stay chirpy and to avoid getting Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

3. Get enough rest

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Sleep and relaxation is, no doubt, the key to a healthy mind, body and soul. With the Christmas period upon us, it’s easy to have a build up of stress, so finding the time to relax isn’t easy but it’s definitely important. Our blackout blinds aid sleep by providing a room that’s free from light so you can get to sleep faster and have no interference from the outside light. However, it is important to balance this with getting enough sunlight when you are awake.

4. Have a laugh

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Laughter is the key to feeling happy and this, too, releases endorphins. If you’re at home, try reading or watching something that will make you laugh. If you’re stuck for ideas, sticking on some funny cat videos on YouTube always does the trick.

5. Pursue a hobby 

family

Winter-time can be a great time to reintroduce yourself with a hobby you love, and you can also include the whole family! Whether that’s painting, playing family board games or pursuing a sport, try and make winter as enjoyable as any other time of year!

6. Take a short break

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Sometimes a break and a change of environment is just what you need. Whether it’s for a weekend or a week, a chance to spoil yourself with your family, friend or partner will definitely raise your spirits. If winter is definitely not your thing, then find a place in the sun and say good-bye to the winter blues!

 

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Technology vs Sleep Challenge!

Today, technology rules everything and everyone. Without it, we’re lost. However, we rarely take a moment to think about what it’s doing to our health.

Remember when Mums used to say “Don’t sit too close to the telly or else you’ll damage your eyes”? Well, now we’re doing it on a daily basis, if not with the telly, we’re doing it will our laptops and phones. And it’s not just our eyes that are affected, it’s our brains, our sleep cycles and our bodies as a whole.

Photo from syracuse.com

Photo from syracuse.com

That’s why we’re challenging YOU to cut down by at least 1 hour a day for the next 2 weeks. Of an evening, leaving your mobile alone after 8pm and cutting down on browsing on the laptop, as well as watching just a little less television already adds up to a lot. Mixing and matching on your own terms, you can cut down and, as a result, enjoy better sleep.

Earlier this year, bigbrandbeds.co.uk found that 95% of 18-29 year-olds sleep with their phones right next to their bed, with 25% of people not silencing their phone before they go to bed. Does jumping out of bed because you heard your phone vibrate sound familiar?

95% said they used electronics in the hour prior to going to sleep, with 50% of people found to check their phones immediately upon waking in the middle of the night.

The Lighting Research Centre has also found that light from tablets, phones and similar devices can confuse our natural body clock, making sleep harder to attain but keeping us tired during the day.

Dr Naim of the Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute said: “Regularly using a computer late at night is associated not only with sleep disorders but also with stress and depressive symptoms both in men and women.”

If you have been suffering with sleep issues, examine how much technology you use on a daily basis. Cutting down on this and taking these tips can help you. However, if you are deeply concerned about your sleep deprivation, seek advice from your GP.

Technology, of course, if both a powerful and progressive feature of the 21st Century, and it’s only going to get bigger. The only chance we have of making sure it doesn’t take over our lives and our health is to control and limit it. So join in, and see how well you do!

Tell us about your experiences @easyblinds.

Photo from techtimeout.com

Photo from techtimeout.com

 

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Confessions of Your Vigilant Infant

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According to a recent study, posted by the dailymail.co.uk, infants are a lot more vigilant than we give them credit for, mainly because they want to decrease the likelihood of another sibling.

Harvard scientists state that babies are naturally “programmed” to urge more attention from their mothers. Professor David Haig said: ‘Night waking increases in the second half of the  first year of infant life and is more pronounced for breastfed babies.’

The study also claimed that breastfeeding at night can lead to amenorrhoea in mothers – in other words, their fertility remains at an all-time low. Low fertility = less chance of siblings = SUCCESS! Monopolisation of Mummy complete!

Well we know that babies are attention-seeking, but is this really the reason? If only we could speak baby…

So what do you think? Have you recently given birth soon after a previous child? Or are you trying again and finding it difficult?

On another note, here’s a link to some funny baby videos – the Gangnam Style baby is pretty hilarious!

 

 

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Mother’s Day: We Love Mums!!

Gwyneth Paltrow

 

Michelle Obama

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

J.K Rowling

So what do these four famous women have in common? Their Mums, of course! In less than 5 hours, it’ll be Mothering Sunday – the one day a year when Mums are (or should be!) guaranteed to a) get a breakfast in bed and b) put their feet up and get never-ending praise from their little ones (or big ones!) – what’s not to love?! According to clareflorist.co.uk, Mum’s across the globe will be celebrating in the UK, Ireland, Nigeria and Bangladesh; but what do Mums actually want this year?

According to a poll taken by the dailymail.co.uk, Mums want:

1. To spend time with their children (47%)
2. Spend the day out with the  family (35%)
3. Taken  out for a meal (34%)
4. Be  spoilt by the family all day (32%)
5.  Have an uninterrupted lie in (30%)
6.  See their own mother (30%)
7. Have breakfast in bed (26%)
8. Spend time with the whole  family (26%)
9. Spend time  with their partner (24%)
10. Have a cup of tea in bed (24%)

So which one of these do you most crave? Tweet us @easyblinds or message us on Facebook!

Happy Mothering Sunday, Mummies!!

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