Many people suffer from the occasional bout of insomnia. However, if this happens to you more often than you’d like, making a few tweaks to your bedroom may be the solution. Here’s what you should do.
Get the right bed
Resting on a comfortable mattress makes it easier to fall and stay asleep every night. Choosing the right one, however, can be tricky.
The best thing to do is find a store with a good return policy so you can sleep on the mattress for at least a month before you decide if it’s a good fit.
Your bedding can also make a difference. Choose soft linens made of natural materials and comfortable pillows.
Make it a relaxing space
Decorate your bedroom with soothing colors, round shapes, soft textures and cozy or airy fabrics.
Many sleep experts also recommend keeping your bedroom clutter-free and clean. A disorganized space can stress you out, while a dusty and dirty room can aggravate allergies and make it harder to sleep.
Also, it’s a good idea to install blackout curtains to make the room as dark as possible when it’s time to sleep.
Keep technology out
It may be tempting to keep a television in your bedroom, but the light from the screen can trick your body into thinking it’s not tired. The same goes for your smartphone and even digital clocks.
For a restful sleep, keep your room free of light-emitting technology. If you need to unwind before bed, read a book or write in a journal instead.
One last tip: consider lowering the thermostat. Cool rooms help you fall asleep quicker and encourage deeper slumber.
Five types of activities to do with your grandchildren
When you retire you’ll finally have plenty of energy to devote to your family. Here are some suggestions for activities that will allow you to spend some quality time with your grandchildren.
1. Outdoor activities. What could be better than an outing to the park for some family fun? A picnic, Frisbee, ball games, and blowing bubbles will be a hit no matter their ages.
2. Games of all kinds. To keep children busy on rainy days, pull out the board games and card games. And hide and seek never gets old.
3. Arts and crafts. Crafts, drawing (with colored pencils inside or chalk outside), coloring, painting, or modeling clay are all great for developing creativity. You could also make a story book, read a good book together, or just invent stories to tell each other.
4. Knowledge sharing. Share your passions with your grandchildren. Depending on their interests, you can share family recipes with them, teach them to play the piano or sew, or take them out to the garage to poke around in the car engine.
5. Fun things to do. For something out of the ordinary, take them out for a day at the zoo, museum, or farm. You could also go ice skating, eat out, or go see a movie.
There’s no lack of ideas for having fun with your grandchildren. Camping in the backyard, a trip to the library, a day at the beach, or a movie night at home—they are all small pleasures the children will remember for years to come. Retirement allows you to spend quality time with your family.
The fireplace as focal point: how to make it work
If styled right, a fireplace can be a stunning focal point that pulls a room’s entire esthetic together. Here are some ways to dress yours up.
Paint it a bold color
This is a great place to try out a bold tone that you wouldn’t normally use to paint a room. Because of the relatively small size of a fireplace, the color will stand out without overpowering the space.
Wallpaper the space flanking it
Paint the fireplace a neutral color and apply eye-catching wallpaper to the wall space on either side of it. Choose a design that invokes the room’s style or theme.
Hang striking artwork
A large piece of art that occupies both the horizontal and vertical space above the fireplace is sure to draw the eye. The piece you choose will affect the room’s overall feel, so be sure to select something you love.
No matter how you style your fireplace, your choices will make an impact. Carefully consider the impression you want to make and design the feature accordingly.
Safety tips for snowmobile season
January 18 to 26 is International Snowmobile Safety Week, and the theme is Safe Riders! You make snowmobiling safe. Here’s a rundown of some of the most important safety practices to follow when operating a snowmobile.
Precautions to take before leaving
Plan your trip in advance and practice staying safe by adhering to the following:
• Choose trails that you know well or that you’ve researched in advance.
• Make sure your snowmobile is tuned up.
• If it’s your first time using a snowmobile, don’t take it out until you’ve familiarized yourself with how to use it. Be sure to take it slow during your first ride.
• Avoid snowmobiling alone and give someone who won’t be in your company an itinerary that includes your route and the duration of your ride.
• Ensure that you’ve memorized the hand signals used to communicate between snowmobilers.
Staying safe on the trail
Snowmobiles are definitely powerful, which is part of what makes them fun. However, they can also be dangerous should you fail to take the needed precautions. Here’s what you should do:
• Know your limits and the limits of your snowmobile.
• Respect signage and be attentive to your surroundings.
• Stop completely at intersections and look both ways before proceeding.
• Stay on the trail and respect private property.
• Be extra careful when driving at night. Adjust your speed so that you don’t “over-drive” your headlights.
For a more comprehensive list of safety tips, visit the website of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association at snowmobile.org.
Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids
On January 20, Americans across the country will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The holiday presents a unique opportunity to honor the legacy of the civil rights leader and to follow his example by volunteering. However, for those with children, it’s also an opportunity to help kids understand why it’s more than a day off school. Here are some ways you can share the day with them.
Read to them
There are a number of accessible biographies of Martin Luther King Jr. Reading one with your kids is a great way to teach them about the civil rights movement and, depending on their age, to help them develop their understanding of the ongoing civil rights struggles taking place in America today.
Make a themed craft
For younger or more artistically-minded kids, try creating artwork centered around a theme like peace, diversity, acceptance or generosity. These values are all central to MLK Jr.’s legacy. You could create peace signs, doves or garlands made up of diverse people holding hands.
Bring your kids to museums and libraries holding events for the holiday. These institutions often have activities for younger kids while providing informative installations for older children and teenagers. Some places also hold parades and marches you can attend.
Watch the “I have a dream” speech
If your kids are older, watch the speech Martin Luther King Jr. gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It’s a timeless articulation of his message and watching it presents an opportunity for you and your kids to discuss how the speech continues to be relevant today. Perhaps it’ll even provide insight into ways they could volunteer.
Exposing young people to the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. is a key way to help keep his message alive. This year, take a bit of time to share his insight and wisdom with your children.
How to socialize your new puppy
Socializing puppies early is the key to making sure they develop into well-adjusted dogs. Most experts agree that between two and four months old is the ideal age to begin. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Register for puppy class
An obedience training program will expose your pup to other dogs and people, while teaching them how to respond to basic commands. Learning alongside other puppies trains them to concentrate on you, even when there are distractions.
Bring your dog everywhere
Let your dog accompany you on as many errands as possible. Walking your canine companion through town is a great opportunity for them to become used to the area’s sights, sounds and smells. If your puppy is comfortable with it, allow all types of strangers to greet and pet them.
Invite people over
Dogs need to learn how to greet visitors into their homes as well as on the street. Inviting other people and dogs over to meet your pooch will illustrate that visitors are welcome and that there’s no need to protect the home from them.
Socializing dogs is important but it does leave them more exposed to disease. Until they’re fully vaccinated, be sure to keep them away from off-leash dog parks and other places where they may come into contact with unfamiliar canines.
Are there any alternatives to declawing cats?
There are two effective ways to protect your furniture, curtains and children from your cat’s claws without having to declaw it. After all, declawing is a major operation. The solution? Scratching posts and nail caps.
Scratching posts are covered in materials that cats love to dig their claws into, such as cardboard, wood, carpet or jute. A post gives your pet a perfect place to scratch as much as it wants, but the challenge is to get your cat interested in doing so. If your cat ignores its scratching post, it’s probably because the post isn’t located in the right place. Typically, it should be where your pet wants to scratch to mark its territory. To solve this problem, move the post around until your cat shows interest; try placing it near the corner of a sofa, for instance. You can also make the post more attractive by hanging a toy on it or by sprinkling it with catnip.
Nail caps are protective membranes attached directly to trimmed claws with non-toxic glue. These guards are painless, last about six weeks and are available in various colors. Talk to your veterinarian to learn more about nail caps or declawing.