Articles from October 2012

5 Ways to Unwind At Night

The evening is a great time to relax and let go of some of the day’s troubles. Everyone has various rituals, and habits for relaxing in the evening and some are more conducive sleep than others. The following are great ways to relax and prepare your body sleeping.

1)   Read a book

Instead of turning on the TV, pick up a book. Watching TV right before bed can over stimulate you and the bright screen may disrupt your natural sleep rhythms. While it has not been proven, it is logical to assume that looking at bright screens close to bedtime will disrupt your sleep.  Reading a book will engage your mind, and keep you away from bright TV and computer screens. 5 Ways to Unwind At Night

2)   Turn the lights down

For the same reasons watching TV disrupts your sleep, bright lights may prohibit your body’s natural ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that signals sleep. Using a few lamps in the evening instead of many bright overhead lights, may make it easier to fall asleep.

3)   Have a light snack

According to Healthy Living Talk, certain foods help people fall asleep at night such as complex carbohydrates. Don’t eat so much that your stomach is full, but a little snack may prevent you from waking up hungry during the night.

4)   Write

Making a list for tomorrow, may help you not worry about tomorrow’s needs and plans before you fall asleep. Journaling is also a great habit to aid falling asleep. Your mind is less likely to race if you write out the things you are thinking about. A calm mind will help you fall asleep quickly.

5)   Stretch

Many people carry around tension from the day in their muscles. Taking time to stretch can relieve some of that tension, so that you can rest easier. Avoid exercise that elevates your heart rate, as it may take some time to relax afterward. Instead do simple stretches, that do not push your muscles past the point of pain.

There are many ways to relax in the evening. Some people enjoy playing games with family, playing or listening to music, or drinking a cup of tea. Unwinding is an important part of the day. If your evening activities aren’t helping you sleep at night, consider what you can change. What is your favorite way to unwind in the evening?


Photo “Day 9: ‘Evening Routine” courtesy of Sean Freese

Kids Art for your Bedroom

Pieces of art in your bedroom add life and color to an often overlooked area of the house. If you have a family you don’t have to go far to find beautiful, unique pieces of art to hang in your bedroom. There are many creative and stylish ways to display your child’s art so that your bedroom will honor your child’s work, while remaining an adult sanctuary. Not only is your child’s art great decoration, but giving your child’s work center stage will show them you value their hard work and creativity.  

Frame It

One of the easiest ways to display your child’s art is simply to frame it. You can buy prefabricated frames and cut your child’s art to the appropriate size. Or, if it is something you want to keep for a long time, consider having it custom framed. Pair several pieces of art, with purchased prints to create a collage above your headboard. Don’t forget to use mats when appropriate to develop an even more professional look. There are also hinged frames available that open without removing them from the wall. These frames allow you to change artwork easily and store old artwork.


Apartment Therapy suggests using curtain rods and metal clips to hang the art. You can hang the rods in rows over your bed, or on a small wall in your bedroom. Or, just place a single rod above dresser. This allows art to be easily interchanged and several pieces to be hung at once. The design is both casual and refined, and the art can be displayed sparsely, or densely overlapped, according to your preference.


A collage is another fun way to create a work of art that can display numerous pieces at one time. Remodelista shows a professional collage using pictures of art work. The professional design displayed in this example is very expensive, but a similar version could be made using a digital camera and ordering or printing your own prints. Take pictures of individual works, and then print them in a uniform size. They can then be fixed to a background in a pattern you design or as a grid and placed in a frame.

Better than a Bulletin Board

Another idea uses old frames, or frames that match your decor. Cover a piece of cardboard, cut to fit the frame, with some trendy fabric and a little bit of batting. Place the covered cardboard in the frame without the glass covering. You can then use push pins to display the latest piece of art in the frame. This has the same functionality as a bulletin board, while being slightly more sophisticated.

With a little creativity and work, you can make your child’s art into fun decor for your bedroom.  How do you display your children’s art?


Photo, “Child Art, Apple Portrait” courtesy of Ano Lobo

Bedroom Decorating Ideas-Room Dividers

It is believed that a person falls asleep easier when the only thing they do in their bedroom is sleep. Doing work in the bedroom can cause your mind to race when it is time to sleep, and your body has more difficulty distinguishing between time to work and time to sleep. This can be a difficult problem when the best space in your house for a home office or work space is also the bedroom.

Different Materials

Because of their size and distance from the typical commotion of more central places in the house, master bedrooms are often the ideal choice for a home office. Fortunately, the problem of sharing work space and sleep space can be solved with a stylish room divider. Creating this division will allow to use all of the space in your room and still have an ideal sleeping environment.

There is a large variety of materials that can be used to divide rooms. A simple bookshelf can be both functional and create a barrier between work space and sleep space. Old folding doors can be found at thrift stores, antique shops or even salvaged from remodeling construction sites.  Refinished, they can make a beautiful and functional room divider.  HGTV  gives instructions for covering doors with fabric so you can creatively complement your master bedroom decor.

Fabric can also be used to divide the room by hanging it like a curtain. The advantage of this room divider is that it can be easily moved to open up the space when necessary.  Another simple room divider that can be easily moved, are vases. Fill tall vases with willow branches. Place several in a row. This will create the sense of separation without completely closing off the space.

For a more permanent room divider, consider installing glass blocks or textured glass. Better Homes and Gardens points out that this approach will allow the spaces to share light and still give a sense of openness, while creating separate space.

Traditional room screens can also be found at retailers and antique shops. Browsing antique shops may give you additional ideas for material that can be used as dividers, such as shuttered windows or floor length mirrors.

These are just a few ways you can make your space more functional without sacrificing quality sleep. The possibilities are endless and can be used anywhere in your house to create individual spaces without putting up a new wall.


Photo “Sakura room divider” Courtesy of Manisha B.

The Link Between Exercise and Sleep

Exercise has been blamed for both lack of sleep and increased ability to sleep. Each individual responds to exercise differently, and some individuals may have a difficult time falling asleep directly after intense physical activity and others may find they sleep better on days when they have exerted some energy in the form of exercise.  Scientist show that the general, long term effect of exercise is improved sleep. There are several reasons for this.

Reduce Stress

Exercise reduces stress. According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, physical activity causes your body to release neurotransmitters called endorphins. These endorphins improve your mood and help you feel better, reducing your overall stress level. The Mayo Clinic also suggests that exercising can act as a form of meditation. Focusing on a single physical activity can help calm your thoughts and reduce your stress level. Because a high stress level is one factor that hinders people from sleeping, using exercise to reduce the amount of stress you feel can improve sleep.

Improved Quality

Studies show that people who are more active throughout the day can fall asleep faster, producing a more quality amount of sleep over time.  The study discussed was done on children, but they mentioned that other studies have shown similar results in adults. This study said that “every hour of sedentary activity during the day resulted in an additional three minutes in the time it took to fall asleep at night. And the children who fell asleep faster ultimately slept longer, getting an extra hour of sleep for every 10-minute reduction in the time it took them to drift off.”  So, the less time spent sitting still during the day, the more quality sleep kids get.

While, exercising right before sleep may make it difficult for you to fall asleep initially, exercise in general can help you get better quality sleep. Carve out time in your day to be active, even if its a short walk with your dog around the neighborhood or a few minutes spent gardening. Finding an activity you enjoy will make it easier to exercise more and be more effective in reducing your stress level.  The positive effects of exercising, including improved health, weight loss, reduced stress and more quality sleep make it worth the extra effort.

Photo “First Rule of Walking: Keep Hydrated” courtesy of sister72