5 Effortless Ways to Sleep Longer and Feel More Refreshed

We know a good night’s sleep is critical for our overall health and well-being. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over a third of adults don’t get enough sleep.

But there’s good news. If you’re stressing about not getting enough sleep, try one of these effortless, Harvard-approved techniques to sleep longer and feel more refreshed.

1. Let the Light In

Light has a huge effect on our circadian rhythm – the internal clock that runs regular intervals between sleepiness and alertness. Exposure to natural light is important in keeping this internal clock ticking on a healthy cycle. If you want to feel more refreshed after a night of sleep, leave the curtain or blinds open a crack to let the rising sun’s light in. It also helps to get outside and spend time under the sun mid-day.

2. Eat Lighter Evening Meals

Going to bed on a full stomach is likely to make it harder to sleep, especially if the food causes indigestion. Of course, hunger can be a sleep distraction as well. It’s all about balance.

Avoid eating anything substantial several hours before bedtime. If your schedule just doesn’t allow that kind of a break, try eating smaller meals throughout the day so you don’t have to go heavy on dinner. You should also balance your fluid intake, drinking enough to keep you hydrated, but not so much that you’ll wake up in the middle of the night.

3. Take Shorter Naps

Napping can be a highly refreshing. Some workplaces even encourage their employees to take a short mid-day nap! However, taking long naps, especially later in the day, can hinder your ability to get a good night’s rest. We don’t think you should cut out napping entirely if it helps you feel good, but you should consider making it brief if you find yourself laying in bed awake at night.

4. Have a Simple, Effortless Nighttime Routine

Having a relaxing evening routine can help ease the transition from wake time to sleep time. However, this can be a daunting prospect for those who have a tight schedule or have difficulty starting new habits.

Worry not – your bedtime routine doesn’t have to involve complicated relaxation exercises, heavy reading, or scented bubble baths. Instead of forcing yourself to engage in something new, build your routine around avoiding stressful, stimulating ones. Stimulating and stressful activities cause your body to produce the stress hormone cortisol, which makes you more alert. Just do something that causes zero stress – whether that’s petting your dog, cleaning the counters, or watching your favourite TV show for the hundredth time. Whatever works!

5. Set the Stage for Hibernation

Where do bears go to hibernate? Caves. Quiet, dark, cool environments promote sound and refreshing slumber. Your bedroom doesn’t need to resemble a den, but it should hit those three big points if you want to get the best, most refreshing sleep possible. Turn down the volume with earplugs or a white noise machine, dim the lights (including the glow of electronics), and turn the thermostat down a few degrees to create a sleep-inducing space.

3 Things You Should Be Doing to Beat Holiday Stress

beat holiday stress

Breathe. Take a step back. Focus on now.

We all know the basics of mindfulness. However, when things start moving quickly, as they often do over the Novermber-December holidays, it’s easy to forget. Stress can cast a shadow over the holidays – but these holiday mindfulness tips can help beat stress before it makes its mark.

Let Your Emotions Come

For many people, the holidays invoke a whole host of mixed emotions. The decorations and the music can bring both the warm, fuzzy side of nostalgia and a sense of loss and longing over days gone by. Gift-giving can invoke both excitement and anxiety over giving (and receiving) the perfect gift. For those who find themselves alone, the holidays can exacerbate feelings of isolation.

This is normal. Expect it and accept it. Don’t bury your negative emotions for the sake of playing the perfect host – give yourself time and space to acknowledge your feelings, and if possible, share them with someone you trust.

Know Your Needs

Once December rolls around, you often find yourself with a whole lot more on your plate than you did in previous months. Even if your family eschews the mandatory gift-giving, it’s likely you’ll be expected to appear at a number of holiday-related functions, which can ramp up the stress for those who find these events difficult. The marathon of obligations can be exhausting.

Don’t let your own needs get lost in the holiday hustle. You can’t please everyone, and sometimes, it’s better to sit out for your own sake. If you find yourself the host of these events, find someone who can help share the responsibilities so you have time to care for yourself as well.

Let Go

Just think: a few weeks from now, you’ll probably be sitting down with your family for a traditional holiday meal. Does the scene fill you with excitement? Or did a little bit of dread just enter your heart?

Some people have nothing but good feelings for their families. But for many, family gatherings are a mixed bag. There are happy reunions, to be sure, but there are also old grudges and difficult memories.

By now, you’re probably already looking ahead to 2018. While it’s important not to dwell too much on things yet to come, living in the past can be just as destructive. The holidays can be a helpful opportunity to contemplate things you’ve been holding onto, and let go.

Don’t Forget the Importance of Fire Safety

Contemporary life has many responsibilities, so it is difficult to keep up with all of them. That can often mean addressing the most urgent ones first and then ultimately forgetting about some other important issues. For example, if our furnace dies, that is something at the forefront of our mind and a problem that will be fixed posthaste. This results in things like fire safety not always receiving the attention they should. Here are some reasons why you need to remember this important issue:

Smoke alarms

Make sure that you have one installed on every floor of your home including the attic and basement. Be sure to periodically test them to make sure that the battery or electrical connection is still working. Mark a date on your calendar each month so that you remember to do it.

Keep an eye on the stove

It always pays to be attentive when cooking because you food tends to turn out better that way. Also, it makes for a safer kitchen since you are keeping an eye on what you have cooking. Do not ever put something on the stove and then leave the kitchen for an extended period because you may come back to a house on fire.

Map out an escape plan

Sit down with your family and discuss what you will do in case of a fire. Make sure that everyone knows where the exits are and what they should do if they cannot access one of them. If you are not sure about how to do this, consult your local fire department for advice.

Smoking safety

If you must smoke, make sure to do it outside only. Do not under any circumstances smoke in bed or anywhere near oxygen containers. Make sure that all cigarette and cigar butts are extinguished (you can use water just to make sure). E-cigarettes are not exempt from safety concerns; they can have faulty batteries that ignite during charging.

Your Essential Canadian Fall Maintenance Routine

Yet another Canadian summer has gone by, and it’s already time to get ready for the long, chilly winter to come. Don’t wait until the snow rolls in to prepare – take care of these essential home maintenance tasks before the last leaf hits the ground.

Check Safety Devices

It’s never a bad time to inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detector, but it’s especially important to do so in the fall. You’ll be switching on the furnace and lighting the fireplace in the next few months, so make sure you’re protected in case of trouble. Replace batteries and test your devices to make sure they’re in good working order.

Have Your Furnace Inspected

Your furnace has been sitting dormant for the last few months, so now is the time to get it back up and running. You don’t want to wait until the cold weather hits to discover you have a problem. HVAC companies are flooded with calls at the start of each winter, and you may have to wait in line or pay a premium if you need service right away. Instead, call the pros now and have them test for leaks, check the efficiency of your furnace, and replace the air filter.

While you’re at it, it’s time to put away the air conditioner for another year. If you have a window unit, remove it and put it somewhere safe and dry until spring, and cover outdoor units to protect them from the incoming weather.

Drain outdoor faucets

You won’t be doing much gardening or car-washing this winter, so it’s best to drain out your outside taps. Shutting them off isn’t enough, as there may be leftover water in the pipes that could freeze and burst when it goes below zero. All outdoor faucets have an indoor shutoff valve, usually located on the wall of your basement where the pipe exits the house. Shut it off, then open the outside faucet to let it drain completely before turning it back into the off position.

Caulk Windows and Doors

Gaps and cracks in windows, doors, and other opening are one of the biggest sources of heat loss in the winter. To keep your heating bill from rising, do a check of the perimeter and caulk over any gaps you see between windows, doors, vents, exhaust fans, and any cables or pipes running outside the house (including the above-mentioned tap.)

If you feel a draft coming in, but you can’t spot a hole, there’s an easy way to check. Light a candle and hold it to the cold spot; if the candle flickers, you’ve got a gap. You can also identify small gaps with the help of a professional energy auditor.

Clean Eaves and Downspouts

It’s a messy job, but not as messy as dealing with the potential consequences of neglecting your eavestrough. When the channel gets clogged with leaves and debris, water can build up on your roof and seep into the house. The problem gets worse when winter rolls around, as the debris forms an ‘ice dam’ and causes snow to build up.

Once the trees are mostly done losing their leaves, climb up and remove as much of the debris as you can. Be sure to wear safety gloves, and always use safety equipment to prevent falls. If you’re not confident or you lack the necessary equipment, hire a professional to do the job for you.


How to Make Your New House Feel Like Home

Moving requires a lot of planning and can be quite stressful. However, this work is balanced by the excitement that most of feel when we move into a new home. This house or condo may be one we have been dreaming of for sometime, so it is a real accomplishment to know that it will be yours for years to come.

However, a new home can also seem a bit off-putting at first. This can be particularly true if you have lived in one place for many years.

Here are three easy ways that you can help to make a new house feel like home faster:


There are certain necessities we all require, one being a good night’s sleep. Unless it’s late and you are absolutely exhausted from the move, do not sleep on the floor. We are all used to our beds, so sleeping it in as much as possible during those first few days in the new house provides an important sense of comfort and familiarity.

Bring Out Your Favourite Things

We all have certain things we love and cherish. They might include a favourite painting, a photograph, or a family heirloom. These all help to remind us of home and loved ones, so you can give your new place that same feeling by unpacking them and placing them on display.

Maintain Your Regular Routine

It can take awhile to get all of your things into the new house and plan where they will go. Otherwise, you should try and stick to your normal routine. Go swimming on Saturdays? Keep doing that. Always play cards with friends Sunday evening? Don’t cancel (in fact, invite them over!). Maintaining our everyday routine is a way of telling our mind
that everything is fine and on schedule. Work your unpacking
around your regularly scheduled activities.

The Benefits of a Clean Home

We all know that a neat and clean environment is more likely to make us feel happy about ourselves and our lot in life. A mess at home indicates to others that we are not keeping on top of our responsibilities. That can be rather embarrassing, but there are other reasons you should set aside time to do that spring/summer/fall/winter cleaning.

First off, you will actually feel better. Not just because everything is where it’s supposed to be, but you will be less likely to become sick. Bacteria, dust, pet dander, and mold are just plain bad for your health and can actually lead to issues like allergies and asthma.

If you like to entertain and spend time with friends and loved ones, you will be more likely to have them over if your home is clean. Likewise, they will be more likely to accept if they can sit down and not stick to something.

Cleaning makes you more aware of your environment. As a result, you are more likely to realize that something needs to be repaired or replaced before a major problem breaks out that could cost you a lot of money.

There is physical activity involved in cleaning (a lot of physical activity, if you have tried to clean my home!), so it is actually quite good for you! Maybe not something you would like to do everyday, but once a week is not too much to ask.

A clean home will make you feel more useful and effective as a person. Also, you are less likely to feel guilty about those days and nights where all you really want to do is watch TV. If the house is clean, go ahead, you’ve earned it! Enjoy that sense of accomplishment because it will also make other aspects of your life seem more do-able.

Living in the North: Why It’s a Good Idea to Have Heat


Approximately 33% of the year in Canada the weather is extremely cold. This is also true for parts of the United States such as Michigan and Wisconsin. The number of states that have cold weather ranges from 10-12. Some years it even snows as far south as Jacksonville Florida! Can you imagine! It’s amazing! There are a number of factors which come together to produce such a dramatic shift in climate. For one thing, theres the fact that the sun is further from the earth, as well the earth tilts on its axis and aims us away from the sun. This seasonal shift does not occur in more central parts of the region such as the equator. The equator is basically the region of the earth that is in the exact middle of the latitude. Most tropical regions are between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. Every winter its important to make sure we get the proper weather treatment ready for our houses.

There are a number of steps to be taken in order to get a house ready for the winter. Things like windows, doors, flooring, water treatment, roofing, etc. There are just a tonne of preparation steps that need to be taken to have a house ready for winter. A few years ago my furnace broke and then then I had to call for a broken furnace emergency repair service. Not only is it important for warmth but it will help you save money as well. We often see that people spend a lot on heat during the winter- by improving your insulation and windows you will keep that heat inside and as a result save more money. NOW THATS WHAT I CALL AWESOME!

I know for a fact that one of the best ways to improve on heating efficiency is to look to your furnace. Basically, you need to make sure that your furnace is up to date, you can learn more about that in the following link – www.HoggMechanical.com

Home Remedies And DIY Projects

Being a stay-at-home mom, you sometimes like to plan out some DIY projects to make your home more comfortable and decorative for your family. Here are a few home remedies and DIY projects I would like to try.

masonPlants – I have really been getting into plants and flowers lately. Those mason jars are a perfect vase for a nice flower setting. I might also try to make cactus plants using little plant pots you can get at the local grocery store.

Light switches – What would make a home more bright and cheerful? Colourful light switches! I want to try to change all the switches in my house to different cute ones with Disney characters on them or just some bright colours.

Drawer handles – I love it when a dresser has crystal handles or ones where it is different from the rest of the dresser. You can basically buy them one  at a time and then dress up a  drawer or dress down depending on the type of handle you choose.

That’s it for now but don’t forget to come back and check for more tips!