4 Major Factors that Affect Your Sleep

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In an increasingly busy world in which people are finding themselves pulled in a million different directions at once, getting enough sleep every night can be more difficult than it should be. There are a whole range of techniques that you can use to help you drift off, but sometimes it seems like nothing works as well as it should. A useful bit of information to know is what external factors actually direct your sleep. That way, you are in a better position to be able to control them to help you get the shut-eye that you need for both your physical and mental wellbeing. So, let’s take a look at some of these.



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Of course, light is one of the top external factors that can both directly and indirectly affect your sleep. Directly, light makes it more difficult to drift off, while indirectly, it influences the timing of your internal clock. Our eyes contain light-sensitive cells which tell the brain whether it is daytime or nighttime. Since the invention of the light bulb, we have become much more exposed to constant light than our ancestors. If you are struggling with light entering through your bedroom window, try a blackout blind to keep it out.



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You are probably already well aware how difficult it can be to get to sleep if you are feeling too hot or too cold. When you actually going to sleep, the set point for your body temperature goes down. This is designed to induce sleep which is why people tend to do better in a room that is cooler. Make sure that you don’t pile up your bed with too many blankets and think about getting a Casablanca fan to help regulate temperature. It has also been found that cold feet can be a factor in waking you up in the middle of the night, so consider sleeping in socks if this is the case.




Individuals across all age ranges tend to find it more difficult to get to sleep if they are experiencing high levels of stress. When they do actually fall asleep, it tends to be lighter, including more REM sleep and less deep sleep. Your body is designed to wake up to combat any danger, which is why going to sleep in a stressed condition is not a good idea. People use a range of techniques to tackle stress, but it generally helps to stick to a bedtime routine that includes calming exercises such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga.


Chemical Factors

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There are a wide range of chemical factors that influence both quantity and quality of sleep. Some of the most common include alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. All of these substances need to be limited as much as possible, particularly when it is leading up to bedtime. Even though alcohol may help you to drift off at first, the quality of sleep that you get is usually a lot worse which is why many of us wake up feeling tired after a few drinks.  

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Bringing the Kids Back Home After Graduation

For many students, graduation is just around the corner. After that, they’re in the big bad world, where they have to make it on their own…or so the idea goes. First, besides maybe a spot of traveling with their friends, they’ll be moving back in with mom and dad until they figure out whatever it is they’ll do next. This is good news (they’re home!) and bad news (they’re home…) but handled correctly it’ll be good for everyone involved.

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Out of University, Into the Home


Your child will have had a fun few years at home, during which they made friends, grew as individuals, and acquired a whole bunch of stuff. If they’re not able to sell the hefty furniture and other bulky items they had in the university accommodation, that’ll have to come back home with them until they move out again. First, use a service like Shiply to get it all home in one piece (and without hassle). Then carve out space in your home where you can store it. It’ll take up more space than you’d like, but it’s easier to keep it rather than have your child buy all new belongings next time they move out.


Setting the Rules


When they first get home, have a BBQ and toast the successful completion of the student days. Let them relax for a while; they’ve earned it. When the party’s over, though, make sure they’re aware of the ground rules of the house. This isn’t university anymore, and they can’t just do as they please – it’s your home, and if they want to live under your roof, they need to abide by your rules.

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To Make Them Pay, or Not?


This is a tricky one. Your child has mostly moved back home as a cost-cutting exercise, so it wouldn’t be fair to make them pay a full rent. However, their presence will bring your home bills up, so they shouldn’t get a free ride. Anyway, life isn’t easy! They have to pay something. Even a token gesture that goes toward the cost of running the house will let them know this isn’t a charity case. If they’re smart, they’ll know they’re getting a good deal and won’t have any complaints.


Enough is Enough


At some point, you’re going to have to give your child fair warning that they should move out of the house. This shouldn’t be done nastily, of course – sell them the virtues of setting out into the world and living on their own rather than making it sound like you just don’t want them there! Some children never leave the family home, and they’re missing out on important life experiences that they can’t regain later in life!


The Good Times

Even though having your child at home might test your patience from time to time, you should appreciate having them there on a short-term basis. Once they really flee the nest, they’ll never really big back, so enjoy their presence while you can.

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Maintaining a Healthy Mouth

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Maintaining a healthy mouth is important, not only for your physical appearance but also for your physical health. Most people think that they have their oral health covered, but if you’re doing nothing more than brushing, flossing and rinsing, you’re not doing all you can do to keep your mouth healthy.


Here are some of the key things you need to do if you want to maintain a healthy mouth:


Check in With Your Dentist


If you’re one of those people who hates visiting the dentist and you do all you can to avoid a visit, you really need to bite the bullet and make an appointment right now. Around half of the US population do not see their dentists at least once a year and this is such a shame because dentists will catch the tell-tale signs of tooth decay gum disease and other problems much sooner than the average person, and they will be able to refer you to places like http://harrelldentalimplantcenter.com/ should you need dental implants, dentures or other cosmetic dental procedures.


Ditch the Soda


Even if you’re brushing, flossing, rinsing and visiting your dentist as directed, if you are drinking soda more than occasionally, you are doing untold damage to your teeth. It might not be evident yet, but if you continue sipping the sweet stuff, eventually your teeth will fall foul of acid erosion and cavities, and they will start to look less than their best. You might think that switching to diet soda will solve the problem, but diet drinks still contain acid, and this will have a negative effect on your teeth.


Give Up Smoking

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If you’re a smoker, there are many reasons to give up the habit, as you can see at http://www.tobaccofreemaine.org/quit_tobacco/ and although the health of your teeth might not be the most pressing one, it is something you should think about, especially if you want to avoid yellow, nicotine stained teeth and bad breath.


Choose Your Toothbrush Wisely


If you are brushing with a toothbrush that has stiff, harsh bristles, you could cause your gums to bleed, or even recede, which is why you should always choose a brush that has soft bristles and replace it after 3-months maximum.


Perfect Your Brushing Technique


Brushing twice a day isn’t enough, you need to practice the proper technique too. In order to do so, you should hold the brush at an angle of 45 degrees when pointing towards the gum line. Then, gently brush your teeth using circular motions. This will remove plaque and food without causing damage to your gum-line.


Perfect Your Flossing Technique

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Again, it is important that you floss your teeth correctly if you want to maintain healthy teeth and gums. The right way to floss is by winding a foot of floss between both index fingers, allowing a couple of inches to work with. Hold the floss tight to the tooth and use a new piece for each tooth.


If you do all of these things and you watch what you eat, you will have one of the healthiest mouths around.

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Your 5-Day Plan For Moving House

Have you been losing sleep about your upcoming house move? It’s true that moving house can be very stressful, but there are various ways you can try to reduce all the stress and worrying. One of the best ways is to make sure that you are as organized as you can be. And there is no better way to get organized than by getting a plan in order. To help your move go as easy as possible, I’ve created this five-day plan. It includes everything you need to do on each day in the run up to your big move!



Five Days To Go: Start Packing


Don’t leave your packing until the last minute. Otherwise, you will only rush it and could end up leaving some important items behind. This will also give you enough time if you need to source some extra packing materials, like extra cardboard boxes or bubble wrap. When you take your time packing, you will also find that you are able to be a lot more efficient and won’t need to cram a lot into very few boxes.


Four Days To Go: Consider Auto Shipment


Have you already figured out how you are going to transport your car to your new home? Most families drive it themselves, especially if they are going to put some of their home items in it if they run out of space in the van. However, some cars may not make the long drive for moves that cross through states. This is when a company like carshippingquotes.co comes in. When you hire a car shipping company, they will collect your car and safely transport it to your new home. You will have complete peace of mind knowing that it’s in safe hands!


Three Days To Go: Check In With Your Moving Company


When there are just three days ago, you need to check in with your moving company to make sure that they are ready to help you on your big day. All you need to do is give them a quick call to confirm the time you want them to be at your home. It’s also worth making sure that they know the route to your new property.



Two Days To Go: Get The Keys


If you haven’t already got the keys to your new home, get them just a couple of days before you move. If you have some spare time before the actual moving day, and your new property isn’t too far away, you might want to take some things to leave at your home.


One Day To Go: Clean Your Old Home


You should clean your old house so that it is ready for the new owners. If you don’t have much time for this yourself, you could always hire a new company such as americanhousekeepingutah.com. Once it’s all cleaned, you can start to focus on what you need to do the next day – moving day!
Hopefully, this will talk all the stress away from your move!

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Communication is Vital!

Orange 1970’s vintage phone. Seen at 42nd St Station in PDX. 4/17/2015

Ever have a person or business representative say that they’ll call you right back then they don’t? Yeah, it’s happened to me, too. Truth is, this is one of the big complaints people have regarding communication.

If you’re in business, the best way to keep customers is to get back to them when you say you will. All too often, I hear stories about people who have legitimate questions or complaints be told by a company representative that they’ll be called back within a certain amount of time, then never get the call back at all.

In a way, this is also an integrity issue. But aside from that, communicating with the customer keeps them in the loop and let’s them know where they stand. I know that, for myself, I prefer a call back when I’m told to expect one, even if it’s to say they have no answer yet, to no callback at all. I’m sure most people feel the same way.

Now, this is a two-way street, and also applies to person to person communication, not just business communication. If you tell a friend you’ll call them within a certain time, do it. And, if you are the customer, and you say you’ll call or come by to pick up the package, etc, by a certain time, you’re just as obligated to do so as the business was to call you back if that’s what it said it would do.

So, just don’t promise to communicate or call, then forget. It leaves the other party hanging, and also damages your credibility with them.

Photos of my Motorola Moto-e 2nd generation 2015 phone. 4/30/2016

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Top Tips for Trade Show Success

If you run a small business or you are a freelancer, it can be difficult to know how to divide up your time. You want to spend as much time as possible doing what you do best, but if you don’t actually take the time to get your name out there and drum up business, then you are never going to be able to sustain your business for a long period of time.

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Even though so much business has moved online these days, attending or exhibiting at a trade show can still be a valuable thing to do to develop new contacts, and hopefully, clients. Whatever type of industry you work in, there will certainly be a few trade shows that you can go to. However, before you actually attend, you will want to ask yourself a few key questions so you and your business can make the most of the experience.


Why Am I Attending?


Okay, it is a very obvious one, but still a question that needs answering nevertheless. You may be there to launch a new product, build up your personal brand or simply to generate some new contacts. Once you have established your central motive, you will be in a much better position to make sure you are fully prepared for the show. You also need to establish why you have chosen this particular show ahead of others, whether it is because you will find a more targeted client base or because it is the biggest of its kind.


Am I Fully Prepared?


Getting ready for a show several months in advance can save you both time and money. Signing up early can get you significantly discounted rates, and this is particularly important if you are planning to exhibit at the show. On the flip side, trade shows are notorious for hitting you with unexpected costs if you sign up at the last minute. Make sure to have any business cards and other marketing materials you need printed off well in advance, and prepare any shipping cases you may need from https://customshippingcases.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=79. Plan a budget and timeline in advance, and stick as closely to this as you possibly can.


Who Am I Targeting?


The biggest trade shows can have tens of thousands of people milling about, so you want to make sure you are actually talking to the right people. Try to be proactive in your approach to the trade show. If you have a booth, this will be your base camp, but you should also seek out potential buyers of your goods or services. Many trade shows offer maps of who is exhibiting and where, so make sure to study this so you end up talking to the right people. The amount of time that you have at the event is limited, so you will want to make sure that you are making the most of this unique opportunity.


Have I Prepared Supporting Materials?

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As well as the memory of actually talking to you, you should give potential clients different marketing materials to take away with them. If you have yet to develop a strong brand, logo and colour scheme, there has never been a better time to do this. If you have a stand, it needs to be eye-catching to encourage people to stop rather than simply walking by. Your primary marketing tool will probably be your business card, but you should also consider giving people and brochure detailing your experience, the services you offer and any client testimonials that you have acquired. Also consider any extra items that could make you stand out from the crowd like stationary, tote bags and other gimmicks. If you have attended a few of these shows in the past, you will be in a much better position to work out what works and what doesn’t


Have I Contacted a PR Firm?


If you are planning to make a big impression at the show, you may want to consider hiring a PR firm to maximise your presence. Most shows have some sort of media attendance, and PR firms have the best network of contacts that can set you up with exclusive opportunities before, during and after the show. Once again, it pays dividends to get in contact with them well in advance so they have the most time to work their magic.


Have I Promoted My Own Presence at the Show?


You don’t want to just rely on outside firms to promote your presence at the trade show, but you should also be shouting about it yourself. Use your social media accounts to post information about your attendance and also write a blog to go on your website. You could also start contacting other firms that you know will be in attendance, telling them that you will be there and also setting up early meetings. While you are actually at the show, you could consider updating your accounts with some video content showing people how the event is going.


Do I Have a Post-Show Plan?

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Once you have got back from the trade show, your work isn’t completely over. If everything has gone according to plan, you should come away with a hatful of new business cards and you now need to follow up your leads. Send an email thanking them for talking with you, and detailing some more information about the types of services that you offer. If you don’t get a response, it is worth putting in a phone call. The longer your wait, the more likely it is that you will miss out on the business and all your hard work could have gone to waste.
These are just a few of the top questions that you can ask yourself before attending a trade show. If you make sure you are fully prepared before the show, you will be able to make the most of your time there. But don’t forget to have a plan in place afterward as well so you can follow up on the connections you have made.

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2017: The Year Of The First Time Buyer

Whether you are buying a house to live in or using it as an investment opportunity for the future, 2017 is the year of the first time buyer thanks to the increase in FHA mortgages and record low interest rates.


In fact not since the home owners loan corporation was founded in 1933 to help first time buyers secure their first property, and keep it, has there been more of a deal to help Americans get on the property ladder.


Here are five reasons you should be considering your first mortgage in 2017.

Image courtesy of the Franklin Society


  1. Prices remain stable – now is the time to get the best deal on your first property as prices remain stable and there is no sign of an imminent drop.  In fact if anything we could continue you to see price growth which means that you could pick up a deal that increases in value in your first year. This is the perfect opportunity for investment even if you aren’t ready to settle down to homeownership just yet.
  2. Sellers will negotiate – there are a lot of motivated sellers on the market that just want to move on.  This means you have the chance to negotiate on price like never before thus getting more bricks for your buck.
  3. More loan options – banks and lenders are extending their mortgage offers for qualifying first time buyers so you have lots more options when it comes to actually borrowing money and getting the best deal.
  4. Low interest rates – with interest rates remaining low now is good time to take advantage of mortgage savings and deals. This won’t be the case forever so you should always budget for interest rates rising and be comfortable that you can afford the repayments whatever the rate of interest.
  5. Move away from renting – more and more people are seeing rental property as a waste of money and want to invest in their own home as a way of saving for the future. Investing in property is a great idea because if you chose the right property it will only increase in value in time meaning your investment is sound.  
  6. Rental income – investment properties can also generate rental income either now or as a retirement nest egg.  Beach side properties and properties in popular locations can generate huge amounts of income above the average mortgage repayment amount.   So you could end up paying your mortgage off quicker as well as earning an extra revenue stream, which is a great way of building personal wealth.
  7. Security – your own home provides you and your family with some financial security, particularly if you build equity into it which can be released in an emergency. It also provides peace of mind in terms of being able to set down roots, find good schools for your children and become part of a local community without worrying if you might be asked to move on if your landlord needs the property back.

So if you are a first time buyer, or indeed anyone looking to buy a home you should definitely go for it in 2017.

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