Six Tips For Getting the Kids To Sleep

Getting the kids back into a regular bedtime habit at the end of summer can be daunting. Tucking your child into bed at night is supposed to be a special and calm moment, but it can often turn into a struggle when kids don’t want to go to sleep. (Particularly after a summer of later bedtimes and sleeping in!) These tips can help you get your kids back to a regular bedtime routine that supports healthy sleep habits and happy, productive days. 

Start in the morning. Teach your child to make their bed when they get up in the morning. People who make their bed in the morning are 19% more likely to get a good night’s sleep every night, according to the NSF. While it’s not clear why, we’re guessing there is a connection between feeling good about where you sleep and your tendency to sleep through the night. 

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Pay attention to texture. Select soft linens and pajamas. Three-quarters of us claim that comfortable sheets and bedding are important to a good night’s rest. Since kids tend to kick off their covers at night, dress yours in pajamas made of breathable fabrics that keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Provide the right bedtime snack. Think about what you offer your child to eat or drink before bed. Foods containing tryptophan – the amino acid that is a building block of the sleep-related chemical serotonin – could encourage drowsiness. Turkey is a well-known source, but so are eggs, chicken, fish, and nuts. Another good bedtime snack is a light carbohydrate, such as whole -wheat crackers with a small amount of peanut butter, or cereal with milk. But avoid fatty, fried or spicy foods before bedtime that will upset the stomach and can interfere with sleep.

Set a bedtime routine. An early bedtime is important for kids – between 7 and 8 p.m. works best for most, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Since kids thrive on structure, creating a bedtime routine can take away the stress. Start 15 to 30 minutes before their actual bedtime by turning off the television and playing relaxing music. You might even dim the lights and talk softer. The most important part of your bedtime routine is that it’s consistent.

Create the ideal sleeping environment. If your child’s room is filled with too much excitement, it could be physically hard for them to fall asleep. Keep things calm, quiet and soft. A nightlight can provide just enough illumination to make your child feel safe. Soft fabrics for pillows and comforters can also be soothing.

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Remove electronics. Limit screen time before bedtime, which can activate your child’s brain. Also keep technology, such as televisions, computers and video games, out of your child’s room. The light these gadgets emit mimics daylight and tricks the brain into thinking it needs to stay awake.

 

 

5 Things To Do Before the End Of Summer

It’s August and that means it’s time to create a summer bucket list – things to do before the kids go back to school. Make the most of Midwest summers by putting a few of these summer activities with kids on the calendar:

1. Backyard Campout

Pitch a tent and go camping in your own back yard. If the weather doesn’t cooperate or if you miss your comfortable bed, you’ll be steps away from home. Roast hot dogs, make s’mores, and share stories under the stars.

2. Visit the Zoo 

There’s always something fun going on when you visit the animals. Pack a picnic lunch, and make a day of it. And check your local zoo’s website to see if there are any special activities gong on. If it gets hot, cool off with the penguins.

3. Set Up a Lemonade Stand

Your kids will learn business skills by making and selling lemonade. Help them design signs, pass out flyers and set prices.

4. Take A Trip to the Lake

If you live near a lake, pack up the car with towels, drinks, beach toys and lunch, and soak up the fun. Bring a few kayaks if you’ve got them. And don’t forget the sunscreen.

5. Go On a Nature Walk

Count how many different types of flowers you see. Search for colors. Or collect pine cones and fallen leaves for craft projects. You’ll learn something and get some exercise.

Sleep Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Your Bed?

How much do you know about your bed and sleep environment? You might be surprised at a few facts. Take this better sleep quiz to see if you’re “sleep smart.”

Sleep quiz mattress facts
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1. How often should you replace your mattress?
    • a.) Every three years
    • b.) Every five to seven years
    • c.) Every 10 years
    • d.) Every time you get a new bedroom set

Answer: Replace your mattress every five to ten years. Sleeping on older mattresses causes unnecessary back pain.

2. True or false: Your mattress can double its weight without a proper protector.

Answer: True! Dirt, oil, skin cells and dust mites get trapped inside, weighing it down as well as causing allergic reactions.

3. True or false: Sleep is more crucial to survival than food.

Answer: True! A human can survive two months without food, but only 11 days without sleep.

better sleep quiz
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4. How often should you replace your pillow?
  • a.) Every 12 months
  • b.) Every three years
  • c.) Every five to 10 years
  • d.) The age of the pillow isn’t important

Answer: Replace your pillow every 12 months? Hair and body oils soak into a pillow’s fabric and stuffing, making it a breeding ground for bacteria.

 

5. How long should it take you to fall asleep?
  • a.) As soon as your head hits the pillow
  • b.) 10 to 15 minutes
  • c.) 30 minutes
  • d.) 45 minutes

Answer: If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep, you’re probably sleep-deprived. Ideally, falling asleep should take 10-15 minutes.

How did you do on this better sleep quiz? Let us know in the comments below. And if you need to update any of the items in your room, head over to Art Van PureSleep for the latest technology and sleep solutions.

3 Health Benefits of a Rocking Chair

One of the best ways to sit back and relax is in the comfort of a rocking chair. Whether it’s on your porch, in your family room or in your bedroom, a rocking chair not only helps you unwind; it improves your health. Here are three benefits of a rocking chair.

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Rocking chairs ease back pain

Rocking chair therapy has been used for easing lower back pain. In fact, former president John F Kennedy used to use a rocking chair to ease his back pain. Rocking increases blood flow and sends oxygen to the joints.

The Helena Acacia Rocking Chair is available now. Shop the look at artvan.com.

Rocking chairs are good for mental health

A study from the University of Rochester found that the repetitive action of a rocking chair helps reduce anxiety, depression and tension. Rocking releases endorphins in the brain, improving your mood and reducing stress. This is probably why sitting on the porch in a rocking chair brings about happiness and great memories.

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Rocking chairs help you lose weight

Sitting and rocking burns 150 calories an hour, which is better than just sitting. Rocking chairs are a great way people with limited mobility can exercise regularly.

What benefits of a rocking chair are most important to you?

Three Fun Summer Party Ideas

Looking for an excuse to throw a party? Summer is a good enough reason in itself, and choosing a theme can help you come up with creative food and decorations. Here are three summer party ideas that will heat up your entertaining schedule this season:

Ice cream social

On a hot day, there isn’t a treat much better than a dish of ice cream! Fill a cooler with ice and add tubs of creamy gelatos, refreshing sorbets, and old-fashioned vanilla. Then set out toppings such as fudge sauce, fresh berries, nuts and sprinkles. Add dishes, cones and scoops and let guests serve themselves.

Outdoor Movie Night

Rent or borrow a DVD projector, then put up a screen or simply hang a white sheet from second story windows or on the garage door. Choose the movie; consider campy classics, such as Creature from the Black Lagoon, Beach Blanket Bingo or anything starring Elvis. Or select a fun summer flick, such as Stand By Me, National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Parent Trap, I Know What You Did Last Summer or Jaws. Pop popcorn, and offer snacks with bottles of Faygo and boxes of Good ‘n Plenty, Raisinettes and Dots. Set up chairs and enjoy the show!

Backyard Ball Game

If you have a great back yard, invite friends over for a fun game of softball. You can assign teams beforehand or pick on the spot. Enhance the fun by having t-shirts made. Make bases out of floor mats, and grab bats, balls and gloves. Then play ball! When the ninth inning is over, serve food favorites such as hot dogs off the grill, peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jacks and ice-cold beverages.

 

What are your favorite summer party ideas? Let us know in the comments below!