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A sleep expert advice gives the best tips for falling asleep quicker

The first is that we have to try and maintain regularity. And if there's one thing that you take away from this, it would be going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time, no matter whether it's the weekday or the weekend. Even if you've had a bad night of sleep, still wake up at the same time of day and reset.

The second thing is that we are a dark-deprived society in this modern era and we need darkness in the evening to allow the release of a hormone called melatonin. And melatonin helps the healthy timing of our sleep.

So try to dim down half the lights in your home in the hour before bed. Stay away from screens, especially those LED screens - they emit blue light that actually puts the breaks on melatonin. And those blue-light emitting devices fool your brain into thinking that it's still daytime, even though it's nighttime and you want to get to sleep.

 

The third key ingredient is to keep it cool. Many of us actually have a bedroom that's too warm in terms of temperature. 

So an optimal temperature is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit or about 18 and a half degrees Celsius. And the reason is that your brain and your body need to drop their core temperature by about two or three degrees Fahrenheit to initiate good sleep. And that's the reason why you'll always find it easier to fall asleep in a room that's too cold than too hot. So having a cool room actually takes your brain and body in the right temperature direction to get good sleep.

The fourth critical factor is actually avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Unfortunately, this makes me deeply unpopular but alcohol is perhaps the most misunderstood drug when it comes to sleep. People think that it helps them fall asleep. That's not actually true. Alcohol is a class of drugs that we call, "the sedatives." And what you're doing is just knocking your brain out. You're not putting it into natural sleep.

We also know that alcohol will fragment your sleep. So you'll wake up many more times throughout the night. And alcohol is also a very potent chemical for blocking your dream sleep or your rapid eye movement sleep.

Caffeine is also a problem. Many of us know that caffeine can keep us awake. It's an alerting chemical, it's a stimulant in terms of a class of drugs. But few people know that even if you can have a cup of coffee after dinner and you fall asleep fine and maybe you stay asleep, the depth of the deep sleep that you have when there is caffeine within your brain isn't as deep as when you've abstained from that cup of coffee after dinner. So as a consequence, you wake up the next morning, you feel unrefreshed and you don't remember waking up or having a difficult time falling asleep but now you find yourself reaching for two or three cups of coffee in the morning and you develop this dependency, this addiction cycle.

The fifth and final tip for better sleep is to not stay in bed awake. So if you haven't fallen asleep within 20 or so minutes or you've woken up and you're finding it difficult to fall back asleep, don't stay in bed awake. The reason is that your brain very quickly starts to learn the association between your bed being about the place that you're awake rather than your bed being about sleep. So the advice is to get up, go to another room and in dim light, just read a book. No screens, no email checking, no food. And only when you feel sleepy should you return to bed and that way you can then actually re-learn the association between your bedroom being about the place of sleep rather than being awake.

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A lot of my clients ask me about how to choose a rug for the nursery. The nursery is a tricky space because it’s typically the smallest room in the house, and finding a rug that properly fits within the furniture scheme can be daunting. Plus, how do you know what size to even look for? Should it float in the middle of the floor? What if you already have carpet? All of these are legitimate questions, and I will answer all of them (and more) below!

Rug Size. Generally, you want to stay on the larger size for a rug. Small rugs are common for nurseries, like 4×6 or 5×8 sizes, but those can actually make the room look smaller and chop it up. It’s better to use a larger rug that covers more floor area to give the room a more cohesive look. It’s even okay if the rug is large enough that it needs to go underneath some of the furniture. Most rugs are rectangular, but you can also use a round rug too!

Wood vs. Carpet. Adding rugs on top of carpet is 100% okay to do, especially in a nursery since you are basically adding a barrier between the baby and the carpet you paid so much money for. If your carpet is thin, like a berber, you can use pretty much any rug on top of it. If it’s thick and plush, you may need a heavier rug with some body so it won’t wrinkle.  If the rug doesn’t stay down, you can purchase rug tape to use around the edges. If you have hard flooring, you’re golden. Just make sure to add a rug pad so the rug doesn’t slide around.

Round rug for kids room come in so many materials these days that it can be overwhelming to know what content to look for. Generally,

Cotton is a great choice since it’s soft and doesn’t contain any synthetic fibers; however it may be harder to clean.  Polyester based rugs are pretty great since they are inexpensive and easy to clean, but they do contain synthetic fibers, which may potentially off-gas. Another great choice is bamboo, which is super soft and easy to care for, but it can be a bit pricey. Wool rugs can be great as well, but if anyone in your family has allergies, you might want to be careful here. The processing of wool also varies drastically by brand—it can be very soft or very scratchy, so read those reviews.

Pattern. For a nursery, they sky is the limit when it comes to pattern and design. Aztec and Southwestern patterns are still very popular. The rug is like a piece of art for your floor, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping.  Having a rug with a pattern can be great in the nursery since it will help hide stains (which you will definitely get).  You can also play with pattern by placing the rug on an angle which will give the space a totally different feel.

Cleaning. As noted earlier, polyester-based rugs with a pattern will be the easiest to clean, but there is also a new trend emerging that’s pretty amazing—machine washable rugs! There are two brands that are doing this exceptionally well, and we can’t wait to see how this trend advances. Lorena Canals pretty much pioneered the industry, and their rugs are super soft and fully machine washable. Ruggable also has a huge variety of more “adult-style” rugs in larger sizes, too.

Sleep expert advice for a Better Night's Sleep

Everyone has different needs, which are partly determined by their genes. To find your ideal sleep duration, Watson recommends spending two to three weeks sleeping as much as your body needs to by going to bed as soon as you are tired and waking up naturally in the morning.

“At the end of that two- or three-week period of time,” said Watson, “they should assess the amount of time that they’re sleeping, and that would be a reasonable approximation of how much sleep that person needs.”

The second key to good sleep is timing. Your body’s circadian rhythm—its internal clock—is set by the cycle of light and darkness in the natural world. To help you fall asleep, your body secretes the hormone melatonin, which is linked to darkness. So, ideally, it’s best to sleep when it’s dark, although people who work late shifts can’t always do so.