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8 Hacks for Hosting Dinner Parties

8 Hacks for Hosting Dinner Parties

The ultimate host makes a dinner party seem effortless and simple. Here are seven hacks that will surely amp up the hosting game for any dinner gathering.

1. Provide Options for Restricted Diets

These days, it seems like everyone has some sort of dietary restriction.8 Hacks for Hosting Dinner Parties

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2. Amp Up the Atmosphere

Strike a match and light some candles on the dinner table. Add a twinkling scented candle or two in the guests’ bathroom as well. Use cloth napkins and plates that aren’t made of paper. Play background music through your home’s speakers to give the room a more festive feel. The little things in the party’s atmosphere will make the dinner gathering truly memorable.

3. Take Advantage of Meal Delivery

Hosting a dinner party doesn’t necessarily mean that the host needs to cook. Plenty of restaurants offer precooked meals to bring the quality dining of a restaurant right to the home. Restaurants can also work with a list of guest dietary restrictions to create meal options that suit the diets of each guest. To ensure a stress-free meal delivery on the night of the party, hosts should order food from their restaurant of choice at least a week in advance. Following up with the restaurant the day before the party is another measure to take in order to make certain that every component of the meal is on track for the dinner party.

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4. Vary the Bar

When serving alcohol at a dinner party, be sure to provide nonalcoholic beverages for guests who do not drink. Festive nonalcoholic beverages include sparkling water, ginger ale, and iced tea. If a guest requests a nonalcoholic beverage, pour the drink into a glass to give the table a sense of unity.

5. Designate Space for Guests to Leave Belongings

When guests walk in the door, their first thought is, “Where should I put my purse?” or, “Where should I hang my coat?” Have a coat rack or closet handy and open for guests’ use during the party, and a spare chair or room for guests’ purses and other belongings to gather. Hosts who’d prefer for their guests to remove shoes for the length of the dinner gathering should denote a space for the shoes near the guests’ place of entry. A great way to accomplish this without saying a word is lining up a few pairs of the host’s own shoes near the front door in order to encourage guests to remove their shoes as well.

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6. Consider Delivery

While this may seemed frowned upon, there are a lot of companies now that can delivery healthy, fresh meals that look and taste exactly like their homemade counterparts. Some of these companies, such as Fresh N Lean, focus in tiny niches such as vegan diets. This means there are very few dishes you couldn’t order fresh and ready.

7. Keep the Guest List Simple

When hosting a seated meal, keep the guest list free of clutter. Guests tend to enjoy smaller groups, and this cuts down on clean up at the end of the night as well. Be sure to consider seating arrangements, too, and take advantage of place cards in order to position the guests in a comfortable fashion.

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8. Save the Dishes for the Morning

A hospitable host takes time with their guests during their dinner party. Time spent elbows-deep in a sudsy kitchen sink is valuable time spent away from one’s guests. After dinner, hosts should gather the dishes into the sink, put on a pot of coffee and tea, and serve dessert. Enjoying time with guests is the most crucial hack that amateur hosts often leave out. After all, isn’t that the point of hosting a dinner party?

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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