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7 Common DIY Injuries (And How To Avoid Them)

7 Common DIY Injuries (And How To Avoid Them)

Although DIY projects can help you save money and can be fun, they can also come with risks for the layperson who doesn’t take steps to protect themselves. Many common DIY projects are homemade versions of something an expert with years of training and education would usually handle, which means it’s not unusual to be working with dangerous power tools that can cause serious injury.

Don’t let yourself be caught off guard by a power tool in a home improvement project. Take all necessary precautions and arm yourself with information and safety tips before attempting any DIY project. Here are some common injuries that can occur in a DIY project and how you can prevent them in the first place.

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Avoid kickback on a table saw

Table saw injuries account for approximately 35,000 hospital visits annually, making this a dangerous power tool to use. Be careful with these saws, and follow the instructions to use them safely. The most likely table saw injury to hospitalize someone is kickback, which is when a piece of wood being cut by a table saw is suddenly propelled aggressively back to the user.  That can happen when wood is caught by the backend of the saw, such as when you use the fence as a cutting guide, and the wood is sent jerking back toward you.

You can avoid this injury by always using an appropriate guide, not the fence, to cut wood, and by using a riving knife on your table saw to prevent kickback in the first place. In addition, you can also use a push stick to move wood through a table saw, keeping your hands and body away from the wood entirely.

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In addition to avoiding kickback, be sure to take seriously the threat of a blade injury, as 83 percent of DIY hospitalizations come from the blade. Don’t remove the blade guard, no matter how inconvenient it is, as it has a critical role in protecting your hands from the sharp saw as you move the wood through.

Watch your hands with a nail gun

Nail guns are tricky, unpredictable tools. You can’t guarantee that a nail will come out straight, so you should always be sure that your hands are far away from the gun, even if you think it’s positioned somewhere the nail isn’t likely to come out of. Wood knots and other hidden abnormalities can affect how the nail slides in.

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Some nail guns also have a “bump-trip” option to quickly plant as many nails as possible. Although it’s a time-saver, this feature can also be accidentally left on, causing you to kick the trigger while just walking with the nail gun, which can shoot a nail into your leg or foot. Make sure to practice trigger safety with your nail gun. Keep your fingers off the trigger until you want to use it, and be sure to never accidentally leave it in the bump-trip setting if you aren’t actively using it.

Don’t touch the blade of a circular saw

Circular saws are another dangerous and ubiquitous DIY tool you should watch out for. These tools cause an estimated 14,000 hospital visits annually, mostly because of the blade associated with the tool. As with the table saw, you should never remove the blade guard from a circular saw, and you should always position yourself to avoid any potential kickback. The circular saw blade can bind on the wood, shooting it back like a table saw does.

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Keep both your hands on the machine at all times, rather than on the wood, and use a clamp to maneuver and manipulate wood. Don’t position your body directly behind the wood and saw; stand to the side to avoid any potential injuries from the wood being pushed back.

Remember to protect your eyes from flying debris

Eye protection is one of the most critical parts of working with power tools. Wood can chip, splinter and go flying; sparks can bounce in different directions; chemicals can cause painful burns. According to personal injury lawyers, Robinson & Henry, eye injuries are some of the most commonly reported injuries in premises liability cases, so you have to be extra careful, not only about yourself but about anyone else in the room while you work on a DIY project. The best way to protect yourself from these injuries is to also wear an eye shield, or goggles, when working on DIY projects. Keep several pairs of safety goggles around the house and in your tool shed so that you always have access to a pair for protection. Don’t get caught without safety goggles, and don’t underestimate the injuries that skipping goggles can put you at risk for.

DIY projects can be a fun and educational experience, but they’re also risky endeavors. Be sure to protect yourself, follow instructions carefully and defer to an expert when you need to.

Featured photo credit: vickysandoval22 via flickr.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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