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Never Underestimate The Power Of Your Pillow, Learn How to Pick Them Well

Never Underestimate The Power Of Your Pillow, Learn How to Pick Them Well

If you think about the fact that we spend more than one third of our lives asleep, it seems funny that we don’t spend a larger majority of our income on things related to sleep.

People have no problem dropping absurd amounts of money on appliances or cars but scrimp too much when it comes to their beds and as it pertains to today’s article, their pillows.

You may be better off cutting a little out of your bedroom decorating budget and invest in a top notch mattress and the best pillows you can find. You’ll get the good back support with the mattress but your pillow can be crucial between getting a good nights sleep or not.

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How does your pillow affect sleep quality?

Besides giving you comfort, a pillow is important for supporting your neck and spine. With an uncomfortable and unsupportive pillow you can throw off your lying posture which can result in you tossing and turning all night.

If you’ve been using the same pillow since Knight Rider was on TV, it will have become less supportive over time. You then can be losing a lot of neck and spine support resulting in agravation and pain. This can even affect your breathing and result in a really bad nights sleep.

How the way you sleep determines pillow type

You first need to look at what type of sleeper you are. Some sleep on their sides, some on their back, some on their stomach or if you’re like me, curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb.

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If you sleep on your side you will need a firmer pillow as there becomes a larger distance in your head and you shoulder that can cause neck problems.

If you sleep on your back you can get by with a thinner pillow as you don’t want your head pushed too far forward. Pillows that have a larger loft in the bottom third of the pillow can be great for better neck and spine support.

If you sleep on your stomach you want a very thin pillow as to not push your head out of position too much.

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What makes a good pillow?

A feather pillow is the classic pillow and can actually last the longest up to eight years. A down pillow is also great and can last for up to five. The pillows that have “man made” type fillings are the most inferior and can only last around six months to two years. Sleep experts say it’s a good idea to change your pillow at least every 12-14 months if it’s one of the more inferior type pillows. Even a good feather pillow might have to be changed sooner if it starts to get out of shape and lose it’s support.

A good test to see if your pillow is still supportive is to lay it down on a hard surface and fold it in half and squeeze out all the air. If the pillow returns to it’s normal shape after you release it it means it is still supportive. An overused pillow will stay folded up.

How many pillows do you need?

Depending on your sleep position, one should still be all you need if it’s a quality one. Using two pillows can put your head into an unnatural position and result in that neck and spine discomfort that can cause pain and aggravation. It’s also important to be aware of you having your head in a bad position can affect your breathing causing disrupted sleep and even headaches the following day. A second pillow can be useful however to use between your legs in order to take pressure off the lower back.

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A pillow is just one of those things people take for granted. People are more aware now of how important a good mattress is for sleep but just as much research and education on the best pillows needs to become part of the equation.

Hopefully now you can see how important pillow choice is to you getting the best sleep possible along with what to look for in a pillow and which type should work best for you.

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

More Time Management Techniques

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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