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Last Updated on January 17, 2018

15 Reasons Why Living in Norway Is Awesome

15 Reasons Why Living in Norway Is Awesome

Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and if you love skiing, you can do that for 6 months a year. There are many advantages to living in this awesome country, although you should check that you are comfortable with cold winters and icy driving conditions before you decide to move. Here are 15 reasons why living in Norway can be a wonderful adventure.

1. Most people speak English.

If you are an English speaker, you will find that Norwegians love to practice their English as they have all studied it at school. This makes the initial impact much easier. Even the tax return form has an English version.

It is recommended that you learn Norwegian because most people will speak that when they are socializing. This can take up to 3 years and may be a requirement if you want to take a university course. Another great plus is that university education is free as it is state funded.

2. The scenery is beautiful.

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    Whether you are driving or taking a rail trip, the stunning scenery which stretches for miles and miles is breathtaking. You have everything from majestic mountains, waterfalls, glaciers and green hillsides—not to mention the wonderful fjords. The Oslo to Bergen rail trip takes 7 hours but for most of the time, you will be admiring the marvelous scenery.

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    Driving on the national tourist routes will provide you with many memorable moments. Getting off the beaten track is so easy.

    3. You can camp anywhere.

    Norway has a law called “allemannsrett” which gives you the right to put up a tent anywhere you like in Norway. There are some exceptions, such as private property or a national park! Now, if you are into hiking and camping, this makes Norway a paradise. It also makes things cheaper as hostels and hotels can be expensive.

    4.  A family-friendly state.

    Norway is famous for its family-friendly policies. It is a well known fact that fathers can take up to 12 weeks paid leave during the first three years after a new baby’s arrival.

    Growing old in Norway is also very beneficial. If you fulfill certain requirements, elderly citizens over the age of 67 will receive a state pension of $1,000 a month. Workers also enjoy a shorter working week of 37.5 hours and they have longer paid holidays of 25 working days.

    5. Norway’s banks have great online services.

    Once you have your bank account set up, you can do almost everything online. Transferring money to another account or paying bills is really easy. All you need is the account number of the beneficiary and this saves you loads of time.

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    6. Health care is more or less free for everybody.

    Once you are legally resident, you can apply for the free public health service. According to the WHO, Norway’s healthcare is in the top fifteen (ranked at number 11 while the USA is at number 38.)

    There is a fee to be paid for each doctor’s visit (about $21) until you reach the cap for the year which is $1,817. You pay for basic medicines too but they all go towards the annual cap so once you reach that, the service is free for the rest of the year.

    7. Be part of a booming economy.

    Norway has become rich because of its offshore oilfields and gas. Much of this money is saved by the government and used for public welfare which makes living there easier in many ways. It should be no surprise to learn that its national pension fund is worth about $376 bn. Despite a single-track economy, this year’s figures show that industrial and economic growth have exceeded expectations and the outlook is still very bright.

    8. Norway is not overcrowded.

    The population of Norway is 5 million (2013 census). This works out at 14 people per square kilometer which means plenty of space for everybody. Compare that with Macau with 20,500 and Hong Kong with 6,480 per square kilometer to put things into perspective.

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      9. Enjoy pleasant urban surroundings.

      If you live in Oslo, you will notice very few skyscrapers and shopping malls. There is a magnificent opera house and the new Munch Museum will open in 2018. Security was criticized after the famous Munch paintings The Scream and Madonna were stolen. They were later recovered and the robbers left a note saying, “thanks for the poor security.”

      10. Norway is moving towards a multicultural society.

      After the terrible shootings in which 77 people were killed by Anders Breivik, Norway showed its commitment to giving him a fair trial and resolved to make the country a better model for a multicultural society. For example, a Muslim woman called Hadia Tadjuk was appointed Minister of Culture. It is also interesting to note that 11% of Norway’s population was born abroad.

      11. Norway is leading the way in new industries.

      We mentioned above that Norway has a single-track economy and there are over 50,000 engineers employed offshore on its gas and oil platforms. But that does not mean that there are no developments in its other industries such as forestry, mining and fishing. Many paper and pulp factories are changing over to bio-refining. The government is busily promoting Innovation Norway to showcase its progress in modernization.

      12. Norwegians are happier and live well.

      According to the OECD index on the happiness and well-being of various nations, Norwegians come out with a high score. Life expectancy is 81 which is higher than the OECD average. There is less pollution and not surprisingly, almost 100% of Norwegians are satisfied with the quality of their drinking water. When people were asked to express their life satisfaction with a rating from 0 to 10, Norwegians gave themselves a rating of 7.5 which is higher than the 6.6 OECD average.

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        13. Norway has a low crime rate.

        There are only about 4,000 prisoners in Norway. But what is most striking is that there is a very low re-offending crime rate. This is due to Norway’s enlightened approach to how they treat their prisoners by giving then trust and responsibility. They are offered more training, rehabilitation, and skills development than almost anywhere else in the world. They have to work but they are also given free time to enjoy themselves.

        14. Norway has the highest number of electric cars.

        Norway now has 32,000 electric cars which is the highest rate per capita in the whole world. The government has offered incentives such as tax breaks and free parking to these car owners. There has been a significant drop in air pollution. Because they are allowed to use bus lanes, they are not clogging up these lanes as they make up 85% of the traffic in them.

        15. Norwegians have a high level of education.

        It is estimated that the Norwegian government spends more than 6.6% of its GDP on education which is one of the highest in the world. It also has very high level of education and a very small dropout rate. This is reflected in the high quality of life and the general cultural level where creativity is encouraged. These together with the low crime statistics make Norway a great place to live.

        Let us know in the comments if you have lived in Norway and what makes it so awesome.

        Featured photo credit: Preikestolen, Norway (2014)/ Alberto Carrasco Casado via flickr.com

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        Robert Locke

        Freelance writer

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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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