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Have A Safe Holiday Season by Avoiding These 3 Dumb Things

Have A Safe Holiday Season by Avoiding These 3 Dumb Things
    Safety first!

    Watching the news about a recent horrific automobile accident inspired me to write this article.

    The holiday season is upon us and we all want to have a joyful time as well as remain safe. So here are three dumb things that I’m sure you have seen people do over past holiday seasons and it’s still worth reminding everyone to avoid them.

    Dumb Thing #1 – Drinking and Driving

    This (of course) should be general knowledge by now, but it’s still shocking how so many people from all adult ages still drink and drive! The incident I saw on TV involved a young driver who slammed into another vehicle on a city street, not a highway. Yet this guy must have been going really fast — his car ended up completely upside down.

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    It’s a miracle that this driver and his passengers got only very minor injuries but unfortunately those in the vehicle that was hit were not so lucky. A woman in that car had minor scratches but her baby was in critical condition. Even worse is that her husband did not make it.

    So a young wife lost her husband and a baby will never get to know her father because some drunk driver was stupid enough to get behind the wheel after a night of heavy drinking. His friends were also irresponsible for allowing this guy to drive in the first place.

    This is no way to celebrate the holidays for all parties involved. While it’s perfectly okay to have a good time, have the common sense to know when not to drive. Don’t destroy somebody else’s life (or lives) as well as your own because of this major act of irresponsibility.

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    Dumb Thing #2 – Giving Pets as Gifts

    I know that it might seem wonderful to see the faces of absolute joy on kids or a significant other when they hold that cute little puppy or kitten they just got as a holiday gift. But let’s face it folks: live animals, no matter how cute, are not stuffed toys.

    Animals, particularly young ones, need a lot of training since they will chew up everything in sight and use the entire house as a toilet. It’s a real tragedy how many cases there are involving unwanted dogs and cats abandoned at animal shelters because humans did not foresee just how much effort it takes to care for a pet.

    As a dedicated dog owner since 1979, I along with many other pet owners will claim without hesitation that pets contribute immensely to happiness. However, the reality of pet ownership also involves getting educated enough to be a responsible owner willing to put in the time required for training.

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    If you are not sure whether a prospective recipient can be a responsible pet owner or not, please don’t give a live pet as a gift. If you are planning to give into your kids’ wishes for a dog or cat, get ready to take on the bulk of the actual pet care responsibilities yourself. Young children will not be in a position to properly care for a pet no matter what they say. Teens, on the other hand, may be able to prove themselves since pets can teach responsibility to them — but use your discretion.

    Dumb Thing #3 – Trying a New Sport Without Lessons

    The holiday season is a time when many folks in winter regions try out snow sports like skiing and snowboarding for the first time. In the warmer regions, people might try out their new surfboards or another piece of sporting equipment they got for Christmas.

    A dumb thing that many people will do is try out some new sport without taking a lesson from a qualified instructor. Instead, they try to copy what their friends are doing but the attempts are unsuccessful.

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    Although many look hilarious as clumsy beginners, some unfortunately end up with injuries. One thing to understand is that just because a friend happens to be good at a certain sport, it does not mean that he or she is qualified to teach you safely. Qualified instructors, on the other hand, can teach you without skipping any important steps to keep you safe while learning new skills.

    Waiting in the emergency department and going home in a cast is no way to spend your holidays. You need to take extra care — especially if you happen to be a late bloomer in any sport. So if you are going to take up a new sport this holiday season, do the right thing and take a beginner lesson from a qualified instructor.

    Be Safe Over The Holiday Season

    I’m sure that there are other dumb things that people do out there during the holiday season. The whole point is to enjoy the holiday season with your friends and loved ones without putting a danger to another life, whether human or animal — or to yourself. I realize that much of this is common sense, but it’s still mind-boggling on how many incidents of dumb acts still occur. That’s why it is still worthwhile to remind us all that such acts are totally preventable.

    If you know of any other dumb things that people should avoid this holiday season, please share them below to remind us. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

    (Photo credit: Retro Silver Metal Trunk via Shutterstock)

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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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