Author Archives: Omar

Preparing to host for the Holidays

With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, many of you will soon have a house filled with family and friends. This also means that you may need to make additional household purchases to accommodate the added company. For most of us, a house filled with holiday guests often means a lack of SPACE and too much to keep track of. However, there are a few steps that you can take to maximize the space you have, avoid over-clutter, and focus your energy on preparing the perfect turkey.

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  1. Fill the coat closet with hangers or purchase a coat rack – This is a rather simple and perhaps obvious suggestion but, if you’ve ever had to store coats on a bed, couch, or other not so convenient area, then you can definitely relate.

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  1. Stock up the bathroom – You know the hotel amenities, i.e. soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc, that you’ve been collecting for…YEARS?! This is where they come in handy. Guests, or perhaps just me, are notorious for forgetting their bathroom necessities, so setting any extra out in advance will save you time from having to dig for them when your guests arrive.

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  1. Put extra pillows in the guest bedrooms – If you’ve ever stayed at someone’s house without having your own pillow, you know how lonely it can be. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the relationship between your own bed and pillow is likely a special one. But accommodating someone’s sleep needs doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a variety of high quality pillows that can be purchased without breaking the bank. You might want to purchase a night light or two while you’re at it, for those late not bathroom trips that might catch your guests by surprise.

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  1.  Load the kitchen with snacks – Is it just me, or is there something about the holidays that just makes everyone hungrier? (I won’t be offended if it’s just me). But seriously what would the holidays be without people perusing through the kitchen looking for anything and everything that’s edible? (That’s a rhetorical question). Having goodies that people can munch on throughout the day will not only make you more loveable, it will hopefully reduce the traffic jam in your oh-so-precious cooking space. P.S. Don’t forget to purchase a few special goodies, i.e. hot cocoa, for any children that may be present.

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  1. Set out extra hand towels – Guests tend to go through paper towels at a rapid rate. So, to keep from spending a small fortune, consider having a surplus of hand towels to accommodate the excess hand washing that should be taking place. (It’s cold and flu season, so it should definitely be taking place). They’re available fairly inexpensively on Amazon.

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  1. Set out the coasters – There’s nothing worse than having marks on your tables from drinking glasses. Coasters are an inexpensive, easy fix.

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  1. Take a deep breath and relax – No one scrutinizes your house as much as YOU. (Well, maybe your mother-in-law does, but we didn’t want to bring her up). People visit to enjoy quality time and be with the ones they love. Don’t forget that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anticipating your guests needs will give you more time to enjoy their company and worry about making sure your pumpkin pies are better than Grandma Betty’s (Although Grandma Betty makes amazing pumpkin pies). But what are the holidays without a little bit of friendly competition, right?

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Does The Change in Weather Affect Your Sleep?

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Regulating Sleep Through Food

Everyone knows that certain foods promote sleep. From drinking a glass of warm milk right before bed to avoiding caffeine anytime after lunch, there is plenty of advice on foods you can eat (or not eat) to get a good night’s sleep. What we put into our bodies can have significant impact on mood and behavior and the key to enjoying a restful night of sleep can be found through your stomach.

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Tryptophan containing foods are first on everyone’s list of foods that make you sleepy. It stands to reason: everyone knows that turkey has tryptophan and after that third serving of sweet potato casserole (don’t judge: marshmallows and sweet potatoes are heaven!), a snoozy drowsiness sets in. Unfortunately, while turkey does contain some tryptophan, it is far from the richest source and that post meal crash is more due to your stomach full of carbohydrates than it is to the relaxing benefits of tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter well-known to regulate mood. It also regulates sleep, and a whole host of other things that keep us functional human beings—basically serotonin is awesome! Eating foods rich in tryptophan is believed to increase serotonin production, which will help regulate your sleep cycle. It also functions in the production of melatonin and niacin, two more things which help regulate sleep cycles. Eat eggs, bananas, peanuts, honey, and milk for an extra hit of tryptophan.

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Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate circadian rhythms—it helps you sleep when you’re supposed to and feel awake when you’re not. Available in supplement form, melatonin can also be found in cherries, bananas, and citrus fruits. Eating tryptophan or calcium-rich foods can also boost melatonin production: snack on spinach, almonds, or cheese.

Magnesium and potassium are two minerals that promote muscle relaxation (and overall muscle health), which means they are great for priming your body to sleep soundly through the night. Try bananas, avocados, spinach, peanuts, and whole grains to get these.

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Try to incorporate some of these foods into your dinner, or have a snack at least an hour before you go to bed—this gives them time to work and prevents a too-full stomach from keeping you awake. Select foods that are rich in protein or complex carbohydrates for extra sleepy-goodness: the longer your food takes to digest, the more stable your blood sugar remains and the less likely you are to wake up feeling hungry. Many of the above foods can provide more than one benefit, so eat more of those! Try whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and banana, or a salad with spinach, vegetables, and nuts. Or a handful of cherries with some slices of cheese or almonds. Try to avoid excess sugar and alcohol, which can interrupt sleep, as can very spicy foods right before bed. Why not snack your way to a better, more restful, night of sleep?

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