Labor Day History: How Much Do You Know?

What does Labor Day mean to you? To many Americans it means two things: a day off and the ending of summer. Do you know the meaning behind Labor Day though and the importance behind it?

In honor of Labor Day, we have decided to compile a fun list of interesting facts about this holiday.

Labor Day Facts: How Many Do You Know?

  • Labor Day actually originated in Canada, not the United States. As part of the labor disputes in Toronto, a parade was held in 1872 protesting the 58 hour workweek. This holiday wasn’t proposed in the United States until 1882.
  • The first Labor Day was observed as part of a parade held by the Central Labor Union(CLU) of New York. On September 5, 1882, approximately 10,000 workers took unpaid leave and marched in support of workers’ rights.
  • On February 21, 1887, Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday in the United States.
  • In the late 1800′s, it was the common norm for adults to work 12 hour workdays, 7 days a week! And kids started working in factories starting as young as 5-6 years of age.
  • As part of his political campaign, President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a nationally recognized holiday in 1894 in the United States. It has been celebrated on the first Monday of September every year since then.
  • The first Labor Day “festivities” included picnics, speeches, lager beer kegs, etc.
  • It’s unknown who actually started Labor Day. Some say Matthew Maguire, a machinist, proposed it while serving as secretary of the CLU. Others contest that Peter J. McGuire, of the American Federation of Labor, proposed it after witnessing a labor festival in Toronto, Canada.
  • Labor Day existed two decades before the U.S. Department of Labor was established.
  • Union membership was at its all time high in the 1950′s when nearly 40% of workers were union workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 11% of the work force today are union members.

Labor Day Quote


“Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day…is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.” - Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor

We hope you learned a thing or two and that you have a safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend! If you are traveling this holiday, as most people are, follow these safe travel tips.

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What Mattress Size Should I Get?

If  you are shopping for a new mattress, keep in mind that the mattress size is a key factor to consider! Whether you are shopping just for yourself, you and your spouse, or your kids, it’s important to note how much space you need.

Imagine finding the perfect mattress, only to realize moments later that it’s too small or too big! Couples often make the mistake of choosing a double or “full” mattress and soon find out that it’s too small for both of them to sleep comfortably. It’s a good rule of thumb to pick a mattress that is taller than you so your feet don’t hang off.


Different Mattress Sizes


  • Twin: This is a popular mattress size choice for toddlers and young kids. With dimensions at 39 inches wide by 75 inches long, it’s the smallest mattress size available besides crib-sized mattresses. If you are comfortable with the width of the mattress but your feet hang off, the Twin XL is a good choice. The Twin XL is the same width but is 5 inches longer and is a popular choice for college dormitories.
  • Full: The full mattress is also sometimes called the Double. This mattress is 54 inches wide by 75 inches long, which makes it only 15 inches wider than the twin mattress. This mattress size is best for single sleepers who are shorter than 5 feet 5 inches.
  • Queen: This is the most popular mattress size choice. It measures 60 inches wide by 80 inches long, which leaves plenty of room for a single sleeper. It’s also a good size for couples but keep in mind that each partner will have only 30 inches of personal space.
  • rightmattresssizeforfamilyKing: If the queen doesn’t accommodate you and your partner, then the king mattress size might be a better choice. With dimensions at 76 inches wide by 80 inches long, there’s enough space for you and your partner to fit comfortably. Each person has 38 inches of personal space, which is about how much room they would have if they slept on a twin alone. The king also allows plenty space in case your kid/kids want to join you or you want your pets to join you in bed.
  • California King: If you need a taller mattress than the king, then the california king is a good option. It measures 72 inches wide by 84 inches long. If you like the size of the king but need something narrower, the california king would fit better in your room. Just make sure before you choose the king or california king that you have enough space in your bedroom.


Mattress Size Factors to Consider Before Buying

  • Figure out how much space you have in the bedroom/bedrooms that you are going to place the mattress.
  • Do you or your spouse take up more room, move constantly in your sleep, need more room, etc.
  • Do you allow your pets in your bed and if so, is there enough room for them?
  • Are there any health concerns that you need to address?
  • If you want a king mattress, will it fit comfortably in your bedroom?
  • How much are you willing to spend?

For more help finding the right mattress size, head over the the

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How to Combat Stress and Sleep Better

Stress. It’s a feeling that’s common to many American adults today. It leaves you feeling jittery, anxious, and at times unable to fall asleep.

There are many things that happen in our adult life that can lead us to feeling stressed out. Issues with work, money, and our personal relationships are just a few issues that can overwhelm us and cause us to feel stressed. Stress and sleep go hand in hand. According to a survey conducted by Huffington Post, not getting enough sleep is a major stress trigger.


Although it’s normal to feel stressed, people tend to take their stress with them to bed. According to an article on Reader’s Digest, it can set you up for chronic insomnia. People who have insomnia caused by stress have trouble both falling asleep and staying asleep.

Tips to Combat Stress and Sleep Better

If stress is affecting your sleep on a nightly basis, the following four tips can help you combat stress to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and sleep better overall.

  • Plan your daily routine for the next day early. Doing this earlier in the day can help you avoid thinking about it during bedtime. People who tend to lie in bed going through their to-do list for the next day find it a lot more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Take any sleep distractions out of your bedroom. Avoid watching television or eating in bed. Make your bedroom a sanctuary and a place that helps you relax and sleep better.
  • Find a relaxing activity before bedtime. Take a bath, enjoy a hot cup of tea, read a good book, or any other activity that doesn’t actively stimulate your brain. By making a relaxing activity a part of your routine before bed, you will be able to catch those Zzz’s faster.
  • Make exercise a priority. Not only is regular exercise important for your overall health, but physical activity also helps reduce stress! Just make sure to not exercise too close to your bedtime or the extra energy may make it harder for you to stay asleep.
  • Listen to soothing music. Several research studies have proven that music can have a positive effect on your overall mood. Try listening to some light jazz, or any type of music that relaxes you if you are stressed before going to sleep.
  • Clean up your room. Living in a cluttered bedroom or house can leave you feeling stressed. If you are feeling anxious about the clutter, clean it up before heading to sleep. It will be another thing already taken care of on your to-do list!
  • Write it down. If talking to someone about your stresses doesn’t help, try writing it down in a journal. Writing down everything that is bugging you right before bed can help you solve problems and balance out your emotions. It can also help you mentally prepare for the next day and help you get in a more positive state of mind.

Making these small changes can help you manage your stress better during the day, and help keep it at bay during bedtime.

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Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

Believe it or not getting a good night sleep doesn’t have everything to do with your bed. Of course, a good bed is important for your back and it does help you sleep better. However, what you do and eat during the day is as equally important to your overall quality of sleep. Exercising daily and eating a healthy diet helps you not only fall asleep faster but also stay asleep longer.

The type of food you consume before bed can ultimately affect how well you sleep(or don’t sleep) through the night.

Certain types of food right before bed can either help you sleep better because of the nutrients they provide, or they can rob you of a good night’s sleep because they don’t have enough of the right nutrients.

The Best Foods for Better Sleep

According to, the following are foods that you should add to your diet to help you sleep better.

1.) Fish- they boast vitamin B6, which helps make melatonin—a sleep-inducing hormone.

2.) Jasmine Rice- according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating a carbohydrate rich dinner with a high glycemic-index such as jasmine rice can help you fall asleep significantly faster at bedtime.

foodforbettersleep3.) Tart Cherry Juice- this is a melatonin rich drink that helps aid sleep and can help insomniacs relieve the severity of their sleep disorder.

4.) Yogurt- being calcium-deficient makes it difficult to sleep, and dairy products such as yogurt help boast doses of calcium.

5.) Whole Grains- magnesium rich foods such as bulgur and barley make it easier to stay asleep throughout the night.

Adding more of these vitamin rich foods to your diet can help you get a better night’s sleep by making it easier to go to sleep and helping you stay asleep longer.

Foods to Avoid Before Going to Sleep

Here are a few foods that suggests to stay away from before going to bed.

1.) Protein- foods with lots of protein tend boost energy levels rather than actually calming you down in time for sleep.

2.) Alcohol – while consuming alcohol before bed may actually help you fall asleep, it leads to fragmented sleep. You fall asleep faster but you never actually enter the REM stage of sleep which is vital to your health.

3.) Fatty Foods- foods that are high in fat tend to cause you to have an upset stomach and this can make it uncomfortable to stay asleep.

4.) Spicy Foods- these foods can also cause you to have stomach problems throughout the night. It has also been reported that they affect your dreams at night and has caused people to have nightmares!

foodstoavoid5.) Caffeine- many people know that caffeine is a stimulant but many don’t know that it actually stays in your system for up to 8 to 10 hours! It’s best to cut out that caffeine in the afternoon.

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Mindfulness Techniques to Give You a Stress-Free Night’s Sleep

The buzzword in the psychological circles is mindfulness. Mindfulness means sustaining a continuous awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. When you are mindful, you are aware of the random, anxious thoughts that float up and ruin our daytime focus and nighttime sleep. More than 2000 years old, mindfulness is the Buddhist’s philosophy for attaining enlightenment. Even if you are not trying to find peaceful release from the suffering of this material world, mindfulness may be able to release you into a peaceful night’s sleep.

Body Awareness

Avoid these 10 sleep mistakes!

To get a restful night’s sleep, mindfulness dictates that you are aware of how your body prepares for sleep. Studies show that body awareness can affect a response in others and in yourself. Being aware of and changing the way you hold your body can change the way that people think about you. This persuasive technique can work to convince your body to sleep. As you lay in bed, let you mind pass over your body like an astral projected MRI. Assess each part. Do your feet hurt? Are you hungry? Check your breathing. Is it unobstructed? From this mindful perspective, begin make small adjustments to inspire your body into restful sleep.

Mindful Movement

If your body needs more encouragement then use movement therapy techniques to relax it. Studies reported in the journal Arts in Psychotherapy show that movement can significantly reduce stress and offer a general sense of relaxation that can lead to a good night’s sleep. Hot tubs are the perfect place to conduct relaxing movements. Not only does the aeration force movement throughout your limbs but the heat of the water stimulates blood flow that reduces pain, notes Carolyn Mosby of Hot Tub Works. Add yoga or tai chi to the hot tubing routine to get the most out of your movement therapy.

Calming Your Thoughts

mindfulnessmeditationMindful meditation practices have been shown to have a positive effect on sleeping patterns, even if the person is living through the worst possible stressors. Practicing mindfulness has also been said to be as effective as antidepressants for those who battle depression, according to The Greater Good Science Center, based at The University of California, Berkeley. Zen meditation is a way of controlling your thoughts. Lay in bed and take several deep, cleansing breaths. Go through the body awareness practice and make adjustments so that you are as comfortable as possible. When you are ready, clear your mind and think of absolutely nothing—thinking about not thinking does not count. Push away any thought that pops into your mind. At the beginning, you will probably only be able to maintain this mental void for a second or two. With practice, you will increase this time as you develop more control over sleep depriving thoughts.

Attentive Diet

Sleep affects diet and diet affects sleep, according to the official journal of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, Physiology & Sleep. Short sleep duration, late bedtimes, and poor sleep quality are linked to increased food consumption. It is a vicious cycle. Mindful eating requires that you monitor what you eat each day and how it affects your sleep—a food and sleep journal would be a good idea. Of course, there are some tried and true home remedies for the sleepless. Hospital clinicians still give a glass of warm milk for patients that are having problems sleeping. Chamomile tea is a soothing routine to start your nighttime slumber.

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Common Sleep Problems Among Women

In an earlier blog post we explored common sleep problems and disorders that ail adults in the United States. Not getting the necessary sleep affects everyone. However, it doesn’t have the same affect on everyone equally. According to research cited on WebMD, women who report sleepless nights have a greater chance for health problems than men who have the same problem.

Sleep loss affects a person’s overall health. Yet the studies that looked at gender differences found that women who have a difficult time sleeping at night have an elevated risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.

Don’t let your sleep problems take over your life!

Not only are women with poor sleep habits at an elevated risk for diseases but according to a NSF Sleep in America poll, women are also more likely to have a hard time falling and staying asleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 40 million American men and women suffer from sleep disorders. However, sleep problems such as insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and nighttime pain are more commonly reported by women.

Four Common Sleep Problems Reported by Women

  • insomniasleepproblems
    Insomnia is one of the most common sleep problems reported among women.

    Insomnia is one of the most common sleep problems. For women, insomnia may be caused by menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. There are many approaches that can help with insomnia. Exercising, eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and caffeine are all changes that can help improve overall sleep quality.

  • Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder affecting one in 2,000 people. People with narcolepsy have excessive daytime sleepiness and can suddenly have “sleep attacks,” an extreme urge to sleep. Thanks to scientific breakthroughs, new treatments can better manage the symptoms of this disorder.
  • Restless leg syndrome(RLS) is a movement disorder affecting up to 12 million Americans. According to a Sleep in America poll, 18 percent of the female population suffered from RLS. Restless Leg Syndrome can cause daytime sleepiness, mood swings, anxiety, and ultimately depression. Vitamin supplements and other medications can help treat RLS symptoms.
  • Nighttime pains, such as muscle cramps, are painful contractions or a tightening of a muscle that comes suddenly and can last a few seconds up to several minutes. Muscle cramps can occur due to pregnancy, exercise, dehydration or certain medications such as birth control. You can help mitigate the severity of muscle cramps through stretching, warm showers, ice or cold packs, and making sure to stay hydrated.

Although some sleep disorders can be mitigated through small lifestyle changes, others are more serious. Whether you’re a man or a woman, stay informed and go to the doctor if your sleep problems seem out of control.

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Best Eco-Friendly Products for the Bedroom

If you’re looking to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle, head to your bedroom. It’s one of the most common areas overlooked in terms of “going green”. Sure, you adjust your lifestyle, food habits, shopping, and commute but it’s important to pay attention to what you use in your bedroom too.

As it’s often stated, you spend about 1/3 of your life sleeping. So, why not sleep free from chemicals and in a more sleep healthy environment?

Eco-Friendly Products for the Bedroom

Pillows: You rest your head on them, you fight over them, and you turn them over for the “cool” side. Picking a pillow can be a daunting task but it’s important to find the right one so you don’t end up tossing and turning or waking up with a stiff neck. Apartment Therapy suggests natural latex rubber, wool, natural shredded rubber, hemp, and horse hair as eco-friendly pillow alternatives for a better night’s sleep.

Bedding: For bedding, it makes sense buy something of higher quality that is durable and can handle wear and tear throughout the years. It’s best to choose bedding that is pesticide and chemical-free for an overall healthy sleep. Some materials you should look for include hemp, cotton, bamboo,, ramie, jute, nettle fiber, etc. Green guru Daniel Seo provides some solid tips on healthy, sustainable bedding options:

Mattress: Traditional mattresses contain harmful chemicals, glues and other irritating solutions that can affect your health over time. Eco-friendly mattresses, on the other hand, are created using natural and renewable resources that are both good for you and the environment. Before deciding on which toxic-free mattress to purchase, check out these tips on finding natural and/or green mattresses.

Bed frame: If you don’t have an eco-friendly bed frame, chances are that the one your mattress is placed on contains formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals that off-gas. By choosing a “green” bed frame, your mattress will have better air circulation. It’s best to look for frames that are made with sustainable and/or recycled materials. Examples include recycled steel, and non-toxic, water based finishes.

Pajamas: If everything else in your bedroom is eco-friendly except what you go to sleep in, then you are exposing yourself to yet more chemicals that are not healthy. To ensure you get the best, eco-friendly sleep look for pajamas that are made of natural fabric materials that are non-toxic.

For more ideas and tips on sleeping in an eco-friendly bedroom, head over to

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Follow these 10 Tips to Make a Small Bedroom Look Bigger

If your small bedroom is causing you to lose sleep, it might be time to rearrange it to make the best use of the space. No matter how small your room might be, there are several clever ways to make it appear bigger.

Before decorating though, it’s important to know how the overall room will impact your sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests these 6 tips to optimize your bedroom for the perfect sleep environment:



After optimizing your bedroom for the best sleep possible, follow these simple design tips to make your small bedroom look bigger.

10 Tips to Make a Small Bedroom Look Bigger

Check your Space: Before you start moving furniture around, make sure to draw a layout of how you would like to arrange your furniture. This will save time and frustration in case something doesn’t fit. Also, it’ll save your back from having to keep moving heavy furniture around.

Set a Focal Point: Usually the bed is used as the focal point of your bedroom. But you can always use an accent wall, wall of pictures, or some intricate beaded rug instead.

Choose Right Location for Bed: Since your bed will probably be taking up most of the room, it’s best to find the right location for it first. It’s best to place your bed in the center of the largest wall and away from the windows so the sunlight/noise from outdoors doesn’t disrupt your sleep. If you can’t place it there, place it close to one of the corners and leave enough space so you can easily make the bed.

Choose smart designs for more storage space.

Utilize Storage: It’s a good idea to get a bed frame that allows you to store extra stuff under the bed. If you still need more space, put up some floating shelves on either side of the bed or along one of the larger walls.

Balance is Key: Your small bedroom can look instantly bigger by balancing out a few things! Place identical lamps and night stands on either side of your bed and/or place floating shelves on either side.

Use your Wall as a Canvas: If you don’t want to deal with painting an accent wall, opt for using a wall as a canvas. Use picture frames, wall art, or your favorite wall paper instead.

Color it White: If you really want your small bedroom to seem larger, paint it all white. You can add a pop of color by adding a colorful chair, rug, or drapes.

Declutter: Before decorating your room, go through all your stuff and make a list of what you absolutely need vs. what can go. If it takes up too much room but you just can’t let it go, check it into a storage garage. Make sure to organize all the items you have left in a practical manner such as using binders, storage containers, shelf space, etc.

Save space by adding some wall sconces.

Use Wall Sconces: You can save even more space in your small bedroom by installing some wall sconces on either side of your bed. They could also serve as the pop of accent your room needs.

Make Good Use of Space: If you have long, wide dresser then place it against the largest wall. If you have a tall, skinny dresser place it in one of the corners of the room. You could also save more space by placing a small dresser in your closet if there’s enough room to do so.

If you’re up to a bigger challenge, check out these makeover DIY tips for your small bedroom.

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10 Back to School Sleep Tips for Kids

As summer comes to an end, it’s time to start getting your kids prepared to go back to school. Especially when it comes to their sleeping routine. Kids tend to go to bed a little later in the summer and as a result they wake up later than they would during the school year. However, getting them back in a sleeping schedule a few weeks before going back to school will make their transition into the school year much smoother.

According to an article by Everyday Health, getting your kids back on a sleeping schedule is one of the most important plans you can make for your kids; especially since better sleep could mean better grades. The following are 10  strategies that will help you get your kids back on a sleep schedule,

  1. sleepscheduleforkidsGet them back into a sleep schedule a few weeks before school starts. This will help them get into a routine and won’t make waking up for that first day and week of school a misery.
  2. Don’t allow your kids to use electronics an hour before bedtime. This means removing any electronic distractions from their bedroom. Kids tend to stay up longer than parents realize with electronic distractions.
  3. Ban all caffeinated drinks after lunchtime. Although it is best that kids don’t consume caffeine at all, simply don’t allow it after lunchtime. Kids can get easily distracted from their sleep and the last thing that you need is for a caffeinated drink to keep them up throughout the night.
  4. Set their sleeping schedule and stick to it. As much as kids will try to challenge the rules, don’t budge. Stick to the rules and make their sleeping hours very clear.
  5. Make sure they use their bed just for sleeping. While reading in bed may sound like a good idea, it can lead to them to staying up even later than they normally would. Instead, provide a reading chair or nice bean bag for them to read in.
  6. childyawning
    Follow these tips to avoid this happening to your youngster at school!

    Create the perfect sleep environment for your child. To ensure your child get’s the best sleep possible before they head back to school, make sure their room is “cool, quiet, dimly lit, and comfortable.”

  7. Lead by example. Create a ‘back to school” bedtime for everyone in the household and make sure everyone sticks to it. If your kids see everyone following, including you, they will be more likely to follow through since they won’t feel like they are the only ones having to go to sleep early.
  8. Keep track of their eating habits. Many kids’ eating habits fall to the wayside during the summer but it can negatively affect their sleeping patterns. In the second part of the day, pay attention to what your kids are eating. Some of the best foods for better sleep include bananas, high-protein foods, almonds, warm milk, and cherries.
  9. childsleepgraphic
    Make sure they get the right amount of sleep for their age!

    Don’t over-schedule them. While it’s important for your kid to be involved in different activities to further their social and emotional development, don’t overdo it. Prioritize their sleep above their activities and let them know how important sleep is for them.

  10. Make sure that your kid exercises regularly. Go on a walk with them, play basketball with them, or go to the park. It’s important that they have a healthy lifestyle as it can lead to better overall sleep.

Are there any other methods you use to get your kid back on a sleep schedule for the new school year? Comment and share with us!

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3 Secrets Every Parent Needs to Know about Bedtime for Kids

Sleep is important for everyone, but getting a good night’s rest is even more essential for kids, as it directly impacts their mental and physical development. One of the best ways to help your child get the proper sleep he needs for optimal health and growth is to create and maintain a bedtime routine.

Create a Bedtime Routine

bedtimeroutineforkidsA bedtime routine helps your child transition from an alert state to one that is calm and drowsy. By practicing the same rituals each night, you’re showing your child that his bedroom is a safe, nurturing space so that he feels comfortable and secure, which helps trigger the brain to produce the sleep hormone known as Melatonin.

Without a bedtime routine, your child may not get the quality rest he needs, which can negatively affect health in a number of ways. Children who don’t get enough sleep have health problems like allergies and infections as well as social and emotional problems. Inadequate sleep is even linked to obesity and diabetes as well as being a significant factor in developing depression or anxiety. Irregular bedtimes negatively impact cognitive development, with subjects scoring significantly lower scores on reading, math and spatial awareness, according to a 2013 study conducted by the ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health at University College London. Consistent bedtimes can mean better grades, better health, and even greater happiness for both you and your child.

Consistency is Key

Help your child get in the good habit of following the same routine each evening before bed. Bedtime should be consistent, whether it’s a weekday, weekend, or holiday. No matter what the specific rituals, in the last 30 to 60 minutes before bed, rigorous activities should be avoided, and the same activities should be performed in the same order each night.

consistentsleepscheduleEducate your children about proper hygiene during this time. For example, they might begin winding down by taking a bath as well as brushing their teeth, flossing, washing their face, and for older kids, removing contact lenses. Sleeping in contacts can lead to infection. Those who sleep in their lenses are prone to contracting conjunctivitis, E-coli, or sties on the eyelids, notes Vision Direct. These issues can be prevented by ensuring that your child washes their hands before they handle their lenses, remove lenses before showering and ensure that he uses fresh solution in the lens case each night.

After practicing good hygiene, the final ritual of the night might be reading a bedtime story together or participating in self-soothing activities like talking or cuddling. After conducting this same routine each night, your child will know that bedtime is coming and that he needs to go to sleep. This consistent bedtime routine will benefit your child’s learning abilities and development in the future.

What to Avoid Before Bedtime

avoidtvbeforebedMany children stay glued to the television or computer right up until it’s time to go to sleep, but the bright light that electronics emit can harm their ability to fall asleep. This is because sleep patterns depend on light as well as hormones. When it begins to get dark out at the end of a day, the pineal gland produces melatonin, which begins to trigger sleepiness. Exposure to bright light emitted by a screen, no matter how big or small, including the television, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, stops the production of melatonin, preventing sleep. This means no screen time, including talking on the phone, for at least 60 minutes before going to bed.

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