Monday, 28 July 2014

Helium Closes Her Doors

Hi all,

I've been writing for Helium since they began in 2007. Recently I was informed that the site would be closing later on in the year. The writers have been given the opportunity to download their articles before the site goes offline. This explains all the articles I have been posting to my blog about sleep, LOL. The majority of my articles are being posted to Bubblews and the remainder I will post to my blog.

I write the majority of my blog posts to Bubblews now as I am being paid much more there than I am here, but I will still continue to write here when I have the time.

Feel free to stop by and visit me anytime.

Love KB

Pic source: KBs Room

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Quick Moroccan Menu Ideas

Moroccan cuisine is a huge part of Moroccan culture. Derived from a blend of Arab, Middle Eastern, Berber, Moorish, African and Mediterranean influences, Moroccan menus consist of a wide range of dishes, from simple raw salads to exotic formal lamb dishes. Read on to discover quick Moroccan menu ideas that can be easily prepared at home.

The main meal of the day in Moroccan cuisine is served at midday, unless the holy month of Ramadan is being observed. A variety of ingredients are incorporated into Moroccan dishes, apart from pork and alcohol which are prohibited per Muslin restrictions. A typical meal begins with salads and side dishes and all meals are served with bread. Main meals often consist of vegetarian, fish, lamb, chicken, fish or beef dishes. Meals are eaten with the hands and by using bread as a utensil. A mint tea is served to complete the meal.

Salade Mechouia -  Moroccan tomato and roasted pepper salad

This fresh salad is a popular side dish and can also be served on a sandwich with a grilled meat. It’s a quick dish, preparation and cooking time can take as little as 20 minutes. Simply peel, seed and chop tomatoes, add toasted peppers and vinaigrette and serve. Onions and parsley are a tasty addition to the dish.

Moroccan grilled lamb chops

Lamb is a common ingredient in Moroccan dishes and a lamb chop dish is a simple, delicious addition to any menu. The lamb chops are washed and drained. The chops are coated with a mixture of herbs, spices, lemon juice and olive oil and refrigerated overnight to marinate. The chops are lightly grilled and served warm and tender.

Cauliflower with Moroccan spices

Vegetable dishes are common in Moroccan cuisine. Cauliflower is easy to prepare and absorbs the flavours of the spices it is paired with, making it a perfect vegetable to combine with Moroccan spices. The cauliflower is cut into small florets, washed and drained. Spices are mixed with the cauliflower and set aside. The cauliflower is added to sauteed onions and garlic, combined with preserved lemon, olives and water and brought to a simmer. The mixture is covered and cooked for 10 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. The cover is then removed so the liquids can reduce down.

Mint tea

Tea is an important part of Moroccan culture, is served many times during the day and is offered to visitors as a common courtesy. It is prepared by steeping green tea with mint leaves.      
Many Moroccan dishes are named after the versatile tagine. A tagine is a ceramic or clay pot which can be used to cook or serve an array of different dishes. The bottom on the tagine is a circular, wide shallow dish which is topped off with a rounded cone or dome. Dishes of meat, chicken or fish are typically stewed in the tagine with vegetables or fruit. A tagine is a delicious addition to a menu and is usually easy to prepare, but it does take a considerable amount of time to cook.  

Moroccan dishes are delicious, nutritious and can be prepared with simple ingredients, making them a perfect quick meal or family feast.

Pic source: KB and Whitesnake

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

5 Ways to Disrupt Your Sleep

Many people try to live life on as little sleep as possible, wondering why they feel lacking in energy and stressed. Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, while a person sleeps; the body repairs itself and replenishes energy levels.  Sleep shouldn’t be looked at as a burden, but a gift. So how do you give yourself the gift of sleep?

Exercise is a good place to start. The human body needs to be physically tired in order to sleep. As little exercise as a 30 minute walk per day can tire the body and lead to a more restful night’s sleep.

There is a better chance of getting a good night’s rest if the mind is relaxed. An individual who goes to bed stressed and processing the worries of the day is unlikely to fall asleep quickly. Relaxing the mind is a process that begins earlier in the day. Practicing some form of relaxation such as yoga, deep breathing or listening to soothing music can ease the tensions of the day. If stress and worry persist during the day, talking to a friend or writing down feelings in a journal, can reduce worries before bedtime. If worries still plague the mind at bedtime, writing them down on a pad and committing to tackling them the next day will be more productive than tossing and turning all night.

A bedroom which is cluttered and uncomfortable is not conducive to a good night’s rest. Removing unpaid bills, unfinished work and unfolded laundry from the bedroom will make the room more appealing and a less stressful place to be. Ensuring the room is a comfortable temperature and as dark as possible will create a better place to sleep in.  

An individual will sleep better at night with a regular bedtime routine in place. Soaking in a warm bath, reading a book, listening to relaxing music or taking a hot shower before bed, will inform the mind that it is almost time to sleep. Engaging in activities which stimulate the mind such as watching television or playing computer games can do the opposite so it’s best to avoid stimulating activities close to bedtime.

Bedtime shouldn’t be a time to dread it’s a time to rest and prepare mind and body for the next day. Exercising, taking steps to relax the mind and practicing a bedtime routine are simple ways to give yourself the gift of sleep. However, if sleeplessness persists, a medical professional should be consulted.

Pic source: KB's Room

Friday, 18 July 2014

How to Fall Asleep Quickly

Studies show that a healthy adult falls asleep within 10-15 minutes, so why do so many struggle to fall asleep fast? Falling asleep should come naturally, but many factors can contribute to staring at the ceiling until the early hours. Fortunately, by using a little common sense and developing a few easy habits, falling asleep quickly is achievable for most people.

To fall asleep quickly, the body and mind should to be tired and relaxed. One of the best ways to tire the body is through physical activity. A 30 minute walk each day is ideal for this purpose. However, it’s important to remember that exercising too close to bedtime can have the opposite effect by stimulating the mind and body.

An individual, who takes worries to bed, is unlikely to fall asleep quickly. Problems and stresses should be worked through during the day if possible. This can be achieved by taking to a friend or working through feelings in a journal. If worries still persist at bedtime, it’s a good idea to write them down and commit to reassessing them the following day.  

Many individuals, who have trouble falling asleep quickly, tend to consume stimulating substances close to bedtime. Caffeinated drinks, large meals and cigarettes should be avoided later in the day as they stimulate the body and mind and interfere with falling asleep.

Human bodies work to a sleep schedule, but individuals who find it hard to fall asleep quickly have probably messed up their schedule. The best way to get a sleep schedule back on track is to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day or night. Even after a late night, it’s important to wake up at the usual time so the schedule stays intact. This way, the mind gets into the habit of falling asleep quickly at the same time each night.

An individual is not likely to fall asleep quickly if the body and mind is tense. Practicing some form of relaxation each day is a fun way to relax and unwind. This can involve just about anything as long as the activity relaxes the individual. Different people relax in different ways so it’s important to try several activities until one suits.

Falling asleep fast should be achievable for most people, most of the time. Obviously, there will be times due to stress and illness when this is not possible, but if symptoms persist, a medical professional should be consulted.

Pic source: Karen and Steve Boddey

Thursday, 17 July 2014

5 Ways to Ruin a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep is important for everyone, so why are so many people ruining a good night of rest? The simple fact is, many individuals are forming habits which are interfering with sleep without realising it. Read on to discover five easy ways to ruin a good night’s rest.

An individual’s diet can easily ruin a good night’s rest. Substances such as caffeine and cigarettes are stimulants which can interfere with sleep. Individuals experiencing sleep difficulties should reduced or eliminate these substances. Eating large meals close to bedtime should also be avoided.
A large meal can take several hours for the body to digest and having a full stomach can lead to tossing and turning while attempting to sleep. Alcohol can cause an individual to drop off to sleep, but it can also encourage early morning waking so this should be avoided or consumed earlier in the evening.

Many people today don’t move around enough because of sedentary jobs, but the body needs to be physically tired to sleep. Experts recommend that exercising for as little as 30 minutes each day can encourage a good night’s sleep and the good news is, it doesn’t have to be done in one hit. Small blocks of exercise such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking the dog and parking further away from an intended destination and walking the rest of the way, quickly add up to 30 minutes per day.

A person will not sleep well if their sleep schedule is disturbed on a regular basis. The mind and body will sleep easier if programmed to go to sleep and rise at approximately the same time each day and evening. Keeping this schedule can retrain an individual to fall asleep at a regular time in as little as three weeks.

A great way to ruin a good night’s sleep is by trying to sleep in a messy environment. The bedroom should be a sanctuary. Removing clutter, keeping the bedroom temperature a little cooler than the rest of the home and having the room as dark as possible are good ways to encourage a better night’s sleep.

Pic source:  Karen and Steve Boddey

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

How to Improve Sleep Patterns

Sleeping is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep restores and repairs body and mind, but if an individual isn’t getting enough good quality sleep, it can have a negative impact on mind and body function. Waking to an alarm clock, not feeling refreshed upon waking, taking a long time to get out of bed and feeling sluggish during the day are signs an individual may not be sleeping well. Although some factors which contribute to a bad night’s sleep may not be controlled, there are a few simple ways to improve sleep habits and encourage better sleep patterns.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day and night, is one of the easiest ways to establish a healthy sleep pattern. This schedule forms a habit in the mind, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up the following day. Sleeping in and staying up late on the weekends should be avoided as this confuses the sleep cycle.

Substances consumed during the day can interrupt sleep patterns.  Many individuals who have sleep problems use alcohol to encourage sleep. Alcohol can assist in falling asleep, but it also interferes with quality of sleep and encourages early morning waking. Cigarettes and caffeine can also disturb sleep patterns as they stimulate mind and body. Heavy meals can interfere with sleep patterns as they take several hours to digest. These substances should be reduced or eliminated to improve sleep patterns.

Establishing a night time ritual is another way to improve sleep patterns. Taking part in a relaxing activity such as reading, listening to soothing music, cleaning and moisturising the face or soaking in a warm bath before heading to bed, establishes a habit which informs the mind and body it’s time to prepare for sleep.

The sleep environment can play a huge role in the disruption of sleep patterns. The mind is programmed to wake when light is present and sleep when it’s dark. Therefore, keeping the bedroom as dark as possible and shutting down light sources can improve sleep patterns. It’s also a good idea to ensure the bedroom temperature is a little cooler than other rooms in the house to compensate for use of bedclothes and blankets. Create a bedroom sanctuary.

Following these simple tips can improve sleep patterns and encourage a good night’s sleep. However, if sleep issues continue, a medical professional should be referred to.

Pic source: Karen and Steve Boddey

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

How to Develop a Regular Sleep Schedule

Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It contributes to a better immune system, ensures the mind is alert and the body has plenty of energy for the day ahead. So why are some people tossing and turning all night rather than getting a good night’s sleep? This could be for a number of reasons, but one of the best ways to get a restful sleep is to develop a sleep schedule.

Human minds and bodies are programmed to sleep to a schedule; if this schedule is interrupted on a regular basis, an individual may find it difficult to sleep when tired as the mind has been reprogrammed to sleep at different times.  Luckily, this can be rectified by the individual going to bed and waking at the same time each morning and night. Sleeping in on the weekends will probably leave a person feeling groggy rather than refreshed, that’s why it’s important to wake at the regular time each day even after a late night.  In most cases, this new habit can be established in as little as three weeks.

When developing a sleep schedule, it’s important to keep in mind that certain stimulants may interfere with a good night’s sleep. If a person has gone to bed after drinking a huge cup of coffee, it’s unlikely they will fall asleep quickly. Therefore, avoiding stimulants such as coffee and cigarettes close to bedtime is a good idea. Eating a large meal before bed can lead to heartburn. This interferes with sleep as the body needs time to digest the food before bedtime. Alcohol can leave individuals sleepy, but can also encourage early morning waking so drinking too much before bed can interfere with a regular sleep schedule.

A bedtime ritual is another great way to encourage a good night’s rest and should be part of a successful sleep schedule.  A relaxing activity such as taking a warm bath, reading or listening to relaxing music, when preformed on a regular basis before bed, will inform the mind and body that it is almost time for sleep. Individuals should be wary of computer activities and television as part of a bedtime ritual, as these activities can stimulate rather than relax the mind.

Pic source: Karen and Steve Boddey


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