Benefits of Blackout Curtains
Blackout curtains are typically used to block out sunlight. They can be essential for light sleepers who find themselves awake as soon as the first rays of sunlight enter through their bedrooms in the morning. These curtains are capable of blocking out as much as 99 percent of outside light sources. They are a godsend for people whose bedrooms may be situated right next to a street lamp that may be preventing them from falling asleep at night. These are good reasons to use blackout curtains, but do they also serve other purposes in addition to blocking out natural or artificial light sources? For example, do blackout curtains help reduce outside noise and keep heat from escaping through the windows? The answers are yes and yes.
Block Out Noise and Light
By blocking outside sunlight from entering the building in the hot summer months, blackout curtains can help keep inside temperatures low. Additionally, these curtains can also keep heat from escaping during the cold winter months. Heat can escape through windows at a high rate. Closing storm windows and installing plastic coverings will help the building retain much of that heat, but the addition of blackout curtains will provide an extra layer of protection and save you money. This will keep your bedroom warmer and your heating costs lower. Some manufacturers claim their curtains can reduce the loss of thermal heat by as much as 25 percent. Over the course of a long and cold winter, this can add up to very real savings on heating costs.
Outside noises may be another contributing factor to many people not getting a good night’s rest. For people who live near busy roads, traffic may be keeping them awake at night. For people in more rural areas, the birds may start singing just a little too early in the morning. Blackout curtains can be used to reduce these outside noises. They can deaden, or in many instances prevent, these noises from entering through the window completely.
Keep in Heat, Keep Costs Down
Blackout curtains are a triple threat. These curtains are made with durable materials and generally last a long time. They block out light and noise and prevent heat from escaping. Few things add as much value for your money by offering so many year round benefits.
To ensure that you are getting the full value of your blackout curtains, you need to make sure you are installing them to their best benefit. Make sure you purchase curtains that will cover the full area of your windows. You will want to eliminate the amount of light that can get in over the top of the curtains as well as on the sides and underneath. This will maximize their effectiveness. Also, you will want to make sure they are thick enough so that light cannot filter through them thereby reducing their overall effectiveness.
Silk Sheets Advantages
Silk sheets can add a touch of class and elegance to any bedroom. They not only look luxurious, but they feel smooth to the touch. Silk is an excellent choice of fabric for the warmer summer months too. This fabric does not retain moisture like cotton, so it won’t stick to the skin. This can be a big factor on a hot night. Of course, silk sheets will be more expensive than synthetic blends, but they are also higher quality. Silk is a strong and durable material that will last a long time if cared for properly.
One reason why many people are reluctant to buy silk sheets for their bed linen is that they think silk is too difficult to care for. While silk sheets certainly do require a higher level of care than regular cotton, polyester or nylon sheets, ‘difficult’ may not be the right word to describe the care instructions required. In fact, it is perfectly fine to machine wash silk sheets. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before doing so.
Washing Silk Sheets
For the first several washings of your silk sheets, it is recommended that you wash them by hand using a mild detergent. Anything too harsh and you do run the risk of damaging the fibers. Washing your silk sheets by hand initially will help the sheets maintain their sheen, which is a major selling point. It will also help keep the fibers soft and feeling silky. For optimal care, silk sheets should be washed by hand, but after the first few washings, it is fine to then wash them in a washing machine.
When washing silk sheets in a washing machine they should always be cleaned on the delicate cycle. Hot water should never be used. Lukewarm water is the best but cold is far better than hot. Avoid using the spin cycle. This cycle is hard on the silk fibers as it wrings the sheets out to get of the rinse water they’ve retained. As well, silk sheets should be washed individually. Never put any other article of clothing or bedding in the same washing machine as your sheets. Fabric softeners are fine to use when washing silk sheets in a machine. Bleach is never acceptable, even on stains.
How to Dry Silk Sheets
Your silk sheets will last much longer if you hang your sheets and air dry them. This may not be an option for many people, but if you are able to do it, this is highly recommended. Take care to keep colored sheets out of the direct sunlight to prevent them from fading due to overexposure. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest setting possible. Some dryers may even have an air dry setting which would be ideal for silk sheets that can not truly be air dried.
Take good care of your silk sheets and they will last a long time, even if you clean them in a washing machine.
Not everyone will agree with the notion that hotel beds are more comfortable than your own bed at home. There’s something about sleeping in your own bed that is hard to pinpoint. That is, until you’ve spent some time couch surfing or staying in the guest bedrooms of hospitable friends and relatives. However, there is certainly something to be said for sleeping in a bed that has been made with freshly washed, perhaps even starched, linens and which was made by a professional. Is that the only reason these beds seems to be so comfy? Not necessarily. The quality of the sheets are certainly a determining factor. Is it possible to incorporate hotel techniques when making your own bedroom at home? Yes, there are several things hotels do to help you rest easy when you are their guest, and you certainly can try them in your home.
It all starts with the sheets. Hotel beds are made with fresh sheets every day there is a new guest booked into the room. This is certainly a contributing factor to their appeal. If you had the time and inclination to wash your own sheets everyday, you might consider it as nothing quiet beats the feel of fresh sheets. Also, hotels, especially the higher end ones, use sheets with a higher thread count than we typically buy for ourselves. In many instance, but not all, a higher thread count makes for a better quality sheet. A thread count is determined by the number of threads that are intertwined, both horizontally and vertically, in a single square inch of fabric. Sometimes a high thread count does not mean better quality, just more threads of a lower quality. The better hotels use sheets made with higher quality, high thread counts. This is an important distinction if you are looking to duplicate the feel of hotel sheets in your own bedroom.
In addition to the thread count there are other factors that make for a more comfortable sheet. The weave of the thread also makes a difference. Some common types of weaves found in bed sheets, similar to ones you may find in hotels, include flannel, jersey, sateen, and percale.
The linens that hotels use on their beds are not the only thing that may make them feel more comfortable. The mattresses in hotels are changed every few years which means you’re likely to experience a mattress that is more firm than your bed at home. As well, hotel mattresses in many cases are not used every night. Many rooms remain empty for most of the week and the mattresses go unused. Also, hotel beds are flipped on a regular basis which also ensures that the wear on the mattress is distributed evenly, much like rotating the tires on a car.
Get Moving for a Good Night
Many Americans do not get enough sleep. Eight hours per night is the recommended amount but for some people this seems like an impossibility. The blame for lack of sleep is often put on our busy schedules, jobs, kids, work, etc. These things can’t really be eliminated from our lives but there are ways to make sure that we get a better night’s rest. Taking a daily walk around the neighborhood is one of these things that can help you sleep better and more restful.
There are a few different things that people can do to help them get a good night’s rest. Eating the right types of foods can contribute to the quality of our sleep. Not eating spicy or acidic foods before bedtime can help. Mediation and drinking herbal teas (free of caffeine, of course) is also beneficial to some people. Another good way to help you rest better at night is to get plenty of exercise during the day.
Just because you work a nine hour job and have a family to look after doesn’t mean you are getting the proper amount of exercise. Being busy is no replacement for a good workout that will get your heart rate going and your blood flowing. Walking a mile or two or even a few blocks every day is a good way to get this daily exercise. Taking a walk after dinner every night will not only help your body burn off calories but it will contribute to keeping you body functioning at its optimal level. It will also help you sleep better, provided you don’t do it too close to your bedtime.
How does exercise relax you so that you sleep better? The answer is: exercise gives melatonin a boost. Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone that help regulate your sleeping cycles. Exercise makes melatonin do its job better so that you can sleep better. Better sleep has many benefits and it helps fight depression and disease.
What NOT to Eat Before Bed
It is generally not recommended to eat before bedtime. If you suffer from heartburn or indigestion, for example, there is a good chance your stomach isn’t going to allow you drift off to a peaceful slumber mere minutes after your head hits the pillow. Sometimes, due to our busy schedules eating before bedtime is unavoidable. However, there are some things you can do that will make falling asleep easier and that will help you get a full night’s rest so that you’re not dragging and groggy the next morning.
It should go without saying that it is not a good idea to consume caffeine before bedtime. Coffee, tea and cola should be avoided and so should chocolate. If your time schedule doesn’t allow for much flexibility in the times when you eat your meals, there are some foods that you can eat that won’t keep you up tossing and turning. Fruit is a good food to eat if you must eat within an hour of your bedtime, but just make sure it’s nothing to acidic, especially if you suffer from heartburn. A banana or an apple or even grapes are a safe bet. Bland food is safer than spicy food. Bread and butter or a high carb snack like crackers can trigger the release of serotonin in the body which can help with sleep. Foods that are difficult to digest like corn and nuts should be avoided.
Healthy Foods to Eat Before Bed
In a broader sense eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is going to ensure that you have energy throughout the day. By being energized and active all day and burning off calories, your body should be more than ready to recharge over night. People who maintain healthy diets and get plenty of exercise generally sleep better.
Also, make sure you eat slowly and chew properly. This will help your body digest meals better so digestion won’t interfere with your sleep!