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Budget Chic in the Bedroom

Is furnishing a new bedroom putting a strain on your wallet? Consider using a couple of smart upcycling techniques to save a lot of money on either pieces of furniture or accessories. Upcycling is the practice of taking old objects doomed to the trash bin and transforming them into something both useful and gorgeous — while remaining, of course, dirt cheap. The following upcycling bedroom ideas, the brainchildren of several crafty bloggers with an eye for interior design, prove that chic doesn’t have to be costly.

Big persian carpets add a unique dimension to a bedroom, but a nice one can be expensive. Instead, try painting a colorful design on some spare carpeting or an inexpensive rug. Design blogger Lydia Pudel crafted the carpet below by cutting out a stencil, tracing the stencil over the carpet, and then using wall paint to transform the rug from a boring white into a dreamy, Moroccan themed piece.

Handpaint a colorful design using a stencil on an old carpet or rug.

Do you have an old door lying around somewhere? You might not expect it, but old doors make wonderful new ‘shabby chic’ bookshelves. The Craftaholics Anonymous blog features a corner bookshelf made out of two halves of a door. The crafter used a circular saw to chisel the door in two. She then nailed the two halves together, perpendicular to one another and added shelving. The result is a one-of-a-kind piece that makes the entire room pop. Craftaholics Anonymous is not the only blog that is repurposing old doors, however — check Pinterest for more ideas on how to transform old doors into viable pieces of furniture. Other ideas include coffee tables, desks, cupboards and even wall sconces.

 Reuse an old door as a cute corner bookshelf.

Tablecloths are made from sturdy fabric and don’t just have to be for the table. You can use a new tablecloth or re-use an old one for inexpensive curtains in your bedroom. Simply iron out any wrinkles and clip them into place on the curtain rod — no sewing necessary. In fact, tablecloths are very versatile — check Pinterest for more ideas on how to use them for new chair cushions, pillows and more.

Two old tablecloths find new life as curtains.

Stylish Slumber for pets

Make a pet bed from an old suitcase.
Make a pet bed from a wine crate.

Dogs are man’s best friend, but your dog’s bed is likely not on friendly terms with the style police. Pillow-shaped traditional dog beds, with their fleece coverings and often awkward color scheme, might not mesh well with your home decor. So how can you find something that will have Fido slumbering in style as well as comfort? Surprisingly, there are a lot of options out there that have the potential to please not only your best bud but also your sense of personal aesthetics.

Look for wooden raised beds. A raised wooden dogbed is generally reminiscent of a shelf or a cubbyhole, with four legs which lift the bed off the ground by a few inches. Some beds are small and compact, while others are wide and elegant. The wooden finish on most of these dog beds matches well with most home color schemes. Moreover, both you and your buddy will benefit from a better airflow around the bed which reduces odours – a perk that comes with the raised design. Look for wooden dogbeds in speciality online boutiques, like Chesea Dogs.

Repurpose a wine crate. If you don’t want to spend the money for a wooden raised dog bed and you have a small to medium dog, consider using a simple hack: Use a wine crate. With its wooden finish and wine signage, a wine crate is just as elegant as any wooden dog bed. Use a circular saw to cut a semi circle in one side of the wine crate so that your pet can easily get in and out of the bed. To make it easier to move, apply four wooden rounds to the bottom of each of the crate’s corners. Then add a mini pillow to the interior, and voila! It’s gorgeous, it’s simple, and what’s more, it cost you almost nothing.

Use an old suitcase If you’d like something a bit more unique and ‘shabby chic,’ consider creating a pet bed from an old suitcase — at least, if you have one roomy enough for your pooch. First, line the suitcase with a piece of foam for cushioning. Then choose a matching fabric to cover the foam, tucking the excess over the corners and edges. After that, you’re ready to tuck your pooch in and have him enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Sleep Apnea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Sleep apnea is a somewhat common condition in which normal breathing actually stops during sleep. These moments of apnea can happen many times while you’re asleep. My doctor informed me that the disruption in my breathing could be a sign of an issue regarding the signals in my brain. Just for a brief moment, the brain can literally ‘forget’ to tell the muscles to breathe.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Photo Courtesy of David Goehring

Photo Courtesy of David Goehring

In many cases, certain underlying health disorders are the culprit of sleep apnea like being overweight. That’s originally why I visited my doctor; but later discovered I had sleep apnea. From what I understand, this is quite common in obese people since excess weight can enlarge the tissues in and around a person’s airways. During an episode of sleep apnea, the brainstem doesn’t properly signal the muscles that tell you to breath. Because the brainstem is connected to the spinal cord, any medical disorders that affect the brainstem, heart, or spinal cord can lead to sleep apnea.

Here are some examples of conditions related to sleep apnea:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • Radiation treatments or surgery on the spine
  • Cervical spine arthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease (an age-associated deterioration of key nerve systems that impact muscle control, balance, and overall movement)
  • Congestive heart failure

Symptoms

The basic symptoms of sleep apnea include brief periods when your breathing stops during sleep. For some people, they show signs of extreme shallow breathing rather than actually stopping. The lack of air itself is what caused me to frequently wake up through the night. Obviously, this makes me very tired the next day. The sleep apnea episodes cause insomnia. Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Speech pattern changes
  • Changes in the voice
  • Overall weakness throughout the body

Diagnosis

My doctor ordered a polysomnography, which is a sleep study test that’s used to diagnose sleep apnea. During a polysomnography test, your breathing patterns, lung function, heart rate, brain activity, and oxygen levels are monitored.

Treatment

The first step in treating sleep apnea is managing any underlying medical issues that may be causing it in the first place. The regulation of air pressure and oxygen supplementation during sleeping are both effective in treating people who deal with sleep apnea. Some of these treatments include:

ASV (Adaptive Servo-Ventilation)

ASV monitors your breathing patterns while you sleep. The innovative system ‘remembers’ your patterns. The system is pressurized and works to help normalize your breathing patterns in order to prevent any future episodes of sleep apnea.

BPAP (Bi-level Positive Air Pressure)

BPAP regulates the air pressure at a higher level once you inhale and back down to a lower level once you exhale.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure)

CPAP provides a continuous source of pressure in the airways when sleeping. While sleeping at night, a mask is worn over your mouth and nose that delivers a continuous stream of pressurized air.

Outlook

For most people struggling with sleep apnea, they respond well to ongoing treatment. The benefits of sleep apnea treatment are varied based on the cause of the condition.

Psyching out bedroom clutter

Untidy room (Karottenreibe Wikimedia commons)

No matter how hard you try to beat it back, bedroom clutter always sedems to return. But the sea of not-so-useful items on your desk, on your floor, and on your nightstand only stresses you out and makes life more complicated than it needs to be. After all, if your living space is afflicted with too much stuff, you inevitably end up losing important things among the rubble. If you’re tired of losing your housekeys under piles of paperwork, or finally finding your current metrocard under a pile of used metro tickets, it’s time to change your current situation. A cluttered keyboard. (Chuck Marean Wikimedia Commons)
WebMD experts recommend starting off with a simple mind trick: If you have something you don’t wear or use, but you’re not sure you can part with it, put it in a labeled box. On the label, write down a future date one to 6 months from now and then keep the box in your basement or another space you use for storage.

Now, if you need the object at some point before the future date, don’t hesitate to bring the box back out from storage and re-install that object in your room. But if you don’t need to use it during that time period, then leave it there.

When that future date comes around, you have all the proof you need to recognize that you need to get rid of it. “When the date comes — and you need to write it in your calendar — don’t open the box,” says Aricz LaFrance, a psychotherapist and organizing consultant interviewed by Web MD. “Donate it or throw it away.” This mind trick, a clever way to psych yourself out, helps you to overcome the irrational beliefs you may hold about the usefulness of some of your stuff. It’s a simple first step to clearing out the rubble and establishing a cleaner and less stressful bedroom.

Pillow Options for People With Bad Backs or Necks

Neck and back pain are two of the most common ailments that people suffer from. These problems can be experienced by young and old people alike. Many of these instances of neck and back pain can be traced back to problems during sleep. When people sleep in awkward positions, it often contributes to these issues. My uncle was one of the people that woke up every morning with a stiff back and neck. He thought that he would just have to learn to live with the pain. However, I told him to test out some new pillows to see if that might solve the problem. To his surprise, a new pillow specifically designed to help the back and neck was exactly what he needed. Let’s take a look at some of the best examples of these pillows that are currently available:

Travelrest pillow

This pillow is ideal for people who do a lot of traveling and can never seem to have a restful sleep during their trip. This keeps your head from tilting over if you are trying to sleep in a sitting position. That type of tilting can put a lot of stress on your neck. It is easy to inflate to the desired amount of firmness or softness. It helps you to maintain good posture and avoid sudden jerky movements.

Talalay latex pillow

This is ideal for both side and back sleepers. Your neck and head will be kept cool by the ventilated foam. Because the pillow is four inches high, many people say it is a good pillow for someone with a large body who enjoys sleeping on their side.

Lumbar wedge pillow

This type of pillow is made by many manufacturers. As the name indicates, it is shaped like a wedge. This type of pillow can be used in two different ways. It can be used by people who need to sit at a desk all day at their job because it provides support to the lower back. There are also larger wedge pillows that can be used for sleeping. Their shape has been shown to reduce tossing and turning. It also enables people to get out of bed easier.

Cylinder pillows (also called a roll pillow)

This is another pillow that is produced by many companies, so a person will need to test out a few different ones to see which one they like best. You can find these pillows stuffed most frequently with either beans or foam. If a person uses them while sitting in a chair, they will provide support to the lumbar region of the back, where many people frequently experience pain. They can also be placed under your neck when you are sleeping to give your neck the amount of support it needs.