Pillow Talk

 

Not a care in the night world.

 

 

Statues snooze flat on their backs, head square on the pillow. If you can make it through the night this way (a clue: your bedding is almost perfect in the morning), then you’re clearly getting your restorative, deep zzz’s, and hopefully pleasant dreams. Good for you!

 

 

The big squeezy.

 

 

One look at a Hugger cuddling a pillow like a teddy bear, and you think: that’s a happy sleeper. (Are your dreams full of hugs? Only you know.) But take note: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, side sleepers like the Hugger end up with more wrinkles on the side of the face that smushes against their bedding. Switching positions isn’t easy, but switching your pillow cover is. To help skin glide more, and crinkle less, try a silky pillowcase.

 

 

Shake, rattle, and roll.

 

 

The Thrower sleeps without a pillow because it gets flung away during the night. No question, you’re a restless sleeper. To quiet your slumber, launder your linens with a detergent in a soothing scent and with a fabric softener for extra comfort that'll help you find your calm—and keep those pillows in place. 

 

 

 

 

Lights, sounds, oxygen—begone!

 

 

At some point each night the pillow ends up on top of your face. Because breathing is a good thing, if you’re a Face Blocker, you should consider alternatives that free your face. Look for clues as to what you may be blocking out. An annoying LED light on your TV, perhaps? Excessive noise? Make your bedroom a dark and quiet haven for sleep. An easy step to take: Stock your laundry room with a fabric softener that will make your jammies and bedding dreamy-soft and soothingly scented. 

 

 

It’s crunch time!

 

 

Wrestlers sleep with a spare pillow clenched between their legs. It’s not a leap to guess that you’re hanging on to some stress from the day (pity the fool who tries to take that pillow away from you!). A little gentle yoga before sack time might help reset your mojo, for a more restful overnight. To make the experience more pleasant, tuck a scented dryer sheet in your pajama drawer for a lovely smelling experience each time you open it. 

 

 

 

Cozy Ways to Enjoy a Spring Break Staycation

A staycation is the perfect opportunity to give your bedroom, living room, or wardrobe a little DIY love. An added perk to getting crafty: The rhythmic, repetitive motions of these activities can give you a mental vacation, putting you into a state of “flow,” where you become so immersed in what you’re doing that you lose all track of time. So put down the phone, and pick up a needle and thread.

Macramé. When The Wall Street Journal recently asked 11 interior design pros about trends for 2014, macramé, which was beloved in the 1970s, was on the list. The trend is now more hipster than crunchy granola, and crafters are using unexpected scale, materials, colors, and shapes to make lampshades, wall art, plant hangers, rugs, and more.

Knitting and crocheting. The current trend is to go big with chunky, oversized stitches, using large needles. Or take a turn at the latest fad, arm knitting. This is a technique in which you use your hands and arms instead of knitting needles. The greatest thing about this method? You can make a comfy cowl or scarf in less than an hour. (It’s easy to find online videos to walk you through the steps.)

Quilting. Whether you’re interested in making a quilt for the foot of your bed or a tablecloth for your dining room, the art of quilting has gone modern, featuring bold colors and geometric shapes. You can find lots of tips and techniques online. 

Needlepoint and embroidery. Maybe Grandma had it right. Needlepoint and embroidery are popping up in unexpected places, gracing the runways on purses, shoes, and dresses from top-notch designers. You can take the DIY approach and stitch your own purse, pillow, or belt. Look for a kit or canvas that lets you make a dramatic tapestry-like or arty design.

Boost Your Energy—No Caffeine Needed!

Put a spring in your step the natural way with our six healthy (and super easy-to-implement) lifestyle changes.

Make breakfast count. Don’t even think about skipping your morning meal, say nutritional experts. But do forgo the sugary cereals and toasted white bread. Instead, make sure your first choice of the day is a healthy one by including protein-rich foods, such as scrambled eggs or Greek yogurt, and whole-grain cereals or breads. Throw in some fresh fruit and a handful of nuts and you’re on your way to a more energized day.

Get moving now. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults get 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Even moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk or bike ride, can get your blood flowing and your motivation up. If a half hour seems like an impossibility given your busy schedule, break it up into three 10-minute sessions per day. Taking the stairs, heading out for a quick walk on your lunch break, even lifting hand weights while you watch TV, all count—and the benefits and results are the same as a full-on workout.

Eat right. Be mindful not to skip meals, which can lead to overeating later, and keep portions small, particularly at lunchtime, when consuming too many calories can zap late-afternoon alertness. The occasional splurge is fine and even recommended (hello wine and sugary treats), but it’s best to stick to a balanced diet of lean proteins and unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa, as well as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, to keep energy levels high.

Don’t skimp on sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours of shut-eye to feel their best. If you’re not getting the rest you need, try rolling back your tuck-in time by 10 minutes every few nights until you reach your goal. And bear in mind that it’s not just the quantity but the quality of sleep that counts: Turn off all electronic devices, make sure your room is cool and dark, and set the stage for a great night’s sleep by getting your sheets and pajamas silky soft with a liquid fabric softener.

Drink up! Guess what’s the fastest, simplest way to feel energized? Water. Experts recommend that adults throw back at least eight 8-ounce glasses of H2O daily. Find yourself forgetting? Place a sticky note on the fridge or your computer screen. And remember: Although coffee, energy drinks, and carbonated sodas may give you a quick energy boost, after a couple of hours you may end up feeling more tired than before. 

Easy does it. Don’t discount stress: Worrying can sap your energy fast. Experts recommend meditation, walking, yoga, and confiding in friends when your problems seem overwhelming. If you’re feeling overworked, prioritizing can help. Make a list of what needs to be done, and then tackle the most pressing chores or assignments first. And delegate, delegate, delegate whenever possible. Volunteering can help take your mind off your worries too, as can having a good laugh—so skip the dramas and go straight for the comedies.

How to Catch Some Zzzzs on Your Next Flight

When you travel by plane, whether it’s for spring break, business, or summer vacation, you want to arrive at your destination feeling fresh and well rested. If you usually struggle to catch a nap when you fly, you’re in good company—but it is possible to sleep comfortably on a plane if you take the right precautions. Here are top strategies from seasoned travelers, all of whom have learned to maximize the potential for a good snooze en route to their destination.

Get some exercise before you take flight. If you work out a few hours before boarding a plane, you’ll be comfortably tired; plus, your post-workout body temperature will drop while you’re airborne, which will also help set the stage for sounder sleep.

Choose the right seat. If you’re flying coach, pick a window seat in an exit row. This way you won’t be bothered when your seatmates get up, and you can rest your head against the window. Avoid the galley area, which tends to be the busiest spot on the plane, or seats near the bathrooms, as passengers invariably congregate nearby.

Dress for comfort. Wear loose-fitting clothes that have been treated by a laundry detergent with a soothing scent, and snuggle up in your seat. Since the cabin temperature can fluctuate widely, dress in layers so you can add on or peel off as necessary. Also, bring comfy socks to slip on if your feet tend to get cold.

Bring your own blankie. Bring a soft, cozy throw (and a small travel pillow) that’s been washed in a soothing liquid laundry detergent with a calming scent. Consider taking an eye mask to block out light, and earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to drown out sounds. Before nodding off, fasten your seat belt over your blanket so the flight attendants won’t have to rouse you before landing to check if you’re buckled in.

Pack a snack. Bring a bottle of water and munchies that are known to help induce sleep, such as bananas (they contain muscle-relaxing potassium and magnesium), magnesium-rich almonds, or a turkey sandwich, which contains calming tryptophan. Enjoy your food early in the journey so you won’t be at the mercy of the flight attendants’ scheduled service. Sweet dreams!

How to Shine in the Spotlight

Who among us hasn’t envied how calm, cool, and beautiful celebrities look as they walk the red carpet? If you’ve ever wished you could grab some of their star wattage and put it to use in your own life, now’s your chance. Here’s how to kick up your confidence for your next big event—whether it’s a big presentation at work or a fancy night out—and shine in the spotlight.

 

Trust your personal style. Don’t just wear the newest trend because it’s, well, the newest trend. Pick an outfit that makes you feel amazing, one that allows you to move with ease and comfort and that telegraphs the vibe you’re going for—be it professional and polished or elegant and sexy. And go easy on the extras: Pick one eye-catching piece of jewelry or a gorgeous pair of heels, then choose other accessories that are more understated.

Give your senses a treat. While you’re getting ready for your special event, crank up some mood-boosting tunes and light a scented candle. Uptempo music and a wonderful scent will help you prepare for whatever the day or night might hold.  

Keep your makeup simple. After applying foundation and concealer where needed, do some subtle sculpting of your face by dabbing a soft rosy blush under your cheekbones. Then, choose whether you want to go with dramatic eyes, such as a smoky shadow and liner, or brightly colored lips. And don’t forget to toss some translucent powder or blotting sheets in your bag for quick, shine-removing touch-ups, as necessary.

Carry yourself confidently. Your mother was right! Posture counts: Stand tall with your head held high, your chest lifted, and your shoulders back. Relax your jaw, keep your chin slightly lifted, and make friendly eye contact during conversation. And whatever you do, smile subtly, as if you have a juicy secret you’re just dying to tell.

Visualize yourself rocking your performance. Before the big event, mentally rehearse the way you want to come across and how you’d like the presentation, interview, or romantic dinner to unfold. Picture how you’ll look, what you’ll say, and how you’ll feel. Chances are very good (dare we say excellent?) that you’ll create the positive outcome you envision!