Wake Up Better Every Day

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Do you feel like you have to drag yourself out of bed every morning? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. Not only have researchers linked it to motor vehicle crashes and industrial disasters, it also contributes to occupational errors, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to wake up better every day—and some may even help you get more shut-eye in the long run.

  • Let the sunshine in. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your body’s internal clock is sensitive to light and darkness. If you get a healthy dose of sunshine first thing in the morning, it will help you wake up. Try throwing open your curtains and blinds as soon as your alarm goes off. If you have to get up before the sun rises, turn on a bright light.
  • Give up the snooze button. It doesn’t matter how many hours of sleep you had that night, when the alarm goes off in the morning, you’re going to feel tired and groggy. The feeling is actually part of a normal process that helps you sleep through the night. Repeatedly pressing the snooze will only make it worse (and make you late for work). Instead, get out of bed and get moving.
  • Stop relying on coffee. You’ve seen the mugs that read, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” If you agree with them, it might be time to give up that morning Joe. It’s actually doing less to help you than you believe. According to scientists, caffeine works as a stimulant, at least in part, by impeding the effects of brain chemicals that drive you to sleep during the day. Your body has fewer of those chemicals when you first get up, so you’re better off having coffee later in the day when it can actually do some good.
  • Start relaxing before bed. Never hit the sack until you’ve taken the time to slow down and relax. Trying to sleep directly after working, watching TV, arguing with your spouse or cleaning the house is almost always difficult. You mind needs time to wind down free from distractions. Try a few minutes of meditation, a hot shower, or some light stretches.
  • Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. This one is easier said than done, but it can do wonders for both the quantity and quality of sleep you get each night. Experts recommend logging seven to nine hours of pillow time so if you’re getting less, you need to give this a try. Avoiding naps, evening caffeine and late dinners can help you in your efforts to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Ask for help. If you’re getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night but still wake up tired and drag yourself through the day, your sleep quality may be poor. Two common offenders are chronic pain and sleep apnea. While you’re probably already aware if you have the former, you’ll need to see a sleep specialist to diagnose the latter. Visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website for assistance.











Single? Here Are Five Reasons You Still Need Life Insurance

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If you’re currently single, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unmarried adults made up 50.2 percent of the U.S. population in 2014. That’s approximately 124.6 million people, a number that has increased more than 22 percent since 1950. And while being single has its advantages—no one is hogging your covers or leaving the cap off the toothpaste, after all—they don’t include forgoing life insurance. In fact, here are five very good reasons why you may still want to consider this valuable investment.

  1. Life insurance will cost you less now than it will later. The younger and healthier you are, the lower your monthly life insurance premium is likely to be. While you may want to set aside savings for an emergency fund and start making retirement account contributions before you buy, doing so now can yield significant savings. In fact, according to analysis of current market rates by ValuePenguin, an insurance education website, a $250,000 20-year term policy will cost a 25-year-old nonsmoker an average of $27.53 a month. The same policy for a 45-year-old is $51.62 a month.
  2. Your parents, other family or friends cosigned loans for you. In most cases, loan cosigners are fully responsible for balances owed should the primary borrower pass away. With the typical college education (at a four-year, public university) currently costing $9,139 per year according to The College Board, this can easily become a significant burden. A life insurance policy will eliminate the potential for resulting financial hardship.
  3. Others rely on you for financial support. Sometimes singles still have people who depend on them. For example, according to U.S. Census figures, nearly 16 million unmarried parents live with their children. You might also find yourself caring for grandparents and special-needs siblings. A life insurance policy can ensure they will still have the support they need should you pass away.
  4. You’re a small business owner. Maybe you started a software company with a few college friends. Perhaps you and your sister are in business creating and selling organic soap. Whatever you do for a living, if you want your partners to be able to carry on after your death, you may need a life insurance policy. A buy-sell agreement, in which a policy is purchased on each individual or for the group, can provide heirs with a payout in lieu of a stake in the business.
  5. Leaving a legacy is important to you. Are you passionate about the welfare of animals? Do you have a special bond with a niece, nephew or child of a friend? Whatever the cause or reason, if you’d like to leave something behind for it after your passing, a life insurance policy can enable you to do so.

If you’re currently single and without life insurance, we’d love to help you explore your options. If you’re not, feel free to share this article with single friends. And remember: it’s important to re-evaluate your coverage whenever you experience a significant life event.