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Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, Apr. 6, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6CALIFORNIA LIFE

Home Checklist

Resetting the alarm clock is easy; body clocks take a little longer.

After the switch to daylight saving time, many people take awhile to adjust their sleep schedule. As the days lengthen, this can be hard – there's more light and less dark.

The experts at mattress and pillow maker Sleep Innovations offer these tips to make the most of a night's sleep:

Location matters. Light tells the body to wake up. A noisy or overly hot bedroom can make it hard to relax. Strive to make your bedroom a cool, dark, quiet environment. Reserve your bed for sleeping; read or watch TV on the couch.

Be active during the day. Exercise is key not only to better health but also to better sleep. Get out, get moving and get your body ready to rest.

Go to bed healthy, not hungry. Late-night snacks can keep you awake, but a hungry sleeper is a poor sleeper. If you crave a bedtime snack, make it light, healthy and easy to digest such as a small bowl of cereal and milk, a couple of cookies, toast or a small muffin. Avoid chocolate (it contains caffeine) and hard-to-digest proteins such as meat or cheese.

Cut down on smoking, alcohol and caffeine. They all have a negative effect on sleep. Avoid within two hours of bedtime.

Stick to your schedule. Keep a consistent bedtime – even on weekends – to make it easier to fall asleep each night.

Find time to relax. Take time to unwind before bed; read or watch TV (but not in the bedroom). This letdown time helps your body get in the mood for a deep sleep.

Unplug. Smartphones also serve as alarm clocks, but sleeping next to your phone offers too many distractions. Get an alarm clock and leave the phone in another room.

Mattresses matter. Pick one that feels right for you and your sleep style.

Spring also traditionally brings new mattress introductions and innovations – some in unexpected places.

For example, Sleep Innovations' Gel Memory Foam mattresses are available at Kohl's; the queen size comes in a portable box on wheels that can be rolled to the check-out counter and to the car.

For more tips on sleep and mattresses, click on www.sleepinnovations.com.


Garden Checklist


• In the vegetable garden, plant seeds for beets, carrots, celery, chard, endive, fennel, jicama, mustard, radish, spinach and turnips.

Watch out for slugs and snails. Spring brings them out in force. An hour after nightfall, check your tender plants with a flashlight and hand-pick snails and slugs off foliage.

To deter snails, sprinkle wood ash or crushed eggshells around plants. Or try this trick: Put boards (such as two 2-by-4s or 1-by-6s) flat in the garden and leave them overnight. In the morning, you'll find the critters hiding under the boards. Scrape the pests into the trash and dispose of them.

Catch stink bugs early. Their eggs – in neat rows – soon will start appearing on the underside of leaves. The young stink bugs look like long-legged aphids. They can be controlled by such organic products as Nature's Pest Fighter, Safer brand insecticidal soap or Bug Buster-O. Or, with gloves, pick them off and drop them in an old coffee can containing an inch of soapy water. Then, cover the can and dispose of it.

With warmer weather comes mosquito season. Empty standing water out of saucers under pots. Also, eliminate any other standing water that may have accumulated during spring showers.

– Debbie Arrington

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