Blog Posts by QuickandSimple.com

  • Not sleeping enough? These 5 sneaky snooze-stealers may be robbing you of shut-eye!

    Sure, there are the usual culprits when it comes to lack of sleep: Too much caffeine or booze, say, too close to bedtime. But there are stealth thieves that may also be running off with the shut-eye you need. We've lined up 5 of them here:

    Stealer: Your low-calorie diet
    Solution:
    "If you've severely restricted your caloric intake, you may be hungry during the night, which can wake you up," explains sleep specialist Anne Remmes, M.D., a neurologist at Columbia University Headache Center in New York City. Another problem with extreme dieting: Over-the-counter (or prescription) diet pills often contain caffeine, which can cause insomnia.

    So can you stick to your diet and get your rest? Yes, with planning, says Dr. Remmes. "Be sure you have protein every three to four hours throughout the day, and particularly about three hours before bedtime," she advises. Protein-packed foods, such as cheese or peanut butter, help keep your blood-sugar level stable and leave you feeling satisfied

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  • Want to end a headache? Just press this spot

    If you're looking for a drug-free way to relieve colds and everyday pain, try acupressure, an ancient form of massage that involves pressing specific spots on the body with your fingers. The technique supposedly unblocks energy passageways, which improves your ability to fend off trouble. "Acupressure has been proven to successfully soothe, prevent and treat many common ailments," notes Claire Wheeler, Ph.D., acupressurist and founder of Mind-Body Medicine in Portland, Ore.

    AND: You can get major relief with herbs and other natural treatments. Find out how to send your aches and pains packing.


    Below, we tell you how to use acupressure to overcome six annoying conditions. But first, check out these basic how-to's:

    1. Using your thumb and index fingers, apply pressure to the spots indicated, depressing your skin about a half an inch. "These spots have a higher concentration of nerve endings," explains Donna Bunte, a licensed acupuncturist in Greenwich, Conn., "so you'll feel tingling,

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  • Does your mind need a spring cleaning?

    After a long winter, it's not only your home that needs a scrubbing. Your mind also is begging for some serious tidying. "For so many of us our spring cleaning just focuses on cleaning the outside," says Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D., a life coach in Doylestown, Penn. "But if you start with cleaning up your mind, the rest will follow. You're going to get much more focused, confident and energetic." Ready? Put down the mop and learn how to make your mind sparkle.

    Clean Your Closet
    Think of the useless items that crowd your closet: jeans that are out of style; shoes you never wear because they pinch your toes; the sweatshirt with the holes in the elbows that you've been hanging on to since high school. Our minds, too, are often crammed with things that we don't need, but can't seem to get rid of. Regrets, lingering anger and old grudges take up precious space in our brains. They also affect our physical well-being. Studies show that holding on to anger or grudges for long periods of time

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  • Can't concentrate? Here's how to re-gain your focus

    Do you sit down to do your taxes, but find yourself flipping on American Idol after 5 minutes? You crank out two sentences of your quarterly report, then pop over to a gossip site and get sucked in to the latest "I-can't-believe-she's-dating-him" scoop? Concentrating, especially on a chore you really don't want to do, can be tough sometimes. Here's how to focus:

    Bribe yourself

    "Make a deal with your mind," says Sam Horn, author of ConZentrate. After it does what you want, you'll do what it wants. An example: "I'll balance my checkbook for 20 minutes, then reward myself with a break!"

    Brain train
    Bodybuilders bulk up by squeezing out more reps after their muscles are quivering with fatigue. When you're tempted to stop working, say, "just five more minutes." But don't bully your noggin when you're truly wiped out. Instead, hit the sack and get up early to finish the job.

    Establish rituals
    Docs scrub in, musicians warm up. Your mind needs cues, too: Don a "cleaning outfit" every time

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  • So you've cleared out the clutter? Here's how to stay organized for good

    After you've got your chaos under control, how do you keep the clutter from creeping back? We asked Vicki Norris, author of Restoring Order to Your Home, for her strategies for staying ahead of the mess.

    1. Make organizing a habit, not a one-time event.
    "If you incorporate organizing into your daily routine, you'll prevent the mess from getting out of hand again," says Norris.

    Institute daily or weekly rituals: Before the TV gets turned on at night, have everyone do a 10-minute tidy-up around the house. Pay your bills at a set time every other week. "If you have set times for cleaning and organizing, you'll be less likely to skip it," says Norris.

    2. Fine-tune your systems.
    "There's no cookie-cutter solution when it comes to staying organized," says Norris. "If your system is too complicated or time-consuming, it won't work."

    Ask yourself some important questions: How often are you willing to file important papers? Are you more likely to write down appointments on a paper calendar

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  • User Post: 5 smells that can change your life

    The best route to boosting your mood, banishing stress and beating cravings may well be right under your nose. More to the point, it is your nose. "Tapping into your sense of smell is one of the quickest ways to change your perspective or even your behavior," says Alan Hirsch, M.D., director of The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. "The body's limbic center -- the part of the brain that controls your emotions -- is directly connected to the olfactory system."

    Wanted: A quick pick-me-up
    Try: A little peppermint
    This scent stimulates the region of the brain that controls wakefulness, says Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Wheeling Jesuit University.
    How: When your energy is low, suck on a peppermint candy, suggests Rachel Herz, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Brown University. The aroma makes its way directly from the back of your throat to your sinus passages, where its restorative powers hit home hard.
    AND: From easing foot pain to soothing

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  • Nearly instant ways to cut your work stress

    According to Duke University's Jeffrey Brantley, M.D., author of Five Good Minutes at Work, "when we're stressed, it's because our minds get hijacked by worry and what-if scenarios. We lose our ability to concentrate and function efficiently." These simple strategies can help you get back on track, no matter what's causing your angst.

    If You're Feeling Dissatisfied:

    Hold on a minute. Before diving right into your inbox, take a time-out to drain the strain that can show up in your neck and shoulders, says Dr. Brantley.

    Take five: Sit at the edge of your chair with your feet shoulder-width apart and upper body leaning forward past your knees. Hang your arms loosely at your sides. Raise your eyes to the ceiling, then slowly tilt your head back as far as you can. Gradually bring your chin forward to drop to your chest. Return to starting position, your chin parallel to the floor. Finally, draw both shoulders up toward your ears, then quickly release them. Repeat this sequence for five

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  • 14 super-clever gadgets that save you dough

    When you're looking to build up your bank account, sometimes a little investment now can really pay off in the long run. Check out these 14 gadgets that are worth shelling out a bit of cash for today because they'll reduce your bills tomorrow (and bonus: They're all good for the environment in addition to being kind on your wallet!)

    Low-Flow Showerhead

    Save money without sacrificing a satisfying shower with a water-saving showerhead. One we like: Niagara Earth low-flow showerhead, $8, greatergoods.com. It flows at only 1.75 gallons per minute (as opposed to 6 gpm through a regular showerhead). More important, you'll skip heating 15,000 gallons of extra water each year, reducing your energy cost of heating water and water consumption by a whopping 50 percent.

    Laptop
    The average desktop computer uses more than five times as much energy as a laptop, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council. If you make the leap to laptop (we spotted a deal for as low as $449 on

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  • "Should I save that cable bill?" How to know which paperwork to keep -- and which to trash

    With tax season encroaching, my piles of paperwork are getting bigger than ever: annual bank statements, W-2s, reports from my 401(k) (I try to avoid looking at those until absolutely necessary). To make space for all this, I need to get rid of some of the other papers -- the stuff not related to tax-time -- cluttering up my coffee table or jammed into my file cabinet. Here are some guidelines to help me know how to tackle the mess:

    Save legal documents."Deeds to your house or your car are important to hang on to," Tara Aronson, author of Mrs. Clean Jeans' Housekeeping With Kids, says. "The same goes for birth certificates or marriage licenses." Put these important items into a safe-deposit box or fireproof safe in your home. It's also a good idea to keep medical records, since most doctors' offices get rid of them every few years.

    Toss papers you can replace."You can easily get copies of any of your bills if you need them," says Donna Smallin, author of Cleaning Plain & Simple.

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  • Why am I always cold?

    Okay, so it makes sense if you're chilly when you're dashing to the store in 30 degree weather wearing only a T-shirt, sweatpants and flipflops (hey, these things happen!). But do you find yourself reaching for your sweater even when you're in your well-heated office? Here are some reasons for the shiver:

    Lost Pounds
    When people lose a considerable amount of weight, they often lose insulating fat and muscle as well, which makes them feel colder, says Tara Gidus, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Resistance training - preferably with light free weights - will help rebuild that body-warming muscle. Want to stay young? Pumping iron can help with that too. Learn how.

    Sluggish Glands
    If your thyroid is underactive, notes Alan Farwell, M.D., director of patient education for the American Thyroid Association, "your metabolism slows down and you produce less heat." In addition to goose bumps, symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, constipation, dry skin and

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