Merlino & Gonzalez August 2019

YOU’RE GETTING VERY SLEEPY ... Establishing a Bedtime Routine for the School Year

it back to 9:30 p.m. one week later. Slowly work your way back to an appropriate time, and bedtime will be easier when school starts.

Between vacations, bonfires, and sporting tournaments, your children’s sleep schedule probably went on break when they did this summer. With school fast approaching, it’s vital to get your kids back on a proper sleep schedule. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, getting enough sleep can significantly improve a child’s growth and cognitive function. But getting a restful night’s sleep is easier said than done when kids have had almost complete freedom for three months. Try these tips to get your kids snoozing through August and prepared for school. START EARLY AND GO SLOWLY When practicing this tip, think of the old adage: “It takes 21 days to break a habit.” If your kids have been going to bed late this summer, set a time when they must go to bed, but don’t make it too far off the time they have been regularly hitting the hay. If they shuffle off to bed around 10 p.m., push their bedtime to 9:45 p.m., and then push

MAKE IT EASY Though the days may be getting shorter, it’s still relatively light out at night, making it nearly impossible for your kids to doze off when they should. Sleep experts recommend creating a sleeping space that mimics a cave: dark, cool, and quiet. This means sunlight shouldn’t sneak into the room, and the home should be a quiet zone after bedtime. No one wants to sleep while everyone else is having fun, so it’s important that everyone in the home is quiet at bedtime. JUST RELAX This is a rule your family should follow year-round, not just when you want to reestablish a routine. At a certain time each night, begin the nightly wind-down. For example, at 8 p.m. shut off your screens, put on pajamas, and engage in a relaxing activity, like reading a book or doing some yoga. Signaling to your body and your family that it’s time for bed will help your kiddos, and you, fall asleep at an appropriate time.

THE ART OF STARGAZING Helping Humans Slow Down and Look Up

Modern humans are stuck in a routine of expected and constant industriousness. But with all this rushing, people often drag themselves home at night with no energy left to enjoy the most splendid show nature has to offer: the wondrous night sky. Most people go through life looking straight ahead, but if they would stop and peer skyward, they’d bear witness to a massive, unexplored frontier made up of the moon in all its phases, burning stars sailing through the sky, constellations with epic origin stories, and meteor showers bright enough to warrant sunglasses. If you’re looking for a hobby to help you slow down and appreciate the world around you, stargazing is a great option. Here are some tips to get you started. 1. THE HIGHER, THE BETTER If you’re a city dweller, meander a little way out of town or try to find a tall building to keep the light pollution to a minimum. 2. EXTRA SET OF EYES While novice stargazers often want to immediately throw their money at a new telescope, astronomy experts recommend starting with binoculars instead. You’ll need to identify several anchor planets or constellations to help you navigate the sky before using a telescope.

3. UTILIZE ASSETS Put your phone to good use by downloading apps like Stellarium, Starwalk, and Google Sky Map. Each of these apps offers a unique benefit for aspiring stargazers. For example, Starwalk lets you point your phone at the sky to see stars, constellations, and planets in real time based on your location. 4. MARK YOUR CALENDAR In 1972, beloved singer-songwriter John Denver wrote about a meteor shower he witnessed during a camping trip in Colorado. He describes the scene by singing, “I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.” The “fire” he recounted was actually the Perseids meteor shower, the most recognized shower on Earth. This astrological wonder takes place every year from July 17 to Aug. 24. During this time, viewers should be able to see shooting stars associated with the Perseids, but the shower reaches its maximum rate of activity on Aug. 12–13 this year. Grab some friends and family, and head outdoors to put your newfound stargazing knowledge to work.

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