4 Essential Facts You Should Know About Sleep

Pixabay (CC0 Licence)

With every day that passes in life, you become more and more aware of how important sleep really is to you. A good night’s rest can allow you to feel ready to face the day, while a sleepless, or disturbed night can drain you of energy, confidence and general well-being. It is as essential for us to get beneficial sleep as it is to take on water and to eat – and so it might be useful to know some of the following.

Humans are the only mammals that choose to delay sleep

If your cat feels like it wants a bit of shuteye, they will lie down where they are and sleep. In nature, as soon as a creature like a cheetah feels the need to sleep, they will get to somewhere safe and get the sleep they need. Humanity, for its part, has invented TV and doomscrolling on Twitter, so we tend to sit up and delay sleeping even when we’re yawning on the sofa. And we feel the effects the next day.

Quantity and quality of sleep are both hugely important

There’s no real consensus on what constitutes the “right” amount of sleep: eight hours used to be the accepted number, although many people now argue that six is ample for any adult and anything more than five is a decent effort. The right quantity does seem to differ from person to person, but quality is just as important. So avoid direct light from at least an hour before bedtime and try not to read or watch anything too absorbing on TV. How distant should you be from your phone when asleep? Ideally, it won’t be in the same room, but if you need it for an alarm, at least leave it where you can’t reach it.

A certain amount of lying awake is normal

If you’re one of those people who confidently states “I’m usually asleep the moment my head hits the pillow!”, then it’s worth pausing for a moment to consider whether you’re actually heavily sleep-deprived. Scientists seem to agree that between ten and twenty minutes is a normal amount of time to spend between lying to sleep and actually sleeping. Anything less than five minutes is considered a sign that your body is so desperate for sleep that it’s grabbing what it can get. An earlier bedtime might be in order for the good of your health.

About one in twelve people will experience sleep paralysis once or more

Accounts of sleep paralysis differ between people. Some will experience them on a semi-regular basis, with recurrent aspects such as nightmares and being aware of a presence in the room with them. For others, it may happen once and never again. The thing to be aware of is that 8% of people have sleep paralysis at least one in their life – and of those, just one in ten has them to a point where they are intrusive and damaging to everyday life. So if it happens to you, muse on it for a while but don’t dwell. None of the many studies into sleep paralysis have linked it to anything concerning, even if it does feel weird at the time.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Commute 101: 6 Essential Driving Apps to Have

Commute 101: 6 Essential Driving Apps to Have

White Android Smartphone Inside Vehicle

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What are the best driving apps? The answer to this question depends on your personal preferences and how you use your phone while commuting. For example, do you want a navigation app that helps you avoid traffic or one that is customizable based on different locations? Whatever your preference, there are many great apps out there for drivers. Here are the six most popular driving apps:

Navigation Apps

Uber and Lyft are the quintessential navigation apps of this generation, but other options are abundant when navigating using your phone. Whatever you prefer, these six essential driving apps will help with any drive:

  • Google Maps
  • Waze
  • Apple Maps
  • HERE WeGo GPS Navigation & Maps
  • MapQuest Maps
  • Garmin GPS Navigation

Otherwise, you can also download any of these apps to your phone: Google Earth, CoPilot Live Premium GPS, TomTom Traffic, and Maps App. All these provide a different way to navigate using navigation apps and maps.

Dash Cam Apps

Dashcam apps are one of the best ways to help protect yourself against insurance fraud. Dashboard camera recorder app for Android and iOS, which records your drive-in high-quality HD video footage with an interface that’s easy to use while driving. With a wide variety of technology options available on Google Play Store or iTunes App store, you can find the dashcam app that best fits your needs.

Petrol Price Comparison Apps

The easiest way to find the cheapest gas station near you is to search with an app. Then, save money and drive away happily. Start your trip by entering a zip code or address to see where all of the nearby stations are on one map, then use this information when filling up for fuel so that you can get the best deal possible.

Traffic Ticket Apps

Several traffic ticket apps are available for drivers, both on the App Store and Google Play, like TicketBust, WinIt, or Off The Ticket. These applications make it easier to find out about any potential issues with your vehicle or driving record, such as points due to violations. 

It means that you can take care of these matters before getting pulled over by police officers. They can also help you present your defense without going to court. 

Parking Spaces Apps

Parking Spaces is an app that helps you find parking spots in your area. It scans for available and recently vacated street parking, as well as open lots near you. In addition, the Parking Panda app allows users to purchase guaranteed reservations at more than 16,000 lot spaces nationwide with their smartphone or computer. 

Mileage Tracking Apps

Apps like MileIQ, TripLog and My Tracks are great for tracking mileage. These apps can sync with your accounting software or expense reports so that you don’t have to enter data manually. They also allow the user to track fuel consumption, vehicle service records, and others, which is helpful if there is a question about reimbursement and appropriate documentation.

Conclusion

A vital piece of any commute is to be ready. By installing these six apps on your phone, you’ll have access to everything you need for a safe and effortless drive with the touch of one (or two) buttons.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Want to go on a road trip this summer? Here’s some inspiration

Always wanted to experience an iconic US road trip? Well, now you can! Below we have listed 5 stunning places to visit in the USA by car, so keep on reading to take your pick.

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway

If you fancy a simple leisurely drive, the blue ridge parkway route is for you. Your journey will take you through the Virginia Appalachian Mountains up to North CA. This road trip totals 469 miles and connects with the Great Smoky Mountain national park. We recommend you plan your trip in the autumn season since there’ll be tonnes of colorful trees (this will be great for your Instagram travel pics). 

Image source: Pixabay

  1. San Francisco to Utah

This incredible route will take you past famous sites like Golden Gate Bridge and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There’s plenty of cultural hotspots too like Hayes Valley. You’ll also get to see some breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls and lake-filled valleys, so if you’re a nature and culture lover add this route to your road trip bucket list. 

  1. Miami to Key West 

We hope you’re a fan of bridges since you’ll pass 42 different bridges en route from Miami to Key West. You can also relish in all the glory of the Atlantic Ocean while you sip cocktails on the beach!

  1. Pacific Coast Highway

Soak up West Coast sun rays while you take an invigorating drive on one of the best road trip routes of all time. You’ll start in San Diego and take a scenic drive past the gorgeous coastline, next you’ll get the chance to visit LA, Hearst Castle and San Luis Obispo, before getting on the Pacific Coast Highway to head for the adorable town of Monterey. This infamous road trip will end in San Francisco, here are some things to do during your stay. 

Image source: Pixabay

  1. Route 66

Taking you from Chicago to LA, route 66 is a whopping 2,400 miles long (so only attempt it if you think you can make it!). On day 1 you’ll arrive in Chicago and get to spend three nights experiencing the windy city’s art scene, culture, and architecture. Next, it will be time to visit Illinois where endless historic attractions await such as Abraham Lincoln’s tomb and the presidential museum. From here you’ll continue onto Missouri, followed by Oklahoma City, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Las Vegas until you reach your final destination – Los Angeles. 

To summarize,

Deciding where to go on a road trip is fun and all but don’t let the sense of adventure go to your head, you do still need to plan the nitty-gritty parts of your journey like what car you will rent (if at all), how much money you need to set aside for gas, and what you will pack.

Oh and just before we go, here’s a useful tip, if you ever get a parking ticket on your road trip, check out GetDismissed, they are a company who can help you out. 

Taking Your Business Digital to Increase Productivity and Profitability

The year 2020 saw great tragedy for millions but also new heights for others. According to statistics, more than 60% of business closures were due to the covid-19 pandemic and restrictions that came with it. However, businesses with no means of trading suffered during these times where, on the other side, companies that adapted quickly could return to maximum capacity. This was thanks to not only state-of-the-art marketing strategies playing a much more significant role than everyone thought but online platforms advanced enough to automate the sales process. 

Whether you’re selling a product or offering professional services, the importance of marketing and digital brand awareness is more significant than ever. Industries have also become highly competitive, and the only way to ensure continuous oncoming leads is by performing high-grade digital marketing. Once you’ve mastered making sales and generating leads online, you can turn to several innovative tech-enabled systems to automate particular time-consuming functions within your business. This article will discuss how to market and automate your business in 2021. 

Image by Free Photos from Pixabay 

1 Marketing

Marketing will be one of the biggest influencers in how well your business does online. Digital marketing nowadays is becoming more and more beneficial for small to medium enterprises. This is because of the wide range of audiences, affordability and specific targeting demographics available to you as a business. The tech giant Google receives more than three billion searches per day, and Facebook, on the other hand, hosts more than two billion active accounts. These are some significant numbers and leave plenty of space for up and coming businesses to market their way to the top. The marketing strategies below are, in most cases, the best option for small businesses, they are affordable, and they pay off.

Google Ads 

With Google ads, you bid online against competitors for specific keywords and phrases; Google then places the highest bids on top of the search ad rankings. This is a powerful tool if your target audience likes researching on Google before deciding. Scale on top of Google when consumers search for relevant information makes the odds of generating incoming traffic much more. You can use Google ads to rank your business; the price will, however, depend on how competitive your industry is and what your competitors are bidding. 

Social Media Marketing 

Social media marketing has proved to be highly successful in generating sales for eCommerce businesses. This is because of how accurately companies can target the people they know transact online. You can adjust your budget, reach, demographics and even what you want the ad to do, like generate leads or make online sales. You can even go as far as targeting people who visited your website but didn’t make a purchase. Platforms like Facebook ads offering software like Pixel is an excellent means of measuring your ad performance and finding innovative ways to target your audience for cheaper. 

SEO

Search Engine Optimization, SEO in short, is increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by using only organic search results. SEO can improve the experience your customers have. You can also increase Google crawlers with industry-relevant keywords and phrases. SEO is a long term marketing strategy and won’t give you immediate results. Still, as you start ranking better and faster, you’ll most definitely start experiencing far more organic website traffic. 

2 CRM Systems 

When it comes to managing your business and sales leads effectively, you’ll have to look at the software that has already automated a significant number of functions. These systems are built by innovative tech-enabled institutions, which enable you to implement software you would never have been able to make yourself. These automated tasks include; receiving and allocating leads, online processing sales, recording analytics, financial reporting, and much more by enabling your employees and business an effective system that can vastly increase turnaround time and productivity. 

3 Use Analytics and Data to Your Advantage 

A business can only be as effective as it’s enabled by support, structure and processes. These will, after a while, offer a variety of analytical reporting, which will provide you with insight into what can be done better. By offering your team software like Userzoom, you’ll give them and yourself valuable insight and opportunities to improve your business. By looking at data and analytics, you’ll give yourself a much better overview of your business, which will ultimately enable you to manage it better. 

4 Accounting Software 

One thing we all know is that financial experts aren’t cheap employees to sustain within your business. With digital companies, you can nowadays integrate accounting software that will offer highly accurate figures in real-time. This feature allows you to stay up to date on all your financial standings, from checking daily revenue to retrieving financial reports for stakeholders. Businesses utilizing accounting software have a massive advantage over companies that are still using older methods of accounting. It’s cheaper, faster and more effective and should be high on your priority list.

5 Integrated Website 

Websites play a vital role in the potential growth of up and coming businesses, not only for automating functions but also for creating an online presence for your business. You can partner up with professionals to build and create an aesthetically pleasing and responsive website. This will ensure more conversions from online traffic and may also increase customer experience. 

6 Point of Purchase Displays 

Various businesses attempting to create an online presence still have problems automating and displaying their brick and mortar businesses in a better light. This can be done with modern point of purchase displays integrated with software to calculate sales, stock and customers. This system will give you a great idea of whether your brick and mortar or online business generates superior profits compared to the cost to the company. 

Your marketing will determine how much incoming business you’ll receive. It then only matters how effectively you can manage and convert potential customers into paying customers. Ensure you get great reviews and do everything in your power to offer the best value within your industry. 

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.