How to Wake Up Refreshed: Maximize Your Sleep and Stop Hitting that Snooze Button

Are you the type who wakes up refreshed? You know the type. The rare person who jumps out of bed before the alarm clock sounds, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for anything the day might bring? If so, this article isn't for you. This article is for the people who have to drag themselves out of bed every morning, usually after hitting snooze multiple times and are then forced to consume massive amounts of caffeine just to become semi-normal.

Your daily routine and your habits play a significant role in how you feel every day, both in the morning and for the rest of the day. If you wake up tired, there's a pretty good chance you're going to drag your sorry butt around for the entire day. The good news is, with a handful of changes, you can remake yourself into one of those people who wake rearing to get the day started and can learn to give the snooze button and your coffee pot a much-needed break.

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The 4K TV Dilemma: What the Sales Clerk Won't Tell You About 4K TVs



4K televisions, also known as Ultra TVs, are the latest and greatest in television technology. They're extremely high-end televisions, capable of putting out a resolution of 3,840 X 2,160 pixels. The 4K moniker describes the 4,000 horizontal pixels the television puts into use. For those new to the world of high-resolution TVs, more pixels equates to a higher resolution, which equates to a better picture. Theoretically, the more pixels a TV is capable of putting out, the better the picture will be.

How Much Do 4K TVs Cost?

Right now, a good 4K TV will cost anywhere between $3K and $10K. Notice I said a good 4K TV. You can get them for less money, but you'll end up buying an off-brand and the quality of the TV will suffer. When it comes to high-end televisions, you pretty much get what you pay for, so you don't want to buy something just because it's cheaper than the other TVs on the market.

Before you run out and drop $5K on a new television, there's something you need to know. That $5,000 TV is going to significantly drop in price over the next year or two. A funny thing tends to happen with televisions. When TV technology first hits the market, manufacturers take advantage of the fact that they've got new and exciting technology and they charge a premium for this technology. They know there's a large group of tech junkies frothing at the mouth, just waiting for the opportunity to buy the latest and greatest in TV technology.

The TVs usually hit the market at around the $10K price point and then fairly rapidly drop in price until they reach the $1K to $2K price range. It happened with DLP TVs, LCD TVs, plasma TVs and it's happening right now with Ultra HD TVs. If you really want a 4K TV, wait a year or two and you'll be able to get a good TV for less than $2,000. 

There Isn't a Lot of 4K Video Available

Another reason to hold off on purchasing a 4K TV is the fact that there isn't much 4K content currently available. Sure, 4K TVs are capable of scaling HD content up, but they do so at the expense of the picture. Stand close to an upscaled video and the picture looks grainy because of the guesswork involved with upscaling.

In order to truly appreciate 4K TVs, one must have a 4K video source. To date, 4K video isn't available from local television providers and there are no camcorders capable of recording 4K video. There are a handful of 4K media players on the market, but they tend to be expensive and there isn't a whole lot of content for them, as is the case with the FMP-X1 4K Ultra HD Media Player from Sony.

All signs point to this technology catching on and it's being pushed hard by the heavy hitters in the industry, but by the time there's a lot of content available, there will be much better deals on TVs. Wait a little while and you might just end up saving a lot of money.

What About Netflix?

Netflix recently announced plans to start streaming 4K Ultra HD video via their video-on-demand service. This sounds like a great deal, as anyone with an Ultra TV and a Netflix account will have instant access to a variety of Ultra HD programming. Ultra TV owners everywhere are chomping at the bit in anticipation of being able to access Ultra HD content via Netflix.

Amazon has made a similar announcement and is shooting all of its original series' in 4K.

There's only one problem, and it's a big one. Those pesky broadband data caps. Internet service providers aren't as excited about the huge videos that will soon be streaming across their networks as the rest of us are. These videos suck up a huge amount of data and could potentially start to tax existing networks if the technology catches on. A typical 1080p movie streamed across Netflix uses up nearly 5 GB of data an hour. A typical movie uses around 7 GB of data. On the flip side of the coin, a 4K movie sucks up nearly 20 GB of data per hour, or a whopping 30 GB of data to watch a single hour-and-a-half long movie.

When you consider Comcast caps data at 300 GB per month, a person could hit the data cap after watching only 10 Ultra HD movies. U-Verse caps data at 250 GB, so you'll get even less bang for your buck. Forget about those Breaking Bad Marathons you're so fond of. You'll hit the data cap long before you finish the season in Ultra HD.

When you consider the extra charges you might  incur after passing the data cap, streaming 4K content to your new television could get very expensive.

What Should You Do?

The transition to 4K isn't something that's going to go away. It isn't a passing fad and it'll eventually be the go-to standard in televisions. If you're in the market for a new TV, you may want to consider a 4K television, but if at all possible, you should wait a year or two to buy. You'll get a much better deal and hopefully Internet service providers will have to come up with larger data packages in response to customer demand. Until then, you aren't going to get much bang for your buck out of your 4K television.

How to Get Ahead at Work: Workplace Myths Debunked


Ask a hundred people if they're happy with where they're at professionally and 75 or more of them will tell you they hate their job. Nearly 75% of the workforce is not happy with where they're at professionally. Workers seeking to advance both their pay scale and their job titles are often held back by a number of common misconceptions that tend to proliferate workplaces across the nation. People who believe these workplace myths are often left wondering how to get ahead at work in the face of such dire circumstances.

Let's take a closer look at some of the more damaging workplace urban legends and see whether there's any truth to them.

Myth #1: Asking for a Raise is a Bad Idea

The first thing I ask someone who complains about not making enough money is whether or not they've asked for a raise. Closed mouths rarely get fed in the workplace and, if you think you're worth more money, it doesn't hurt to let your boss know you think you're overdue for a raise. Bosses and owners of companies can't read minds and may think employees are happy with their current compensation if they aren't vocal about asking for more.

People tend to think their bosses will get angry if they ask for more money. Most bosses will tell you they don't mind being asked for a raise and have respect for someone with the courage to step up to the plate, especially if they come prepared to present themselves in a good light.

Be tactful about asking for a raise. Don't storm into your boss's office and demand more money with a crazy look in your eyes. Instead, create a list of all the things you do at work and be diligent about noting the items you do that go above and beyond what's required of you. Present the list on the last day of the work week shortly before you go home and specifically tell your boss you'd like a raise. This will give him or her time over the weekend to consider your request.

Be prepared with a polite response if you're told no. Thank your boss for considering your request and don't be afraid to ask why the request was denied. You may not get the raise the first time you ask, but you'll have planted the seed. Now, water the seed by working extra hard and asking again in a few months.

Myth #2: If I Change Jobs, I'll Have to Start All Over Again.

Here's the deal. If you change jobs and embark upon a new career path, you will indeed have to start all over again.

On the other hand, if you find a new job in the industry you've been working in for years, you'll be bringing years of experience to the table when you switch to a new job. Yes, you'll have to prove yourself to your new employers, but you aren't completely starting over.

One of the things I constantly hear from people looking to move up in the workforce is they're worried about starting over again. Many of these people are stuck in dead-end jobs with little to no room for advancement. Even if you do have to start all over, wouldn't that be a far shot better than being stuck where you're at?

Myth #3: They Always Pick Someone Else for Promotions. My Boss Is Out to Get Me.

I'm not naive enough to think every boss is a nice person and I know for a fact that bosses do indeed have some people they like better than others, so this myth may at least be partially true. When I hear people say this, the first question I ask is why they're sticking around at their current job when they think their boss is out to get them. The next question I ask is what are the people who are getting promoted doing that they aren't.

One of the most common answers I hear is that the people who are getting moved up within the company are sucking up to the boss and are "brown nosing" and they're too proud to do that. Well, if you're one of those people who refuses to "brown nose," I've got news for you. Your pride is going to keep you from moving up. When it comes time for a promotion and your boss looks at a group of equally-qualified employees from which he or she has to choose someone to promote, guess who's going to get picked? The person who is most likable and has the best attitude. A big part of moving up in the world is learning the right people to suck up to. If you're too proud to do this, you're selling yourself short.

Let me make something clear. I don't mean you have to degrade yourself and become a fawning puppy dog. What I do mean is a few kind words here and there can go a long way. Watch what others are doing to get ahead and mimic their actions.

Myth #4: I Can't Get a New Job.

You can get a new job. It's never easy, but there are tons of jobs out there if you know where to look.

If you've currently got a job, you've got the advantage of having the luxury of looking for the right fit. While an unemployed job hunter may feel forced to take the first job offered, you've got the ability to search for a job that's the right fit. 

You've also got time to close any gaps in training that are preventing you from getting a new job.

Myth #5: I'm Too Busy (or Too Old or Can't Afford) to Go Back to School.

What this more often than not equates to is people don't want to go back to school, so they're finding any excuse they can not to. Where there's a will, there's a way. If you truly want to go to school (or to otherwise advance your skillset), you'll find a way to do it.

It's never too late to go back to school, even if you're only able to take a class or two at a time. Take advantage of any free training opportunities you have at work. Even if you don't think you'll ever use those skills, they'll look good on a resume and may be the difference between you getting a phone call and your resume being placed at the bottom of the stack.


Not Getting Enough Sleep? Learn How Sleep Deprivation Effects the Body

effect of sleep deprivation



I think we all know by now that most American adults aren't getting enough sleep. We get up early in the morning to go to work, spend long hours on the job and then stay up late trying to get caught up on housework and our favorite television shows. It's tough, because it seems like there aren't enough hours in the day to finish everything and get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Most people realize they're not getting enough sleep, but don't really understand how sleep deprivation effects the body.

More than a quarter of the United States population reports they occasionally don't get enough sleep, which 1 in 10 adults reports suffering from chronic insomnia. Not getting enough sleep can have far-reaching health consequences, both in the short and the long term.

Sleep Debt

When your body doesn't get the sleep it needs, it creates something known as sleep debt. This is the amount of sleep you owe to your body, measured in terms of how much sleep it has been deprived of. A day or two of staying up late will only add a few hours to your sleep debt and is relatively inconsequential in terms of the effects of sleep deprivation on the body. Sure, you'll be a bit tired during the day and your motor skills may suffer a bit, but your body will recover fairly quickly once you get a good night's sleep or two.

Not getting enough sleep for weeks or even months on end is more problematic because you're building up a much greater sleep debt. Think of sleep debt like a loan you take out against your body, with your overall health being the collateral. An hour or two of debt isn't a big deal and can easily be repaid. Spend a month missing out on a couple hours sleep a night and you're 60 hours in debt. A year of burning the candle at both ends creates a backlog of more than 700 hours.

How Sleep Deprivation Effects the Body

Build up enough sleep debt and you'll begin to see just how sleep deprivation effects the body. Here are just some of the many effects of not getting enough sleep:

  • Irritability.
  • Decreased cognitive function.
  • Loss of memory.
  • Excessive yawning.
  • Weariness and fatigue.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Aches and pains.
  • Increased susceptibility to disease.
  • Impaired immune system health.
  • Increased heart rate and an elevated risk of developing heart disease.

The exact symptoms and the severity of the symptoms varies widely from person to person.

Not getting enough sleep can leave you in such a fog, some researchers have likened it to being drunk. Reaction times are slower and decision making skills are reduced, just like after you've had a few drinks. The scary thing is most of us think nothing of getting behind the wheel when we're exhausted. Additionally, our decision making skills are affected and the ability of the brain to process inhibitions is affected.

Perhaps the biggest threat associated with not getting enough sleep is the effect it has on the immune system. Lack of sleep has been shown to lead to an elevated risk of developing diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and even certain types of cancer.

There's never a better time than now to start getting more sleep. Relax, unwind and catch some Z's. Your body will thank you for it.

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Nobody wants to waste their money on products and services that are all but worthless. Learn what to buy, and even more importantly, what not to buy, here.

This section is all about your life at home. Learn how the decisions you make impact both you and your family.