Life is full of distractions; whether it’s demanding work obligations, navigating your social life or pursuing a hobby, there are many activities and problems to concern yourself with. Our daily lives are so hectic that we regularly lose track of our basic needs and potentially serious problems at home. Most of the time, this negligence results in a bad diet or poorly organized daily routine. However, one of the most often overlooked aspects of our daily (and nightly) life is home security and safety in general. Feeling safe is one of the critical prerequisites to our comfort and relaxation, which is why home safety is such a huge part of being able to sleep healthily.
Sit down and try to think about how many potential injuries and burglaries are waiting to happen thanks to how you’ve organized your home and how much you’ve invested in safety measures. There are many ways you can improve the safety of your sleeping environment, and this article will include a variety of tips and methods you can follow. Keep in mind that every living space has its quirks and issues you may have to work through, so you may have to adapt the advice to your specific circumstances. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Tips and Tricks for Preventing Burglaries
Burglaries take up a huge portion of property crime, which often causes various sources to present burglary rates as a separate statistic. If you look it up yourself, you will find out that burglary rates are dropping across the United States. However, this doesn’t mean they’re a non-issue or a minor problem. Because of how unlikely it seems that you would be specifically targeted, people often ignore problems around the house that could give a potential thief an opening to loot your home when you’re not there (or worse, when you’re asleep).
Burglaries also pose a direct danger to anyone present, as the culprit may decide to resort to violence to escape the situation or directly threaten the homeowner or his family. The approach that carries the least amount of risk is always prevention – making sure no one can intrude in the first place. It can be achieved through a variety of methods and, while these methods cost money, any price is acceptable when it comes to making a safe sleeping environment for yourself (and your loved ones). It doesn’t hurt to get creative, as long as you don’t go overboard and create serious hazards that can injure your family or innocent passers-by. Here’s a list of tips:
- Invest in door and window locks. Doors and windows are obvious entry points into your house or apartment and should be treated as safety risks until you secure them properly. Around 20% of Americans rarely or never lock their door, which means burglars don’t even have to try very hard to enter their homes. For ground-level homes, windows are another entry point even if the door is secure. While it takes money to get reliable deadbolts, locks, and window stops, you don’t have to spend a fortune, and it pays off for years to come.
30% of all burglars enter through an unlocked door or window. Remember to secure all exterior doors, not just your front door. Also, while leaving a window open in your bedroom during the night is often very healthy and soothing, you’re putting your home at increased risk. If the window is relatively small, install metal bars that prevent anyone from entering, or invest in window stops that let you open the window just enough to let air in without creating enough space for a potential intruder to squeeze through.
- If you have the budget for them, install security cameras. Just the sight of one is often enough to prevent a burglar from targeting your home, and if they go through with it anyway, you have footage to show to law enforcement.
- Even if you’re asleep, keep the lights on in various rooms in your house. Some smart lights can be programmed to periodically turn on, stay on for some time, and then turn off to save power. If a potential thief thinks people are still awake and active around the house, they’re much less likely to try breaking in. Watch your electricity bill, though.
- Make sure the inside of your home is not too visible to outsiders. If they can’t spot worthwhile valuables to steal, they may not even attempt to break in. The same applies if you have a garage or shed used for storage.
- Getting a dog is a very effective method of detecting or deterring intruders. If your dog is big enough to pose a threat to a burglar, they can single-handedly stop any crime from taking place. Make it super-obvious that you have a dog, too – put a couple of dog toys in your front yard if you have one, and put a sign somewhere saying “Beware of Dog” – these last two methods can work even if you don’t have a dog!
Sleepwalking and Hazards In Your Home
If you’ve been reading articles on this website in the past, you probably already know how troublesome certain sleep disorders can be. Whether it’s sleep apnea, bruxism or restless legs syndrome, there are a plethora of problems you could be facing while trying to get quality rest. For the purposes of home safety, however, we will look over a specific category of disorders – parasomnias. This group of disorders is characterized by abnormal behavior and movement during sleep. This behavior can range from teeth grinding (otherwise known as bruxism) all the way to sleepwalking, where the person moves around their home in a hybrid state of wakefulness and sleep.
Sleepwalking is what we’re going to focus on here, but remember that certain other disorders (parasomnias or sleep-related movement disorders) can be relevant as well. While sleepwalking itself isn’t harmful to the person in question, they put themselves at huge risk of injury by roaming “blindly” around their living space. If they encounter a set of stairs (especially ones leading down), sharp corners or slippery floors, they can easily fall and suffer serious harm (or worse). To prevent this type of accident, or at least minimize the impact of a potential fall, you should examine your house carefully:
- Try to keep a soft carpet in as many places as possible, especially rooms where you know the sleepwalker tends to roam. It can soften the blow of falling over and prevent serious injuries or bruises.
- If at all possible, turn as many sharp furniture corners towards the wall in a way that makes them untouchable for the sleepwalker. If it’s not feasible in certain locations, put something less dangerous in the way (such as a chair with smooth edges and round corners).
- If the person regularly jerks their legs or tosses around in their room, move furniture away from the bed and install sturdy (but smooth) bed railing. These methods reduce the risk of injury near the bed.
- Keep a light on in the bathroom (or in all of them if you have more than one). Sleepwalkers are often drawn to light sources and tend to relieve themselves during their “journey.” Make sure the bathroom light is on, so they go to the correct place.
Preparing For Emergencies
Depending on where you live, different kinds of emergencies and disasters will be more common. However, floods and fires can happen just about anywhere, so there is no excuse for not being prepared to quickly evacuate and stay safe. If your area is susceptible to a natural disaster, it can be hard to feel completely safe in your own home. There are a handful of measures you can take to prepare yourself for the worst.
First of all, be informed about potential emergencies. There are apps for Android and iOS that are specifically designed to alert you of incoming disasters, and it never hurts to tune into the news once per day. You can also contact the Red Cross in your local area to find out exactly what kind of disaster you can expect to see at some point in the future. The more you know, the smarter your decisions can be.
Additionally, prepare an emergency kit. Not only is a set of first aid supplies useful to have in general, but you also want to store canned food and similar resources for when trouble happens. For every person in the family, pack around 1 gallon of water, and store as much long-lasting food as you can comfortably afford. Prepare sets of spare keys and maps of your town so you can navigate in the dark or during floods. A multi-purpose tool like a swiss army knife also helps, as it can get you out of trouble in a pinch, and help open food cans and sort out other small issues.
A commonly overlooked part of an emergency kit is a set of documents belonging to each family member. From ID cards to medical histories to anything else you can think of, it is incredibly smart to have emergency information available at a moment’s notice. This information helps medical staff, law enforcement, emergency relief volunteers and similar groups help you in a way that is most suitable, especially when it comes to medication allergies.
Be aware of every escape route you have available at home. Whether you’re being threatened by a fire, flood or earthquake, it is crucial to know how you can safely and quickly exit your home to avoid accidents and injuries. Plan out routes for each room in your home, so that no matter where a person is, they know how to take care of themselves in case of emergencies.
Quick tip: If you’re worried about fires, make sure all your interior doors are closed. If you do this, fires spread slower, giving you more time to plan your escape and retrieve important items, as well as protect family members.
Moving to a New Town
If you have the time, money and opportunity (usually in regards to work), you may want to consider moving to one of the safest cities in the US. Avoiding natural disasters and seeking low crime rates is a smart approach to ensuring a high level of home security, even if indirectly. If you’re trying to avoid crime, you typically want to look away from large cities like Chicago or Las Vegas and towards smaller places like Thousand Oaks. Safe cities also tend to come with other benefits, such as well-funded schools, good job opportunities and well-maintained parks – however, be ready to suffer living expense increases, like the rent, and purchase prices for apartments and houses here can be a bit steep.
Co-founder of Counting Sheep and Sleepaholic