Helpful Health Tips

Helpful Health Tips!

 

1. Better sleep…Naturally. 

According to the CDC 1/3 of US adults report regularly getting less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night. If you are among this group, and don’t want to be, I’ve got some suggestions.

  • Meditation. This won’t work instantly, but it will work, IF you work it. The studied benefits of meditation are myriad, and sleep is one of them. It can be difficult at first, and you will find your thoughts wandering away from your breathing, but with time, you and your brain will be able to unwind, relax, and sleep restfully.
    • Use an app for guidance, Calm is my favorite; but there are many. Headspace, Omvana, Breethe, Aura and Slumber are just a few of the 5-star rated apps available to help. Even YouTube has thousands of meditation for sleep audio programs to try.
    • You have NOTHING to lose with this. You’re going to be lying in the bed anyway, so try turning on the sound to one of these apps as you are trying to drift off. After a month or so of consistent practice, you may be surprised at the progress you’ll make.
    1. Exercise regularly. People who exercise at mild to moderate intensity three times per week report better sleep quality and quantity. Ideally, exercise is done not too late in the evening, as that can be stimulating and may interfere with your sleep efforts. 
    2. Decrease screen time in the evenings if possible or try blue light filtering glasses. Screens can inhibit your pineal gland’s production of melatonin, which can interfere with sleep. Or try setting devices to night mode in the evenings.
    3. Cool it down. Experts agree that a cooler ambient temperature promotes better sleep and the optimal setting is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s part of our body’s natural circadian rhythm changes and dropping your bedroom temperature may help you sleep better.
    4. Supplements. This one is controversial, and even if you have tried a supplement and felt like it didn’t help, it may not have been the recommended dose, or a bioavailable form, and may be worth another shot.
    • CBD oil. Studies suggest that it may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep, despite being NON-sedating when taken. It gets back to it’s ability to restore balance to unbalanced systems. I recommend starting with 1-2ml (1-2 dropperfuls) of 1,000mg tincture as a starting dose. I’ve found Hempirical’s CBD/melatonin capsules to be very effective at helping me fall asleep and stay asleep when I am having sleep issues. Thankfully, they are rare now. 
    • L-theanine is an amino acid present in green tea. It improves alpha-wave sleep, which is a more restful stage.  200-400mg taken 3 times a day may be helpful.
    • Magnesium. Not all forms are equivalent. Magnesium bisglycinate chelate or threonate at 600mg taken at bedtime. Magnesium is co-factor in over 300 biochemical reactions and estimates are that many, if not most of us are deficient.

2. Positivity… inwards.

Most of us are our own worst critics. There is a definite role for honesty in introspection and recognition of our strengths and weaknesses, but there is no benefit in being overly critical or harsh in our self-talk. If you find yourself thinking harshly about yourself, whether criticizing your appearance, weight, abilities or potential, ask yourself if that thought is something you accuse your daughter of and if you would say it to her…out loud. If the answer is no, then try to recognize the thought as an unhelpful; transform it into an external realization (“…there is criticism” or “there is a judgmental thought”) and imagine it floating away like a helium balloon. Self-love and acceptance are profoundly different than arrogance and narcissism. They are good and necessary attributes to help you be your happiest.

3. No-friction zones.

Sometimes we all need a little help when it’s time to slide, and there are many reasons why. Whatever the reason may be, there are a variety of lovely products available to help keep you from feeling the burn, in a not-so-good way. There are several categories of lubricants, and you may need to experiment to find the one that works best for you. My favorite category is: 

  • Silicone- or dimethicone-based lubricants. These give a much silkier consistency and tend to last the longest without needing additional applications. They tend to not irritate the skin and can be used with toys as well as body parts. Some nice brands include: Platinum, Uberlube, Astroglide-X, even K-Y makes a silicone-based lubricant.
  • Oil-based lubricants are a nice, ‘natural’ option, that typically work well, but may cause irritation, like coconut oil or avocado oil, or other massage oils. Watch for skin irritation.
  • Water-based products, like K-Y, LOLA, and traditional K-Y are the most commonly recommended by physicians, though they have some pros and cons. They are unlikely to cause irritation and can be used safely with silicone toys without risk of degrading of the toy (though silicone-based lubricants won’t usually cause erosion or degradation, especially if cleaned properly after usage). Water-based lubricants tend to dry up and require multiple applications, and don’t provide as silky a texture or experience as some of the other options.

4. Gratitude.

This profoundly simple, yet effective technique can have positive life-changing results. It takes practice and dedication, but can change your attitude and bestow you with more peace and less anger, envy, frustration to allow you to be happier every day. Practice makes progress, perfection isn’t always the goal, but progress is. Try spending the first 10 minutes of every morning immediately after waking up, listing the things you are grateful for. It can be a prayer of thanks, or 10 minutes of meditation, or simply reciting a list of things that you are grateful for. A good night’s sleep, good health, another day, healthy children, a job, nice weather, a successful accomplishment, whatever you are feeling happy or grateful for. The science of mindset is very powerful and gratitude can be the doorway to a happier life.

5. Good skin.

Good skin begins on the inside. Hydration, nutrition, rest and exercise are foundational components of healthy skin. Good skincare regimens, retinols to maintain and promote a more organized collagen for elasticity and to help with blemishes are important especially as skin ages. Many conditions like rashes, dry or cracked skin on the fingers or heels and a dull complexion can reflect vitamin deficiencies, dehydration or food sensitivities. Aesthetic procedures like microneedling, dermabrasion, and dermaplaning can help with complexion color, brightness and blemishes, but don’t forget to stay well-hydrated with plenty of water and get adequate rest to let others see your inner glow reflected in your beautiful skin.

6. Prebiotic foods.

Our gut microbiome is now recognized to be critically important in our health – impacting everything from autoimmune conditions, to mood health and everything in between. The typical western diet contains nearly 70% processed foods, with too much sugar, salt and ‘bad’ fats, and extremely little fiber. This diet does NOT promote proliferation of diversity in our gut bacteria and favors bacterial strains that do not support our good health or healthful aging. It is critical for us to change our eating habits, to a more fiber-rich, plant-based diet, in an effort to decrease the epidemics of autoimmune disorders, neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease; cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and even autism spectrum disorders and cancers appear to be impacted by our microbiome health. There is NO dietary fiber in meat, dairy or sugar. Flour-based products (white-bread, cakes, breading on foods, etc. are all sugars). Fruits and vegetables are good sources of insoluble fibers and prebiotic foods specifically are forms of resistant starches that have the ability to resist degradation by stomach acid and to selectively nourish the “good” bacteria in our lower intestine. The mantra of ‘eating a rainbow’ of colorful fruits and vegetables has never been more important in the pursuit of good health. Prebiotic foods include: fermented foods, asparagus, leeks, onions, garlic, artichokes, bananas and apples to name a few. Changing our eating habits presents a huge challenge, but it is something that we must in order to restore some degree of health to our society. 

7. Immune system support…virus-edition.

We have different branches of our immune system that work together but have different functions. Some nutrients that have some data showing benefit in supporting our immune systems ability to fight viral infections include:

  • Mushroom blends. These are rich in immune-system modulating beta-glucans, polysaccharides; have anti-viral properties; are antioxidant & support the microbiome. Examples include: turkey tail mushroom, Lion’s mane, Cordyceps, Reishi and Chaga blends.
  • Turkey tail mushroom blends have shown some benefit at suppressing HPV the virus that can cause cervical cancer.
  • Dose is typically 500mg 2-3x/day, try to find water-extracted, organic preparations.

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