Do You Prefer Sound or Silence?

Do you prefer sleeping with white noise or silence?

Deep and restful sleep is so crucial for your wellbeing, and I love hearing all the unique tricks everyone uses to sleep well.  Some love still and silence, while others sleep better with a sound machine or a noisy fan.  What’s your preference?

Personally, I sleep best with silence.

Why You Might Have Brain Fog

and How to Clear it Up

Brain fog can be characterized by a lack of concentration, an inability to make decisions, frequent headaches, and nausea, to name a few. Is this something you struggle with regularly? A few common causes of brain fog could range from a nutrient deficiency, lack of proper sleep, ingesting an abundance of sugar, a thyroid condition, or even depression. Inactivity and chronic stress can also unleash brain fog, so there are a lot of factors at play when nailing down what’s causing your brain fog.

Luckily, you don’t have to keep your head in the clouds for too long. Here’s what you can do about it.

Try intermittent fasting
It’s well-known for helping you lose stubborn weight, but intermittent fasting can also improve your neurological well-being. You can ease into it by extending the timeframe between the last meal you eat in one day and the first meal you eat on the next day. A popular intermittent fasting method is 16:8, which means you’re fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window. For example, this would pan out by eating dinner at 7 pm and not eating again until 11 am the next day.

Avoid sedentary behavior
Through no fault of our own, many of our jobs require us to log long hours behind a desk. Increased activity levels are known for boosting your mental acuity, so even if your schedule truly is packed, there are still things you can do to get moving. Take a 10-minute walk around the office a few times a day to stretch your legs and get your blood moving, or spend your lunch break getting some activity in. You can even invest in a DeskCycle, and you can even get a workout in AT your desk. It’s a small under the desk bicycle that allows you to “ride” a bike while seated at your desk.

Sleep on it
I don’t need to tell you your body needs enough sleep to function properly. Rest is one of the most crucial aspects of your overall health, so get that sleep you need by going to bed a little earlier every night until you’re getting more Zzz’s. If you have trouble sleeping soundly, investigate some natural ways to get a proper nights sleep, and see what works best for you.

Get into meditation
It can be hard to shut off the noise in your head, which is why many people feel like giving up when they first try meditation. Instead, download some healing frequencies that help you tune into your mind. There are also some fantastic apps you can download on your phone, such as Headspace and Calm, which can help you become a meditation pro.

Make the food you eat count
Food really is the way to balance your health. You need to make sure you are getting enough of the food your brain needs to work optimally. Eat omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and whole foods loaded with vitamins and minerals for your best brain health. Try adding some MCT oil into your morning coffee or taking it a step further for some “bulletproof” coffee (google it, it sounds strange, but it wakes up your brain in a snap!)

When most people focus on their health, they often put more emphasis on their physical aspects. But well-rounded health comes from balancing both physical and mental. Give some of these tips a shot and see what helps lift the brain fog for you.

How much sleep do you usually get on a regular night?

It’s remarkable how many people struggle with getting quality sleep.  Whether it’s having troubles falling asleep, not getting tired until late, poor sleep quality once you do get to sleep, or waking up frequently throughout the night.  Which of these do you struggle with?

Drop the emoji below that you relate with:

🛌   I sleep great – no problems here!

💤   I struggle falling asleep

😴   I wake up a lot at night

How Eating When Stressed-Out Can Actually Cause Weight Gain

Wouldn’t it be easier if we craved a large veggie-filled salad when we’re stressed? Unfortunately, it seems to be the opposite — we tend to look for comfort in food when we’re stressed out or anxious. Not only do our choices seem to change when we’re stressed, but our body actually processes food differently when we’re under stress.

This is called the fight or flight mode. Your hormones are naturally programmed to release chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol when you feel stressed. Elevated amounts of these hormones regularly give us feelings of hunger, putting us on an endless cycle of reaching for comfort foods and eating more than we need.

Another side effect is a slower metabolism. Those stress hormones being released regularly slows down the metabolism. Because stress messes with our brain’s wiring for rewards and our cortisol levels trick us into wanting more fat and sugar, we automatically head toward those comfort foods during times of stress.

And finally, one of the most significant factors for making poor eating choices when you’re stressed out is lack of sleep. Lack of sleep affects the chemicals that control your appetite, which can begin another seemingly endless cycle of the hamster wheel. Make sleep a priority. Aim for 7-8 hours a night, even if you have to rearrange the schedule you’re accustomed to.

But now that you know where your stress is taking you, you can do something about it. First of all — name your stressors. What are the top things that cause you to stress? Comment below.

It’s important to fit exercise into your schedule, even if all you have time for is a brisk 10-minute walk. When you do sit down for a meal, practice mindfulness instead of zoning out in front of your phone or the television.

Stress is something that we can’t eradicate completely, but we cause a lot of the stress we undergo. For example, we feel stressed because we’re unorganized, unprepared, and our home is in disarray. These are all very common reasons for being under stress, and they’re so fixable! Make a plan to tackle the things that are causing you stress, and start chipping away at them.

You’ll be amazed at how much your digestion improves, your sleep quality improves, and you’ll feel lighter.

What’s one thing you know you need to do to improve your health?

The thing is, we don’t need to be told what to do to improve our health.  We know the basics — drink enough water, eat whole foods, exercise, get enough sleep, have healthy relationships, etc.

Putting one foot in front of the other is the absolute most important thing we can do to begin reforming our health.  What’s the one thing you know you need to start working on?

Hopping into bed without turning your mind down a few notches will leave you tossing and turning through a restless night of poor sleep.  Your brain works hard enough during the day, help it to turn off at night adequately.

If you generally look over at the clock and realize it’s past your bedtime, try setting a timer this week to remind you to slowly make your way to your bed calmly and intentionally.

Are you a bedtime reader or phone scroller?

Have you tried a weighted blanket?

These weighted blankets have been around for quite a bit, but have gained mainstream traction in the last year or so.  You can now even buy one on your next Target run on the blanket aisle.

These blankets help ground you, ease anxiety and help you sleep deeply.  You can get them in all sorts of different weight ranges — and you should choose your blanket weight based on your body weight.  Aim for between 5-10% of your body weight when choosing the right blanket weight.

So, have you tried one yet?! What was your experience?

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Isn’t it so interesting how we’re generally either one extreme or the other?

Some people crawl into bed at 8pm ready to call it a day, and others begin to feel their most productive hours begin around dinner time.

Sleep is essential for good health — this you know.

And it can be quite tricky to navigate that road when you’re on the night owl spectrum.

For the night owls:

– Pick up some Sleepytime Tea and drink a cup around 7pm each night this week.  See what happens.

– Eat dinner an hour earlier than usual this week, as well.

– If you need to shut your mind off, try journaling for 15 minutes before heading to your room to unwind for the evening.  You also can try planning the next day and creating a to-do list.  Waking up feeling organized and ready to tackle your day can help ease your mind as you drift off to sleep.

So – are you a night owl or an early bird?

Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity

and Dodge the Cold & Flu Season

Besides the flu, colds make their rounds during the colder months when these microorganisms flourish, so it’s up to you to be vigilant and protect yourself. Thankfully, there are natural ways you can help boost your immunity and lessen your chances of getting sick this winter.

How many times during the winter months do you usually get sick? Let me know in the comments below, and let me know any natural tricks you use to combat illnesses.

Here are a few of my favorite ways

Use probiotic power
With all we now know about the gut biome, eating foods with probiotics is the best way to help keep your immunity strong. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut are just a few probiotic foods to help you out. Make sure you’re always eating plenty of fiber too to help that gut bacteria thrive. If you’d prefer a probiotic supplement instead, there are loads of wonderful ones to choose from to make sure you’re getting your daily probiotic needs.

Eat right
Unfortunately, this time of year is also when all those holiday goodies are lurking about. Balance it out by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich foods are immune boosters that will keep your system fighting all season long. Another warming winter food that will make your soups healthier is bone broth which you can sneak into your
family’s diet without them ever knowing.

Think zinc
The more vitamins you have in your foods this season, particularly vitamin C, the more immunity you’ll have. However, zinc is often forgotten for the powerhouse that it is. Zinc can help stop a cold’s cells from replicating and is a powerful tool to have in your wellness arsenal this season and beyond. You can eat more zinc in spinach, nuts, beans, and pumpkin seeds. There are also zinc supplements you can take daily, or when you’re feeling a cold coming on.

Balance activity and sleep
When the germs are swirling around, be sure you’re getting enough exercise as well as getting enough sleep. Compromising on either one can jeopardize your immunity. With the days shorter and quite frigid, getting in bed earlier isn’t a hard thing to do!

Sanitize with lavender oil
Soap and warm water are always best for cleaning your hands, but when you’re nowhere near a sink, try lavender oil. It smells great, keeps away germs naturally, and keeps your hands soft and supple even in the frigid winter weather.

Keep it clean
We know hands should be clean and kept from our eyes, nose, and mouth, but don’t forget about those things you use every day that can be contaminated with ease. Your phone, keyboard, desk, and door handles are prime examples. Want one that isn’t full of chemicals? Add purified water and distilled vinegar to a spray bottle in equal parts, and then add a few drops of tea tree oil. Spray
away!

There are too many fun events you won’t want to miss over these winter months, and there’s no time to spend being sick in bed. Use these natural immunity boosters to live life to the fullest during cold and flu season!

Let’s talk about sleep.

It’s a problem a considerable amount of people struggle with, and we all are aware of how absolutely critical good sleep is for our health.  This we know.

But have you ever considered how lack of sleep influences your social interactions?  Think about it.  When you’re exhausted and struggling to get through your day, you tend to withdraw inward and try to avoid social interaction because you’re just not feeling up to it.

Now think about how daily sleep deprivation can lead to the daily withdrawal of social interactions — and what that can compile to become over time.

Something to think about.  Do you struggle with sleeping well? Do you find it affects your social interactions?