Easy Ways to Improve Sleep

Many people have trouble falling and staying asleep at night. Here are some great tips on how to change up your bedtime routine to improve your quality of sleep.

Create a Sleep Routine and Stick To It

Your body works better on a schedule. If you are going to bed and waking up at different times each day and the amount of sleep you are getting varies, your body will not work efficiently. Set a time to go to bed and a time to wake up each morning. If you stick to your sleep schedule, your body will naturally fall into it. It will be easier to fall asleep at night and you will wake up feeling rested in the morning.

All Naps Are Not Created Equal

According to the National Sleep Foundation website, taking a short “power nap” increases your energy level and alertness. Longer naps can cause you to feel groggy when you first wake up, postponing the benefits of a midday nap. The exception is if you take naps in 90-minute increments. A full sleep cycle is 90 minutes. If you have the time, a 90-minute nap can increase memory and creativity while avoiding the groggy period following medium-length naps.

Prepare for Sleep

Have you ever wondered why it is easier to fall asleep in the dark than when your bedroom is lit up by lamplight or sunlight? Your body produces melatonin, a hormone that helps your body fall asleep. When you create a dark, comfortable sleep environment, your brain will queue your body to begin producing melatonin. Preparing for sleep by dimming light and stopping the use of electronics an hour or so before bedtime will let your body know that it is time to slow down and prepare for sleep. It is also important to make sure your bed is comfortable and supportive and that your bedroom is quiet, uncluttered, and at a comfortable temperature.

Staying Asleep

It is also important to limit all light in your bedroom, including lit-up alarm-clock faces and red and blue lights on electronics and phone screens. Any amount of bright light, especially LED, white, and blue light, can disrupt the production of melatonin and your quality of sleep. If you prefer some light, limit it to soft, yellow light.

Limit Sugar and Alcohol Before Bed

Refined sugar before bed can inhibit your ability to fall asleep easily, and alcohol can reduce your quality of sleep. Foods high in refined sugar cause a spike in blood sugar followed by a steep decline in blood-sugar levels later. The increase in blood sugar can make it hard to fall asleep. The decline in blood-sugar levels while you are asleep is one of the main causes of waking during the night.

Similarly, though a glass of red wine before bed can help you fall asleep, it can cause you to wake more often during the night. According to an April 2013 study conducted by the London Sleep Centre-Neuropsychiatry, “…alcohol increases slow-wave ‘deep’ sleep during the first half of the night, but then increases sleep disruptions in the second half of the night.” If you feel hungry before bed, try a sweet low-sugar snack like berries instead.

No TV Time

Falling asleep while watching television is a popular habit in many households. According to a 2014 consumer survey conducted by LG Electronics USA, 61% of Americans fall asleep with the television on. Watching television is more distracting than relaxing.   Television keeps your body awake and hinders the body functions that promote sleep. Most often, television stimulates the mind and body, and does not help to slow breathing or relax muscles.

Now that you have some good tips for a better sleep…Happy Dreaming!

Reeducate/Recycle: What is Truly Recyclable?

In an August 21, 2015 Wired Magazine article, “Listen Up America: You Need to Learn How to Recycle. Again.”, author Nick Stockton wrote that though a majority of Americans recycle, the recycling industry is hurting. He explained that pricing for second-hand commodities is down, and that the cost of sorting through too many “non-recyclables” that get thrown into the bin by overenthusiastic people has risen. Certain things are just not recyclable. Just because a product has metal or plastic parts doesn’t mean it is recyclable. Even if a product is made entirely of plastic, it doesn’t mean that that specific plastic is recyclable, or that your local recycling center is accepting it.

The problem is not that people are lazy, but that they are throwing anything and everything into their recycle bins, hoping that maybe the broken parts of their mirror and their food-soiled pizza boxes will magically turn into new products. The article quotes Susan Robinson, director of public affairs for Waste Management: “The single biggest problem material at recycling facilities are plastic bags.” Plastic bags get caught up in the sorting equipment and can slow or completely cease sorting machinery for hours.

So let’s reeducate ourselves. What can we recycle? What items should never be put into our recycle bins?

Aluminum and Steel Products

Aluminum and steel cans, aluminum foil, and aluminum bakeware are all recyclable. According to Waste Management’s website, “Americans only recycle 49% of the aluminum cans they use.” The website also stated that “Recycling steel and tin cans saves 74% of the energy used to produce them.” If we are saving that much energy, we should definitely make an effort to recycle all the cans we use. Energy-saving tip: Make sure to rinse off any food residue from recyclable products before throwing them into the bin. Many recycling centers will not accept products with food residue. Clean products also increase efficiency at the sorting facilities.

Newspaper, Magazines, and Other Paper Products

Newspaper, magazines, catalogs, and magazine-type ads (like grocery inserts) are easily recycled and accepted at most recycling centers. Items that are usually, but not always, accepted are corrugated cardboard, paper, and paperboard. Cereal boxes and non-styrofoam egg cartons are good to recycle. Used pizza boxes and milk cartons are not accepted because of oils and food residue that are not easily removed. Drink boxes lined with wax are also not recyclable.


Know your plastics. Non-recyclable plastic products are one of the biggest problems for recycling centers and sorting facilities. Unless the plastic has a three-arrow recycle symbol on the bottom, it is not recyclable. Additionally, just because the product has a recycle symbol on the bottom doesn’t mean that your local facility accepts it. If your recycling center accepts plastics (not all do), they most likely accept products labeled PETE 1 and HDPE 2. Some centers accept other types of plastics, but always contact your local center for a list of the products they accept.


Glass is another product that is not always automatically accepted at recycling centers, because they need to have specific equipment to process it. If your local center accepts glass, make sure to ask that they specify if they accept colored glass, and if so, which colors.

Mirrors, Pyrex, light bulbs, and ceramics are never recyclable. Broken pieces of these products pose a danger to sorting-facility employees.

The best thing to keep in mind when deciding what to throw into your recycle bin is whether the product in question would be easily processed into a raw material or if it is just a part of another product that would have to be disassembled first (i.e., garden hose, shovel, etc.). Recycle centers are processing raw materials into raw materials to sell. In order to do business efficiently, they need consumers to be educated to save time and reduce the cost of processing.

Healthy, Delicious, and Fresh Packed Lunch Ideas

8459976360_3c160f881d_bNow that the kids in back and school, the routines can begin again. In my house we prepare for school the night before by making sure the homework is checked, clothes are picked out, and lunch is packed. Often times, I find that we get stuck in food ruts and pack the usual sandwich and carrot sticks. To battle the food rut I look to the internet to search for new and healthy ideas, and I get overloaded with options.

Here are a few new favorite foods that are loved in our house so far:

Whole-wheat “Pita Pizza” (toasted in the toaster oven and then served cold)Pita_pizza_(17188259486)Organic Ham and Cheese Rolls

Whole-wheat waffle sandwich stuffed with fresh fruit or jelly

6995490557_690963d7ff_oPlain yogurt with a variety of delicious add ins

  • Granola
  • Peanut or Almond Butter
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Vanilla Extract and Coconut Flakes
  • Honey
  • Vanilla Extract and Mini Chocolate Chips



Frozen Smoothie

Apple with Peanut Butter

8466410432_65a56dbe8a_oWhole-wheat carrot applesauce muffins

Carrot_Cake_Muffins_(4135137580)Grilled Cheese with Pesto on Whole-wheat (served cold)

Whole-wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Organic Cream Cheese

BLT on Whole-wheat

15169375890_5b513e327cAn other great choice that allows your child to have fun is packing lunches themselves. Here are two really terrific and yummy packed lunches from the Blog 100 Days of Real Food:

Build a Taco Lunch

  • Corn Tortilla
  • Shredded Pork Taco Meat with Bell Peppers
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • and other desired sides100 Days of Real FoodConstruct a Pizza
  • Whole-wheat Pita
  • Organic Tomato Sauce
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Additional Desired Toppings such as Vegetables and Pepperoni, etc.

100 Days of Real FoodDon’t get stuck in a rut because there are a lot of great sources that help you to expand the food options you can pack in the lunches. Whatever you choose to pack, make sure it is delicious and nutritious!

Meet the OrganicPedic™ Terrene


The OrganicPedic Earth™ Terrene is an ultra-plush, 12” sculpted-surface pillow-top mattress made with 100% natural and GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex. It starts with a 3” core of medium, supportive latex.  The core is joined with two inches of soft latex on the top and bottom and covered in our signature certified organic cotton and wool quilting. A removable two-sided pillow top (3 1/2” deep)—also made of 100% natural rubber latex—is then placed on the mattress. The pillow top is made with two surface options: our exclusive sculpted surface on one side, and a flat surface on the other. This provides sleepers with maximum comfort and flexibility. The pillow top is fully covered with our signature certified organic cotton-and-wool quilting, and is attached to the mattress using our exclusive “button-down” process.


Features and Benefits

  • Sculpted surface offers pressure-point relief and increases air circulation
  • Button-down pillow top can be used on either side
  • Motion-absorbing construction
  • Naturally mold-, mildew-, and dust-mite resistant


  • Firmness: Ultra-Plush
  • Depth: Approximately 12”
  • Core: 100%-Natural & Certified Organic Rubber Latex
  • Cover: Certified Organic Wool & Certified Organic Cotton
  • Foundation: Wood Slat Padded with Sanitized Organic Cotton
  • Sizes: Twin – King
  • Warranty: 20-Year Limited Warranty
  • *All dimensions are subject to a slight variance due to being custom made.

MSRP (mattress only): twin $4,299 • full $5,799 • queen $6,799 • king $8,599

Foundation sold separately.

For more information on the OrganicPedic™ Earth Collection or OrganicPedic™ products, click HERE.

Fall Into Beauty: Four Natural DIY Beauty Recipes


Fall is near. The days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler, and that lovely crisp, spicy aroma of autumn is all around. Many people like to use this season to get outside to hike, garden, or explore a pumpkin patch or two. Others enjoy preparing their home and wardrobe for the shorter days and cooler nights. Still others use fall as a time to slow down, cozy up with a hot drink and a good book, and store their energy for the winter months ahead.


I think fall is a great time to reevaluate your beauty regimen. You can get outside and work up a rosy-cheeked glow with a nice hike through the mountains or woods or do a few sun salutations on a crisp and sunny afternoon. There are so many natural ingredients that are available and in season from September to November. Why not use some of them to whip up a deliciously smelling pumpkin-spice body mask, toning coffee scrub, cranberry-apple facial mask, or pomegranate lip balm?

Anti-Aging Pumpkin-Spice Body Mask


 Pumpkins have some great skin-nourishing nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and zinc, all of which have skin-healing and anti-aging properties. Cinnamon acts as a natural exfoliant and antiseptic, while honey provides soothing and healing benefits.


  • 2 cups canned pumpkin or one small pumpkin, cooked and mashed
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ tsp. olive or jojoba oil


  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Apply to your body and face, avoiding the eye area.
  3. Wrap your body, excluding your face, with plastic wrap or, for a more natural option, reusable beeswax cloth – the pumpkin enzymes are most active when moist.
  4. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes, then unwrap and rinse it off in the tub with warm water. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Toning Coffee Scrub

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Coffee is not traditionally considered a fall crop, though one of the harvests is from November to December. One of the best things about the cooler temperatures is the reintroduction of hot beverages into my daily routine, coffee being one of my favorites. Its rich aroma makes it the perfect ingredient for a cozy morning indoors.

The caffeine in coffee soothes inflammation, evening skin tone, and dehydrates fat cells, reducing cellulite. It contains antioxidants that attack and eliminate free radicals that cause premature aging of the skin, and has been shown to reduce the growth of skin-cancer cells. With this list of skin benefits, I just couldn’t exclude it. I found the following recipe on the blog Gimme Some Oven.


  • 3 tablespoons finely-ground coffee (I used recycled grounds)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used melted coconut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
  • (optional) 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Stir all ingredients together until combined. Store in a sealed jar for up to 2 months.

Renewing Cranberry-Apple Facial Mask


Cranberries and apples are two of the best-known fall fruits. Cranberries have many skin-nourishing antioxidants, such as Vitamins C, B3, and B5, which work to stimulate cell renewal and combat wrinkles, redness, and uneven skin tone. The enzymes in cranberries, along with their acidic nature, also act as a natural toner. In this recipe that I found on communitytable.com, the apple cider vinegar acts as a toner to keep your skin ph-balanced and clear of blemishes. The aloe juice will balance out the acids of the cranberries and vinegar, so this recipe is safe for all skin types.

By Cecilia Wong, founder of Cecilia Wong Skincare


4–5 whole cranberries
1 tsp raw honey
2 drops apple cider vinegar (I recommend the organic, undistilled version to receive all benefits)
A dash freshly ground cinnamon
2–3 drops aloe juice


Crush the cranberries. Mix all ingredients together. Apply for 15 minutes to face and rinse with tepid water. Follow with moisturizer.

Moisturizing Pomegranate Lip Balm

An_opened_pomegranatePomegranates are my favorite fall fruit. They are tart and sweet, and have a wonderful fruity aroma. They have many of the same beneficial qualities as cranberries. The juice and the oil are also great moisturizers.

By: Dr. Axe


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. bees wax
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 7 drops pomegranate oil
  • lip balm tins or lip balm tubes


  1. In a small pot over medium low heat melt beeswax, coconut oil, and olive oil. Use chopstick or other small, long stick to stir.
  2. Remove from heat and add honey and pomegranate oil. Whisk well with chopstick and try to distribute oil throughout the mixture.
  3. Pour quickly into tins or jars. Let cool on counter until hard.

Now that you have a few fun fall beauty recipes, you can be sure that your skin will be ready for the crisp, cool air of autumn!

Four Vitamins and Minerals for a Good Night’s Sleep

Our whole lives, we have been told by parents, doctors, teachers, the media, and even our government that it is very important to incorporate foods into our diets that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals support our bodies’ functions by increasing the efficiency of our bodies’ systems. Sleep is one of our most important functions because it allows us to rest, renew, and detoxify during the night. A good, deep rest also supports cell regeneration.


Some vitamins and minerals that support sleep are Vitamin D, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and potassium.


Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to cause daytime sleepiness. As our modern lives get busier, we are getting outside less than previous generations. Less time outside means we are getting less exposure to the sun, and therefore, not producing enough Vitamin D.


You can easily and naturally increase your Vitamin D by spending a bit more time outside, though it takes 2-3 months of regular sun exposure to build up the Vitamin D your body needs. Other options include adding fortified cereal or milk to your diet or taking a Vitamin D supplement.


Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are important minerals our bodies need for a good night’s rest. Both nutrients are imperative to the production of melatonin, a hormone produced by our bodies to help us feel sleepy. Magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia. Foods rich in magnesium include dark leafy greens, beans and various nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Salmon, halibut, and tuna are good sources of Vitamin B6.


Potassium has been shown to help people stay asleep and have a deeper, more restful sleep. Though we think of bananas as a potassium-rich option, winter squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and yogurt provide more potassium per serving.

Making sure you are getting enough of these four vitamins and minerals will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better and longer.

Check out the following articles for more information on the benefits of adding these vitamins and minerals to your daily diet.




Ways to Start the School Year Off Eco-Friendly

7327146800_b2e65d6bf3_oSummer is coming to a close. That means it is time to prep for the new school year. which means back to school shopping for supplies, backpacks, lunch pails, clothes, and the list can go on and on. Before you head out to the store to purchase everything, here are some great tips to keep those back-to-school purchases as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible.

  1. Take Inventory

    4588535631_486542047c_oClean out those desk drawers, dressers, and closets and you may find hiding treasures like packs of pencils, notebooks, or clothes you bought on sale that haven’t even been worn yet. Now that you have gone through all that you have, you can make a list of what items are needed. The list will guide you. When you hit the stores, so you won’t buy duplicate items or spur or the moment purchases.

  2. Reuse What You Can

    5093615082_3df15d285f_oLook through what you have to see if any items can be reused. Often there are many items that are still in good condition and can be used for another year. The backpack from last year may be in great shape and just need a quick cleaning to be school-worthy.

  3. Healthy Lunch Options!

    9350757417_4bf3167767_oA bento box makes a great reusable and waste free lunchbox option- no plastic baggies required! Many bento boxes have multiple dividers or containers that allow you to pack a healthy and fresh lunch. If a bento box doesn’t suit your needs, there are many other great reusable containers that allow you to pack delicious and nutritious options.

  4. Reusable Bottles

    6959989243_b5a94e95a5_oRather than packing bottles of water or juice boxes daily, send your child to school with the healthy drink of choice in a reusable bottle. There are many great designs; no need for juice boxes!

    There are many great options when it comes to reusable containers, bbut be sure to check that they are made with recycled material and are BPA-free.

  5. Buy Recycled or Sustainable When Possible

    creative-desk-pens-schoolMake your list so you know the school supplies you need, now it is time to buy. Most retailers now offer many options of recycled and sustainable materials, such as pencils made from certified sustainable-harvest wood or pens, paper and notebooks. made from recycled materials. Every little bit helps eliminate waste!

  6. Eliminate Paper Waste

    apple-desk-working-technologyRather than having many pieces of paper float around ask to be emailed important notices from the school. Every bit helps and this will save many sheets of paper that get lost in the bottom of backpacks. This also allows you to put important dates in your digital calendars rather than keeping stacks of paper around the house.

Here’s to another great school year!