10 Small but Effective Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself in 2017

 

With a new year comes the typical resolutions, like eat better, exercise more and so on and so on. However statistics show that 25% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions after just one week. Here are some small and effective ways to make sure that in 2017 you are taking care of yourself.

  1. Put the Pen to Paper

Journal, write poetry, draw, let your creativity go!   If you are not feeling creative, write out a list of things you would like to do or accomplish, as this helps you stay organized and gives you a clear picture of what you need to do.

  1. Invest in ONE Fitness-Centered Activity

If you like to run outside, then splurge and get yourself new wireless headphones to make your run more enjoyable. Do you prefer the stretch of yoga? Sign up for classes with your favorite instructor. Whatever the activity is that you like, invest in it to help encourage yourself to keep it up throughout the year.

  1. Evaluate the Foods You Eat

Dieting can be hard, especially when you eliminate entire foods or food groups. These drastic changes can make maintaining that change that much harder. Try evaluating what you eat and reflect on how it makes you feel. Does it make you feel sluggish after eating, do you feel bloated, or does it give you energy? It doesn’t have to be negative; you may find that your favorite bowl of oatmeal gives you energy to power through the day.

Journaling your foods can help you understand what you eat and how it can affect you.

  1. Make Your Home Your SanctuaryPeaceful and warm image of a open book by fireplace.

It is easier to leave your stress at the door when you step into an environment that is built for relaxation. Make your home a relaxation zone by keeping clutter to a minimum. Have your favorite book and blanket ready or turn on your favorite music. There are many ways to set up your haven.

  1. Don’t Ditch All Your Bad Habits at Once

Giving up all your vices at once can be slightly unreasonable. Instead, consider starting with one smallish habit you’d like to break – ordering takeout several nights a week, or your nightly glass of wine. Not only is this a more accomplishable goal, but itcan also make it more sustainable.

  1. Make Time to Disconnect From Technology

Schedule some time during the week when you purposely disconnect from technology, where you turn off your phone and computers and reconnect with the world. Spend a few hours each week doing an activity that you enjoy that requires no technology, such as painting, writing, crafting, reading, etc.

  1. Get Outside DailyParents Giving Children Piggyback Ride On Walk By Lake

In the winter we tend to get stay inside and forget we can get outside and enjoy nature. Even if it is only for 10 minutes, a quick stroll during your lunch or soaking up the rare ray of sunshine during the gloomy winter months can do wonders for your mood and energy.

  1. Check Those Labels

Being conscious of the chemicals that are found in the products you purchase can be an eye-opening experience. Eliminating products that contain toxic chemicals in your daily life will lead to a healthier you. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it’s time to find an organic alternative.

  1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Businesswoman looking at computer while drinking waterDrinking more water is a great way to cut out extra sugary drinks and ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day. There are many benefits of being hydrated, such as an increase of energy, boost to your immune system, flush of toxins from your system, promotion of weight loss, and many more. Carrying a reusable water bottle with you can help encourage you to drink more water throughout the day as it is conveniently on hand.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Make it a point to go to bed at the same time every night. Establishing a routine is essential in ensuring you get enough hours of sleep. Catching the recommended amount of ZZZs can improve your memory, lower stress, reduce inflammation, and benefit your health in many other ways.

Don’t Light Those Scented Candles!

Still life with candle and a stick of cranberry

As the holiday season is in full swing, many people pull out their wonderful holiday decorations of candelabras, votives and candles in wreaths. But many of those candles are scented to smell like cinnamon spice, apple, or even pine tree or more. As tempting as burning those scented candles may be, they may be causing more harm than good.

Many candles are made from paraffin wax, and when this wax is heated, the toxic chemicals benzene and toluene are released – the same chemicals that can be found in diesel fumes! These toxins are also known as phthalates , which can cause major health effects if inhaled and have been linked to cancer, asthma and common allergies.

The wicks of the candles can also contain heavy metals, most commonly lead. Inhaling lead can cause hormone disruption and behavior problems.

Not all candles are harmful. Be sure to read all labels fully to see what materials are used in the creation of the candle.

There are many alternatives to achieving the beautiful aromas of the season without the use of candles, such as:

  • Soy-based candles with wooden wicks
  • Essential oils
  • Beeswax candles with wooden wicks
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • A small live tree in a pot
  • Wreaths made from fresh branches

My favorite solution for a natural holiday scent is this Holiday Stove-top Potpourri:

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange (sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 sprig of rosemary (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Fill a saucepan with 2 to 3 cups of water and toss in all ingredients. Simmer on low. Add water as needed to freshen up.

8 Holiday Sleep Tips So You Don’t Become the Grinch!

 

The holidays can be full of magic, family fun, delicious foods and more but they can also be full of stress, guests and interruptions of your regular schedule. Here are some ways to ensure the holidays are enjoyable and you get all the zzz’s you need to bring joy this season!

  1. Get ahead of the holidays

This time of year is always hectic. There are many things that need doing, from decorating for the holidays to baking to shopping for presents, preparing for guests, and more. Many of us put these jobs off until the last minute, which makes for a stressful holiday. It is no fun to be running around on the eve of the holiday looking for the last-minute gifts you forgot to order or grocery shopping on the day of a big dinner.

To avoid stress and sleep deprivation, get a jump start on your holiday planning. Make a list of things that need to be done and begin to make a timeline for when the tasks need to be done. If after writing your to-do list you still feel overwhelmed, ask for help!

  1. Don’t overload yourself

The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones and enjoying each other’s company. What better way to make your holiday less stressful than to recruit your family to help you prepare for the holidays? Plan a shopping trip or a baking day to help bring fun to tasks that can feel overwhelming. If you are hosting a dinner, ask family members to bring a dish to help minimize the amount you need to prepare.

  1. Don’t stop exercising

Active retired couple playing in the snow

Routine exercise is one of the greatest promoters of good, quality sleep. While it is tempting to take some time off during the holidays, don’t do it! It’s not only good for the body, it is great for the mind as well. Exercise is a great tool to help eliminate stress. You can always adapt your exercise routine around the holidays. If you have company staying, try picking activities that they can be included in, such as walks or outings. If you have young children, get outside and enjoy the outdoors, build a snowman, go snowshoeing or skiing, etc.

  1. Don’t overdo the snacking, especially at night.

All the yummy foods and desserts make an appearance this time of year, and the temptation to indulge can be a constant battle. It is ok to have some treats here and there, but stuffing yourself right before bed can cause your body to have to work harder to break down all that food while you are asleep. When your body has to focus more energy on processing those gingerbread cookies, it takes away from repairing and refreshing itself during sleep. Also late-night snacking can increase acid reflux, which can make falling asleep and staying asleep that much more difficult.

So what foods are best for nighttime snacking? Shredded wheat cereal with milk, or crackers and cheese, make great snacks. Complex carbs, milk and cheese are great at promoting sleep.

  1. Don’t drink too much

Drunken Gingerbread cookie man in a Christmas cocktail

Be aware of those tempting eggnog and peppermint specialty drinks this holiday.

While alcohol can induce drowsiness and help you fall asleep more quickly it can also disturb your rest and lessen the quality of your sleep. Alcohol decreases the amount of REM sleep, which is when dreaming occurs and learning and when memories are stored.

  1. Keep your regular sleep schedule

It is easy to stay up later than normal, catching up with old friends, attending Christmas parties, wrapping presents, etc. but those late nights can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. It is important to keep your regular sleep schedule, but if disruptions are unavoidable, try to limit them to no more than an hour off your regular schedule. Sleep deprivation can lead to mood and behavior changes, so if you don’t want to become Scrooge, make sure that sleep is a priority.

If you are traveling across time zones, it can be harder to keep your regular schedule. Try to maintain as close to a regular sleep schedule as possible, especially on “mini vacations,” so it won’t affect you in the long run.

  1. Turn off that technology

Mom with child reading book and relaxing by the fire place some cold evening, winter weekends, cozy scene

To promote restful sleep, it is best to have a relaxing bedtime routine. Turn off tablets, phones, computers, etc. at least an hour before bed to allow your brain to “power down.”

Electronic devices emit a light similar to that of daylight. Our brains get tricked by this light, as it associates it with daylight, which can delay the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.

Be sure to not let the holidays rob you of that sweet, deep slumber you not only crave, but need to make it through to the new year.

The dangers of common dust in your home

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Thinking about skipping out on dusting while you clean your home? Did you know that even the smallest amount of dust can harbor harmful chemicals? According to a new study, researchers analyzed dust samples collected from homes in 14 different states. The results revealed 45 chemicals in dust that came from simple household products, such as vinyl flooring, furniture, cleaning products, perfumes, and even pizza boxes and popcorn bags.

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The 45 chemicals were found in five classes of compounds: Phthalates, flame retardants, phenols, fragrances, and highly fluorinated chemicals. Many of these chemicals have been linked to health hazards such as hormone disruption, fertility problems, and cancer. Click Here

Children are more likely to be at a higher risk for exposure to these chemicals from dust, because children often crawl or play on the floor and put their hands in their mouths. “These categories of chemicals are certainly of concern,” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York, who was not involved in the study. However, the new research shows only that the chemicals are present in dust. Future studies are now needed to examine the extent to which these chemicals get in to the body and contribute to harmful effects on health, Spaeth said.

In addition, this new study explains that dust exposes people to multiple chemicals at once, as opposed to just a single chemical at a time. For this reason, more research is needed to better understand the exact health effects of dust exposure, the researchers said.

This makes it very difficult for consumers to avoid these chemicals, because many are found in common household items. Manufacturers are often not required to include the substances on the label. However, there are ways for people to reduce their exposure to chemicals in dust. These methods include washing hands frequently, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter, and opening windows to allow fresh air to circulate in the home, when possible.

Some companies have already banned some phthalates from children’s products, and the Food and Drug Administration is currently considering a petition to ban phthalates from food packaging, according to researchers.

To find out more about this study, visit the website HERE

Social Media Can Be Damaging Your Sleep

Every night our routine is the same. We put on our cozy pajamas, wash our face, brush our teeth, and then climb into bed. But rather than close our eyes and think of all the wonderful things that happened in the day and then drift off to sleep, we grab for our smartphones or tablets and begin the scrolling marathon.   We check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat, Reddit, Pinterest…. the list goes on and on. Before you know it, you just spent 30 minutes in Internet land when you could have been blissfully asleep.

But thanks to a study published by the journal Preventive Medicine, we now have a compelling reason to put the phone down – and not just at bedtime.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine released findings showing that young adults who spend many hours on social media during the day or who check in frequently are more likely to experience sleep problems. The study analyzed questionnaires of 1,788 U.S. adults ages 19-32 regarding the top 11 social media platforms:

“On average, study participants spent a total of 61 minutes per day on social media and accessed their various social media accounts 30 times per week.

“Nearly 30 percent of participants reported high levels of sleep disturbance. Perhaps even more telling? The young adults who reported the highest levels of social media use on a daily basis were twice as likely to experience sleep problems and those who spent the most time on social media throughout the week were three times more likely to have problems sleeping.

‘This is one of the first pieces of evidence that social media use really can impact your sleep,’ lead author Jessica C. Levenson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Pitt’s Department of Psychiatry, said in a statement. ‘[The findings] may indicate that frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media.’”

For the full article, click HERE.

So put down those phones, log off the Internet, and enjoy the day. Keeping your phone out of your bedroom will help set up a more restful environment. For more tips on how to set up a sleep-friendly bedroom, visit our blog Tips for Creating The Perfect Sleep Environment.

Fall Into Cozy with OMI Pillow Tops

Made with certified organic Eco-Wool™ and/or 100%-organic natural rubber latex, our pillow tops offer a welcome layer of plushness. Wool is a wonderful natural choice for a sleep surface. Cool in the summer and warm in the winter, it wicks away moisture and dissipates it into the air over time. Certified organic natural rubber adds a supportive softness, cushioning pressure points while resisting body impressions. Covered in certified organic cotton sateen fabric, our pillow tops add a luxurious feel to any mattress.

The Wooly Lite (1½”)

woolyliteThe Eco-Wool™ Wooly Lite is perfectly suited for the sleeper who needs just a little extra surface cushioning.

Starting at $395

The Wooly (3”)

woolyhighThe Eco-Wool™ Wooly is well suited for sleepers who need a softer surface depth or who enjoy a bed with a “nesting” feel.

Starting at $595

The Wave (3”)

new_waveThe Wave pillow top is made of 3” of GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex encased in certified organic cotton knit fabric. The Wave features a sculpted surface to provide comfort for sleepers with pressure-point issues. This comfortable and resilient natural-rubber pillow top provides added surface depth for sleepers, but with more firmness than a wool topper and without reducing the support of the mattress.

Starting at $795

The Allura (2”)

new_alluraOur 2” thick natural rubber topper offers surface softness. It is made with a single core of GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex sap, and is covered with our signature OrganicPedic® knit quilting.

Starting $895

The Verona (2”)

new_veronaTwo inches of GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex encased in certified organic natural rubber latex encased in certified organic cotton knit fabric. This super-soft layer adds that extra “Ahhh” to any OMI mattress.

Starting at $795

For more information on our pillow toppers and other OrganicPedic® products click HERE.

Sleep Apnea and the 7 Health Concerns Related To It

Woman Sleeping

Have you ever noticed your partner sleeping at night and all of a sudden gasp for air or stop breathing? It can be a scary thing to witness. There is a term for it; it’s called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea will cause you to stop breathing multiple times a night anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute in length. You may notice you have it if you take that first deep breath and it sounds like a gasp for air, if you snore loudly, or if you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.

In an article written by Market Wired, they discuss 7 health concerns that can result from sleep apnea:

  1. High Blood Pressure – Thirty to 40 percent of people with high blood pressure, and up to 85 percent of those who have treatment-resistant high blood pressure, have sleep apnea. Research shows that when sleep apnea is treated with oral appliance therapy, blood pressure can be reduced. Oral appliance therapy is offered by select dentists and uses a custom-fit, mouth guard-like device to support the jaw in a forward position and keep the airway open, without the need for a mask or constantly running CPAP machine. 


  2. Heart Disease – A study from the University of Wisconsin found that sleep apnea is common in people who have heart disease. The study also shows that those who suffer from untreated, severe sleep apnea may be five times more likely to die from heart disease.


  3. Depression – Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that men who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are more than twice as likely to exhibit signs of clinical depression, such as feeling hopeless and uninterested in everyday activities. The study also found that women who were diagnosed with sleep apnea were five times more likely to report symptoms of major depression. 


  4. Erectile Dysfunction Men with sleep apnea commonly suffer from erectile dysfunction and overall sexual dysfunction. In a study conducted in Germany, researchers found that this relationship may be due to the repetitive drop in blood oxygen levels that occurs during sleep as a result of sleep apnea. 


  5. Acid Reflux – It has been shown that people who have sleep apnea often suffer from acid reflux, which can increase sleep disruption and daytime sleepiness. However, treating sleep apnea can help improve the symptoms of acid reflux.


  6. Diabetes – Research shows that up to 83 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes suffer from sleep apnea but are not aware of their sleep disorder. As the severity of sleep apnea increases, glucose control within the body weakens.
  7. Stroke – Research shows that untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk for stroke, even without the presence of other risk factors. Obstructive sleep apnea is also frequently found in people who have already suffered a stroke, which contributes to impairment of the brain’s recovery.

If you or a loved one suffers from sleep-related issues like sleep apnea, there is good news! There is a solution to help it or prevent it from happening altogether. Please reach out to your family doctor and express your concerns about your sleeping habits. You will be put in touch with a sleep expert, who can run simple tests to determine what is needed to get you sleeping again.

For the full article, click HERE