Trying to get some sleep? Being mindful of what you eat before bedtime can help you sleep better. Sugar and caffeine aren’t the only types of food that can keep you restless and awake. Yes, you heard right, there are foods that can actively keep you up at night! Here are some of Naturade’s top picks of the best and worst foods to eat before bedtime.
Parents may give their children a glass of milk before bed, but don’t realize it’s just as good for adults. Warm milk may help you fall asleep easier because milk contains an amino acid, tryptophan, which is a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin.
Alcoholic beverages are a bad idea if you want to get proper rest. Alcohol metabolizes quickly in your system and may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
Cherries are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin, the chemical that helps control our body’s internal clock.
Protein is counterproductive if you’re eating it late at night. Digestion slows down by 50% while you’re asleep. Protein can cause digestion to slow down even more.
Sweet Potato: Best
The complex carbohydrates in sweet potatoes can promote sleep. If sweet potatoes aren’t to your liking, lima beans, regular potatoes (baked with the skin on), and papaya also have similar sleep inducing effects.
Dark Chocolate: Worst
Many people don’t know this, but with 20 milligrams of caffeine, one bar of dark chocolate almost contains the same amount of caffeine as half an ounce of espresso.
How many times have you come home from a long day of work and faced the dreaded question “what’s for dinner”? The answer is simple if you’ve prepared your meals in advance. Here are 5 easy ways to prepare a week’s worth of dinners all at once! Taking the time to prepare meals on Sundays can make the rest of your week less stressful. Preparing meals in advance also allows you to stay on target with your health goals instead of deciding to pick up fast food at the last minute. From looking up recipes to buying groceries, Sundays are a great day to prep for your busy week.
Related Article: How to build the mentality of a healthy eater
Live the Naturade Life with these quick tips on planning your meals ahead of time so they’re ready to eat.
1. Compile a list of recipes you know you will enjoy. Make sure the directions are simple enough to follow without a hassle. Bonus points if you make extras or have dinner leftovers. This will relieve you of finding lunch the following day.
2. Once delicious recipes are chosen, draw up a list of groceries to buy for those particular meals as well as ingredients that you can re-purpose every week. It feels great when you get to the supermarket and know exactly which aisles to hit. Having a grocery map will also help you avoid picking up those spur of the moment snacks you really don’t need.
3. Sundays are typically for unwinding, organizing for the week ahead, and spending time with family, but most people have some free time. Squeeze in a few hours to plan your weekly menu, shop for what you need, and prep your ingredients.
4. When it comes to the meals you choose to make, chopping, marinating, thawing, and separating out ingredients can all make cooking a lot easier and enjoyable during the week.
5. Be strict with your meals. Don’t allow yourself to get lazy, bored, or change your mind. Add variations or allow for different cravings, but don’t deviate from your plan.
Planning and preparing dinners ahead of time will help make the daunting “what’s for dinner” question disappear!
Read More: How to make a habit out of exercise
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Home-grown vegetables always taste fresher and crisper than vegetables bought from the store. Do you want to grow some of your own vegetables? Is the new farm-to-table movement inspiring you? Start today with simple gardening tips from Naturade! The most difficult part is choosing what to grow!
There are three basic concepts you have to master to be a successful gardener: planning, preparation, and process.
Keep ideal temperature, sunlight exposure, and potential yield in mind when choosing which crops to grow. Map out your garden before planting.
Now that you have a great foundation, start putting it to action! Buy the tools you need, such as gloves, a hose, snips, pruners, a spade, trowel, or hand fork. Before planting, loosen the soil where you plan on putting your first veggies. If you desire, you can also add composted manure or other organic materials to the ground.
It’s finally time to have some fun and start growing! Once you’ve planned and prepared your gardening area, all you have left to do is plant those seeds. Remember to nurture and take care of your plants, checking and watering them regularly.
Below are some tips for choosing, growing, and harvesting your new garden!
Getting out of bed can seem nearly impossible without hitting the snooze button. Does this sound familiar? Hate doesn’t even begin to describe what you feel for your alarm when you hear that loud buzz waking you from a deep slumber. Don’t waste your energy fretting, Naturade is here to help you shake it off and finally become a morning person.
Related Article: 5 Tips for Better Sleep
Becoming a morning person isn’t about following a social norm. Recent studies show waking up early leads to an overall healthier life compared to staying awake later. It is also proven that early risers are often more productive and content as they get their most pressing to do’s out of the way before the rest of us.
If living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t change your mind, maybe the sheer simplicity of these quick tips will help make waking up early more appealing!
1. Don’t Give Up
It takes 21 days to effectively form a habit. Keep at it! The first few days may make the whole idea seem crazy or impossible, but the important thing is to create consistency. Hold your self accountable to keep up the healthy routine.
2. Don’t Compromise on Sleep
An important thing to remember when making any of these life changes is that they shouldn’t compromise any other healthy habits. Allow yourself to wake up a couple hours earlier, but don’t lose hours of sleep by doing so. If one night you are going to bed at 3am, don’t wake up at 6am the following morning. This can lead to exhaustion and lower productivity.
Listen to your body. Make sure you’re getting approximately 7-8 hours of sleep. Set a strict bedtime and enforce it until you’ve seen how great it feels to get a good night’s rest!
3. Play Hide and Seek
It may seem silly, but moving your alarm clock across the room forces you to get up and realistically, isn’t that half of the struggle? When immediately jumping out of bed starts becoming easier and easier for you, try putting the alarm clock in new places every night and playing a little game every morning. This will wake you up quickly!
4. Get Hydrated
After a full night’s sleep without drinking any water, waking up dehydrated can cause that grogginess we know too well! A glass of water can work miracles and keep get you pumped for the rest of your day!
5. Exercise Early
It is not only true that early morning exercises are more productive and effective, but they also give you that extra boost of energy to get you through the rest of the day. Are you really going to say no to endorphins?
6. Plan Ahead
Lay out your clothes the night before and make sure to pack your lunch and gym bags in advance! Make your mornings as quick and efficient as possible by making small changes. Taking the rush out of your morning is a sure-fire way to make it seem less dreadful!
Read More: Working Out At Work
Stretching is often overlooked, but when done can lead to a better posture, fewer aches and pains, a more positive outlook on life and a better body.
Stretching can help blood circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to your brain allowing you to think clearer and brighten up your mood.
While both of these physically and mentally relieving forms of fitness provide therapeutic values, choosing whether yoga or Pilates fits you best typically depends on a number of factors. For starters, you should know what kind of health benefits you are striving for. Are you someone who is looking for more of a strength and flexibility training program, or are you searching for more mentally focused exercises that can work to relieve stress? Knowing which areas yoga and Pilates focus on as well as what their workouts entail are key when deciding which one will accommodate your fitness needs.
There is no better feeling than collapsing into your bed after a long morning or afternoon for a short, yet extremely satisfying cat nap. Remember the scheduled naps you used to take in kindergarten or preschool? If it were up to most of us, those naps would be implemented in offices everywhere. These naps don't just help you to feel more well rested and alert, they offer several benefits that many are unaware of. In fact, they may be more productive than we think. Even well-known men like Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush have been known to value a solid afternoon nap. There are even different types of napping: planned, emergency and habitual napping. But whichever you choose, you're sure to feel more alert and awake when you wake up. Next time you lay down for a nap, here are all of the health benefits you're getting out of it:
Helps you stay alert
Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of napping is that it can help keep you alert for the rest of the day. Even just 20 minutes of sleep has been shown to have a positive affect in perking up office workers. According to a NASA study, pilots who took a 40-minute nap showed much higher levels of alertness than those who didn't nap.
Do you have a lot of things you need to get done by the end of the day but don't feel you can quite tackle them? Lay down and take a nap. While this may feel slightly counterproductive, trust us, you're doing yourself a favor. A short power nap can be the perfect pick-me-up, maybe even proving to be more effective than your average cup of coffee.
A nap is quite relaxing and can take your mind off of any stressful occurrences that may be happening during your day. By relieving stress, you can help boost your body's immune system and feel more ready to tackle whatever the day brings. In other words, think of your nap as a little mini-vacation. You may not be on a beach, but you'll certainly be relaxed.
Improves memory and learning
While a longer nap may leave you more groggy than you intended, your brain may be benefiting from it. Brain activity remains higher in nappers all day when compared to people who don't take a moment to catch some zzz's. A 90-minute nap could help mental fatigue vanish.
Tips for getting the best nap:
- Keep the nap around 20 to 30 minutes, which provides you with the best benefits for improved alertness and performance without leaving you groggy and even more tired than you were.
- Find a restful place with little noise and light. Also make sure the temperature in the room is comfortable to help you fall asleep.
- Choose the proper time – if it's too late in the day, you may not be able to fall asleep at bedtime, but if it's too early, your body may not be prepared for more sleep.
Without stress we wouldn't know relaxation. In fact, sometimes just a little bit of stress can be a good thing – it keeps us aware of what's going on. However, too much stress can lead to health problems, including throwing the immune system out of whack. And frankly, being stressed out isn't a feeling many chase after. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy ways to naturally bring down your stress levels to feel more relaxed and at ease.
When you break a sweat, your body releases feel-good endorphins, also known as the body's natural pain killers, which help to boost your mood and calm you down. Exercise also reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol.
The best part about meditation is that it can be done virtually anywhere – at work, the gym, at the store or at home. It only takes about 15 to 30 minutes per day, making it easy to ward off stress even on a busy schedule. Find a quiet place and let your thoughts run free, just focusing on breathing in and out.
Filling up on junk food can actually tend to make people depressed. Calorie-packed foods momentarily relieve the stress, but too much can contribute to an unhealthy weight and only leave us coming back for more shortly after. Eating healthy, however, can help you to manage stress. Fruits, veggies, antioxidants and vitamins fuel the body to keep it strong for the entire day, helping you to maintain both physical and mental health.
Much of the stress we experience during the day comes from our phones and computers. Set aside some time each day to disconnect from all of your electronics. By doing so, you can block some of the causes of stress and allow you to really take in the moment.
Listen to music
Pop in some headphones and let the music do the rest. This is an effective way to reduce stress by lowering heart rate and blood pressure. According to Greatist.com, music may also help to calm down those who are visiting the dentist or the doctor.
Laugh it off
You know that euphoric feeling when you laugh really, really hard at something? Well, not only is that feeling unbeatable, it may help lower your stress levels. Laughter increases blood flow and even boosts the immune system by increasing levels of interferon gamma-1b, a key compound in the fight against infection. According to a study in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences, mirthful laughter has been linked to lower blood levels of cortisol – the stress hormone. So if you're stressed, take a moment and watch that funny YouTube video or talk to a friend who can always get a laugh out of you.
Get lost in a book
Next time you find yourself a little worse for wear, crack open a book. Even just six minutes of reading is enough to bring down those stress levels. Have a book with you if you have some down time at work or on your commute home for a bit of relaxation.
Sleeping the recommended eight hours per night is essential for your health and well-being. Getting the proper amount of sleep can do a number of positive things for your health, including helping to improve memory, boost the immune system, lower stress, spur creativity, sharpen attention and even contribute to a healthier weight.
However, a good night's sleep is often hard to come by. Even if you get into bed at a decent hour, you still may find yourself counting sheep, unable to catch some Zzzs. Approximately 70 million Americans suffer from poor sleep every night. As a quick fix, about one in four Americans take some kind of sleep medication. However, what really helps you to fall asleep quickly is your brain. That means you have to feed it with the right fuel. You need to calm it down rather than stimulate it. About 90 minutes before you doze off, head to the kitchen for a snack that will help relax you and prepare you for a good night's sleep.
Look for foods with natural sedatives like tryptophan, an amino acid that makes up the raw material that the brain uses to build sleep-inducing substances like serotonin and melatonin. It's also important to add some carbs, which stimulate the release of insulin, to this amino acid. What this does is takes the competing amino acids and incorporates them into the muscle, leaving the tryptophan to make its way to the brain and cause you to get sleepy.
Snacks that promote shut eye:
- Whole-grain cereal with milk
- Banana and peanut butter
- A glass of warm milk with honey – warm milk isn't a myth after all! Milk contains tryptophan.
- Nonfat, flavored yogurt topped with 2 tablespoons of low-fat granola
- 3 cups low-fat popcorn, sprinkled only with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
- One slice of whole wheat toast with a small slice of low-fat cheese
- A small bowl of oatmeal
- A rice cake topped with turkey
While all of these will help you to fall asleep and stay asleep, there are also foods that you should avoid. The following snacks will only keep you up at night.
Snacks that interfere with a good night's sleep:
Caffeine: The obvious choices like coffee and soda should be avoided several hours before bedtime. This natural chemical activates your central nervous system and stimulates the brain, causing that jittery feeling. Just to be safe, you should avoid ingesting caffeine about eight hours before bed. Keep in mind that even healthy dark chocolate contains significant amounts of caffeine!
Alcohol: While it may seem that this substance puts you to sleep, the effects wear off fast, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep.
A big meal: If you're especially hungry right before bed, just stick to a small snack. If you're consuming too many calories, your digestive system may slow down, causing you to be uncomfortable and awake. Bedtime snacks should be no more than 200 calories. Generally, you should avoid high-fat meals.
Spicy foods: While these are delicious, they won't make catching Zzzs any easier. When you ingest this before bed, you may have reflux.
Yoga has been an important part of life across Eastern cultures for centuries, but in recent years, this holistic exercise has gained popularity here in the U.S. There are lots of reasons to do yoga: Whether you're looking for a new way to work out, trying to find time to relax or have been prescribed yoga as a physical therapy treatment, there are countless benefits to this popular activity.
Most of the health benefits of yoga – improved circulation, weight loss, reduced blood pressure, improved muscle tone and better mental focus – can be attributed to yoga's tendency to reduce stress. If you're looking for a little escape from the worries of everyday life, try these yoga poses in the comfort of your own home:
Balsana (Child's pose)
Child's Post is almost certainly everyone's favorite yoga pose. This resting pose is generally done in between asanas (sun salutations) in order to allow for a moment to refocus breathing and promote relaxation. Even if you aren't going all-out with an entire workout, a few deep breaths in balsana will help you recharge. As a bonus, Yoga Journal has recommended this comfortable pose for boosting immune system health!
To get into balsana, begin in a kneeling position. Sit back until your hips are resting comfortably on top of your ankles. Keeping your back straight, lower your upper body until your forehead is gently resting on the floor. You can either rest your hands at your side or stretch them out over your head.
Ananda Balsana (Happy baby pose)
Are you noticing the child theme? Many of yoga's most relaxing positions are inspired by happy children. Happy baby pose is a great option for those who want to improve their flexibility while relaxing at the same time.
Start by lying on your back with your eyes fixed above you. Keeping your knees bent, bring your legs up so that the bottoms of your feet are parallel to the ceiling. Grab the insides of your feet with your hands, keeping your arms on the inside of your legs. Use your hands to pull your feet towards you, breathing deeply.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing dog pose)
You know that cute little stretch your dog does after he wakes up from a nap? Our canine companions sure can teach us a thing or two about happiness! Take a breather and improve your immune system health with downward-facing dog.
It's easiest to get into downward-facing dog directly from balsana. Stretch your hands out in front of your head and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Push back, lifting your body off of the floor until your legs and arms are as straight as possible. If you're working to improve your flexibility, create a constant tension with your arms and legs as you push your head toward your knees.
With these and all other yoga poses, the most important tool for relaxation is your own breath. Focus on your breathing pattern, and dismiss all thoughts that come into your brain without judgment.