At Utzy we are dedicated to providing truthful, honest information that helps you to live a healthier lifestyle
This week we interviewed James Lancaster. He is a Crossfit athlete based out of the Central East. He is a Regional athlete with big goals for 2018!
Besides Crossfit, James is focused on making a big impact in his local community. Read more below.
My name is James Lancaster. I live in Memphis, TN and I am a full time crossfit coach at Crossfit Hit and Run. I am also starting up a nonprofit called Kings of Grit while doing some nutrition coaching as well.
My sports background is in football. I played college ball at The University of Central Arkansas and played 3 years professionally in the arena league. Football prepared me for a lot of things.
I became driven with football and pursued my goal alone. Training alone was quite the norm if you wanted to be the best and climb the ladder. I learned very early on how to create my own motivation and find my why.
In my personal opinion, it is resources. This is a full on sport now. The sport of fitness. We're basically buff endurance athletes that specialize in unspecializing. With that said, a lot of our money for body work, supplements, food, training, travel, etc. is self raised. But, it's all about that ROI. What are you willing to invest and go through to be great?
Relationships can be made and a smoother day to day life can be made, it's just the willingness to find that. Because we all can't be the full time athlete that doesn't work. There aren't as many of those as you might think.
I have had 3 knee surgeries. I tore my ACL playing ball, I waited on a donor meniscus list for 1.5 years, had a maniacal allograft done, unfortunately the stitching came off during rehab, I then had a third surgery to reapply it. So, I have started over 3 times.
I waited and waited and waited for my time. I watched all the highlights in bed. All the behind the scenes from regionals and the games. I knew football was not an option anymore after I had my first surgery. I wanted something. I wanted that void of competition filled. I wanted that challenge of proving to myself I could continue my life as I once had it being an athlete. I had unfinished business.
I learned after being stripped of my identity, or what I thought was my identity, that I can't covet a sport. I made football my idol before God. It was an eye opening experience and mentally one that I will never forget.
Through all of these trying times I now have a mental edge on people that have not and will never go through what I did. I don't worship Crossfit and I don't worship success. I am here to serve people. I no longer grip the sand in my fist so tightly it runs out between my fingers but rather gently hold it with an open hand.
My goal is to make the crossfit games. Im not here to ride the merry-go-round and eat cotton candy. Thats not how my heart and mind works. Its not the end-all-be-all but it would be ridiculous to be so realistic that I remove my capability to dream. Then all that's left is a compromise from what I truly want.
It used used to be anything short. Now, I want something long and mentally draining, something like a 5K row.
I currently used the Essentially-U. It helps me keep the foundation to my nutrition by making sure I get my micronutrient needs filled.
Kings Of Grit is an upstart nonprofit that I run out of 201 Poplar, known by Memphians as the downtown jail. I teach young men, through fitness, the importance of being relentless, teaching the next man, showing grace, and having unity. These core values are what change lives and prepare you for life after. Any corporation or small business has core values and a vision.
We split up into teams and compete for prizes and our names on the plaque. The winners get a clean t-shirt, socks, underwear, and a bar of soap. We also establish different men to teach the class during certain weeks. Public speaking, being prepared for a presentation, commanding the room, all of these things are important to learn so we're successful outside of those walls.
My job is to love them. Their job is to love each other. Simple as that.
I am currently just raising money and accepting prayer. The nonprofit process is lengthy but will be worth it. I am raising money for more equipment. I have to carry all these medballs from the gym in a military bag I have.
If I can raise $8,000-$10,000, I can have rowers, rings, medballs, jump ropes, and kettlebells. I normally teach 30-35 guys each Thursday, so having more equipment is helpful. I can change my city for the good.
The good outnumbers the bad here and I am here to serve my community and give these men hope that they too can do the same.
Regardless of where you fit in this grand puzzle we live in, everyone is watching and waiting for someone to do the right thing. More than you realize. Its as simple as picking up that piece of trash you walk by every day. The seemingly insignificant things create the masterpiece.
October 31, 2017 | 0 comments
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of having a “morning ritual”, but you may be unsure what it is. A morning ritual is essentially your morning routine. The things you do right after you wake up each morning.
While we all technically have a morning routine, I think of a “morning ritual” as being a scheduled morning that is mindful and thought out. A morning that doesn’t just roll with the punches, but that is actively planned.
Having a planned out morning helps you to be more productive by eliminating distractions and allowing you to focus on the day ahead. It puts you in a position to hit the ground with your feet running every morning.
In short, it supercharges your productivity.
So how can you take control of your morning? Here are 5 keys:
A successful morning starts with planning the night before. Planning the night before can be as simple as setting out clothes for the next day, prepping your coffee maker, or making a list of goals that you want to accomplish for the day ahead.
Predetermine the night before that you are going to have a productive morning and a successful day. You can read our helpful article on How to Create an Evening Routine here.
Decide the night before when you’ll get up, then make it happen. As simple as these things may sound, they can be a game changer for your daily productivity and go a long way towards helping you optimize your brain health.
Looking to sleep better? Get our FREE Perfect Sleep Diary!
When you wake, your slightly groggy brain will want to follow the path of least resistance. Help your brain out by removing decision-making. Studies have shown that our brains get “decision fatigue”, that is, the more decisions we have to make, the more tired our brain gets. It makes sense then to remove the amount of decisions that you have to make early on in the morning.
An example of this would be having the same (or a similar) breakfast every morning. Instead of having to decide every morning what you want to eat, you’ll know exactly what you are having - and hopefully that includes a cup of coffee (which, by the way, is the healthiest energy drink out there).
You don’t have to remove all variety (it IS the spice of life after all), but having a straightforward routine can help you increase productivity and retain vital brain juice. Make the path of least resistance a productive path.
Learn more about our daily multi-vitamin Essentially-U
So much of modern life can be reactionary. We see news stories that set us off, or we see a work email that gets our mental gears grinding within minutes of waking. All this leads to lack of focus and strips us of our peace.
My suggestion is that you isolate yourself from media in the morning. Don’t check the news right away. Don’t go scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.
Take some time to think about the day ahead. Plan what it is that you want to accomplish. Breathe. You know that old quote about being a “human BEing, not a human DOing”? There’s a lot of wisdom in it.
Slow down. Plan an attack on your day, don’t let your day attack you.
This may not be the most well received or popular advice, but make it a goal to be active within the first hour of your day. After all, morning may be the best time of day to workout. Do some pushups or burpees to help wake up your body. Stretch your muscles. Go for a quick jog.
One of the best ways to turn your system “on” is to get your body moving. For more workout tips, check out our in-depth article on how to exercise.
Another thing you can do is to get some sunlight on your skin. Your body has an internal clock called your “circadian rhythm”, this regulates your energy levels and how your body functions throughout the day.
Sunshine early on in your morning helps to wake up your body and get you going. So throw open the curtains once you wake up, or go outside and have brain boosting coffee on your deck. Make it a goal to see the sun as early as possible.
Begin with making small teaks, and adjust from there. Whether it’s productive or not, your body currently has a morning routine. Changing your routine to something more productive can be tricky. So start small.
As an example, you could begin by pre-determining the time you want to wake up and spend a week focusing on being up at that time. Even if your body feels super groggy and unproductive, stick with getting up at that time.
Eventually you will get used to waking up at that time, you can then add in something new, like stretching or prayer. Slowly build out your routine. Add what is beneficial and remove what is unnecessary. Replace old habits with new, better habits.
Go out there and makes the changes! Comment below any changes that you plan to make to your morning routine
Daniel Powers is a health and fitness enthusiast with a background in the supplement industry. Outside of work, Daniel enjoys Crossfit, reading large books, and drinking coffee.
We’ve all have fallen victim to rolling out eyes at the flood of motivational and inspiring quotes on our social media feeds.
Sometimes you sarcastically laugh them off, rolling your eyes. Other times you just scroll right on past.
But have your really given serious thought to the idea?
Can positivity really make your life better?
At risk of sounding like a self-help book — in a word, yes. You can make a positive impact on your life - and changing the way you think is the first step.
Maintaining a positive attitude has shown to improve numerous aspects of your life. So while you’re snickering at someone’s post or dismissing a new, popular self-help book, you may be missing the point.
Below are five ways that positive thinking can impact your life.
Studies show that a positive attitude leads to better stress management. Whether it be laughing, or just not flying off the handle at little things, less stress leads to a healthier lifestyle.
The effects of stress can be monumentally detrimental to your health: from small complaints such as headaches and sleep difficulties, to much larger, more serious health problems.
Positive thinking also involves an optimistic philosophy. Optimists are known to be more active, eat healthier and overall lead a healthy lifestyle.
Putting less stress on yourself at work will make you, and your coworkers, much happier. Working with happy people will create a positive, more constructive work environment for everyone.
A positive work environment will lead to a better outlook on life as well. As you leave work each day you’ll leave with a certain sense of accomplishment. A constant positive attitude will increase your productivity, and therefore, your chances for a promotion.
A happy person who gets work done will always get the promotion over a negative pessimist. Obversely, being a negative person can get you canned.
If you don’t believe that a positive attitude or positive thoughts can help you sleep, try cognitive behavioral therapy: a method implemented to fight sleeplessness by noticing when a bad thought comes to mind, and replacing that thought with a positive one — not only throughout the day, but as your going to bed as well.
Try it out and you’ll get into a cyclical rhythm — positive thoughts lead to better sleep, which leads to positive thoughts, which lead to better sleep …
Interested in a perfect night of sleep? Download our FREE sleep diary!
No one wants to be around a “Negative Nelly.” It’s well known that people tend to gravitate toward positive people and distance themselves from negative people.
Positive thinkers are more outgoing and fun to be around. Living a life of positivity will make you more intriguing, you’ll form more meaningful relationships, and people will seek and appreciate interaction with you.
Ask yourself if you’d rather be around a group of perpetually positive or negative people. The answer should be very apparent.
Along with positive thinking comes positive self-talk: cutting out negativity in the way that you talk and think about/to yourself. This means not putting yourself down as much, dwelling on worries so that they get blown way out of proportion, and blaming yourself for things that are out of your control and not your fault.
Positive self-talk promotes ideas such as recognizing what you’re good at, not comparing yourself to others, and a better tolerance of yourself and others’ mistakes. When you talk and think about yourself in positive ways, you become more confident.
As you let go, stop focusing on all the negative things about yourself, you’ll start playing to strengths and become more self-reliant and self-sufficient.
In case you haven’t noticed, all of these aspects of life play off each other quite frequently. Self-confidence can lead to better job performance and satisfaction, which can lead to better sleep, which can lead to a healthier lifestyle, which can lead to a more developed social life.
With a more positive attitude, your quality of life will increase, and as one aspect of your life is made better with positivity, another one will be as well.
Avery Phillips is a freelance human based out of the beautiful Treasure Valley. She loves all things in nature, especially humans. Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or comments.
At Utzy Naturals, nothing is more important to us than helping you meet your nutrition needs. No matter what stage you’re at in your health journey, we can all use a little help, whether it’s new workout idea, creative recipes, or an inspirational story.
That’s why we have rounded up a list of the top 23 health and wellness bloggers from around the web. From running blogs to healthful cooking blogs, this article shines a light on the best health and wellness blogs.
Click on the links to head over to any blog that catches your interest. We recommend checking out a post or two from each blog, to see how they can help you reach your health and wellness goals.
Ready to see which health bloggers made the cut? Scroll down to view the full list!
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Fit Girl’s Diary is a blog run by Monica May. She runs a fitness focused blog with helpful tips on workouts. She also offers fanatic recipes and died programs. Check her out!
Purely Twins is a blog run by twin sisters Lori and Michelle. As certified personal trainers and nutritionists, they offer fantastic advice on health and wellness. They offer gluten free cookbooks as well as workout tips for pregnant women. Check out there fantastic blog!
Cuckoolemon is run by Nicole, an avid runner and marathoner. Her blog provides humorous updates on what goes into living an active, fit lifestyle. Nicole also provides a good look into what is required when training for races, whether a 5K or a full marathon.
Fitness Pain Free is a blog written by physical therapist Dan Pope. His goal is to help people get out of pain and get back to high performance. His blog specializes in giving good information on back and shoulder pain. If you are currently experiencing injury, check out his blog for info on how you can get back to 100 percent!
Secret Nutrition is a comprehensive blog focused on providing information on all things health and wellness. With many different writers, Secret Nutrition is great resource for those looking for information on how to live a healthier lifestyle.
Train Strong Live Strong is a blog run by Timea, a fitness instructor. Timea’s blog is centered around helping people build resilience so that they can become the strongest version of themselves. With expert tips on kettlebell workouts, this blog is a must visit!
Run To The Finish is a blog run by Amanda C Brooks. Amanda is an fitness expert, with a focus on running. She regular runs 40-50 miles per week. She writes about running tips, writes recipes, and offers reviews on products that she tries. Check here out!
All Around Joe is run by Crossfit fanatic Joe Bauer. Joe is a certified Crossfit coach who is dedicated to health and wellness. In addition to running a blog filled with helpful health hacks, Joe also hosts a podcast which he frequently updates with in-depth interviews.
Comeback Momma is a blog run by Jenn Mitchell, a happy mother and trainer. She created Comeback Momma as a way of sharing the story of how she lost 50lbs of weight after having a child. She regularly writes about food, her traveling adventures, and what how to live healthy.
No Thanks To Cake is a blog run by Kelly, a Colorado native with a passion for health and wellness. Her health and wellness journey started when she used a Jenny Craig program to lose weight. She used her blog to document that process. Now, years later, she used No Thanks To Cake as a way to blog about healthy cooking and who to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Her blog is a can’t miss!
End of Three Fitness is written by Jerred Moon. His blog covers fitness tips and routines, health advice, and interviews with a creative assortment of people, all in easy to watch, and follow, video form!
Pretty Fit is a blog by London-based Soph. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders, Soph uses her blog to write about how she achieved her now healthy lifestyle through good nutrition and a love of running, and how you can do the same.
Fitness 4 Mama’s is run by Mirka, a mom of two daughters. Her blog is an inspiration for those looking to balance motherhood and maintaining a fit lifestyle.
Taralynn started her blog as way to share her weight-loss journey. Her posts include healthy (as well as some not so healthy) recipes, fitness tips, and personal stories about her life and travels.
Barbend is a fitness site dedicated to providing the latest news in the world of Crossfit, weightlifting, and powerlifting. Check it out!
The Gains Lab blog is run by Matthew Wiebke, a Crossfit Games masters athlete. His blog offers technical information on Crossfit programing. Perfect for those looking to get a more in-depth look at what it takes to excel in the sport of excel.
Tier Three Tactical is a Crossfit geared website with helpful information on fitness, with a focus on those who enjoy living an outdoor oriented lifestyle. Tier Three Tactical is run by Jake Johnson, a former marine who has a passion for fitness and tactical living. Check it out!
Garage Gym Reviews is blog that reviews fitness products of any kind, as well as DIY projects. Garage Gym Reviews goal is to make sure equipment is safe and effective.
Written by 3 coaches, Shawn Gerber, Amanda Thebe, and Shane Trotter, Breaking Muscle. Each coach has different focus, giving their readers diverse and helpful advice. The articles range from workout tips and product reviews to lifestyle hacks and healthy recipes.
Dash of Wellness is a popular health and wellness blog with informative, “bite sized” blog articles. With numerous contributors, Dash of Wellness is constantly putting out new content on how to create a healthy lifestyle.
Julie Foucher is a medical resident in Cleveland and a dedicated crossfitter in her time off. Julie competed in the Crossfit games until her competitive career was ended by an injury in 2015. Her blog consists of podcasts, video interviews, and written posts about crossfit and life.
Neuroscientist Allison Brager is the respected sleep researcher who runs Dormivigilia. She provides in-depth articles on the topics of sleep and circadian rhythm and how it impacts health.
GymFlow100 is a fitness focused website with a comprehensive amount of workout information. With many different writers, this website constantly puts out high quality content.
Having trouble falling asleep? Here are Neuroscientist Allison Brager’s top tips on how you can quickly fall asleep.
Sleepless nights are a bane to the human existence. Shakespeare, Ben Franklin, and many other notable figures had plenty to say about it. Thankfully, there are some easy fixes. Some fixes are nutritional, some fixes are therapeutic, and some fixes require DIY home decorating.
There are two key components for falling asleep naturally:
…..and make it as militant as possible. As a neuroscientist, I have studied the human body clock for the past ten years. Our bodies and brains have sets of self-sufficient, self-operating, and self-sustaining biological clocks.
These biological clocks tell us when to eat, when to wake up, when to sleep, and when we perform our best. These body clocks are sensitive and adapt to their environments.
Light is the most potent environmental cue for our body clocks, but other basic needs work just as well in cueing and re-setting our body clocks: food, exercise, sex, and even stress.
So, if you can, plan your meals, plan your workouts, and plan your stress (if it’s inevitable) around certain hours of the day, your body will adjust its physiological demands accordingly.
A great way to start a more consistent schedule is to create a morning ritual.
.....start this process an hour before bed. Bright light disrupts melatonin release. Melatonin is the “hormone of darkness.” Melatonin release is triggered by darkness and dim light.
Ever feel extra sleepy in a swanky restaurant or bar, even in the absence of libations? That’s the dark lighting telling your body that it’s time to wind down and time to get deep, restorative sleep.
Melatonin is released to help us fall asleep and stay asleep.
I’ll say it again: put away those smart technologies, turn the TV off, and dive into a classic novel an hour before bed. The less light you see before bed, the better.
Here are a few bedtime rituals you can integrate to help your body naturally fall ssleep more quickly:
The amino acid tryptophan produces serotonin: a neurochemical driver of sleep. Tryptophan is found in high abundance in our bodies. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with having some extra tryptophan in the tank.
A healthy protein snack high in tryptophan (turkey) before bed prevents blood sugar levels from spiking during the night - this is partly due to its slow digestion. Spikes in blood sugar levels can wake you up.
In addiiton to tryptophan, Vitamin B is another great option. While Vitamin B is well-known for promoting energy and alertness, did you know that it can also promote sleep?
Vitamin B aids in the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. Increased serotonin means a sleepy body.
Magnesium directs many biochemical actions of the body (you can read more about it here). It also helps to promote sleep. Foods rich in magnesium include almonds, cashews, Spinach, and pumpkin seeds.
You can also supplement with a high quality Magnesium supplement.
Minimize light, minimize noise, sleep on a firm and cooling mattress (check our friends at PerformaSleep who make mattresses for the high-performer), and design your room layout to your liking.
No one wants to sleep and wake up to neon green painted walls (which I actually did for a long time until I realized how unfriendly the color was for sleeping).
For years, doctors have recommended heat before bed to induce sleepy-like blood flow. Nowadays, scientists are finding that brief exposure to cold has anti-stressful, pro-sleep effects. Regardless of hot or cold, a slight change in your core body temperature can be beneficial.
Nothing jolts your body clocks awake and keeps them ticking (entrained) throughout the day like 15-30 min of sunlight in the morning.
Sleep scientists from the University of Colorado took students camping for a few weeks and discovered that our body clocks are more sensitive and stabilized by natural light compared to artificial light. So consider adding sunlight to your morning routine!
Enjoy these sleep tips. I hope they help you to have a more rested, productive lifestyle.
Dr. Allison Brager is a neuroscientist specializing in the physiology and genetics of sleep and performance. She is author of Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain which debunks the myth of the "dumb jock" and serves as a manual for optimizing athletic performance through neuroscience. Outside of the laboratory, she is a former D1 varsity athlete, Crossfit Games team athlete and still competes in track and field: pole vault and hurdles.
Other resources for optimizing sleep:
1. My book, “Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain” describes some describes several "neurohackers" for bettering athletic performance through science.
2. Podcast related to Meathead: http://brutestrengthtraining.com/podcast/10x-your-recovery-with-the-science-of-perfect-sleep-w-dr-allison-brager.
Regular exercise is important, it helps us remain fit and healthy.
Exercise also helps us gain strong muscles and bones, maintain a healthy body weight, and leads to a healthier life.
Listed are some activities which should become a part of your daily routine. They will not only help you in staying healthy, but they will also keep you physically and mentally fit.
For the proper functioning of some parts of our body, precise movements are required. It is scientifically proven that performing regular exercise can help increase the number of years in a person’s life.
There are some extremely important exercises, called core exercises, which can increase physical and mental strength. These exercises can help with energy increase, helping you be more active with your work.
In total, there are six main, essential exercises which act as a base to other exercises which are more difficult. The following exercises should be done daily so that you can remain fit.
It is very necessary for you to get warmed up before doing any exercise. The warm-up is done so that you can get into the flow of your exercise, which helps you preprare for your workout ahead. Doing an exercise immediately, without a proper warmup, can cause injury and should be avoided.
Good warmups include jumping-jacks, a light jog, and a couple simple stretches of the bodily area that you plan on working out.
If you are planning to exercise, then among all of the workouts, the easiest is to do a regular walk. In the beginning, you may walk at a normal pace, but with the passage of time, it should become more intense as it will not only help you in gaining strength, but will also keep you fit.
The walk in which you are more passive is known as brisk walking. There is a specified speed which is about 3 miles per hour. It also helps in improving the blood circulation.
If you walk regularly, then it makes the flow of blood to all parts of the body more efficient. This exercise is recommended by almost all the physicians as it is generally beneficial to your overall health.
Everybody has some specific strength according to which it can perform various types of tasks. Similarly, the body has a specific capacity and stamina according to which a person can run. It is one of the essential requirements of the body.
When you run, the body produces warmth which helps the heart in beating vigorously. It helps with better blood circulation.
It is recommended that you should perform some deep breath after running. If you run regularly it will help to burn body fat - a major benefit!
If you are planning on regular exercise, then a good activity that can benefit you is cycling. It not only strengthens your bones, but also helps in the proper circulation of blood to all parts of the body.
It is beneficial for both young and old. Plan on cycling for 10 to 20 minutes a day- this is equivalent to going for a jog.
This exercise is performed in a prone position where the lower body parts are raised by using your arms. It is a common calisthenics exercise.
To do a push-up, balance your body on your toes and hands and then try to lift your body upwards. Push-ups help in developing the scapular muscles and rotator cuff muscles. If performed the right way pushups will help in stabilizing your shoulders.
If regular pushups are too difficult, try doing pushups from your knees. This will lighten the load and allow you to do more repetitions.
In this exercise you hang on a pull-up (or maybe a power tower) and move your body up and down. This exercise will make you stronger and can increase your body's overall muscle mass.
If regular pullups are too difficult, then try scaling them back. Good scaling options include using a band to help pull you up or doing a "kipping" pull-up were you swing you legs to give you momentum.
Pullups are one of the best bang for your buck exercises, make sure to include them in your routine!
Despite it's simplicity, weighted carries (also known as "farmer's walks") are a fantastic exercise that we should all be doing. It's simple, pick up some weight and walk with it.
Options for carrying weight could include a weighted vest, heavy water bottles, or dumbbells. Dumbbells are especially easy to use for weighted carries. Simply pick up a weight that is somewhat heavy for you and start walking with it.
If you need a pair of dumbbells for home workouts, make sure to research which ones are the Best Dumbbell Sets can be very important to make your shoulders strong. With carrying weights, you can make your muscles stronger.
Ida Jones is a mother of two little ones. She enjoys home-based workouts, cardio exercises and long runs. She loves spending her vacations outdoors with her kids around nature. She believes in clean and healthy eating. She regularly writes about fitness tips and much more at Fitness Grit
We all know that sleep is crucial for good health, but what is the best way to get a good night’s sleep?
Here are ten tips to help you consistently get the best sleep of your life!
Try to keep the same sleeping routine every night. Go to bed and wake up at consistent times (even on the weekend). Experts recommend 7-9 hours, every night. This may seem like a hassle, but the payoff in sleep quality is worth it. If following a routine is hard for you, consider starting small with a morning routine.
Establish before bed habits, like journaling, reading, stretching, or taking a bath. These habits will signal your brain that it’s time for bed, and will help you to wind down.
Did you know that here at Utzy we make award winning sleep aids? We have a passion for helping others sleep better. Check out our Sleep Bundle and save over 30% on our best selling sleep formulas + get a free Utzy sleep mask!
Keep your room dark when you go to bed. Light can prevent your brain from releasing melatonin, a hormone that signals that you are ready to sleep. It is recommended that you minimize lighting and use of electronics 60 minutes prior to sleep.
Even though coffee has many benefits, avoid caffeine after 3:00pm. Caffeine has been shown to stay in your system anywhere from 4-6 hours after drinking it. Even though having that iced americano may help you cruise through your afternoon, it can really interfere with your ability to fall asleep later at night.
Make sure your room is calm and peaceful. Try to make your room as quiet as possible. It should also be cool and clean. A messy room is difficult to relax in, and a hot room will make it hard to fall asleep.
Pillows and mattresses should be comfortable. You should replace pillows yearly and mattresses every 5-7 years. Fresh sheets and clean pillowcases are also very relaxing.
Avoid visible clocks and clock watching. Keeping track of time spent not sleeping can be stressful and keep you awake.
Get at least 30 minutes of sunshine daily. The sun will help balance your sleep/wake cycle. It is best to get your sunshine in the morning, this will help to "jolt" your body awake. An added benefit is that this will help to increase your daily productivity! Sunshine also gives you Vitamin D, which gives you a host of other benefits.
The blue LED lights emitted from your electronics (phones, tv's, computers, etc...) interfere with your sleep cycle. It can delay sleep by as much as 3 hours! We realize that Facebook isn’t going to check itself, but resist the urge to scroll through your feed right before bed.
Another way to get around this is to consider installing a free app like F.lux on your computer, which dims the colors on your screen to match the sun (we use this on our computers at Utzy HQ and love it!).
Daniel Powers is a health and fitness enthusiast with a background in the supplement industry. Outside of work, Daniel enjoys Crossfit, reading large books, and drinking coffee.
by Dr. Jeremy Johnson
An estimated 45% of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affects their daily activities at least one time per week!
How many times have you been lying in bed staring at the ceiling? This problem of falling asleep is a major obstacle, but there may be a few things you can do to help improve your sleep patterns.
You can read about some of these ways by clicking on this link, 3 Herbs To Help You Stay Asleep, a previous article on the Utzy blog.
As we discussed last week, plants have a long history of use supporting sleep. This goes back to the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians.
Without the modernity of studying plants that we have today, people then simply did not have the knowledge to realize all the complexities and actions of the herbs that they consumed.
Looking to sleep better? Get our Free Sleep Diary!
There are literally thousands of chemicals in plants and many of those have the health-promoting properties that they sought and stumbled upon over time.
Today, we know that plants produce numerous phytochemicals, each having their own unique properties and attributes.
These three herbs have been used historically and have also been recently studied in clinical trials looking at ways to improve sleep.
Valerian Root – It is suggested that it works by improving levels of the amino acid GABA (Gamma aminobutyric acid). This herb is probably one of the most studied sleep remedies with results finding improvement in the time that it takes to fall asleep and the quality of sleep experienced.
Passionflower – This herb also works by improving levels of GABA in the body. Another benefit of passionflower is research suggesting an improvement in symptoms of temporary to mild anxiety.
Skullcap Root Extract – This herb works a little differently than the first two, in that it helps calm the nerves. For those who have difficulty falling asleep, skullcap could help relieve stress that often affects sleep quality. Especially for those who feel tense or irritable, Skullcap can be an excellent remedy for difficulty falling asleep.
There are many herbs that have been used for thousands of years.
These past two weeks, we have discussed herbs that can be used to help someone fall asleep and stay asleep through the whole night.
If you would like to see more about plant medicine studied in clinical trials, visit www.PlantMedicineNews.com.
Dr. Johnson's (PharmD, Ph.D.) research has lead to more than 45 publications and published abstracts in the health promoting properties of natural products, phytochemicals and plant extracts. Dr. Johnson researches and develops everything Utzy offers. He also runs and operates www.plantmedicinenews.com, a resource that digs into the clinical research being done on botanical medicine.
Check out these 16 gluten-free recipes chock-full of pumpkin! Whether it's the remains of your jack-o-lantern or a can of pumpkin puree, these recipes are great way to add more pumpkin to your life!
Jessica In The Kitchen’s pumpkin pancakes contain baking soda and baking powder to make them light and fluffy, plus they’re sweetened with raw honey. Make sure you use certified gluten-free oats and you've got a delicious gluten-free breakfast!
Running To The Kitchen’s hash has just about every fall flavor your could wish for! Try it with a poached egg on top!
Lauren Kelly Nutrition's recipe for Pumpkin Crepes are stuffed with a yogurt based filling for extra protein!
Perfect for brunch, or even dinner! Naturally Ella’s Frittata is topped with peppery arugula to offset the mild pumpkin and goat cheese.
Bless This Mess has a fantastic use for all of those seeds you dug out of your carved pumpkins! Roast them with honey and cinnamon for as a reward for all your hard work!
So Let’s Hang Out’s vegan and gluten free granola is made with pumpkin puree and lots of raisins! It’s sweetened with maple syrup too!
These no-bake pumpkin pie balls from Evolving Table have no refined sugar, loads of protein and are totally vegan!
Ambitious Kitchen’s Oat Bars are soft, chocolatey, and vegan! They are quick and easy snack to whip up and they freeze well.
Try Wendy Polisi’s Pumpkin Quinoa Patties for an delicious Fall Dinner! These protein-packed patties are easily made ahead of time, so give them a try!
Eating By Elaine’s Pumpkin Risotto is Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free! With simple instructions, it’s easy to make and delicious to eat.
Pig And Quill’s Pumpkin Curry is amazing! Don’t let the long ingredient list put you off, it comes together very quickly!
This Polenta from With Food + Love is gluten-Free and Vegan! With balsamic roasted beets atop creamy polenta, this is a sure winner!
This incredible cheesecake from Unconventional Baker is free from Gluten, Grains, Dairy, Eggs, and Refined Sugar! Give it try!
Overstuffed’s recipe for Pumpkin Pudding Dessert calls for a nutty Gluten-Free crust topped with a fluffy pumpkin pudding.
These Streusel Bars from My Baking Addiction have a streusel base and top with a creamy pumpkin center. You can also drizzle them with a salted caramel sauce!
Try this Pumpkin Chiffon Pavlova from Mother Would Know for a dessert that is sure to impress! Plus, with its airy meringue base, it’s a lighter option after a hearty Autumn meal.
Share your favorite pumpkin recipe in the comments down below!
Miriam is a writer here at Utzy that enjoys reading and writing about food.
Sleeplessness is a pretty common problem in menopausal women.
You are not alone.
While seniors tend to have a better handle on the resulting restlessness that comes with age, those between ages 35 to 55 are the ones who usually find the transition difficult to bear with.
The sleeplessness that accompanies perimenopause and menopause can even come in different forms. Some don’t sleep at all, while others tend to sleep only a couple hours per night - far from the recommended 7 to 9 hours of regular sleep for adults 18 to 64.
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As you probably already know, sleepless nights can result in grogginess, irritability, and problems with focus in the morning.
If you don’t do anything about your lack of sleep, sooner or later, it could turn into a bigger problem.
The good news is that since menopause and sleeplessness are common problems, experts around the world have created several all-natural solutions that have proven to be successful for many women!
The human body, whether menopausal or not, welcomes lower temperatures during bedtime. Cold not only reinforces the body’s cues for sleepiness, it also combats the discomfort and sleep interruptions that are brought on by hot flashes in the middle of the night.
So, do your best to keep it cool during bedtime. If your air-conditioner is old and faulty, menopausal hot flashes are the universe’s way of telling you to get it fixed, or better yet, get a new one that’s more energy efficient.
If you want to keep cool while saving money, reserve using your air-conditioner’s coolest settings for hot nights when you’re susceptible to sleep interruption.
Additionally, it would also be a good move for you to invest in a mattress, sheets, and pillows that promote cooling and ventilation. Pajamas and sleepwear made from moisture wicking clothes can help in this regard as well (have you heard about Tom Brady’s pajamas?).
These simple solutions won’t stop hot flashes, but they’ll certainly make them much more bearable when they happen in the middle of the night, allowing you to fall back to sleep faster.
Keeping your bedroom cold and comfy is highly conducive for uninterrupted sleep. It is one of the most effective solutions to fighting menopause-driven sleeplessness.
Lavender has been around as an aromatherapy agent for centuries. It’s always been known for its relaxing properties, although many continue to be skeptical about its effects. And if you’re one of those skeptics, you should know that scientists have proof that lavender really does relax the nervous system.
According to new recent research, lavender (has been found to be highly effective when it comes to helping with relaxation. Apparently, lavender has chemicals that affect the same neurotransmitters and receptors affected by other relaxing agents - but with none of the adverse effects.
You can do this by inhaling lavender essential oil before and during bedtime. A great way to do this is by using an aromatherapy diffuser.
Another popular method is to drink dried lavender steeped in hot water and to inhale the steam. This method is a ‘two-for-one’ as the warmth from drinking tea also contributes to the sensation of relaxation.
You can even use lavender bath salts for a really relaxing bath at the end of a long day.
If you’re interested in natural sleeping aids, you can also try melatonin supplements. It’s a hormone that may help to induce the onset of sleep, an essential part of our natural circadian sleep-wake cycle.
Some melatonin supplements even come in smaller doses so you can better control its effects.
For more information on how lavender can benefit you, visit our blog post, 5 Essential Oils that May Help You Sleep Better
Out of the many natural ways to combat menopause-related sleeplessness, meditation is the cheapest and also one of the most effective. It can also be done nearly anytime and anywhere. If you know how to focus on a single task, then you can learn how to meditate.
The best places to start learning meditation are either at home or in a basic meditation class. You’ll want a safe environment where you’re less likely to be distracted by noise and movements. Find a place where you can comfortably sit upright for about 15 to 20 minutes without moving your body.
Slow your breathing down. Breathe in as slowly and as sparingly as you can, and do the same when you’re breathing out. Keep doing this while also keeping your posture straight, relaxed, and unmoving.
When your mind starts having thoughts apart from your breathing, recognize these thoughts and then move your focus back to keeping your breathing consistent. It may start out feeling like nothing’s going on, but what you’re actually doing is honing your mind’s ability to focus.
By repeatedly coming back to your point of focus (in this case, your breathing), you can train yourself to shut out distracting thoughts, and worries before you go to bed.
Every woman will go through menopause sooner or later. It’s a natural part of getting older, and so is the sleeplessness that accompanies it.
If menopause is making your life more difficult, try not to panic or become too worried. Focus on finding a solution. And if none of these all-natural methods work for you, it’s time to consult your doctor.