At Utzy we are dedicated to providing truthful, honest information that helps you to live a healthier lifestyle
Written by Dr. Allison Brager
I have night owl genes.
I am not kidding. Very recently, I had my DNA sequenced and it revealed something that I have always intuitively known; that my natural bedtime preference is after midnight; and that I am not a morning person.
My parents and brother are the same way. We are all genetically pre-disposed to being night owls.
Instead of fighting this, I have come to embrace it.
And you know what?
I truly believe that I was destined and pre-selected to be a scientist and track and field athlete because of my night owl genes. My work hours line up perfectly with the requirements of my career.
For instance, in academia (where I work as a sleep researcher), work usually starts after 10:30am, and continues far into the afternoon/evening. This aligns perfectly with my body’s natural sleep cycle.
Having my body’s sleep cycle lined up with my work requirements gives me a major boost in energy and productivity. This allows me to have a higher total output!
So how can you tell what type of sleep genes you have? The answer is that it all comes down to how your internal body clock functions.
Body clocks drive circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms cue you when to sleep, eat, exercise, and when to perform at your best. Each tissue of our body has an internal pacemaker that ticks on a near 24 hour schedule and is sensitive to abrupt and stressful changes in our environment.
Examples of environmental changes include; shift work, travel across time zones or doing a high-intensity interval workout in the middle of the night.
A unique team of genetic factors drives the precise ticking of our body clocks. Some of these genetic factors increase expression of your genes, others suppress. Thus, it is the constant push-and-pull relationship of these genetic factors that determines if we have body clocks that tick more quickly than 24 hours or slower than 24 hours.
What does this mean?
If you are an early bird, your body clocks tick faster. If you are a night owl like me, your body clocks tick slower.
Over the years, one's preference as an early bird or night owl is linked to differing personalities. Extroverts are often early birds while introverts are mostly vampires.
The more creative and artistic types also tend to be night owls.
So what are you?
Below are a few tips and tricks for telling if you are an early bird or a night owl.
Scientists have been using this 5-minute questionnaire for decades. The MEQ will give you a reliable estimate of when you are most productive mentally and physically. I advise re-shaping your schedule based on the MEQ. And it's free!
The first reason that you should go on vacation is to catch up on sleep. Most of us carry a "sleep debt" and there is nothing like vacation to catch up. So feel free to create a “sleep surplus” while on vacation! It’ll go a long way towards keeping you healthier and happier.
The second reason that you should go on vacation is to get back to your natural sleep-wake schedule. Work schedules, family schedules, and training schedules prevent our body clocks from truly expressing themselves the way they want to.
On vacation, let your body rest as it needs. Feel tired in the afternoon? Take a nap. Feel energized at night? Stay up and enjoy yourself.
It may take a few days for your internal body clocks to unmask their true rhythms. Put in the effort to really listen to your body. You will feel so much better once you allow your body clock to start to ticking the way it was genetically programmed to tick.
I advise re-shaping your daily schedules to capitalize on times of peak productivity. If your a night owl, see if you can shift your work schedule to reject that. If you are an “early bird”, shift your schedule to the morning.
There are several at-home DNA sequencing companies now that will tell you if you are an early bird or night owl. Our schedules can shape our health to an extent, but at the end of the day, nature always wins.
While these at-home sequencing services are pricey, especially as demand increases, it is worth every penny. I truly believe that my newly discovered knowledge about my mental and physical capabilities and limitations based on my genetic makeup are responsible for the continued successes that I have had in science and athletics.
Below are a few tips and tricks for zoning in your internal body clock.
Science is constantly proving that “we are what we eat.” Body clocks find sugar revolting and will act accordingly. Prioritizing greens, healthy grains, fats, and proteins throughout the day stabilizes the body’s blood sugar levels.
Eating a low sugar, high protein snack before bed prevents blood sugar levels from spiking during the night, thereby disturbing the natural ticking of our body clocks.
Light emitted from cell phones, tablets, and HDTVs actively shocks your internal body clocks. The ticking of body clocks is tied to melatonin: “the hormone of darkness”. Melatonin is released to help us fall asleep and stay asleep, maximizing our time in non-REM sleep. Melatonin release is extremely sensitive to LED light. Put away your technology at night and read a book.
Most people are magnesium-deficient and need to supplement. In fact, research shows that half of the US population is deficient. Magnesium, particularly magnesium biocarbonate, slightly elevates levels of carbon dioxide in our blood. This reaction tricks our brain into thinking it should be asleep. Magnesium helps to maintain and fine-tune our nervous system and keep all the nerve cells firing on schedule.
Taking a high quality sleep supplement can help you during those restless nights. You can learn more about the best sleep aids to take here.
To conclude, I don't believe the early bird catches the worm. I believe that an informed bird catches the worm.
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 college athlete, Crossfit Games team athlete, and is still active in track and field: pole vault and hurdles.
Other Resources for Optimizing Sleep:
1. My book, “Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain” describes several "neurohackers" for bettering athletic performance through science.
2. Podcast on How to 10x Your Sleep.
Fall is here!
Cooler temperatures and the seasonal abundance of apples and pumpkins often put us in the mood to spend time in the kitchen.
For the gluten sensitive among us, it can be difficult to find gluten-free classic autumn deserts.
We did some digging and found the 15 best gluten free fall baking recipes of 2017!
Check out the 15 gluten free fall recipes below!
This recipe from Cookie and Kate is the perfect food for cool mornings. Baked oatmeal is warm, filling, and delicious!
Just make sure you use certified gluten-free oats as non certified oats can contain trace amounts of gluten.
This recipe is incredibly easy to customize, so try using apple and cinnamon, or even pumpkin and maple!
Waffles are amazing anytime of the year, but for Fall, try topping Gluten Free on a Shoestring's recipe with some sautéed apples and cinnamon!
Try these muffins from These Things I Love’s blog for a fantastic snack, just make sure your oats are certified gluten-free! As a plus, these muffins are also vegan. A win-win recipe!
For cool fall mornings, try My Whole Food Life’s recipe for cinnamon apple waffles, they’re fairly quick to make and work well in large batches.
This fantastically orange-colored bread is moist, rich, and lightly sweet, so give Gluten Free On a Shoestring’s pumpkin bread a try!
Everyone loves cinnamon rolls and Recreating Happiness’s recipe for Cinnabon Copycat is sure to please!
Apple cider doughnuts are one of the best things about Fall, and with Gluten Free On a Shoestring’s adaption, you don’t have to miss out!
Gluten Free Goddess’s Pumpkin Cupcakes are fantastic! In addition to being gluten free, this recipe can also be made with a dairy-free variation.
Crisps are one the easiest, and quickest, desserts to make, so whip up this Apple Blackberry Crisp from Elena’s Pantry!
This recipe from The Pretty Bee is gluten-free and vegan! It’s also super simple to make, so give it a try!
These adorable tartlets from Elena’s Pantry are made with almond flour, making them not only gluten-free, but also paleo!
Amy in the Kitchen’s Caramel Apple Pie Bars have a smooth apple filling and a salted caramel drizzle, making them a perfect Autumn treat!
These mini bundt cakes from The Pretty Bee are perfect for a luxurious after-dinner dessert.
These fantastic bars have a graham cracker-like crust that is made from dates and pecans! My Whole Food Life has topped this amazing crust with pumpkin creme, as well as a layer of vegan chocolate. This recipe is a definite winner!
This vegan cheesecake from My Whole Food Life sounds amazing! And while it doesn’t feature pumpkin or apple, caramel is definitely an autumn must have!
If you have a favorite gluten-free fall recipe that we missed, send it to us! We'd love to share!
Poor sleep majorly impacts every aspect of body, everything from mental health to your physical appearance.
Sleep deprivation can result in issues for your beauty routine, potentially making you self-conscious and stressed out about your appearance.
Keep reading for a list of skin issues that are caused by sleepless nights and how you can fix them.
According to research, lack of sleep can cause wrinkles to start forming, making you to look older than your actual age. When you have insufficient sleep, you body releases higher levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone breaks down the skin's collagen, a protein that keeps the skin looking young.
Looking to sleep better? Get our Free Sleep Diary!
Not only will less sleep cause wrinkles to form, it can also cause dark circles, bags under your eyes, and dark spots. You see, when we sleep (especially during non-REM sleep), human growth hormone (HGH) is released into our bodies. HGH helps to repair damaged skin and dark spots as well as those pesky bags under our eyes.
When we sleep even two hours less than normal, we can begin to see effects from having not enough sleep.
When you are sleeping, your body uses that time to clear away dead skin cells and build new ones. This helps prevent breakouts, red skin, and a dehydrated complexion.
When you do not get enough sleep, your skins Ph levels drop, causing your skin to look dry and/or oily, redness and breakouts can occur as well.
If you are having trouble sleeping, look into these tips to try and get a good night’s sleep that will leave your skin glowing!
If you are a person who enjoys a drink after work, such as a beer, know that it can interfere with your REM sleep, contributing to your dark circles. If you do decide to have a drink, make sure it’s a couple of hours before bed.
A great tip for covering up dark circles is to not highlight around the eye with makeup. Highlight the cheek area and use a bold lip color to distract from the dark circles under your eyes. You should also consider a good quality concealer. This is a temporary fix until you can get a good night's rest.
Do not look at devices too soon before going to bed. Even if you are dimming the brightness, you are still exposing yourself to blue daylight spectrum light. This light mimics the sun, tricking your brain into thinking it is daytime. This hinders the release of melatonin, the hormone that notifies your brain that it’s time to sleep.
If you must use your computer, tablet, or other devices, there are programs you can download to send red waves instead of the blue waves at night. This will be beneficial because melatonin can then be released naturally, which will help you sleep more soundly at night.
Another thing to do if you have trouble sleeping at night is to exercise. Exercise releases endorphins that will make you feel good and alleviate the stresses in your life which may also be keeping you up. However, if you exercise do it few hours before your bedtime.
If you are a beginner to exercise, checkout these helpful workouts tips.
If you are one that has trouble sleeping, do not nap, especially in the afternoon. It is important you make a schedule for sleeping and make it a habit to follow that schedule every day of the week.
Have a relaxing bedtime ritual. This might involve a hot shower or bath with lavender scents to relax you. The more relaxed you are for bed the better you will sleep.
Eliminate any lights that are in your bedroom or anything that will keep you awake. It should be quiet and dark where you sleep. This will help you fall asleep faster and remain asleep.
Also, keep your room cool, studies show that a cool room will help to improve your overall sleep quality.
You may also want to try adding a natural sleep aid into your daily schedule. Chamomile and Valerian are relaxing ingredients and may help you fall asleep faster.
You can also supplement melatonin into your schedule before bed so that you can have a good night's rest and wake up looking and feeling great.
When you lose sleep, not only does it wreak havoc on your mind but also your skin and body. It is important that you average eight hours of sleep per day to keep your skin glowing and healthy. Create a bedtime ritual to keep you relaxed, and make sure you do not use technology too close to bedtime.
Your sleep is important to your overall health. You need sleep to help keep your skin looking young. You cannot deprive your body of sleep and expect to get that beautiful glow. Start sleeping better and achieve your best-looking skin now!
Hi, I’m Sally Mitchell. I began my career as a makeup artist, and after receiving a diploma in Clinical Dermatology decided to combine my passions for makeup artistry and skin care becoming a licensed beauty professional. Staying informed with the latest cutting edge skin care treatments helps me to share useful tips with readers of Lumeskin.
Makes 8 servings
This is a delicious fresh salad created by Dr. Andrew Weil, who owns a terrific restaurant called True Food. We did a Gluten-Free variation, subbing out the breadcrumbs for Gluten-Free Panko. You could also use Gluten-free bread crumbs. Either way, it’s a delicious salad!
•½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
•¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
•3 garlic cloves, mashed
•½ teaspoon salt
•Pinch of red pepper flakes
•2 bunches of kale (about 14 ounces), ribs removed and leaves sliced into ¼-inch shreds.
•½ cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese (grated on a Microplane)
•2 tablespoons toasted whole wheat bread crumbs.
•Grana Padano or Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese shavings, for garnish.
In a salad bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Add the kale and toss well to coat. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 10 to 30 minutes. Add the grated cheese and bread crumbs and toss again.
Garnish with the cheese shavings before serving. Cover any leftovers and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Link to Original Recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/1050705/dr-weils-kale-salad
In the supplement industry, there are many different grades of quality. Super supplements are supplements that are the highest quality grade.
You see, not all supplements are created equal
For instance, in the auto industry, General Motors owns many different brands that serve different needs. They have Chevrolet for mass market transportation, GMC for upgraded trucks and SUV’s, and Cadillac for those seeking a luxurious ride. Each brand has different quality standards and provides differing levels of luxury.
It’s the same thing in the supplement industry.
You have mass market, cheap brands and then you have super-premium supplement brands.
A super supplement is a product that is created with high standards. This starts with the formulation process. This includes which ingredients go into the formula, how much of each, etc…
A dirty little secret in the supplement industry is that products are often formulated with the price in mind BEFORE the product is made.
This means that the cheapest ingredients are sourced, often from China. Not only that, but puny ingredient amounts are then used in the formula. This leads to cheap, ineffective supplements that are bound to disappoint those that take them.
A superpremium grade supplement starts with a formula based off of science. A formula that includes the right ingredients, sourced from the top growers right here in America, or from Europe (where many top grade botanicals are grown).
Ingredients are then included in the optimal doses. At Utzy, we don’t water down our products. We include the RIGHT ingredients in the RIGHT doses. This is the only way to create supplements that work.
Once the formula and ingredients have been selected, a super supplement should then be manufactured in a cGMP facility. Many brands farm out their manufacturing to whoever will do it for the cheapest price. This give them no control of the manufacturing process and allows for potential safety errors to occur.
At Utzy, we own our manufacturing facility and have a history of making supplements for 20+ years. We know how to create quality, effective supplements. In addition to that, our facility is audited by the FDA and other agencies to ensure that we are manufacturing with excellence and that everything we create is pure, safe, and effective for our customers.
Also, a super supplement should be tested to ensure its safety before it is sold. At Utzy, our products go through many different tests to ensure its safety. This adds costs, but ensures the safety and effectiveness of our product. We do this so that you can supplement with confidence.
You can read more about our quality and testing standards here.
While a mass market supplement might be easy on your budget, it won’t be nearly as effective. Supplements made with cheap ingredients that come in under-dosed amounts are bound to be ineffective.
So why should you buy a super supplement?
Simply put, you should buy a super supplement because it will actually work.
With effective ingredients and dosages, as well as being made in a facility that is up to date with the latest cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices), superpremium supplements are the only way to go. All other supplements in comparison are bound to disappoint.
If you are interested in checking out some superpremium products, you can learn more about Utzy's product line here.
July 19, 2017 | 0 comments
CoQ10 (or coenzyme Q10) is an antioxidant that is vital for your body’s ability to create energy. It is important because it is present in every cell in your body. Maintaining optimal Coenzyme Q10 levels is crucial for maintaining overall health and wellness.
We’ll dig into the basics of CoQ-10 below
Coenzyme Q10 is a lipid-soluble antioxidant found in every cell in your body. It plays an important role in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency your body depends on.
This may sound complex, but this simply means that CoQ-10 is crucial for the production of energy in your cells. When cells are able to produce more energy, it creates more energy throughout your whole body.
Coenzyme Q10 comes in multiple forms, with Ubiquinone being the main form. It is called "Ubiquinone" because of it ubiquity (i.e. it is numerous) in your body since it is found in every cell of your body.
Since CoQ-10 is involved in the production of energy in the cell (ATP), maintaining optimal levels is important for maintaining energy levels. High energy levels increase overall health and wellness.
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential component of cellular energy production, its antioxidants properties have been shown to extend cell life and benefit high-energy systems. This includes the cardiovascular, neurological and immune systems.
Optimal levels are especially important for heart health. The heart is your body’s largest energy user. Without enough CoQ10, your heart can’t pump blood as efficiently as it should. This means that Coenzyme Q10 is absolutely crucial for overall cardiovascular health.
•Enhances Cellular Energy Production and Physical Performance
•Supports Cardiovascular Health
•Boosts Antioxidant Activity
•Helps Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Balance
•Promotes Neurological Health
Your body naturally produces CoQ10 throughout your life, but production drops off as you get older. This drop-off in Coenzyme Q10 production tends to happen between the ages of 35-40.
Supplementation with CoQ-10 around this age (between 35-40) is best for maintaining optimal levels.
The right form of CoQ-10 is important for effective results. There are two forms ofCoenzyme Q10, Ubiquinol and Ubiquinone. Which is the best form of CoQ10 to take?
Ubiquinol is the form of CoQ10 found in your body. Naturally, advertisers have capitalized on this fact, saying that it’s the easier form for your body to use and absorb. Not surprisingly, it’s also the more expensive form of Coenzyme Q-10.
Ubiquinone is the other form of CoQ10. Ubiquinone is actually converted into Ubiquinol by the body. It is less expensive to buy and is equally as effective in your body.
Regardless of the form, make sure that the Coenzyme Q10 supplements that you buy are delivered in a highly bioavailable, oil-based soft gel. For best absorption, CoQ-10 must be dissolved and transported with a lipid carrier
The best dosage for healthy individual is 50-100mg per day. Make sure to take a highly bioavailable form of CoQ10 so that you can get the full benefits.
Timing is important when supplementing withCoenzyme Q10, see the section below for the best time of day to take CoQ10.
Your body best absorbs CoQ10 when it is taken in small amounts. That being said, CoQ-10 should be taken throughout the day in divided dosages.
Coenzyme Q10 is more easily absorbed with food, especially fatty foods such as avocados or nuts. This makes taking it with meals is a great option.
CoQ10 is safe when up to 3,000 milligrams is taken by mouth daily for up to eight months in healthy people.
Use cautiously in high doses in people with liver problems. Doses of greater than 300 milligrams daily may affect levels of liver enzymes.
Use cautiously in people who are taking blood thinners (such as warfarin). Coenzyme Q10 may reduce the effectiveness of blood thinners.
That being said, the large body of evidence supporting CoQ10 supplementation has been embraced in virtually every corner of the medical and scientific community.
As always, it is best to get a recommendation from your doctor before taking any type of dietary supplement, especially when pregnant or nursing.
CoQ10 is naturally found in high levels in organ meats such as liver, kidney, and heart, as well as in beef, sardines, and mackerel.
Vegetarian sources of Coenzyme Q10 are also available through foods such as spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower. Legumes such as peanuts and soybeans also contain beneficial amounts.
Supplementation is also a good option, see recommended products below.
We carry a high absorption, CoQ-10 product at Utzy. It is delivered in an oil-based form and includes natural vitamin E for enhanced absorption and maximum stability.
To improve absorption, our CoEnzyme Q10 has been dissolved and transported with a lipid carrier. Click on the image below to learn more!
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.
There are times when getting a stellar night’s sleep is not within our control.
However, you may be surprised at a few sleep strategies that are less frequently recommended but that are highly effective at soothing your body toward a solid night’s rest. Here are some helpful ways to sleep better.
Although many of us turn to tangible, physical remedies when dealing with chronic sleep loss, it can be enormously beneficial to remember a few psychological reasons why some of us have trouble sleeping.
For example, Jeff Haden suggests writing down a list of all the things you’re currently worried about. It turns out that writing out your concerns, whether it be in list form or via free-writing or poetry, is surprisingly effective at warding off unnecessary racing thoughts.
Moreover, focusing on the positive, as well as situations within your control—rather than beyond it—will help alleviate stress and is an important way to sleep better.
Interested in better sleep? Get our FREE Sleep Diary!
You are probably familiar with the old trick of turning over onto one’s stomach or back, if your usual sleeping position isn’t working. However, did you know that elevating different parts of the body can be an important way to help you sleep better? Let me explain.
According to Dr. Philip E. V. Van Kerrebroeck, “Even in people who [fall] asleep easily again, the interruption of sleep disrupts the normal sleep patterns and can have general (negative) health consequences…”.
To prevent sleep that’s regularly interrupted by urgent bathroom visits—try putting your feet up before bedtime in order to push accumulated leg and ankle fluids back into the bloodstream so that you can urinate before bedtime, rather than afterwards.
One’s position during sleep, however, is another story altogether. Sleeping with the head and torso elevated has been known to alleviate symptoms of common health complaints (such as indigestion —among other health issues). Try experimenting with different levels of elevation and sleeping positions to see which ones work best for you to help you sleep better.
While vigorous exercise helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps our hearts and stress levels healthy and under control, we should switch into low gear in the hours immediately before bedtime. Certain stretches can be very effective in helping our bodies wind down. Deep breath work and stretching can alleviate stress in not only our lungs, but our legs, necks, and backs as well.
Harvard Medical School recommends implementing what’s known as ujjayi pranayama (victory breath), as well as going into child’s pose, standing forward bend, standing half forward bend, reclining bound angle, and legs up the wall pose (you can see the recommended poses in the linked article).
Another reason why stretching is so effective at improving the quality of our sleep is that, when performed correctly, stretching is essentially a form of mindfulness that ideally brings us to a place that allows our mind to relax, without focusing on external factors.
By now, most of us have heard that staring at our smartphones isn’t beneficial when trying to go to sleep. This is because of the prevalence of blue light (LED lights) in computer screen monitors, smartphones, and TV screens. This blue light activates our brains and makes it hard to wind down at night. Do not fear! You may not realize that it’s possible to reduce the amount of blue light in our indoor and outdoor lighting, as well, via the use of LED lightbulbs rather than conventional light bulbs. Additionally, you can also get blue light blocking glasses via our friends at Zenni Optical.
Try to correlate your use of artificial light with your sleep cycles. Although our need for indoor and outdoor lighting of course increases as night approaches, minimizing artificial light is also helpful for birds’ migratory cycles, as well as city stargazing efforts, energy efficiency, and sustainability. Perhaps that’s why excessive use of lights at night is called light pollution: because the excess use of artificial light pollutes the natural world’s ability to function normally—as well as our own.
Though this may not come as a surprise, decreasing our use of artificial stimulants like tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol can greatly increase our ability to sleep soundly through the night. This is because, although alcohol is a sedative, it’s also a diuretic. And while it initially seems to help alleviate stress, tobacco is a stimulant.
Even though coffee has many benefits, a good rule of thumb regarding caffeine is to avoid drinking coffee or caffeinated tea past four o’clock—while avoiding any caffeine past noon is ideal.
In addition to helping us sleep, avoiding stimulants can help calm your whole body. Try drinking a warm cup of herbal tea or warm milk instead. In addition to what you eat and drink, taking a warm bath or shower before bedtime can also work wonders in helping you relax—in part because it ends up cooling us down after we dry off.
Lastly, a few specific plants have been shown to help improve sleep quality through their presence in the bedroom and throughout the house. One of these, aloe vera, is more well known for its moisturizing and after-sun healing properties. However, aloe vera also emits oxygen at night, which is beneficial to our body’s ability to sleep—as well as improving the general air quality.
Two plants that improve the general air quality of our interior surroundings are snake plants and English Ivy plants—both of which have actually been recognized by NASA as having air-purifying qualities. In addition to that, Lemon Balm Leaf and Valerian Root are two herbs that have long been utilized to make tea as well as in supplements that aid your body in falling asleep.
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Are there any lesser-known strategies you use to help you sleep better? Share your advice in the comments section, below!
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.
By Dr. Allison Brager
Sleepless nights are a bane to the human existence. Shakespeare, Ben Franklin, and many other notable figures had plenty to say about it.
That's why we are bringing you our best tips for falling asleep.
You may know that I have studied body clocks for the past ten years. As I have mentioned prior, 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, and even stress. Thus, if you can plan your meals, plan the best time to workout, and plan your stress (if it’s inevitable) around certain hours of the day, your body will adjust its physiological demands accordingly. Everyone should have a bedtime routine AND morning ritual.
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? 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.
Interested in a Natural Sleep Aid for Falling Asleep? Consider our Doctor-formulated Fall Asleep Product
If you'd like more sleep tips, check out our article on 33 sleep tips for getting better sleep at night.
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 many unique properties and functions of sleep tailored towards bettering human performance.
2. Podcast on How To 10X Your Sleep
3. Invest in a quality mattress. I used to trick myself into thinking my dorm room mattress was sufficient, nope. A firm mattress that has cooling properties (typically through copper lining) is best. Go check out my friends at PerformaSleep. Georgia engineers who designed a mattress for athletes and those who want to excel like pro athletes.
by Dr. Jeremy Johnson
It is estimated that 1 out of 4 Americans struggle to get adequate sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This means that you or someone close to you likely struggles to get those needed Z’s.
Unfortunately, people worldwide are becoming increasingly reliant on sleep aids, with more than 60 million prescriptions for sleep being given each year in the United States alone.
As a pharmacist, I find this trend very concerning, especially when there are many lifestyle adjustments that have been shown to improve sleep quality.
For thousands of years plants have been used to support quality sleep. Today, there is an increasing appetite to understand how these plants might work to support healthy sleep.
As a researcher, the study of botanicals and sleep is highly technical and challenging. Plants are created in such a way that they contain numerous natural substances that work in complex, multifaceted ways.
The scientist in me cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate this complexity. When I am presenting plants and their phytochemicals to students, scientists, or healthcare professionals, I will often show them how one plant can produce thousands of unique phytochemicals.
This week we will highlight three plants that have been used traditionally and have been studied in clinical trials.
Tart Cherry – The common form that I utilize has been dried and ground to a powder. Montmorency Tart Cherries are rich in melatonin. Melatonin is a brain chemical that is produced by your body and it helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. In the evening, when it is dark, we produce more melatonin. Recent studies using cherries have shown that both sleep time and sleep quality were improved.
Ashwagandha Root - This plant has multiple purposes. It can act on the neurological system, immune system, energy production system, and hormone system (i.e. endocrine). By supporting all of these systems a natural balance can be restored to improve sleep quality. Studies have also shown that measurements of stress can be lessened, which will benefit your sleep as well.
German Chamomile (Flower) - German chamomile has a long history of use all the way back to the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to calm frayed nerves and relieve muscle spasms. Studies have evaluated chamomile for reducing temporary or mild anxiety, which is often a contributing problem in preventing quality sleep.
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.
This year the first day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve fall on the same day (as do the last day of Hanukkah and New Year’s Day). You can bet we’ll be surrounded by more food than we can imagine during that that week, but just because we are, it doesn’t mean we can’t stay on track with our health goals. It can be difficult at times, but it’s not impossible! So, to celebrate both holidays, we’re giving you tips to live healthy over the 8 days of Hanukkah and the week between Christmas and the New Year holiday!
This is pretty common knowledge these days, but it’s still valid! You shouldn’t ever skip breakfast, but especially not during the holidays. Eating healthier foods (high protein and fiber foods) in the morning over the holiday week will burn off slower than other foods, giving you more energy throughout the day. That can translate to eating less during the evening when we tend to eat bigger holiday meals.
We’re constantly surrounded by goodies and treats over the holiday season. It’s easy to lose track of health goals when there are pies, cookies, and other sweets being passed around. And then we have to worry about leftovers from parties! It’s easy to snack on those leftovers during the day, but having healthier snacks, like almonds or pumpkin seeds, can stave off hunger in between meals and help you fight digging into those sweets!
Easy on the alcohol
Not only are alcoholic drinks usually high in calories, they may also cause you to eat more calories than you had anticipated. You might consider planning ahead before family or holiday gatherings. For instance, tell yourself that you will only drink one glass of red wine, or instead, sip on a mineral water and curb your cravings. Skipping alcohol altogether is the best choice for your health and body.
Everything in moderation
We know you’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. Everything in moderation is a great tip to remember during this holiday week when food is the focal point of just about every gathering. Limiting foods that aren’t good for you in between the holiday work party, your family gatherings, and any New Year plans can help support that moderation.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, chances are there are days when you lose some sleep. Whether it’s shopping for the right gifts, cooking for the meal, or just too much excitement, we’ve all lost some shut-eye. Getting enough sleep is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Try putting electronics away before you get into bed and attempt at winding down slowly. This is easier said than done, but if you make that attempt, you can be rested, and at your best for the whole week between Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s!
The holidays are a joyous occasion! Family, friends, and food are always the staples, and you don’t have to fear food. Just remember, it’s a time to enjoy yourself, but if you take the right steps you won’t have any regrets when it comes to picking your New Year’s resolution. You’re more than just a customer to us, you’re a part of our Utzy family, and we want to help you be at your healthiest every day of the year!