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Adjust Your Circadian Rhythm to Sleep Better

29 July 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under

Sleep betterSleep is just as important for our health as nutrition and exercise. Culturally we tend value work over sleep. However, quality sleep can make a huge difference in the quality of the work you produce. Sleep affects every aspect of our lives and should be taken more seriously. Lack of sleep affects our mental health, our emotions, and our physical performance as well.

During the summer we get plenty of sunshine, and sunshine helps to produce quality melatonin, a hormone that helps to induce sleep. During the long days of summer we fall into a “summer rhythm” with our sleep. Come fall, the days start getting shorter and we get less daylight. So how can we adjust our internal clock to ease into the darkness and still get sound, quality sleep?

Your circadian rhythm is a 24 hour built-in biological clock. Sunlight exposure triggers the body’s hypothalamus to start producing hormones to regulate this internal clock. One such hormone, the most powerful for sleep, is melatonin. During the summer it’s easy to go out and get sunshine, but without sunlight, we don’t produce adequate melatonin. The best time of day to get sunlight and regulate the internal clock is early in the morning. This fall, try getting up early to go for a brisk walk; this is a great way to get better sleep at night.

During the winter months it isn’t as easy to get adequate sunlight during the day. However, it’s just as important! If you work in an office, try to work by a sunny window and increase your sun exposure by getting outdoors as much as possible, even if it means bundling up to spend just a little time outside. Cloudy days count as well! You still get melatonin-producing rays on cloudy days.

What are some other ways to help ease into sleep?

Magnesium is an important mineral to help ease us into sleep.

According to Shawn Stevenson, in his book 21 Proven Ways to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success:

Magnesium is a bona fide anti-stress mineral. It helps to balance blood sugar, optimize circulation and blood pressure, relax tense muscles, reduce pain, and calm the nervous system. Yet, because it has so many functions, it tends to get depleted by our bodies rather fast.”

Stevenson suggests the best form of magnesium for easing into a good slumber is transdermal magnesium. When applied transdermally, the magnesium is able to go directly from the skin into the bloodstream. However, when taken orally, a large portion of magnesium is lost during the digestive process.

Reduce screen time before bed

Although we need sunshine during the day, we need darkness in the evening. In this technological age we are constantly viewing screens in the evening, spending our time looking at cell phone screens, television screens, computer screens, and even reading our books on screens. Blue light from these screens tricks our bodies into staying awake, and this makes it difficult to get quality sleep.

What are some ways to counteract blue light? Limit the use of any such screens for two hours preceding bedtime. Instead, get into a routine of taking a warm bath, reading a book, or doing some gentle stretching. If you do need to be on a screen before bed, you can wear special blue light blocking glasses or even blue light blocking screen covers.

When you are ready to sleep, make sure the room you sleep in is as dark as possible. You may need to use black out curtains if you are in a well-lit area. Avoid the use of nightlights, as any light can interfere with your precious sleep cycle.

Remember, getting quality sleep is a priority. As we move toward shorter days be sure to get out in the sunshine and let your body produce melatonin. Eat magnesium rich foods, and ease into a bedtime routine that does not involve blue light. Sweet dreams!

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Book Review: Sleep Smarter, by Shawn Stevenson

27 July 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under

Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success,
by Shawn Stevenson

High quality sleep fortifies your immune system, balances your hormones, boosts your metabolism, increases physical energy, and improves the function of your brain. Without all the essential benefits sleep is providing, you will never, I repeat never, have the body and life you want without giving your body the right amount of sleep.” – Shawn Stevenson

Sleep Smarter by Shawn StevensonIn our culture sleep is not respected; working hard is. However, there is a big difference between doing work and doing effective work. Sleep is necessary for our work to be of quality. In this book, Shawn Stevenson explains all the benefits you reap from getting a quality night’s sleep, and teaches why we need to place more value on sleep in order to perform better in all other aspects of life.

Stevenson not only details the importance of sleep, but also teaches ways to improve upon your sleep, such as getting sunlight during the day in order to produce melatonin. He also discusses magnesium as a necessary mineral for sleep, and discusses why transdermal magnesium is the best form when it comes to inducing quality sleep. Stevenson leaves no stone unturned when it comes to learning about sleep. He covers caffeine, alcohol, computer screens, having a sleep “sanctuary”, exercise, nutrition, and even how having an orgasm can be as a good way to help induce quality sleep.

One of the takeaway messages from this book that resonated the most was the need to place more value on sleep. We value material things. We value friendships. We value nurturing our bodies with quality food, and we value exercise. It’s time we really start to place value on sleep. We know it’s important, yet as a culture we tend to make it a last priority. Let’s work on making sleep our first priority, and then we can reap the benefits we feel when we are truly rested.

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Book Review: I Love Dirt! By Jennifer Ward

7 July 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under

I Love Dirt by Jennifer WardIt is important that children experience nature, and learn to love the natural world around them. However, for many this is not an easy feat. Children nowadays are struggling with what is now known as “nature deficit.” The struggle is more difficult in this day and age, with constant screen based distractions, and academia being stressed from a very early age. I Love Dirt is a great resource for parents and educators to learn how to incorporate an appreciation for, and understanding of, nature and the natural world. In just 5 minutes you can take a child outside, and turn their world around. This book teaches us how to do just that!

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Natural Sunscreen Alternatives

7 July 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos

Natural Summer Skincare

Natural sunscreen alternatives

Sunscreen is typically seen as the go-to method of protection against sunburns and skin cancer. However, most conventional sunscreens block our ability to absorb Vitamin D, a necessary nutrient for many functions in the body. Sunscreen also contains chemicals that can penetrate the skin and disrupt hormones. There are natural ways, through nutrition changes and supplements, to protect our skin yet still get the sunshine we need. This article includes dietary recommendations, lifestyle changes and best food sources to up your skin protection in the hot summer sun!

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Let Them Eat Dirt!

5 June 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under

Child with dirty handsLetting your children taste their “dirt creations” might not be a bad thing! Childhood is all about exploration and play. Many of our fondest childhood summer memories involve going barefoot, and playing in the dirt. Did you know that cultures all over the world actually eat dirt, and it is perceived as completely normal?

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Book Review: The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne

12 May 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under , ,

The Paleo Approach

Are you struggling with an Autoimmune Condition such as, autoimmune thyroid (hashimotos), celiac, crohns disease, or psoriasis to name a few? Do you struggle with digestive issues? This book is a MUST READ! Sarah Ballantyne, PhD of The Paleo Mom created a thorough, well written and easy to understand guide addressing all aspects of autoimmune disease.

In this book, Sarah discusses everything you need to address when struggling with autoimmune disease. Following a very specific Autoimmune nutritional protocol is a key piece in reversing autoimmunity. Sarah lays out an easy to understand yet quite thorough protocol that addresses more than just these dietary changes. She addresses the causes of autoimmunity such as nutritional deficiencies, infections, and leaky gut. She dispels myths regarding trendy diets like juicing and smoothies, but also details some of the benefits so the reader can make an informed decision.

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Top 5 Foods for Leaky Gut

12 May 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under ,

Guest post by Kathryn Kos of Primal Bliss Nutrition

Best Nutritional Recommendations for Intestinal Permeability

White Turnip Vegetables

When I work with clients who are struggling with leaky gut or autoimmune issues, I recommend dietary changes such as removing difficult to digest foods (foods that are not fully digested and can easily pass through the gut) like gluten, dairy, and sugar, and soy. However, just removing these offending foods in many cases is not enough.

The best way to decrease permeability of the gut lining is through food. However, sometimes taking supplements, such as taking a quality probiotic supplement is also imperative.

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Minerals and Muscle Recovery

1 April 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under ,

Did you know that minerals like magnesium aid with stress response from exercise and speed recovery?

Minimizing stress through magnesium supplementation helps the body to recover from exercise-induced stress more efficiently. According to Kevin Cann (writer for www.RobbWolf.com), “Magnesium has an important protective effect in the body against damage produced from all kinds of stress. When we exercise, our sympathetic nervous system turns on and we experience a flight or flight response. In order to recover quicker, we need to switch the body into a parasympathetic (relaxed) state. Magnesium has a natural calming effect on the body. Magnesium actually plays a role in turning on our parasympathetic nervous system.” – Read More

In a double-blind randomized study1 carried out by Gulf, Bender and Gruttner (from Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry, University Medical School, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany), 23 competitive triathletes competing in an event consisting of a 500-meter swim, a 20-km bicycle race, and a 5-km run were studied after 4-week supplementation with placebo or magnesium. The stress-induced modifications of energy and hormone metabolism described in this study indicate altered glucose utilization after Mg- supplementation and a reduced stress response without affecting competitive potential. Magnesium supplementation reduced the stress response in the body for these athletes.

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Book Review: Beyond Training by Ben Greenfield

31 March 2015 - Posted by Ashley under ,

Beyond Training, by Ben Greenfield

Can something as essential to our wellbeing as fitness be detrimental to our health? Of course it can. The complex machine that is our body has the potential to do amazing things – but our challenge is to unlock this potential without triggering the numerous land mines buried along the way.

“I love getting fit, feeling good about the way my body looks, and fulfilling my deep-seeded drive to live life to the fullest by achieving difficult feats of physical performance. But I was fed up with feeling like crap from all the extreme exercising, strange foods, feeling of constant stress and soreness, and worry about the toll my hectic lifestyle was taking on my body. So I created a way of training, eating and living that is perfectly healthy and natural, but still allows me to look, feel and perform at my peak capabilities. And then I wrote this book to share with you.” – Ben Greenfield

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Wellness Mama’s Guide: Healthy Pregnancy

3 March 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under

Nutrition, Supplements,  and Lifestyle for Your Healthiest Pregnancy and Birth – Order Now

Wellness Mama's Guide to Healthy Pregnancy

Looking for some thorough information on how to have a healthy pregnancy? This guide written by Katie, The Wellness Mama is full of useful tips. Katie partnered with Joule Birth, an organization working to bring basic medical supplies, alternative energy and midwife/doctor training to remote areas of the world. 100% of the proceeds from this e-book go to help Joule Birth’s efforts.

The Wellness Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy discusses both prenatal nutrition and lifestyle changes that lead to an optimal pregnancy. She details foods to focus on and foods to avoid during pre-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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