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Night Time Routines That Have Us Sleeping Like A Baby

Night Time Routines That Have Us Sleeping Like A Baby

According to the American Sleep Association, between 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. More specifically, 37% of 20-39 year-olds report being sleep deprived. Sleep is not only important for your mental focus and productivity, it also plays a vital role in your overall well being. Poor and inadequate sleep has strong links to health concerns such as weight gain, depression, lowered immunity, inflammation, and degraded emotional intelligence.

Getting your night time routine dialed in and finding practices that best fit your lifestyle can be tough. To help you out, we’re giving you a glimpse into our team’s favorite night time routines. We hope that by the time you finish reading this article you feel inspired and well-equipped to get your best night of sleep yet!

Alex:

Sweet sweet sleep! I think we all inherently know how good life can get with a solid night’s rest and at the same time, we all know how things start to spiral out of control without it. That being said, there doesn’t seem to be a “one-size” fits all approach to sleep. Even when dialing in my own sleep habits, I find it’s an ongoing balancing act that requires constant adjustments depending on the rhythms and demands of the day. It’s finicky for sure, but there are a few things I’ve found over the years that if I can stay on top of will almost guarantee that I’ll knock out like a light. Give these tips a try and I’ll bet my bottom dollar your nights will be more restful.

  • Consistency: This means going to bed and waking up at nearly the same time every day (+/-30min). If I find myself needing more sleep, an effective habit to build is going to bed earlier rather than sleeping in. Sleeping in will make the following morning much harder to wake up at a normal time.
  • Exhaustion: Often times my best nights are made by busy days. Mental and/or physical exhaustion makes sleep easy for me. I also find the inverse to be true. If I’m mentally/physically stagnant for most of the day, it becomes harder to fall and stay asleep.
  • 1 calming hour: This comes as a slight caveat to the prior suggestion. Being busy throughout the day is great for sleep but busyness right before bed can be detrimental to my rest. I’ve found it takes me about an hour in the absence of stimulating materials, activities or thoughts to wind my mind and body down for bed. For me, this means no videos, limited cellphone/computer use, exercise, games, or anything else that might ramp me up physically or mentally.
  • Dinner: I don’t always notice when food helps me sleep, but I always notice when it gets in the way. Avoiding late and heavy dinners keeps me from the discomfort of tossing and turning while getting to bed.
  • Light hygiene: This could have been an extension of the 1 calming hour, but it’s so important to my routine that I wanted to emphasize on its own. Limiting exposure to bright lights, and especially blue lights, really helps me to wind down in the last hour before bed. This could look like using a dimmer switch in your bedroom or just turning off a few lights while going through your nightly routine. This also means limiting exposure to screens or using functional like Night Shift on Apple products to “warm” the spectrum of light that your device is exposing you to before bed.
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    Junior:

    Oh, how I love sleep! But, I never get enough of it. So keeping a nightly routine is very important to me. I’m a night owl by nature so it takes a lot of self-discipline to stick to a nightly routine. If I don’t stick to my routine my bedtime ends up being around 11:30 pm and with a 5:30 am wake-up time on the weekdays, that’s not very much sleep! When I can stick to my schedule, I like to go to bed around 9:30 pm, meaning I start my bedtime routine around 9 pm by adopting no screen time and enjoying a nice warm Sleep Time tea. As I enjoy my tea, I like to pick out my clothes for the next day. After I decide what to wear, I take a hot shower, brush my teeth, clean my face and kiss my puppy, Marlowe, good night. And now I’m ready for bed -- Haha if only it were that easy! The hard part for me is actually falling asleep, and still to this day, I am working on finding what is the best way for me to fall asleep. If I don’t fall asleep right away, I try focusing on a noise (like my fan), breathing, and fighting the urge to grab my phone.

    Tyler:

    I love getting an amazing night's sleep. I know it sounds obvious, but I really notice the next day when the quality of my sleep was at its best. So to maximize my quality sleep, I take a few minutes every evening before bed to relax and unwind. I brush my teeth, wash my face and stretch right before getting into bed. Going to bed feeling clean is something I’ve always practiced and I think it plays a huge part in the quality of my sleep. Another part of my nightly routine is avoiding any electronic use 30 minutes before bed (other than setting my alarm clock). I try to make a point not to use social media or answer emails in bed as well. This way, my bedroom only feels like a place for sleeping and not like my office.

    Ashley:

    In my opinion, getting a truly restful night of sleep is one of the most underrated acts of self-care. I’m a pretty light sleeper and different things can easily throw off the quality of my sleep, so for me, staying on top of my sleep hygiene is extremely important. I try to be in bed before 9:30 pm each night, but really, my bedtime routine begins hours prior. I avoid drinking any caffeine after noon as caffeine has a half-life of five hours, and I also try to not eat anything at least 90 minutes before I plan to go to bed. Also, as soon as the sun goes down, I reduce all artificial lighting in our house, relying on light dimmers and candles. I do this to allow my body to align more closely with the natural setting of the sun and to avoid exposure to blue light, which inhibits the production of melatonin in your brain making it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. I also avoid blue light by turning off all electronics one hour before bedtime - a.k.a. no cell phone or TV usage. Instead, I opt for reading. Then, each night I rely on a few different night time routines depending on my mood. My favorite go-to's include: drinking a warm, sleepytime tea like vanilla or chamomile, diffusing a relaxing essential oil blend in my bedroom, spritzing my pillows with lavender essential oil and playing ambient nature sounds or binaural beats as I fall asleep.

    If you’re looking for ideas on how to improve your nighttime routine and to get a better night’s sleep, you can read about 15 different ways to do so on my site.

     

    Photos by: Yuliya KosolapovaJay WenningtonMitiRodion KutsaevChristin Hume

    Why Organic Food is Better for You

    Why Organic Food is Better for You

    Organic products aren’t always cheap. That’s no secret. And in recent years, it seems like the word “organic” itself has become somewhat of a buzzword. It's trendy for sure, but don't forget that organic food is an investment towards your health and the health of the planet.

    By now, you may have heard horror stories about the chemicals and hormones involved in the commercial production of our foods. Organic products aren’t necessarily more nutritious than non-organic alternatives, but they do keep you (and the environment) from being exposed to the worst of these chemicals.

    Here are a few of the reasons why eating organic foods is worth the extra step.

    You Are What You Eat (So What Are You Eating, Really?)

    As you’ve probably heard, non-organic foods are often grown with the use of harsh pesticides. When we eat conventionally grown (non-organic) products, these pesticides can be present in what we’re eating.  

    Pesticides are chemical agents used to protect crops from insects, weeds, and infections. They are essentially targeted poisons used for killing pests. They are not intended to come into contact with people, but when humans interact with them in large amounts or over long periods of time, the effects can be fatal.

    Pesticides and the Human Body

    In humans, high exposure to pesticides can result in hospitalization and even death. Here are a few conditions that can result from exposure to these toxins.

    • Respiratory problems
    • Memory disorders
    • Skin conditions
    • Depression
    • Miscarriage
    • Birth defects
    • Cancer
    • Neurological conditions (Parkinsons)

    The pesticides present in one conventional grocery run is not too concerning by itself, but complications can start to arise from continual exposure to these chemicals. Some pesticides are not metabolized or easily expelled from the body so they can build up over time. Certain pesticides can build up in your fat and have even been found in breast milk.

    Pesticides and Our Environment

    Unfortunately, pesticides don’t only kill problem plants and insects, they can often harm beneficial organisms and interfere with our soil, water, air, and other wildlife.

    Here are some of the ways these chemicals can be problematic for our environment:

    • “Drifting” of pesticides occurs during every application, which contaminates nearby soil, air, and greenery
    • They are often dangerous to non-target critters in the area (birds, fish, good insects, and plants)
    • Runoff from treated areas can contaminate other surfaces and groundwater
    • They can negatively impact the fertility of soil when used too heavily

    The Importance of the USDA Organic Seal

    When we choose organic products, we’re choosing to protect ourselves and the environment from certain harmful chemicals. That being said, it’s important to choose brands that are transparent about their ingredients and can back up their claims about being organic.

    If you’re unsure about which products are truly organic, look for those that have the USDA organic seal and the name of their certifying agency. These brands can often be cross-referenced on the certifying agency's site and would have gone through an inspection to verify their products are being produced in accordance with organic standards.

    RELATED: What Does it Mean to be Organic?

    The USDA has specific rules and regulations that specify which substances are allowed to be used during organic food production. Most synthetic substances are prohibited. For farmers looking to get USDA organic certification, they can’t use any prohibited substances for at least three years to let any illicit chemicals flush out of the soil. If a product has obtained USDA organic certification – it’s a safer bet that it was produced in a conscious way.

    You Can’t Afford Not to Eat Organic

    The most common way humans come into contact with pesticides is through our food. Contrary to popular belief–washing and peeling your fruit and vegetables does not completely get rid of them. With commercial products, there’s always a chance you’re taking in a little bit of poison.

    We also understand that eating an entirely organic diet may not be in the budget for everyone, so we recommend checking out resourced like the Environmental Working Group’s annual dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists that rank the most and least pesticide-laden produce, respectively. These guidelines can help you avoid buying conventional products that are known to require heavy pesticide use and help you conserve your budget by knowing which products are less of a worry when not buying organic.

    Full Disclosure on Ritual’s Ingredients

    Simple ingredients are something we’ve been passionate about since the very beginning of Ritual Energy, but organic is new for us. We’ve always been thoughtful about keeping our ingredients as natural as possible, but as we spent more time in the industry, it became more apparent that just simple and natural wasn't enough. Becoming an organic producer and making the decision to move our product lines towards all organic is a monumental step for us. We believe our health, and the health of our planet is directly tied to the foods that we eat, so we're excited to introduce our first certified organic snack in May of 2019. We hope you enjoy!

    If you’re curious about what our conventional peanut and chocolate energy bites are made of, you can learn all about our ingredients here.

     

    Photos By: USDA, Gabriel JimenezJules D., James BaltzOhmky

    What Does it Mean to be Organic?

    What Does it Mean to be Organic?
    Here’s a breakdown to help you understand what being organic really means and what you can expect from companies that go through the effort to certify their products as organic.