November’s Tiny Change: Get More Sleep

OHH Intro: Sleep refuels and rejuvenates us, allowing us to keep on keepin’ on. This is the perfect tiny change with substantial lasting effects on all aspects of our health and happiness. Read on for Kale & Chocolate’s rundown of how to get a better night’s sleep, every night.

SammyIf you’re just joining us, this post is part of Kale & Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge. Each month we’re implementing one super small, super doable change—it really adds up over the course of a year! You can read about all the changes here and share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges.

We’ve turned our clocks back and the sun is setting on darkness earlier and earlier as we approach winter. Our internal clocks will be re-setting, gearing up for what feels like hibernation, while our lives remain full of plans, hectic schedules, and the upcoming holidays. So it makes sense that this month’s 12 Tiny Changes Challenge is all about sleep!

By now, you probably know that you should be getting more sleep. In fact, there is evidence that only 40% of Americans are getting the recommended amount of shuteye! We can do better. Our lives and our bodies deserve better.

Lack of sleep has a cumulative effect. It reduces our immunity and slows our metabolism. It makes us more prone to stress and raises our cortisol levels. It makes us grumpy, irritable, and more likely to make less-than-great decisions.

Waking up poorly-rested can trigger a domino effect that throws off your whole day. You hit the snooze button (three times), rush through your hair and makeup routine, and gulp down a less-than-healthy breakfast (if anything at all.) You then stumble into work with low blood sugar, a foul mood, and a messy ponytail. Is it a surprise that your meeting goes poorly, your lunch is a whole pizza, and you road rage on the way home? It may seem like a no-brainer, but when we’re well-rested, these things are a lot less likely to happen.

If you know you should be getting more sleep, you probably are familiar with the basics of how to do it. No caffeine after 2 pm. Put down the phone. Shut off the TV. Make sure your room is dark, cool, and relaxing.

Here’s another tool to your ‘more sleep toolbox’. I call it: the nighttime ritual. A nighttime ritual is any set of behaviors or activities that help you wind down and decompress before bed to get you ready for the eight hours of sleep you need. These are things that calm and center you, preparing you for that deep, restorative sleep that will make the next day easier…and more productive!

Here are some of my favorite nighttime rituals.

1. A soothing evening snack or drink.
We are all familiar with the wisdom to “eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for dinner.” Although we do sleep better on a stomach that isn’t too full, we don’t want to wake up at 3 am starving. I like to keep my dinners light, so if I need a nighttime snack, I’ll munch on a handful of walnuts or cherries, both of which are natural sources of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness).

If you like to wind down with something comforting & cozy, you can’t beat the extra TLC you feel with a healing turmeric latte or a warming cup of herbal tea. An apple with nut butter gives you a generous serving of fiber with a bit of healthy fat and protein, while bananas are filled with magnesium, potassium and tryptophan—minerals that relax your body to help you get a bit more shut eye. (A little nice cream, anyone?)

2. Get tomorrow out of your head and onto paper.
Do you do that thing where you lay in bed, stare at the ceiling, and mentally compile pages of to-do lists? Yeah, me too. Let’s stop. If you take five minutes each night to write down your next-day tasks, you won’t have to lie awake worrying that you forgot something.

For bonus points, write your to-do list on paper (so you won’t get sucked into your computer or phone) and do this somewhere other than your bedroom. Then leave it there – far, far away from your bed. Total game-changer!

3. Prepare for tomorrow so you can truly relax once you’re in bed.
Your future self will thank you for this! Spend 20 minutes laying out your clothes for the next day and making sure you have what you need (and enough time) for breakfast. When you prep ahead, you eliminate any thoughts about stressful mornings that could keep you up at night in addition to maximizing your sleep the following morning!

4. Try a little bit of stretching or gentle movement.
I like to move through a few yoga poses before bed, or even just sit on the floor and stretch. It helps me work out the kinks of the day and signal to my body that we’re slowing down. Even just a few conscious deep breaths may be enough to make that shift.

5. Make your preparations for bed as lovely and luxurious as possible.
I know it’s tempting to quickly wash your face and then pull on some old sweats, but it’s so much nicer to make bedtime into a sweet, relaxing ritual. What if you spent half an hour relaxing in the bathtub? Or found a pair of cozy pajamas you really liked? Or made your moisturizing process into a mini massage? What if you splurged on Egyptian cotton sheets and a few pillows that perfectly meet your fluffiness needs? You’re a lot more likely to get ready for bed in a timely matter if you actually enjoy the process!

6. Practice gratitude.
A gratitude practice can help put things in perspective, especially if you’re feeling a little low. It can be done by writing your thoughts down in a special journal, sharing the highlights of your day with your partner/roommate/pet, or just mentally thanking life for the good things it served up today. If you’re stuck, remember you can be grateful for anything. I’ve even written, “I’m thankful that my dogs are happy and healthy.” This is such a great practice to do, not only around Thanksgiving!

7. Feel good with soothing essential oils.
Essential oils are one of my favorite pantry staples, but I use them for more than salad dressing! Rose and lavender oils relieve stress and bergamot is said to alleviate mild anxiety. Of course, you can simply breathe in your essential oil of choice, but you can also add a few drops to a bath or to the floor of your shower. I love these recipes for calming essential oil face mists.

8. Cuddle someone who loves you.
Your cuddle buddy can be your kids, your partner, or your pet! Whomever you cuddle, the benefits are the same; cuddling has been shown to boost immunity, lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol levels. Plus, it’s a fun and calming and the perfect way to end your day.

This month, I’m doing the challenge right alongside you. Getting enough sleep is something that I really struggle with. So, I’m ready for more + better sleep!

To help get you excited for this month’s challenge, Kale & Chocolate will be giving away some awesome sleep-inducing prizes, including bath powders, essential oils, eye-masks, and more. To enter, simply share your nighttime rituals on instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges and tag (and follow!) @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley. Show us your cup of tea, your meditation space, your fur babies, your nighttime snack…anything that helps you feel calm and centered before dosing off to sleep. So, tuck yourself in and sleep tight!

One Healthy Breakdown: in order to live life to the fullest, we must sleep in between!

Bounce Back to Balance

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: life’s about balance. That means indulgence, moderation, and wiggle room. For some of us, fun-filled weekends may mean a little too much indulging and not enough moderation. Instead of that all-or-nothing, detox-to-retox-plan, get back on track in a balanced way with these simple ‘bounce back’ strategies (juice cleanse not included):

Bounce-Rate1. Get over it. Don’t beat yourself up. You can’t change the past. So, move on and look forward.

2. Drink UP. Alcohol, salty foods, and the hot sun will cause some serious dehydration. Make it a point to drink water around the clock, carry a water bottle with you everywhere, and spice it up. Rise and shine with lemon water or start your day with a detox drink and just keep sippin’.

3. Eat a lot, too. Stick to whole foods – lots of leafy greens and veggies, fresh fruit, lean protein, and portioned healthy fats. Raw fruits and veggies reset the digestive system and provide the body with tons of nutrients and energy to keep you going. Season foods with herbs and spices; ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, dill, cinnamon, and cumin naturally detox with flavor.

4. Move. Exercise will make you feel renewed from the inside out. Not only will you torch calories and burn off those indulgences, sweating also flushes toxins. Hit up a class, head out for a run, or do an at-home workout to get the heart pumping.

5. Rest. Get some R&R to rejuvenate the mind and body. Remember, ya snooze, ya lose!

One Healthy Breakdown: keep these tips in mind this week and you’ll be back on track in no time.

Ya Snooze, Ya Lose

You’ve heard it a hundred times: 8 hours of sleep a night! Let’s face it – for most of us, that’s almost impossible really, really, really hard….

MP900181418…but now that these adorable puppies got your attention, let’s talk about why sleep is SO important! It’s not just about feeling rested (although isn’t that such a great feeling?!) Sleep, along with hydration and nutrition, make our bodies efficient, from the inside out to our very top layer of skin cells. Lets uncover all of the benefits of sleep, including, yes, you guessed it: weight loss.MP900385227

Sleep literally creates energy, so we function efficiently in all walks of life, at all stages of life, from the classroom to the gym, at the office, with our families, and beyond. Healthy sleep aids brain functioning, memory, creativity, and focus to ensure we’re on our A game. With a big exam or job interview approaching, the smart thing is to spend those wee hours sleeping instead of cramming.

The immune system is most efficient at prevent illness and disease with ample sleep. Sleep also controls inflammation and balances hormones linked to mood, stress, weight, and appetite. The likelihood of losing weight and keeping it off long-term is far increased by good quality sleep.

With ample sleep, we’re able to efficiently metabolize food, absorb nutrients, cleanse toxins, rebuild muscles, strengthen bones, and control our appetite. That’s right, the difference between a poor night’s sleep and a good night’s sleep can be the difference between choosing healthy foods and…not. Hormones that cue hunger and fullness are thrown off by lack of sleep, as are cortisol levels, causing unnecessary stress, which also adds to weight gain, and the vicious cycle repeats.

Along with healthy eating, regular exercise, and emotional balance, we can become better versions of ourselves with the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Like recharging a battery or filling up a car with gas, sleep is the ammunition that fuels our bodies, a huge factor in mental, physical, and emotional health. If we ALL got enough sleep, imagine the possibilities…!

One Healthy Breakdown: Do your body right – get your eight hours tonight!

Living An All Inclusive Life

Lucky for me, I’m spending the week in the Dominican Republic with my family (hence the lack of posting between shaky wireless and some much needed R & R. Thanks for understanding!)

photo(134)But I do have something on my mind worth sharing. As I walked the beach this morning, I got to thinking about the term ‘all-inclusive.’ What an American dream-come-true, an endless supply of anything and everything you can eat and drink…and then eat some more. Everything Eastern culture idealizes: get as much as you can, as quick as you can.

The all-you-can-eat buffet especially depicts our society. From piled plates to dessert platters at every meal, even breakfast, second helpings, then thirds…made me think realize that not only was I, along with everyone else, eating more, but I was also eating faster. This realization immediately made me slow down. What’s the rush? How much of a good thing is too much? Sure, vacation should involve indulgence, that’s ok. What’s not ok is the ‘more, more, more, now, now, now attitude that American society has ingrained in us and the all-inclusive lifestyle cements. The problem is that the more we have, the more we tend to want, not the more we appreciate.

I started thinking about the non-conventional all-inclusive amenities: the miles of endless beach, soft white sand, infinite turquoise sea, and the warm sunshine, lack of work pressure, kids building sand castles, families bonding, couples holding hands, people setting sail…Now THAT’S what it’s all about. That’s abundance. It’s not about having it all, it’s about valuing, enjoying, tasting, and loving what we do have. I’d much rather live an abundant life than an all-inclusive life, and luckily, that’s available to us all. So, slow down and tune in to the abundance in your life. Breathe it in, taste it, touch it, see it, hear it, and embrace it. And with that, I leave you for the abundance of beach, sunshine, relaxation, and QT with the fam awaiting me, hasta luego amigos!

One Healthy Breakdown: slow down and enjoy the abundance that surrounds you.

12 Days of Holiday Fun

How about actually enjoying this time we know as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ spreading cheer instead of fear?! There’s nothing holding us back from keeping calm and embracing the season. Instead of just surviving the holidays, lets slow down, breathe, soak it in, count our blessings, have fun, be silly, make cookies, and spread CHEER this year! Here are 12 ways to keep calm and have a HAPPY holiday season!

8ea3e998a97216c58c47d7c29b917d3c*photo via Pinterest

12. Make a shopping list. Put some thought into your gifts and stay organized. Check off as you shop and don’t save it all for last minute! When you’re done shopping, reward yourself with a little something special for yourself. 11. Wear a big, chunky holiday sweater (it doesn’t have to be “ugly,” per se – beauty is in the eye of the beholder…) but it must be too big and super comfy! 10. Make hot chocolate and watch your favorite holiday movie and soak it up. My personal faves include Elf, Love Actually, The Family man, and The Holiday. 9. Did you get your Christmas tree yet?! Blast the tunes and decorate with friends/family! 8. Take a break from it all to focus on you. Get ALL bundled up and take a long winter walk or run. Leave your phone at home and soak up the silence. Enjoy a healthy peppermint smoothie while you’re at it! 7. Open a bottle of wine and throw yourself a gift-wrapping party. 6. Send a card to someone who won’t expect it and will be touched. 5. Make your favorite holiday cookies, from scratch, and share them. Or try a new recipe; TLC Cookies or World Peace Cookies, both of which are made with love. 4. Take a nap (the holidays are exhausting!) english bulldogs dressed up as santa and rudolph 3. Blast your favorite holiday tunes and have a dance party. 2. Family time. Enough said. 1. Have yourself a merry little holiday season. One Healthy Breakdown: we look forward to the holiday season all year. Don’t let the stress distract you from enjoying the most wonderful time of year.

Q & A w Z: Muscle Soreness

Q: What is the best way to alleviate muscle soreness?

MH900409781 A: Every once in a while, we get sore after a workout, especially when we try something new. You should not feel sore regularly; pain is not a reflection of the effectiveness of your workout. Soreness results from microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. The pain response is the body’s way of signaling to you that repair work is going on. Fibers are rebuilding. There are a few things you can do to relieve the pain while your muscles repair.

Rest – if you’re feeling fatigued, you need rest. Take a day off. The recovery process is very important, just as important as the workout itself.

Vary – if you’re not feeling fatigued, switch up your workout to allow sore muscles recovery. Focus on different muscles or enjoy a cardio class, something that won’t further strain sore muscles.

Stretch – gentle stretching will relieve tightness and reduce the pain. Take a yoga class or do some extra stretching at home.

Massage – gentle massage promotes blood flow and circulation which reduces tightness and helps speed recovery.

Foam Roll – like a free self-massage. Foam rolling massages the muscles with the weight of your own body. Foam rolling increases blood flow within the muscle and therefore releases tension.

Take a warm bath or shower – warm water loosens up muscles and improves circulation which reduces soreness.

One Healthy Breakdown: Alleviate soreness while you allow your muscles to repair right, what happens outside of the gym is just as important as what happens inside!

If you have a question for Z, email kiley@onehealthyhamptons.com or post on the OHH facebook page!

Naturally Fight Germs This Flu Season!

Brrrrrr! It’s beginning to look a lot like…cold season, flu season, germ season. Ick. Here are some tips on fighting germs and staying healthy so we don’t feel like this little munchkin.

  • Get enough Vitamin C (found in bell peppers, strawberries, papaya, oranges, greens, etc.)
  • Lots of cinnamon and oregano, the natural antibiotics (herbs and spices are SO good, packed with flavor and health benefits at no calorie cost!)
  • Get your probiotics (yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, etc.)
  • Skip or minimize sugar, it weakens the immune system.
  • Eat foods with lots of phytochemicals (plant-based nutrients) to ensure lots of vitamins and minerals.
  • Get enough rest. You know the deal, 8 hour minimum!
  • Eat foods with riboflavin (mushrooms, soybeans, spinach, almonds, etc.)
  • Drink hot tea and hot lemon water, they warm and detox the body.
  • Load on the garlic, preferably raw, for countless health and anti-bacterial benefits.
  • Use coconut oil, it boosts the immune system.
  • Breathe natural steam above a boiling pot of water for a natural decongestant.
  • Apple cider vinegar alkalizes the body among lots of other benefits!
  • Wash your hands often (obviously!)
  • STAY WARM! Layer up!

One Healthy Breakdown: Germs happen, but we can fight off sickness!

I’m Coming Home…#weddingvenueshopping

Whew! Touring wedding venues is EXHAUSTING! Super fun, special, and exhausting! Over the past week, my mom and I checked out seven wedding venues in The Hamptons and Boston (where I’m from.) It’s been an exciting few days for sure and I think I’m ready to return to my normal routine back in The Hamps.

photo 3I’ve quickly learned that wedding planning includes a hell of a lot of champagne and desserts. Not complaining! But, it’s a lot. Even without a wedding to plan, we all have weekends, celebrations, parties, meetings, traditions, and vacations. While it’s important to enjoy these events to the fullest and live a life of balance, not deprivation, it all adds up. The drinks, the clinks, the cals, the bubbly, the courses, the birthday cake, cake pops, pies, and so on.

photo 2

Who wouldn’t want to dig right into this?! You better believe I did. I tasted almost everything because it’s not everyday a girl is offered a sampler of fresh desserts involving carrot cake pops, chocolate covered strawberries, macaroons, and pumpkin whoopie pies…now is it? But, a taste is a taste and I do want to be able to fit into a wedding dress over the next few months! Yes, I had my cake and ate it too, but I also focused my enjoyment of this whole process on seeing the venues, enjoying the beautiful city of Boston, spending quality time with my mom and the rest of my family, and meeting new friends along the way!

photo 5I took advantage of this mini-vaca and enjoyed the time and these indulges. However, I did not sleep in and I did not forego my workouts. Balance is about enjoying what life has to offer, but not unraveling, or straying from goals. My goal is pretty loosely a body and mind that feels good, strong, and healthy, and a balanced, fun life. While my afternoons and evenings have been spent touring venues, getting drinks, lunch, or dinner with family, and, of course, the occasional frozen yogurt, my mornings have been spent running, spinning, at the gym, or on the yoga mat. And I love it that way. Work hard play hard, that’s really the message here.

Whether you’re in or out of your normal routine, do what you can and enjoy it. The weather is amazing this time of year, perfect for outdoor walks, runs, hikes, or bike rides. Choose something you love and do it. That way, exercise isn’t a chore but an activity. Something you know will pay off in the end, whether it’s to negate that cake pop, strengthen your muscles, stretch your body, refresh your mind, or all of the above, it’s always worth it if you ask me. Did I want to get up early yesterday morning to go to yoga? Not necessarily, but once I hit the mat, after a few downward dogs, I couldn’t have been happier that I did. That yoga class was exactly what I needed after lots of spinning. And, I enjoyed that yoga-zen for hours afterwards, an added bonus. Strive for balance, not perfection. It’s possible to enjoy every celebration, big and small, while living a healthy life. A healthy life is a longer life! More moments to enjoy!

One Healthy Breakdown: When all else fails, take the stairs!

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Q & A w Z: Vacation

Q: How do you suggest staying fit on vacation? What’s a good balance between enjoying your time off or with family, but not feeling like you’re falling off your fitness plan all-together?

transportationA: Vacation is vacation. It’s time to relax. It’s the time when you shouldn’t be strictly dieting, counting calories, and going crazy about your macro-nutrients. You can still be active: hike, swim, walk, etc. just don’t be so strict. Try some new foods, exotic fruits, fresh-squeezed juices, locally grown vegetables. Give your body a break. Let yourself stray from your routine. We all need to stop once in a while. Vacation should be a time to recharge your battery. Leave your diet and workout routines at home. It will be there when you come back, I promise you. Have a delicious meal, enjoy a yummy cocktail, try a new dessert. Get back on track when you get home. That is the true balance.

One Healthy Breakdown: Vacation is VACATION!

Bliss Sleep Center: Sleep Healthier

Raise your hand if you don’t want a blissful night’s sleep. Yeah, I thought so. We know sleep is important, but we don’t really ever talk or hear about ‘healthier sleep.’ We watch what we eat and exercise, but why don’t we focus more on how we spend a THIRD of our life? Why is that? Sleep. It’s BIG and we’re going to talk about it.

Getting ample sleep has HUGE benefits, from a longer lifespan to weight-management, mood, increased energy, decreased stress, better attention span and even improved creativity! We all know we’re in a better mood and ready to tackle the day after a good night’s sleep, but sleep is a crucial factor in your everyday health.

Getting ample sleep has HUGE benefits, from a longer lifespan to better memory, weight-management, mood, energy, less stress, better attention span and even creativity! We all know we’re in a better mood and ready to tackle the day after a good night’s sleep, but sleep is a crucial factor in health longevity.

Beth over at Bliss Sleep Center invited One Healthy Hamptons for a tour of the new store and boy did we talk sleep! Here are Beth’s top tips for a fabulous night’s sleep:

  • know what you’re sleeping on/in. The chemicals in your mattress or bedding could be keeping you up or may be causing other health risks.
  • maintain a consistent sleeping schedule for bed time and wake up.
  • relax before bed to wind down physically and mentally.  This includes turning off your electronic devices.  Instead read a book before bed.
  • make comfort a priority. Everyone’s sleep needs are different so customize your sleep system for your ultimate comfort.
  • exercise regularly, it will help you sleep and vice versa.
  • eat healthy (There are certain foods that actually help you sleep better.  For example blueberries.)
  • leave time for digestion after dinner.
  • avoid caffeine, alcohol, and too much protein prior to bed, it will keep your body up.

Beth Lee Schlendorf just started Bliss Sleep Center in Water Mill to help customers much like herself to achieve healthier sleep. Rewind about a year ago, Beth found herself excited to use her brand new mattress, when she read on the label that the mattress must ‘air out’ for 48 hours before use. As Beth slowly became overwhelmed with the smell of chemicals coming from her new mattress, she began to do some research and was blown away with what she found. The ingredients used in typical bedding are poorly regulated and can cause cancer, reproductive issues, learning disabilities in kids, and who knows what else. Beth is a believer in healthy eating and daily exercise, so she started wondering about the effects of sleeping on this mattress that was oozing with chemicals…and what else around the home, specifically the bedroom, can make for healthier living. Enter, Bliss Sleep Center, a one stop shop for all your sleeping needs.

photo 1As Beth further researched, she came to the conclusion that organic bedding was the only option. Only, which bed? Where to buy? Where to try? Although she wanted healthy and natural, Beth acknowledged the most important factor in sleep: comfort. She wanted to try out the products before purchasing, but she was at a loss, hence her idea to open the store and help others learn how to improve their own sleep. Bliss Sleep Center showcases a wide variety of mattresses, pillows, sheets, children’s furniture, cribs, duvets, and more. I got the grand tour and even tested out some mattresses to give you all the fun facts!

Bliss Sleep Center is the only ‘healthy bedding’ store throughout Long Island that allows you to see, touch, and test the products firsthand. Beth offers a variety of price points, her favorite being the Royal-Pedic (which Beth refers to as the “Bentley of Mattresses,” which reclines and has a built-in massaging feature.) Everything is custom to the customer’s preference, they even have mattresses that allow to be customized differently for each side of the bed. The wool duvet covers regulate heat for all those couples who can’t agree on temperature. Beth sleeps cold and her husband sleeps hot; the wool duvet both cools and warms accordingly, both on a mattress custom for their own comfort-preferences.

Everything comes with tons of options, from comfort to colors and patterns. The kids stuff is adorable as well, there’s definitely no sacrificing of ‘cuteness’ for quality.

photo 5So, what really is the difference? This bedding is made without common industry ingredients such as PBDE’s, (Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers aka flame retardants) petroleum-based foam, GMO’s, pesticides, hermacides, etc. Scary stuff!

Some of the benefits Beth and other natural ‘sleep converters’ have experienced? More energy, healthier skin (they don’t call it beauty sleep for nothin’!) decreased feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, fewer headaches, mind clarity, consistently sleeping through the night, less back pain, milder allergy symptoms,…and, lastly, lots more reports of oversleeping. Oops! These products are also naturally dust-mite repellent, hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, mold, and mildew resistant.

As I said to Beth, when I can afford a ‘sleeping renovation,’ I’ll be back to Bliss immediately! She understands the commitment and suggests making changes as life allows you to. When you’re ready for a change, or when it’s time to replace things at home, do your homework. Eat healthy, sleep healthy, and re-examine your home for toxicity. Aren’t we glad Beth happened to buy that new mattress, do the research for us, make this a priority for her own family and now for yours?

One Healthy Breakdown: we evaluate our food and activity, it’s time we sleep healthier too! Stop in to Bliss Sleep Center to chat sleep with Beth!