Water….cheap, plain, not flashy; and yet it’s crazy just how important it is to our health. Water truly is the essence of life, in more ways than perhaps we even understand.

 

Of course we know our bodies are two-thirds water and need water to function (did you see the movie 127 Hours?), but what’s not commonly known is the role hydration plays in chronic joint pain, detoxification (through sweat creation), digestion and the creation of digestive enzymes, metabolism of foods, in cell regeneration and in energy production (that’s right energy comes not only from what we eat, but the water we drink!).

 

Moreover, cutting-edge research, like that from Dr. Gerald Pollack of the University of Washington (“The Fourth Phase of Water”), points to our need for not just plain water but structured water; or what might be conceived as “charged water”.

 

While we don’t have all the answers on exactly how water works in the body, it is clear we likely need more water than previously thought for optimal function.

 

For a closer look at the basics of hydration check out: “Your Complete Guide to Hydration” by Dr. Kara Fitzgerald.

 

For a deeper dive into the science of “structured water”, check out “Structured Water: The Next Best Treatment for Muscular, Skin & Mood Disorders?” by Dr. Axe.

 

Science lovers will enjoy getting lost in the details of how hydration helps lower cholesterol, prevent diabetes and produce ATP, in “Water, Energy, and the Perils of Dehydration” by the late, great Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez.

 

Discover the unique nourishing power of the earth’s most hydrating foods in: “Ways to Stay Hydrated Without Drinking Water” from the Chopra Center.

 

Why We Love These Articles:

 

We believe knowledge is power. And the more we all understand about how hydration impacts our present and future health—from balancing insulin to enhancing focus and energy—the more likely we are to prioritize drinking enough water.

 

No one wants to result to surgery, but sometimes it is the best (and only) option. 

The good news is, if you prepare yourself physically, mentally and emotionally you’ll set yourself up for faster healing. 

For example, studies have shown that what you eat to strengthen your body, the thoughts you feed your mind, how much you rest and the outcomes you envision can powerfully affect your experience.

Find out what vitamin C, guided imagery, curcumin, bone broth and a positive mindset have in common when it comes to surgery in these articles:

 

Why We Love These Articles:

They leave no stone unturned when it comes to helping you prepare for surgery through a whole-person approach (body, mind and spirit). This information will empower you to see surgery as an opportunity for better health, while giving you the tools you need to create an optimal pre- and post-surgical experience.

 

We get it. Drinking water is not always a priority (or a big thrill). Yet, staying hydrated is key to so many cellular and bodily functions.

 

Thankfully, there are simple new technologies that make getting enough water a no-brainer.

 

My Water Balance—simple to use, just set up your daily goal for water intake and track your drinking habits. It interfaces with Apple Health too, so you have all that information in one place.

 

Waterlogged—similar to My Water Balance, this app allows you to set your goal, add customizable water glass/bottle sizes and sends reminders as you track your progress by day, week or year. This app integrates with Fitbit for seamless recording.

 

Why we love these apps:  

Both apps make keeping track of your water intake a snap. They can send you reminders and interface with Apple Health or Fitbit and are available for Android and IOS.

 

Go ahead.give it a try and see how much more water you drink when you are using a daily tracker!

 

Did you know a hidden side effect of many prescription drugs is loss of essential nutrients like B12, iron, magnesium, probiotics and zinc?  Some of the biggest culprits are common, daily medications!  

 

This drug-driven malnourishment can lead to further health issues down the road, including anemia, compromised immunity, digestive issues and heart disease (to name but a few). Yet, few doctors and pharmacists think to warn us about these issues…

 

…which is why it pays to stay on top of your nutrient levels when taking medication with Mytavin

Why We Love It: It’s super easy to use. Just visit: www.mytavin.com, type in your medication and hit “calculate”.

From there, you may choose to take that information to the next level by testing your specific nutrient levels, or start a custom supplement regime to protect against losses (be sure to use your Fullscript account to save on supplements).

Want to Go Deeper into Drug/Nutrient Interactions?

Then check out this article by functional medicine expert, Dr. Deanna Minich: Nine Need to Know Drug Nutrient Interactions

It’s next-to-impossible to avoid all sickness all the time.

 

Even when we do our best to take care of ourselves, there will be those times of intense stress, lack-of-sleep and sick household that can weaken our immunity and lead to acute illness.

 

When you do feel sickness coming on (or fear it will), we recommend the following supplements to bolster your immunity and help your body recover faster. The key is to start taking support as soon as you first feel the small niggling symptoms of pending illness.

  • Vitamin D3/K2: use seasonally (in the winter) to help support your immune system.
  • Viracid by Orthomolecular: a potent herbal formula, ideal when taken for early symptoms of a cold (like that scratch in your throat or tickle in your nose), or preventatively during cold/flu season. For best results at the onset of a cold, take 1-2 capsule per hour for 24 hours.
  • OscillococcinumⓇ by Boiron: this homeopathic is most effective against the flu if taken immediately when symptoms arise, such as deep fatigue, a sore throat or really muscles. Of course, results can vary, but we have found it can lessen the symptoms of the flu, shorten the duration of the illness or even prevent the flu virus from taking hold (if caught early enough). *Note, not a vegetarian product.
  • SinupretⓇ by BIONORICA: This blend of herbal extracts is highly recommended for sinusitis—which can be the manifestation of an upper respiratory tract infection.
  • Black Elderberry Syrup: This delicious, immune-supportive syrup has its roots in ancient Greece, and modern science has now proven its ability to fight cold and flu. Children love it, and some people even take it prophylactically during cold and flu season to prevent illness (and it tastes so good, why not?).

Why We Love These: 

By using remedies (like those listed above) to support your immune system, you can not only reduce the duration of your illness, but strengthen your whole body in the process. Plus, they’re gentler on your system and won’t dry you out or make you drowsy like common over-the-counter medications.

 

By using remedies (like those listed above) to support your immune system, you can not only reduce the duration of your illness, but strengthen your whole body in the process. Plus, they’re gentler on your system and won’t dry you out or make you drowsy.

You can find all of these curated products on your Fullscript account. Log on and and click on “Shop by Dispensary Categories” to the left of the search bar. Then select “Immune Support”.

Take a deeper dive into the science and research behind immune-boosting supplements with these articles from some of our favorite Functional and Alternative Medicine practitioners:

What You Need to Know About Vitamin-D and It’s Impact on Your Immune System by highly regarded functional medicine doctor, and autoimmune expert Dr. Amy Myers.

Elderberry: Natural Medicine for Colds, Flus, Allergies and More from holistic and natural health guru Dr. Josh Axe.

Supporting Your Immune System from 10-times New York Times Best-Selling Author and Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine: Dr. Mark Hyman.

While all know there is no magic-pill-for-every-ill.  Over the counter medications only suppress symptoms. And while supplements may be helpful for short-term boosts, we advocate living an “immune supportive” lifestyle for long-term benefits.

 

Think about it, every day our immune system protects us from countless onslaughts—beyond the common cold or flu virus—so, it only makes sense to ensure we are doing all we can to arm our guardian-at-the-gate

 

Here are some deceptively simple starting points that have a profound impact on your immune function:

  • Get enough sleep (7-9 hours per night).  We believe deprioritizing sleep is one of the most powerful ways to attract viral sickness like the common cold.  Studies agree!
  • Practice daily stress relief through exercise, yoga, deep breathing, laughter and time spent in nature. Stress actually weakens your immune function.
  • Stay connected to your friends and family. Loneliness and social isolation are big immune-downers.
  • Move regularly. Whether it’s a full-blown exercise routine, or getting up to walk around every hour at work, regular movement is critical for optimal immune function.  And a little bit really is better than nothing.

Want to go deeper into how diet and lifestyle impact immunity? Check out the following articles:

Fighting Colds and Flu Naturally from the American College for the Advancement of Medicine.

Supporting Your Immune System When You May Need It Most from 10-times New York Times Best-Selling Author and Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, Dr. Mark Hyman.

Natural Ways to Not Feel Like Crap  During Colds and the Flu from the Wellnessmama, Katie Wells.

 

We know: meditating is hard. Or at least it can seem that way when you’re first trying it.  But you’ll be surprised how easy the Headspace app makes it to get started and create some momentum.

The proven health benefits of regular meditation—like lower blood pressure, better mood, better sleep, less anxiety, a healthier weight, increased happiness—are hard to pass up. Yet, many of us struggle to find the time, discipline and patience to adopt a meditation practice. Which is why we highly recommend the Headspace app.

Why we love it:

All Headspace meditations can be completed in just 10 minutes, plus you get to choose your area of interest such as anxiety, performance, focus, sleep, kid’s health, pregnancy and more.

To try Headspace for free and learn more about the health benefits of meditation…

Happy meditating!

-The KNEW Health Team

*At KNEW, our goal is to offer unbiased recommendations of valuable tools and resources to empower your health. Therefore, we have opted to receive no affiliate commissions from recommended products/services.

 

At KNEW Health, we know that while prescriptions aren’t our first-line solution for sustainable health care, they are indeed sometimes necessary and a blessed part of comprehensive health care.  If you regularly take prescription drugs, or need one for an acute situation, we want to make sure you are empowered to find the best prices on any medications you might need. Here are two great technologies to support you:

GoodRx

GoodRx  is a website that allows you to type in your zip code and the medication you are looking for.  Then it creates a list of the pharmacies with best prices available near you.

Why we love it: It’s simple and easy to use: you can pinpoint where you save the most dollars by location.  And for those of us who are less comfortable with phone apps, GoodRx is a great option. It offers coupons for more savings and you can even get a GoodRx pharmacy discount card.

Click here to visit their website and get started.

Blink Health

This is an app for your mobile device that again offers lower prices on prescription drugs, and the guaranteed lowest prices on generics.

Why We Love It: Because it’s so convenient. It’s accepted at over 33,000 pharmacies including Costco, Walmart, Kroger and Safeway. Plus, you pay through the app as an added convenience, then pick up your medications at the pharmacy or choose to have them delivered to your home for free (a feature we love!).

According to their website, the average customer saves up to $70 a prescription.

Download the app here.

-The KNEW Health Team

*At KNEW, our goal is to offer unbiased recommendations of valuable tools and resources to empower your health. Therefore, we have opted to receive no affiliate commissions from recommended products/services.

Volumes of research have proven the toll chronic stress takes on your health. Which is why we’re excited to share one of our favorite stress-zapping resource with you:

Inner Balance by HeartMath

This simple tool makes taming daily stress as easy as breathing into your smartphone (seriously, you’ve got to give this one a try!  Plus it’s free.)

Why we love it

A favorite in the integrative medical industry, HeartMath has over 26 years of research backing its efficacy for stress relief, heart health, improved sleep, emotional well-being and more. And it can be learned and implemented in just a few minutes a day.

We tried it and love it—and think you will too.

To learn more about the science and research behind HeartMath, check out the following resources:

KNEW Health favorite, Wellness Mama, interviews behavioral psychologist and president of HeartMath Dr. Deborah Rozman here.

The “Science Page” on heartmath.com (which is just loaded with information and research)

Or download the app here.

-The KNEW Health Team

*At KNEW, our goal is to offer unbiased recommendations of valuable tools and resources to empower your health. Therefore, we have opted to receive no affiliate commissions from recommended products/services.

Motivated to make healthier choices in the new year?  No need to get esoteric.  Focus on the fundamentals – especially Sleep. We all know we need it…and more of it, yet so many of us struggle to get enough rest to look and feel our best.

What’s worse, much of the information out there on sleep disorders can wind up causing you more anxiety about your inability to sleep, trapping you in a viscous cycle.

For example, if you’ve ever laid awake at night worrying about how you’re ever going to get 10 hours of sleep, or that a lack of sleep is worse for your heart than smoking, you know what we’re talking about!

At KNEW Health we recognize that sleep is absolutely critical to healing and maintaining your wellness.

Plus, when you’re well rested that energy will motivate you to make other lifestyle changes that will continue to improve your health.

We know how frustrating and defeating it can feel to lie in bed, exhausted but unable to get to sleep, OR fall asleep easily but wake up at 3 AM, OR sleep 12 hours but still feel exhausted.

And while we can’t provide an individual sleep-better plan for you in a general blog post, we can offer these essential sleep hygiene tips to help you identify and eliminate common triggers that disrupt a good night’s sleep, naturally re-set your sleep cycle and calm your busy mind.

Common Reasons for Sleep Issues

While sleep issues used to be a non-issue for most people, times have changed.

Case in point, the CDC reports that up to one-third of Americans suffer from some form of sleep deprivation1. So “rest assured”, if you’re experiencing a sleep issue, you are not alone.

Some common reasons for sleep problems include:

  • Anxiety, excessive stress
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Excessive caffeine
  • Too much screen time/screen addiction
  • Not enough movement/exercise
  • Lack of natural light exposure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Environmental factors
  • Food sensitivities
  • Digestive problems (or eating too much or too late before bed)
  • Thyroid imbalances
  • Did we mention Stress?
  • Pain
  • Working the night shift
  • A new baby…or children in general (let’s be honest, nothing can exhaust you quite like the frequent wake-ups common among young babies and children)

And this is just a short-list of the possible causes behind sleep issues, which vary person to person.

Common Lifestyle Factors Which Trigger Sleep Issues

While some sleep problems are rooted in a physical, mental or emotional issue, many are the result of lifestyle choices which disrupt your sleep cycle.

Some common lifestyle factors that can negatively impact your sleep cycle include:

  • Too much caffeine (including chocolate)—this can vary widely person to person
  • Lack of bedtime routine
  • Too much exercise, not enough exercise or poorly timed exercise
  • Too much screen time too close bed
  • Eating the wrong foods/food sensitivities
  • Eating too close to bed time
  • Blood sugar crashes
  • Lack of stress management techniques throughout the day
  • Lack of natural sunlight throughout the day
  • Sub-optimal sleeping temperatures

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the lifestyle factors which can impact sleep, but these are the ones we see most frequently.

Now, let’s look at some simple ways you can begin adjusting these lifestyle behaviors to get your sleep cycle back on track.

5 Sleep Hygiene Tips Anyone Can Benefit From

#5: Eat foods that promote good sleep

Believe it or not, your digestive health plays a major role in your body’s ability to produce the sleep hormones you need to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.

How does this work?

Put simply, your gut is responsible for housing and manufacturing a variety of the calming neurotransmitters you need to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.

For example, research has shown your gut is responsible for housing up to 95% of your body’s serotonin2—the feel good neurotransmitter—which is a precursor to melatonin; your body’s master sleep hormone.

Therefore, if you’re eating foods which irritate your digestive tract there’s a good chance those foods are contributing to your sleep issues.  Plus if you are consuming foods that are inflammatory to your unique body (especially in the evening), you will trigger higher levels of stress hormones which can easily impair sleep.

Some common sleep-stealing foods include: gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, soy and sugar.

If you suspect your digestive health may be impacting your sleep, try eliminating these foods for 3-4 weeks and see how you feel.

Then, slowly add them back in—one food every 2-3 days—and pay careful attention to your sleep pattern. If it changes for the worse when you add back a particular food or foods, then you know which foods to keep out of your diet.

Eating a large evening meal, eating too late in the evening before bedtime, or consuming too many refined carbohydrates (e.g. pizza, pasta, desserts) which can cause blood sugar spikes and troughs later on) can also impair sleep.

#4: Re-evaluate your relationship with caffeine

Whether we like it or not, caffeine can be a major problem for those with sleep issues.

But its effects vary.

For example, if you tend towards attention deficit issues caffeine may actually help you calm down; for some people caffeine before noon is fine but anything after noon will cause them problems, and for others caffeine in any form at any time of day will disrupt their sleep.

There’s also the stimulant-containing snack we all know and love: chocolate. And while chocolate does have some proven health benefits, it can also be a real insomnia trigger for some people.  Chocolate contains a different stimulant called theobromine which some people are even more sensitive to than caffeine.

The key with caffeine or chocolate is to experiment with the time of day, the type, and the quantity you ingest.

Specifically, try cutting out caffeine (including chocolate…sorry!) after 12PM, and work on getting down to 1 cup of coffee or tea per day.

If you still aren’t having results, consider cutting back that amount further.

#3: Shut off your devices by 6PM and all screens 1-2 hours before bed

Believe it or not, this is a big one!  While the research on the impacts of Smart Phones and screen time is in its infancy, screens have been shown to be disruptive to our sleep cycle for 3 main reasons:

#1: They’re stimulating and addictive, which tends to keep us up at night. Especially if we sleep with a device next to our bed.

#2: They signal our bodies to stay awake when we should be sleeping. While it may seem harmless to check Facebook or a few emails before bed, this causes your brain to stay in “active mode” which makes it harder to switch off for sleep.

#3: The blue light emitted from screens has been shown to significantly inhibit the secretion of melatonin, per Harvard researchers3.

So consider making it a point to shut off your devices when you get home from work.  Or as soon as you can afterward.

Then, all screens should go off 1-2 hours before bed. This will allow your brain to shift into sleep mode, and reduce exposure to those melatonin-disrupting blue lights.

What to do instead?

Read, meditate, talk to your spouse, your kids a friend or loved one, share some intimate time with your partner, take a bath, work on a relaxing hobby, or go to bed early…choose quiet activities that help you wind down.

#2: Experiment with exercise and movement

While exercise and movement are essential to connecting body and mind, reducing stress and promoting a good night’s rest, too much or poorly timed exercise can really disrupt your sleep.

To make exercise and movement work in your favor, try exercising either in the morning, afternoon or before 6PM.

The reason is that vigorous exercise late in the day can be too stimulating for some people, which can keep you up at night.

And while a 20-minute weight workout or 30 minute yoga session probably won’t cause you problems, it’s worth experimenting with timing to see how you uniquely respond.

For even greater sleep benefits, try taking your workout outdoors.

The more natural light and exposure you have to the earth, the more balanced your sleep/wake cycle will be.

As far as how much to exercise, we typically recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week such as interval training, dancing, yoga, weight lifting, pilates, etc.

Contrary to common myth, more is not necessarily better!  Too much can be over-taxing to some—especially if you’re working out hard or already undergoing a lot of stress (or healing from an illness), so experiment with your workout times and see how you fare.

#1: Create an enjoyable bedtime routine

A consistent, predictable bedtime routine can do wonders for helping reduce stress hormones while increasing relaxation.

Some helpful bedtime rituals may include:

  • Getting grounded—believe it or not, studies have shown the practice of grounding, also known as earthing—where you connect directly with the earth by walking outdoors barefoot or using a grounding device—significantly reduces stress hormones and promotes healthy sleep4.
  • Enjoying a cup of relaxing herbal tea—teas such as chamomile, lavender, holy basil, lemon balm, and skullcap are all celebrated for their calming qualities.
  • Journaling or meditating before bed—for those with busy-brains, journaling or using a meditation app can make a huge difference in the time it takes you to fall asleep. Journaling is particularly helpful for those who tend to worry or have racing thoughts.
  • Taking a warm (not super hot!) shower or bath—research has shown that going from warmer to colder temperatures, like from a warm bath to a cool room, helps induce sleep and relaxation5.
  • Dimming the lights—by turning down the lights, you will help your pineal gland naturally produce more sleep-inducing melatonin.

Sleep troubles can seem like enormous obstacles to overcome, especially if you’ve dealt with them for some time.

However, we’ve seen time and time again that even complex problems often respond very quickly to simple lifestyle changes like those outlined above.

We encourage you try out some of our sleep hygiene tips and see for yourself.

Sleep tight!

-The KNEW Health Team

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