One Secret Ingredient for Better Sleep: Chamomile!

 Chamomile is one of the most popular flowers in the world. Whether it’s a tea, a body spray, perfume, lotion, or any other scented product, you can bet good money there is a chamomile flavor of it. Why is it so popular? Because humans have known for centuries (if not longer) that chamomile has some amazing medicinal benefits. It’s especially useful for calming you down during moments of stress or anxiety. If you want to learn more about why chamomile is so good for stress, sleep, and anxious thoughts, keep reading. Today is all about learning the healing properties of chamomile!

Anxiety and Insomnia Don’t Stand a Chance Against Chamomile

One of the main medicinal reasons people take chamomile is because of its anti-anxiety effects. People usually drink chamomile tea to calm down; others may choose to go the chamomile supplement route. But it’s not just some sort of placebo effect. The chamomile plant has real, potent properties which have a mountain of scientific evidence to support it.

You shouldn’t waste your time or money on just any old chamomile, though. You’re going to want to spend a little extra effort to get the right type. There are many different species of chamomile out there, and if you don’t choose the right one, it could all be a very expensive waste. You need to specifically look for matricaria chamomilla, AKA German chamomile. This is the purest and most potent form of chamomile that exist in nature today. 

We’ve mentioned chamomile tea several times in this post already, but that’s just because drinking chamomile tea is one of the most healthful ways to ingest this plant – unless you live in Germany, that is. The medicinal properties and the abundance of German chamomile are such that German doctors can actually write a prescription for chamomile to those who need it. And unlike most prescription medications for insomnia and anxiety, chamomile prescriptions are class B drugs which are considered safe enough even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

The Molecular Science of Chamomile

The evidence behind chamomile isn’t just anecdotal. There’s a plethora of very well-documented scientific research which explicitly identifies how and why chamomile is so good for the human body. Most plant compounds contain smaller trace molecules of healthful substances called flavanols. These flavonols can do many different wonderful things in the human body, including repair oxidative damage caused by stress.

Then there’s the scientifically established connection between chamomile and GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that makes the neurons in your brain feel calm and relaxed when it is in abundance. Unfortunately, most people don’t have enough GABA in their brain. This often leads to feelings of anxiety which can induce insomnia. But the botanical compounds in chamomile act in a way that helps make GABA more available in your brain. This sharp increase in free floating GABA is what makes chamomile so effective at calming your nerves and making you feel relaxed.

Chamomile: There’s More Than Meets the Eye

But that’s not all chamomile has to offer. Those are just the most important and most well-researched benefits that man has discovered about chamomile. There are many other healthful benefits that taking chamomile on a regular basis can give you. Mother Nature works in mysterious ways; unlike pharmaceutical drugs, different plant compounds and extracts can help cure many different elements all at the same time! Chamomile is no exception. Just take a look at this short list of all the other reasons people take chamomile for improved health and wellness:

  • To reduce muscle spasms
  • To combat symptoms of hayfever 
  • To reduce inflammation
  • To lessen the frequency and severity of menstrual cramps
  • To reduce ulcers
  • To soothe gastrointestinal distress
  • To reduce hemorrhoid swelling 
  • To make psoriasis go away
  • As a cure for chickenpox
  • To alleviate eczema 

If you’re still reading this and haven’t opened a new tab in your browser to start shopping for chamomile products, we commend you for your patience. We’d also like to help you out with the shopping search. There are so many different ways people can supplement with chamomile now that there’s almost as many chamomile supplements as there are people who want to get it. Take a look at these suggestions in order to find out which one is right for you.

There’s a Wide Variety of Chamomile Supplements Out There

If you’re not a German citizen, then you may think it will be difficult, expensive, or both to get the chamomile supplement you want. Not true! There are tons of different chamomile supplements out there, and most of them aren’t that expensive, either. But the trick is finding the right one. It needs to be a high-quality pure extract of German chamomile – nothing less. Anything else, and you may be missing out on some or most of the benefits the chamomile can provide.

If you can’t get pure chamomile herbal tea, you might want to think about taking a supplement. This brings up another important question: should you take chamomile by itself, or should you combine it with other herbs and extracts in order to compound their effects? Chamomile actually works very well with other natural botanical compounds that have similar properties. So taking it with one or more of these substances can provide some fantastic health and wellness benefits, especially if those compounds also influence GABA or enhance chamomile’s anti-anxiety benefits.

If you want a truly effective chamomile supplement, but you don’t want to take your chamomile by itself, take a close look at the ingredients label and try to pick up a supplement which contains some or all of the following:

  • Lavender 
  • 5-HTP 
  • Passion flower 
  • Valerian root
  • Melatonin

Luckily, you don’t have to go scouring the internet looking for chamomile supplements that contain some or all of these ingredients for a fair price. We already know of a product that will work very well, and also has all of these ingredients on its list! It’s called Avinol PM. It contains all of these ingredients and more, and it’s one of the most effective herbal sleep supplements your money can buy. All it takes is one tablet before bed with a full glass of water and you can look forward to getting the best quality rest that you can get from any chamomile supplement.

The Human Circadian Rhythm: What Is It All About?

People love to say that they’ll “sleep when they’re dead” in order to feel better about losing out on sleep. But the unfortunate fact of the matter is that that final rest will come a lot quicker the less sleep you get. One of the best ways to get your sleep cycle back on track and cut down on chronic sleep deprivation is to learn more about your circadian rhythm.

Contrary to what it sounds like, it has nothing to do with music. But it has everything to do with timing. Below, we will take a deeper dive into exactly what the circadian rhythm is and why it’s so important for your sleep health – and your overall health in general.

Defining the Circadian Rhythm

“Circadian” is a variation of Latin words which, when loosely translated, means “around the same time each day”. The reason it is paired with the word “rhythm” is because the ebb and flow of your daily life revolve around a good, healthy circadian rhythm. Understanding how your body reacts during certain times of day can help you plan better, and optimize everything from your sleep cycle to your exercise routine to your meal planning and more.

Your Circadian Rhythm and the Sun

We know a lot of people are going to argue with us for saying this, but most human beings are not meant to be night owls. The human body evolved to rise with the sun and sleep during the night; but modern technology has made it difficult for us to live according to the way our natural circadian rhythm wants us to live.

Bright light from the sun triggers certain receptors in your vision and sends wakefulness signals to your brain if you wake up at the right time in the morning. Conversely, once the sun goes down and these bright lights are no longer visible, your brain sends signals the body to relax and get ready for a rest. But a lack of proper sun exposure in the morning due to an odd work schedule or an abundance of bright, blue light from electronic devices in the evening can throw our bodies off-kilter. Our bodies end up broadcasting wakefulness signals at night and feeling groggy in the morning because we don’t get the right “wake up” and “time to sleep” signals when we’re supposed to.

Breaking a Sweat Without Breaking Your Body Clock

If you know when and how to exercise, you can get tons of health and longevity benefits. But if you exercise at the wrong time of day, it might just do more harm than good. Working out early in the morning – especially outdoors where you can see the sun – provides some of the most substantial health benefits. It stimulates wakefulness signals from the brain so that you have energy all day and sharp mental focus. It also gives your metabolism a boost for all-day calorie burning and maximum fat loss. It can even help you sleep better at night by tiring you out earlier in the day, getting your body ready for rest earlier in the evening. If you’re lucky enough to already be at an optimal weight, or if you can’t work out in the morning, evening workouts are a close second best option. Spiking your body temperature within an hour or so of bedtime with an evening workout, even if it’s a moderate one like a long walk, can make it easier for you to fall asleep when your body tries to cool itself off afterward.

Eating at the Right Time of Day for Optimal Health

There is some groundbreaking research on eating, circadian rhythm, and human metabolism that’s taking the world of science by storm right now. Researchers recently discovered something called the “dawn effect”, which is an insulin spike/sugar crash that happens in the morning right around the time most people eat breakfast. Eating breakfast can help counter this effect, keeping your blood sugar stable and helping you maintain steady energy levels. This, in turn, has several different health benefits which can last throughout your whole day.

For starters, it helps keep the natural energy boost you get upon waking going instead of heading into a sugar crash shortly after you get out of bed. It can also help get your metabolism going so you end up burning more calories throughout the day. Lastly, it can have a beneficial effect on how your body regulates its hunger and satiety hormones. This can even you out all day long, preventing against moodiness or sudden drops in energy levels based on low blood sugar.

How to Fine-tune Your Circadian Rhythm

Wouldn’t it be great if our bodies came with an instruction manual which told us when we need to wake up, exercise, eat, and get ready for bed? Unfortunately, we don’t have that manual. But we’ve done enough scientific research in recent years to give ourselves a much better idea of what to do with ourselves during the day so that we can fine-tune our body’s circadian rhythm. Start by making these simple tweaks to your daily routine for optimal health and wellness:

  • Minimize how much blue light exposure you get in the evening. This could be as simple as buying yourself a pair of anti blue light glasses, or as drastic as completely cutting off all exposure to artificial light within an hour or two of bedtime. It’ll help reset the wakefulness and sleep signals in your brain.
  • Take a walk in the morning when the sun is up before you start your day. The exposure to sunlight and physical activity will have a positive effect on your energy levels and your metabolism the whole rest of the day.
  • Create a good sleep hygiene routine for yourself. Sleep hygiene is much more complicated topic that we’ve talked about before, but the better you get at improving your sleep hygiene, the easier it will be to optimize your circadian rhythm.
  • Rely on a natural herbal sleep aid in order to get to bed if you feel you absolutely have to take something. Anything that contains melatonin, hops, and/or chamomile should work rather well. It naturally helps regulate your body’s sleep response at night so that you don’t have to take a harsh chemical substance which could do more harm than good in the long run.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, it could be because your circadian rhythm is out of whack. But tweaking your daily habits and fixing your rhythm can be a deceptively simple way to get back to optimal levels of health and wellness!

Want Better Sleep? Get Better Exercise!

How many benefits of exercise can you name off the top of your head right now? There are the obvious ones, such as improving heart health, elevating your mood, and helping you lose body fat. But there’s one more benefit you may not have thought of: improving your sleep!  

The National Sleep Foundation recently sent out a poll which thousands of people responded to. And the statistics are pretty eye-opening: 83% of people who claim to exercise vigorously on a regular basis also report sleeping more, feeling more refreshed when they wake up, and having an easier time falling asleep at night. Only 56% of respondents who did not exercise on a regular basis reported similar sleep patterns. Now, we know that correlation and causation are two very different things. But the obvious correlation identified in the study definitely begs some further questions.

But that’s not the only data we have about sleep which suggests that more exercise and better rest are intrinsically connected. There are dozens of studies which show additional correlations between increased activity levels and hormone regulation; specifically with regard to hormones that regulate sleep. Some studies show an optimal connection between exercise and good sleep if your exercise schedule closely follows your normal daily circadian rhythm. But that isn’t exactly the case for everyone. So how, exactly, can you optimize your exercise routine in order to get the best possible sleep? We did some digging, and we found some interesting answers. Get ready to learn everything you need to know about optimizing your exercise for the best possible sleep!

Choosing the Right Time to Workout

Our bodies – and our metabolism – are closely connected with the natural circadian rhythm of the earth. We know that sounds a little bit hippie dippy, but hear us out. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that the bright light and rising temperatures which come with sunrise cause physiological triggers in our bodies. These triggers signal our brain to wake up and get active. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just stay healthy in general, it’s a good idea to take advantage of this window of opportunity and do as much of your exercise before noon – preferably outside – as you can.

Unfortunately, that isn’t a realistic option for many. Some people can only squeeze in a workout in the afternoon, in the evening after dinner, or maybe even late at night right before bed. Some old-school fitness experts may tell you that exercising past a certain point in the late afternoon or early evening is going to be harmful to your sleep. But at the end of the day, any exercise is better than no exercise at all. Even if it happens right before sleep. Just listen to your body and do what you think is best. If you have trouble falling asleep as quickly but you feel that you get a deeper, more restful sleep after a late night workout session, then there you go! Keep trying different workouts at different times of day to see how it influences your nightly sleep pattern.

Keep Your Workouts Simple, but Effective

Our society has a problem. We believe that more is better in almost every single scenario. But this is not always the case; and it is especially not the case when it comes to sleep and exercise. Getting little or no exercise at all is not very healthy. Furthermore, getting too much exercise can be almost equally problematic.

According to the survey we just mentioned, people who spend more than one hour per day exercising vigorously did report more sleep problems than people who exercise for less than an hour a day. This can cause problems with your sleep in ways that are subtle and seemingly unconnected. But it could also have a more direct effect on your ability to get to sleep. Injuries will obviously cause you pain and may make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Soreness from excessively strenuous exercise can have a similar effect. So you’ve got to be careful when it comes to nailing down the right exercise routine.

Have You Ever Tried Yoga?

Let’s revisit that survey we mentioned at the beginning of this article. Believe it or not, most of the people out there who are sleeping like babies and making us jealous have a direct connection to their inner chakras. The study showed that all the yogi fanatics out there are the ones most likely to get their recommended 7 – 8 hours of sleep, especially compared to people who aren’t exercising at all. Also, according to the study, yoga seems to be more effective than walking when it comes to helping our bodies get the amount of sleep we need.

Why is this? It’s partly due to the fact that stress has a major influence on your sleep. When you are stressed out, it is difficult to chill out and fall asleep quickly. This can definitely cut into your sleep time and create an unhealthy sleep deficit. But the deep breathing and relaxation techniques common in most yoga practices bleed over from the fitness realm into the mental wellness room. So strike that lotus pose, and give some yoga a try if you want to sleep better at night!

A Little Post-exercise “Me Time” Can Give You a Lot More Sleep Time

This advice is helpful for anyone whose busy, stressful day tends to follow them into the evening hours. But it’s also great for people who have no choice but to squeeze in a workout routine right before bed. Give yourself at least a little bit of time to wind down after your workout before you put your head on the pillow. You could read a book, take a nice warm bath, or purge tomorrow’s worries from your brain by writing them down in your bullet journal. Meditation is also good. No matter what the activity is, give your mind and your body some distance between the gym and the bedroom. It’ll make your exercise more effective and improve your overall sleep quality. It’s also an essential part of any good sleep hygiene routine!

Calm Your Late-Night Post-Workout Excitement With a Natural Sleep Aid

If you can only work out at night, but you still find yourself awake and restless because of the exercise, then you might want to consider an all natural sleep aid in order to help bring you down. It should contain things like melatonin, 5-HTP, and even lemon balm to get the most effective results. Combined with a healthier exercise routine, natural herbal sleep aids can also improve your overall quality sleep so that you feel well rested and refreshed when you get up the next day. It sounds too good to be true – but it really works!

Stop Eating Before Bed – It’s Ruining Your Sleep!

The conventional wisdom about eating before bed has been the same for many years: don’t to do it! Most of the time, people say that you might gain weight, sleep poorly, or not be able to get any sleep at all if you eat right before bed. But following a good sleep diet and avoiding food before bedtime is easier said than done. It’s not always easy to fall asleep if your empty stomach is growling and twisting itself inside-out. And for some people, eating late is an inescapable part of their social life.

So what do you do when you have trouble avoiding eating before bed? Is there any way to achieve weight loss, sleep better, stay healthy, and enjoy your late-night meals? There can be. But it can be difficult to master. You should first educate yourself on the realities of why eating before bed is bad for you. Then, if you still insist on eating late at night, you can follow some practical tips and tricks to try and reduce the damage.

Do You Want a Longer Lifespan and Healthspan? Then Don’t Eat Before Bed!

Within the last couple of decades, science has made a huge push into figuring out how longevity works. They’ve also been studying how to increase someone’s quality of life. If you’ve ever heard someone say “40 is the new 30”, it’s thanks to this push into longevity science. And the hot topic of longevity science these days is something called autophagy.

Have you ever watched an old movie where someone would microdose themselves with arsenic in order to build up an immunity to that poison? Autophagy is similar, but much less dangerous and much more natural. Subjecting your body to a tiny amount of stress causes different biological reactions in your body which make you stronger, healthier, and more resilient. It can even turn back the clock a tiny bit and make you feel more youthful.

But everything comes at a cost. And for most people, triggering autophagy can be a bit unpleasant. But you can get a head start by timing your meals so that you spend as many hours as you can in a fasted state overnight. This will require you to give up your evening meals, of course. But if you can wake up feeling refreshed, see more beautiful skin when you look in the mirror, and give yourself a stronger immune system, isn’t it worth it?

If You Have Problems With Inflammation, Then Don’t Eat Before Bed!

Some inflammation is necessary in order for optimal health. If you work out, do you need a little bit of inflammation to recover your strength and improve your cardiovascular health before you workout again. You need inflammation in the form of an immune response whenever you get sick. Otherwise, you would never recover. But when inflammation happens too often, you could end up with annoying problems like arthritic joints, a depressed mood, and even more serious conditions.

So how is this connected to eating before bed? We’re glad you asked:

  • Eating before bed increases your blood sugar
  • This signals your pancreas to release insulin
  • Within a few hours, your blood sugar will crash mightily  
  • This sugar crash will send your body into a panic mode (while you are trying to sleep, no less)
  • The stress hormone, cortisol, spikes in panic mode
  • Too much cortisol in your system kicks the inflammation process into high gear, eventually surpassing normal levels

But if you don’t eat before bed, none of this will happen. As a matter of fact, you will enter a fasted state in which your body starts the autophagy process. And that’s when you start to see healthful results.

If You’re Worried About Adrenal Fatigue, Don’t Eat Before Bed!

Have we mentioned cortisol yet in this article? Because if we haven’t, we need to. We’ve just gone over the strong connection to late night meals and excess cortisol. Adrenal fatigue is one of the many problems you may face if you produce too much of this stress hormone. And guess which organ in your body produces cortisol? If your answer is the adrenal glands, you get a gold star.

Symptoms of minor adrenal fatigue include premature aging, weight gain, brain fog, and unpleasant mood swings. Chronic adrenal fatigue may even lead to something called secondary hypothyroidism. This is different from regular hypothyroidism because your thyroid is being influenced by a problem with your adrenal glands. Primary hypothyroidism is just a malfunction of the thyroid by itself. As bad as a malfunctioning thyroid is, a malfunctioning thyroid which happens along side malfunctioning adrenals compounds the negative health effects that much more.

Tips to Get Around Eating Before Bed

So far, the information we provided you was for factual purposes only. We’re not trying to scare you or manipulate you into behaving any specific way. We just want you to know the truth so that you can make healthy, well informed decisions for yourself. Skipping late-night meals is one decision that thousands of people are making and getting better health and wellness as a result. But that’s not the only thing you can do to extend your quality and quantity of life.

If you’re eating before bed because you can’t fall asleep on an empty stomach, try this instead: a good natural sleep aid like Avinol PM 30 minutes before bedtime. Immediately wash it down with a full glass of water. This will trick your stomach into thinking It is full of food so that you aren’t tossing and turning because your stomach is tossing and turning.

Herbal sleep aids are also good if they contain melatonin like avinol PM does. When your body has more melatonin in it, it signals your biology to stop producing cortisol. This, in turn, mutes the inflammatory response suffered by people who eat too soon before bed.

Lastly, if you simply cannot avoid eating before bed, try a very small, healthy snack which is designed to boost melatonin and 5-HTP levels in your body. Boosting these two important hormones promotes relaxation and helps you get healthier sleep. A small glass of warm milk and one half of a banana make an excellent example snack. The protein in the milk and the B vitamins in the carbs come together and produce more melatonin and 5-HTP. But feel free to choose your own protein and carbohydrate if you don’t like milk or bananas.

We hope this blog post has been helpful, and that you can use the information we’ve provided to get better sleep tonight. Pleasant dreams!

What Keeps You up at Night? Figuring it Out Can Help You Get Better Rest

Statistics tell us that around 20% of the US population reports having difficulty falling asleep at night. That’s over 60 million people! The statistics are very similar in first world countries all over the globe. Yet for some reason, we as humans have a very hard time figuring out why this is such a big problem.

It shouldn’t be that hard. But it seems as though humans are the only members of the animal kingdom which struggle to get the rest that they need for optimal health and wellness. We decided to do a deep dive and figure out the root causes of all of this rampant insomnia. After all, the first step to solving a problem is figuring out why you have one. And once you know the source, you can come up with a strategic game plan to get rid of it.

Mental Blocks Could Have You Tossing and Turning   

For the vast majority of people, our problems falling asleep at night, staying asleep through the night, and getting enough sleep are mental. It’s very hard for most people to admit this fact. Many people see it as a sign of weakness or a lack of control over their own emotions. On top of that, mental health issues are so poorly understood that popping a sleeping pill feels much easier than dealing with the actual problem. These pills may help people fall asleep at night, but the chemicals in these drugs are reducing the quality of your rest at the same time. And that’s just not good.

Whether it’s anxiety, stress, loneliness, or clinical depression, mental health issues play a huge factor in most cases of insomnia. And the worst insomnia gets, the worst your mental health can be because it has a negative impact on the functionality of your brain. Luckily, there are some simple fixes you can utilize tomorrow – or even right now – in order to help alleviate some of your mental tension. These include:

  • Download a free app and start practicing mindfulness
  • Schedule a “playdate” with your closest friends – especially if you haven’t seen them in a while
  • Make sure to make time for your family – close family bonds are a big mood-booster
  • Stay away from stimulating media (TV, books, movies, and more) that might make you anxious or worked up right before bed

Of course, nothing you read here should be a substitute for sound medical advice from a trained primary care physician. You should definitely talk to your doctor first, especially if you have trouble falling asleep more than once or twice a week. Just that tiny little dent in your regular sleep rhythm can have a seriously detrimental effect on your health over the long-term.

Aches and Pains Can Rob You of Your Sleep

It’s not always a mental block that keeps people awake at night. There are plenty of physical causes, too. Some of them are obvious, while others may be a little more subtle. But you should definitely listen to your body and change your sleep routine if you experience any of the following:

  • Menstrual cramps – obviously, we’re talking to the ladies on this one. Yes, anxiety and mood swings can keep you awake during your monthly cycle. But so can the physically uncomfortable cramps and bloating which also happen. Heating pads and Tylenol are a good start to solving this problem; but if that doesn’t work, it’s time to call your doctor.
  • Temperature – to get the best possible sleep, your bedroom should be cool, ideally around 68° Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge for most people because it involves raising your energy costs. Altering your thermostat is usually more expensive, but a large fan may do the trick without using too much electricity – and give you the benefit of some soothing white noise to fall asleep to.
  • Midday nap – if you constantly find yourself feeling tired in the afternoon after lunch, you may be the type of person who needs a midday nap. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s perfectly natural. Shoot for anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes, or else you may oversleep and make the problem worse.
  • Too much caffeine – If you’re a coffee junkie who’s tried everything other than restricting your caffeine intake to improve your sleep, then you’re going to have to stop drinking coffee after 11:59 AM. Otherwise, you’re going to continue to struggle indefinitely. We know that may be a hard pill to swallow for some, but it’s a painful truth you may just need to face.
  • Too little sex – or lackluster sex, for that matter, can give you problems getting to sleep. Research shows that the more frequently you make love to your partner, and the more satisfying it is, the less trouble you will have falling asleep. As if you needed an excuse.
  • Too little exercise – if you don’t burn off a good amount of energy during the day with exercise, it can leave you feeling restless at night when you’re supposed to be sleeping. You should probably step up your exercise routine if you are already physically active. And if you’re not, you should definitely get out there and get moving. Even if it’s just a 20-minute brisk walk after dinner, it can make a difference in your nightly rest.
  • An uncomfortable bed – how old is your mattress? When was the last time you bought new sheets? Aside from the main tenets of sleep hygiene, you should be sleeping somewhere comfy, too. Buying new bedroom furniture is expensive – but it can be a worthwhile investment if you have the cash.

Fix Those Problems With a Natural Sleep Aid

We find it’s best to try and take a natural approach to improving your sleep. Between meditation, eating a healthier diet, exercising properly, and more, you’ll get the best sleep if you do all of these things on a regular basis. You can also help yourself by taking a natural sleep aid like Avinol PM. Just one dose half an hour before bed can help relax you enough to give you the restorative rest you need. It couldn’t be simpler.

The Sleep Hygiene Bible: How to Get Your Best Sleep

People often wonder what the silver bullet solution is to getting better sleep. But here’s the thing: the reason most people struggle to find the answer is because they’re asking the wrong question. There is no one single, perfect solution to getting better sleep at night. But there are a set of behaviors that you can change, stop, or start that will contribute to a better night’s sleep. It’s called sleep hygiene, and the more religiously you follow/practice its principles, the greater the quantity and the quality of sleep you’ll get.

Banish Bright Lights in the Evening Hours

One of the main principles of sleep hygiene is getting your body back into its natural circadian rhythm. Much of this rhythm is very closely attuned to the rising and falling of the sun. When the sun rises, the body senses that it’s time to wake up; when the sun sets and you are surrounded by darkness, the body senses that it’s time to sleep. But these days, we’re surrounded by a ton of bright lights. And it’s throwing our daily rhythm way off track.

These lights – especially those which come from the electronic blue lights of our phones, televisions, and computer screens – are contributing to our sleep problems. When you are constantly bombarded by these bright blue lights, your brain stops producing melatonin at night like it should. When you aren’t producing melatonin at night, you aren’t sleeping, end of story. Thankfully, there are some very simple changes you can make that will fix the problem.

Fixing the Bright Light Overexposure Problem

It would be ideal for our quality of sleep if we could go back to the caveman days and eliminate all electronic light from our evening hours. But this simply isn’t realistic. The good news is that you don’t have to stumble around in the dark or by candlelight just to prime your body for sleep. Instead, try doing some or all of the following:

  • Mount some blackout curtains over your bedroom window(s), or install a curtain rod and buy some blackout curtains for it if you don’t already have some
  • Try and find a blue light filter for your phone and/or other electronic devices
  • “Unplug” from all of your electronics and spend at least 30 minutes in bed reading or doing some other type of analog activity
  • Use dimmer switches or install them on the lights you use in the evening to simulate a low-light atmosphere. If you don’t have the funds for this mini home remodeling, try using lamps with dark shades to get a similar effect

Make Sure Your Diet and Exercise Routine Work in Tandem With Your Sleep Goals

Sometimes, as frustrating as it may be, our nutrition and fitness goals don’t exactly coincide well with our sleep goals. Furthermore, you could have such a hectic schedule that your lack of a proper diet and exercise routine is also harmful for your sleep. It’s not just about eating the right foods or doing the right exercises. Like managing your light exposure, it’s also very much about timing.

Making Simple Diet and Exercise Changes for Better Sleep  

Also, not unlike controlling your light exposure, fixing your diet and exercise routine is fairly simple and great for getting better sleep. Here’s a few tips to start you out:

  • Make sure you exercise on a regular basis and at the same time each day. Even something as simple as a lively 30 minute walk a few times a week in the evening can prep your body for better sleep
  • Eat most of your calories during the early hours of the day and avoid eating too close to bedtime. If you absolutely must eat, stick to slow digesting foods like high-fiber veggies, protein, and whole grains
  • In general, you want to eliminate as many of the sugary foods, processed carbs, and trans fats from your diet as you can – regardless of the time of day

Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Use the Wrong Sleep Aid

Remember when we talked about searching for a silver bullet solution earlier? The quest for that one solution leads most people down a very specifically wrong path: relying upon a sleep aid in order to solve their problems. Granted, there are certain sleep aids out there which can be effective and safe. Unfortunately, most people aren’t taking those types of sleep aids.

Many people who can afford to do so get a prescription sleep drug from their physician. But this is one of the worst things you can do. Prescription sleeping pills have a ton of dangerous and scary side effects, including performing certain actions like driving or eating while your brain is technically asleep. The drugs may also backfire and make you sleepier in the morning than you would be if you had slept very little or if you had tried to sleep naturally. Furthermore, long-term use (and abuse) of prescription sleep aids damages your brain and can eventually rob you of your ability to sleep naturally. Unless it’s some sort of life or death situation or unless you know you will only be using it for a very short period of time, try to stay away from the prescriptions.

And if you’re thinking that over-the-counter sleep aids must be a better, safer option since you don’t need to go to a doctor to get approval, think again. You’re still getting all of the same problems you would be with prescription sleep aids, albeit with fewer wacky and less extreme side effects. But the basic problems are the same – “a hangover” the next morning, dependence/abuse, and damage to your nervous system over time. Some studies have even shown a correlation between long-term exposure to the main ingredient in over the counter sleeping pills and symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Picking the right sleep aid is much easier than most people think. Just remember one word: “natural”. If the ingredients aren’t natural, then don’t take it. There are lots of herbal sleep aids out there which contain things like melatonin, 5-HTP, chamomile, and other safe yet effective ingredients that can help you improve your sleep. So give a natural herbal sleep supplement a try, and make sure it becomes a part of your sleep hygiene routine.

Science Has Discovered That 5-HTP Is Good for Sleep

So you’re having trouble sleeping. You may be thinking about asking your doctor for a prescription sleep aid or picking up an over the counter sleeping pill. Unfortunately, these are some of the worst possible options you could take. In the short-term, they will ruin the quality of your sleep, even if you feel like they’re helping you fall asleep faster and sleep more hours. Long-term, this inferior sleep quality will cause serious health problems.

So what can you do instead? Well, one recent solution which science has discovered involves a little molecule called 5-HTP. Along with other things like a good diet, more exercise, and healthful sleep hygiene practices, getting more 5-HTP into your body can help reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep while improving your overall sleep quality. You can start trying to get more 5-HTP by incorporating more protein into your diet.  You may also want to invest in a 5-HTP supplement. If you really want to cover all your bases, you can combine the two. In this post, we’re going to elaborate on the importance of 5-HTP as well as how you can get more of it.

5-HTP and Its Mechanism of Action

Explaining exactly what 5-HTP does in the body can get a little convoluted. But we encourage you to bear with us. 5-HTP has a lot of utility and is capable of multitasking in ways that most other compounds cannot. 5-HTP is a type of building block which, when combined with other proteins, fatty acids, and similar nutrients, can construct some very important neurotransmitters. There’s another word four neurotransmitters that you’ve probably already heard before: endorphins. As the iconic movie Legally Blonde once put it: “Endorphins make you happy”. And happy people don’t have trouble sleeping. They just don’t.

To be fair to the science of it, not all neurotransmitters make you happy. We are oversimplifying it a little bit to make it easier to understand. But 5-HTP counteracts those transmitters that don’t make you happy by creating more of the ones that do: melatonin and serotonin. Most people these days do have a decent amount of knowledge about serotonin. It’s the endorphin that so many antidepressant prescriptions are (allegedly) designed to boost in our brains. When you have more serotonin in your brain, you feel happier and less stressed out. When you experience an elevated mood more frequently and you have less stress in your life, it’ll be easier to fall asleep and get a higher quality of sleep each night.

Melatonin, the sleep hormone of which 5-HTP is a precursor, also helps you fall asleep and increases the quality of your rest. Melatonin is supposed to be released at night after the sun goes down and the darkness comes. But the double edged sword of modern technology means that we are constantly exposed to things that inhibit our body’s ability to produce melatonin. Putting more 5-HTP into your body can help with this problem by giving your body the building blocks it needs to produce enough melatonin. You can also follow better sleep hygiene habits so that you can trigger melatonin production more easily and efficiently.

What You Need to Do to Get More 5-HTP

There are a couple of different methods you can use if you feel like you are not getting enough 5-HTP in your body. The good news is that all of them are perfectly natural. They also don’t have any known reported side effects. But there are some other facets of your life which can make it a little challenging to get the 5-HTP you need.

5-HTP is most abundant in protein – specifically, animal protein and animal-derived protein products. So if you are vegan or vegetarian and you’re concerned about your 5-HTP intake, you might be fighting an uphill battle. 5-HTP comes from amino acids, and amino acids come from protein. But not all amino acids are created equal. And certain types of protein have greater amounts of the amino acids that your body needs to build 5-HTP than others. This is why so many vegans and vegetarians struggle to produce the amount of 5-HTP they need to stay healthy.

At the same time, even if you don’t adhere to a strict diet, it can be difficult to estimate how much 5-HTP you’re getting from the food you eat. It’s not like our food labels go into detail about the amino acids which exist in the proteins we eat. And even if they did, it’s hard to measure or predict how much 5-HTP your body will produce from those amino acids without some sort of medical test. Supplementing with 5-HTP is an easier way to keep track of the quantity of htp in your system. They are relatively inexpensive, and they’re easy to take. They’ve been available for quite a while, and there are a lot of people who swear by them. But that begs the next question…

What Is the Best Way to Supplement With 5-HTP?

If you’re going to go the supplement route, you have two choices: you can supplement with 5-HTP only, or you could take a supplement which includes 5-HTP. A supplement which contains only 5-HTP can have some benefits. It may be less expensive than a more complex supplement with many different ingredients. If your system is very sensitive to supplementation, it may be less risky to stick with a one-ingredient 5-HTP supplement. And you will know right away whether or not 5-HTP actually helps you sleep since there will be no other variables involved.

On the other hand, taking a sleep supplement like Avinol PM (which incorporates 5-HTP into its formula) has many upsides, too. One of the reasons supplementing with 5-HTP alone may not work is due to a lack of synergy. Avinol PM contains the ingredients it does because scientific research says they work well together to boost each individual compound’s positive effect. Secondly, if you tried to buy each ingredient separately, it would be much more expensive than purchasing them all at the same time by ordering a supply of Avinol PM. So yes, 5-HTP can help you with your sleep problems – either by itself, or as an essential part of a complete natural sleep aid formula.

How Do You Know If You’re Getting Enough REM Sleep?

Do you know what REM sleep is? Do you know how important it is for your overall health? And, most importantly, do you know whether or not you’re getting enough of it? It’s only in recent years that we’ve become aware of what REM sleep is and how important it is so the overall health and wellness of the average person. So we’re dedicating some time and space to talking about this important topic today. Get ready to learn all you’ve ever wanted to know – and then some – about REM sleep.

REM Sleep: the Basics

You sometimes hear people talking about it and TV or movies, but the way they discuss it only really scratches the surface. REM is an acronym for rapid eye movement”. In a way, this name is a little bit funny. This particular stage of sleep got its name because – surprise, surprise – one very common characteristic of REM sleep is that a person’s eyes tend to dart back and forth rapidly. But the funny thing about it is that the rest of the human body in a healthy individual is completely paralyzed. It’s a physical state called atonia.

The human body slips into atonia during REM sleep because this is the stage of sleep where most people experience dreams. And when people dream, if something somehow inhibits the atonia process, there’s a high likelihood they will get up and start to physically act out what they are experiencing in their dream world. This phenomenon has been shown in animal experiments where scientists have purposely inhibited the atonia process. Examples of it in humans are what many believe to be instances of sleepwalking. The reigning theory is that atonia is the body’s natural defense mechanism to protect us from ourselves while we dream. If we didn’t have atonia, who knows – we could end up walking straight off a cliff in our sleep!

The brain is very active during REM sleep, contrary to what most people believe. Another funny name for REM sleep is called paradoxical sleep because brain wave activity spikes to the point where in almost resembles that of a waking person. But there may be a reasonable explanation for this. Scientists firmly believe that REM sleep is the portion of your sleep cycle where your brain is processing and storing new memories. It’s almost like running a defrag program on your hard drive – except for your brain!

Why Does the Human Body Need REM Sleep?

The body requires REM sleep for optimal mind-body health and wellness. If it weren’t for REM sleep, you would have some serious memory problems – especially when it comes to long-term memories. Studies show that people who get a good, healthy amount of REM sleep have better and more reliable long-term memory. They also do better when remembering recently learned things, like cramming before a final and getting an A instead of a B on the test. And if you have been working hard to learn new information recently, then your body will very likely spend more time in a REM sleep state during your nightly rest.

People of every age need REM sleep – but certain ages need it more than others. Infants, children, and teenagers spend the greatest amount of time in REM sleep. The younger your brain is, the more things it has to learn as you grow. It was completely understandable why the body would dedicate so much of its sleep resources to getting enough rem. As you get older – and this is especially true the less time you spend learning new things and/or practicing the skills you have – the less time your body will spend in REM sleep. And the less REM sleep you get, well…That brings us to our next section.

What’s the Harm in Getting Less REM Sleep?

Two words: cognitive decline. And we’re not just talking about memory or tripping on your own tongue or being able to do Sudoku less quickly. We’re talking about a myriad of different symptoms, such as:

  • Migraines
  • Decline in coping skills
  • All day fatigue, especially in the morning
  • Very low energy levels
  • Age-related brain diseases and symptoms
  • Memory problems
  • Forced rebound REM sleep and delirium tremens (in extreme cases)

There’s a chance you could also experience weight gain, inflammation, and poor immune responses as a result of too little REM sleep. It’s during this stage of sleep and the slightly deeper stage – delta sleep – that your body cleans house and repairs most of the damage you received from your daily activities. But if your body never hits these sleep stages, those repairs never happen. And it screws up everything in your body from your immune system to your metabolism to your brain function and beyond.

How to get the healthiest possible REM sleep

The best way to make sure the most REM sleep you can when you need it most is to avoid drinking alcohol too close to bedtime. Alcohol is a strong and well-known inhibitor of REM sleep. Benzodiazepines have a very similar effect, which is problematic seeing as how often they are prescribed for conditions like insomnia and anxiety.

There are other drugs which also inhibit REM sleep, but not nearly as profoundly as alcohol or powerful narcotics. Cannabis has been shown to depress the REM sleep cycle, although there isn’t enough scientific data to suggest whether certain strains create this affect more than others – or whether there may actually be strains of the plant which can help encourage and improve REM sleep. Prescription sleeping pills which are not benzodiazepines, as well as off-label prescription sleep aids and over the counter sleeping pills can also inhibit REM sleep. Your best bet is to stay away from these drugs if you can.

So what should you do instead of relying on hard drugs to help with your sleep problems? Try to find a safe, natural sleep aid to help you get the rest you want and the REM sleep your body needs. Avinol PM is great for that. It has the perfect mix of natural ingredients that are potent enough to give you the sleep you need but gentle enough that they won’t produce any negative side effects or leave you groggy the next day. You should try ordering some Avinol PM now!

You Might Want to Start Supplementing With Melatonin at Night

Supplementing with melatonin in order to help you get better sleep is a very popular habit these days. If you haven’t tried it yet, you may be skeptical about whether or not it actually works. Is it just a placebo? Does it really help people get to sleep faster, and sleep better through the night? Are there other health benefits besides improved sleep quality? If you keep reading, you will find out all of the answers to these questions and more. You may even decide that a nightly dose of melatonin is right for you.

Explaining Melatonin’s Role in the Human Body

Melatonin is one of the most important hormones in the human body. Yes, you read that right; melatonin is a hormone. And it has a very strong connection to your circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a series of biological reactions in your body which happen as a result of the rising and setting of the sun in any 24-hour period. If you have a healthy sleep cycle and healthy melatonin production, this means you will feel awake and energized in the morning and tired and ready for bed at the end of the day. Unfortunately, for most of up these days, this is not the case.

Melatonin is an extremely important component of the human circadian rhythm. It becomes most active and most potent what’s the sun begins to set. Daylight is full of what scientists refer to as “blue light”. The reason the human body tends to wake up and feel active during the daylight hours is because this blue light flip a switch in your brain with shuts off melatonin and produces other, wakefulness hormones to get you going. Before the invention of electricity – especially many of our modern electrical appliances today – the only time the human body was exposed to this blue light was while the sun was up. Unfortunately, these days, we are exposed to it 24/7.

When your body is constantly bombarded with blue light, your internal switch never flips. Your body doesn’t get the hint that the sun has gone down and that it is time to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone) so that you can get ready for a restorative night’s rest. This leaves many people feeling restless, anxious, and wide awake at bedtime. The best solution to this problem is to avoid electronic light within a few hours of bedtime so that your body knows it’s time to pump out melatonin. Unfortunately, for some, this is easier said than done.

How to Produce More Melatonin

It may be difficult, but it is not impossible to retrain your brain to produce melatonin at night and slip back into a healthy circadian rhythm. Here are some simple steps you can take in order to encourage nighttime melatonin production:

  • Spend as much time in the presence of natural light – especially during the early morning hours – as you possibly can. Early morning light exposure helps prime your brain to be more wakeful earlier in the day and more relaxed in the evening
  • Make small investments in blackout curtains and/or a thick, comfortable sleep mask which blocks out ambient light. Sleeping in complete darkness (or as close to complete darkness as you can get) helps your body produce more melatonin
  • Either limit your exposure to electronic light in the evening hours (this includes computers, tablets, smartphones, televisions, and the like) or buy yourself some blue light blocking glasses to help your brain produce melatonin before you go to bed
  • Mindfulness meditation in the evening has been scientifically shown to promote relaxation and shift brain waves into a more relaxed state

We hope that making one or several of these changes can have a positive impact on your ability to sleep well at night. But if you’re still having trouble, it’s understandable to reach for a melatonin sleep supplement. And you’ll be happy to know that there are even more benefits to melatonin supplements than just better sleep!

Melatonin Supplements Have Whole Body Benefits

The most popular reason to take a melatonin supplement is to promote relaxation, drowsiness, and better sleep quality at night. But that’s not all melatonin can do for you. There are other secondary benefits which you can enjoy with a daily dose of melatonin. You may be surprised at some of these!

Melatonin Is a Strong Antioxidant

We’ll bet money you just learned a new fact that you didn’t know before. For those who are out of the loop, antioxidants are natural compounds which protect human cells from oxidative damage. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid oxidative damage. It’s a common byproduct of your cells performing their day-to-day functions in order to stay alive and healthy. Cells can’t avoid oxidative damage any more than a human being can avoid going to the bathroom. But an excess of oxidative damage can I have some very serious consequences if you don’t clean it up by infusing your cells with antioxidants.

Antioxidants protect against DNA damage which, over time, can cause deformed cells and may even lead to cancer. Antioxidants also protect your mitochondrial health which scientists are now starting to discover has a direct effect on youthfulness and anti-aging. Healthy cellular mitochondria are also responsible for making you feel energized during the day.

Other Health and Wellness Benefits of Melatonin

So those are the microscopic benefits of melatonin. But what about the macroscopic ones? Well, melatonin improves your immune system function. It helps protect against harmful levels of inflammation while also enhancing your T-cells ability to neutralize viruses and bacteria. There are also strong correlations between melatonin supplementation and reduced severity of chronic anxiety, ADHD, and autism symptoms. To be clear, melatonin is not a cure for these conditions nor should this article replace competent middle advice from your doctor. But if you or someone you know is suffering from any of these conditions, it may be worth discussing melatonin supplements with your physician. Lastly, melatonin supplements have helped people with chronic headaches.  Melatonin is exceptionally appropriate when you’re talking about cluster headaches. It has been shown to both reduce the severity and the frequency of these types of migraines.

Is Melatonin Safe?

Melatonin is absolutely safe. There is no such thing as “overdosing” on melatonin. No one has ever died or gotten sick from taking melatonin supplements. And it doesn’t have anything close to the horrible side effects which prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills do.

Oh, did we mention Avinol PM contains a generous amount of melatonin? Along with the other herbs, botanicals, and amino acids, melatonin makes up an essential component of this natural sleep aid. We hope you at least consider giving melatonin a try. And if that works well for you on its own, just imagine how much better it will work as a part of the Avinol PM formula.

Does Your Sleep Diet Suck? Improve Your Bad Sleep Diet Starting Today

Did you know that your diet could be having a detrimental effect on your sleep? And it’s not just what you’re eating – it’s how and when you’re eating it, too. As a matter of fact, those last two factors are much more important than scientists and Sleep Experts used to believe. Below, we’ll get into the how and when of your diet that you need to change in order to get better sleep. We’ve talked previously about what goes into a good sleep diet – but if you don’t improve upon your bad sleep tight, you may still have issues with your sleep.

The What, the When, and the Why of a Poor Sleep Diet

If you’re having trouble getting good sleep, then you may be eating/drinking things that are contributing to the problem. You may not have to completely eliminate them from your dad and lifestyle if you consume them at the right times. However, you should still know about the dangers they pose if you really want to improve your nightly rest.

The What: Alcohol

The when: too close to or immediately before bedtime  

The why: Look, we get it. Whether it’s a recommended dose of powerful cold medicine or a good, stiff drink (if not several), it feels like it’s easier to get to sleep when you’ve got some alcohol in your system. It does a great job of knocking you out, especially if worries and anxieties keep you up at night. But over the long term, this is a terrible thing for many reasons.

Alcohol only knocks you out – not unlike some prescription sleeping pills. But it doesn’t keep you asleep all night. Most people who fall asleep while intoxicated sleep fewer hours and experience a more shallow sleep cycle than they would have had they gone to bed sober. On top of all that, most people report having more difficulty getting back to sleep. This makes sense, especially with excessive intoxication that can leave you feeling miserable and hungover when you wake. Lastly, the reason we sleep is to restore and regenerate our bodies after the damage of our day. but this doesn’t happen if you fall asleep and your body has to divert resources to metabolizing the alcohol in your bloodstream. This causes cumulative damage over time which not only disrupts your sleep, but causes harm to your overall health.

The What: Caffeine

The when: anytime during the afternoon or evening hours

The why: Caffeine is perfectly fine in moderation and when you restrict it to the morning hours only. But excessive caffeine intake and/or ingesting it at the wrong time of day can wreak havoc on your sleep. Caffeine can continue circulating in your bloodstream from anywhere to 6-8 hours after you drink it (or take a caffeine pill). It may take even longer for your body to process it if your metabolism is slower than average. This means that at bedtime when you should be relaxing, the caffeine is spiking your cortisol levels. High cortisol levels make you feel stressed out, anxious, and alert. The evening hours are the worst possible time for your cortisol levels to spike.

The What: Spicy Food

The when: late at night

The why: Because it can cause you pain and other unpleasant symptoms of indigestion. Falling asleep is difficult for many of us for non-physical reasons. But experiencing acute pain on top of that? Say hello to tossing and turning all night! Worst of all, spicy foods can aggravate your stomach lining and even relax the stomach valve that keeps your food from rolling back up into your esophagus. This can cause heartburn or force you to sleep in an uncomfortable inclined position, make it harder for you to fall asleep.

The What: Processed Food

The when: 24/7

The why: Your body needs specific micronutrients, amino acids, and minerals in order to produce happy, relaxing neurotransmitters in your brain. When you don’t get enough of these nutrients, you suffer from things like serotonin imbalances, poor melatonin production, and hormone dysregulation. This will completely throw your circadian rhythm out of whack and throw a wrench in your daily sleep cycle.

We know we probably sound like a broken record by recommending that you eat more fruits and vegetables, but it really does work. Fresh produce gives you things like B vitamins, magnesium, and certain types of whole food fatty acids which are essential for producing sleep hormones at night. The more processed food you eat – anything that typically comes out of a can, a box, or the freezer section of your supermarket – the more excess sodium, processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats you end up digesting. Not only are these foods scarce in nutrients, but there are notorious for causing the type of hormone dysregulation which makes you gain weight, feel depressed, and promotes sleep deprivation.

The Upside Down Food Pyramid (and How it Affects Your Sleep)

Take a look at the eating schedule most people typically follow on the standard american diet: a small or non-existent breakfast in the morning, intermittent snacks between late morning and early evening when they should be eating lunch, and a large, calorie-dense meal sometimes within an hour or two of going to sleep. As it turns out, this is the exact opposite way we should be eating. Our bodies evolved and adapted to a completely different eating schedule.

A healthier eating regimen looks like an upside-down pyramid. You start out by eating your largest, most calorie-dense meal soon after waking up. This is just like filling your tank with gas right before starting a long road trip. You load your body up on the fuel it needs to get through a day. Eating a moderate lunch in the middle of the day helps give you an extra boost if your energy levels start to drop. Finally, a small meal in the evening which is eaten (at most) two to three hours before bed can give you a little nutrition to help your body reset and restore itself while you rest. The fewer calories you ingest, the sooner your body will start fasting while you sleep, which triggers all sorts of great health benefits.

On top of everything, you should add a natural sleep aid to your daily sleeping and eating schedule. It helps enhance and improve the benefits you get from following a healthier sleep diet. It’s amazing what just a few simple lifestyle changes can do for improving your rest and overall health.