As many exhausted parents can tell you, there’s nothing more heavenly than a baby that will sleep straight through the night. But for many new parents, there is also nothing more elusive. The harsh truth is, bringing a newborn home from the hospital often means a good night’s sleep will become a distant memory, because the
tiny terrorists little cherubs will be crying a ton and feeding every two to three hours for the first few months.
That doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to never sleeping again, though! Babies and parents alike need sleep, and getting your little one on a schedule is crucial. We spoke to Dr. Sofia Axelrod, a sleep scientist and mom-of-two, to learn her most trusted hacks to get your little alarm clock to *finally* conk out.
“One of the reasons why I got involved with baby sleep is that if the baby doesn’t sleep, no one sleeps,” says Dr. Axelrod, author of How Babies Sleep: The Gentle, Science-Based Method to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night.
“So, there’s generally this terrible, trickle-down effect on the whole family, and if you fix your child’s sleep, then you will feel much better, and you can have a normal life.” So, what can a bleary-eyed mom and dad do? Sleep coaches and night nurses cost a fortune, and the SNOO, renowned for mechanically rocking fussy babies to sleep, carries a cost-prohibitive $1,395 price tag (even renting it will set you back $118 a month). But there are plenty of accessible ways parents can get their sweet pea into a predictable schedule, says Axelrod, who adds that her advice applies to babies and children up to age six.
A Full Belly Is Crucial
No matter if you breast- or bottle-feed, for the first few weeks of their lives, infants are literally non-stop milk-drinking machines. Trying to sleep seems futile, but there is a way to get baby down for longer stretches, so you can squeeze in a nap, too. “Ideally, baby feeds, and then they’ll pass out and wake up again after two hours,” says Axelrod. “But some babies don’t do that. Make sure they eat their portion, and if they fall asleep ‘on the job,’ so to speak, it’s okay to undress them, it’s okay to blow air on them. Get a cold, wet towel, and make them uncomfortable. Make them awake, so they eat, because only then will they sleep. Then everybody’s happy, and you can take a nap also.”
Put On The Red Light
No, not like the kind that TLC or Sting sang about, but like a real, red light bulb, which can work wonders for infants, toddlers, big kids, and even adults. Why? The hue encourages the body to produce more melatonin, the hormone that stimulates sleep. “During the night, when you have to nurse or feed or change diapers, only turn on the red light,” Axelrod instructs. Conversely, expose babies to natural sunlight—in moderation, and while using sun protection when outdoors—during the day. “Open the shades. lots of light. That signals naturally to their body, ‘Oh, okay, now it’s time to be awake!’”
Keep It Routine
Even though the pandemic has wreaked havoc on many parents’ schedules, Axelrod stresses it’s necessary to keep little ones in line. “It’s important for their sleep that things happen at the same time every day. It helps their bodies feel more adjusted. We’re helping them organize and recognize what it means to feel tired, what it means to be hungry. They don’t know that unless they have a schedule.”
Babies’ schedules can be a hotly debated topic—there are flexible routine suggestions to more rigid ones and everything in between—but there’s plenty of science to back up Axelrod’s claims. “Because what we show in science is that, if you do these things at the same time every day, whether it’s eating, sleeping, light exposure—the light being a cue that tells your body what time of the day it is—then you’re freeing yourself for other things because your body will run like a well-oiled machine. What I’ve said before about babies is also true for adults. You’re telling your body, ‘It’s 11:45. It’s daytime. Let’s make some digestive enzymes because you’re going to have lunch.’ Or, ‘It’s 8am, it’s time to get up. Let’s make some cortisol to feel really awake and happy.’” Or, ‘It’s like, 7pm, let’s make some melatonin so we’re sleepy and can fall asleep easily.’”
Regulate Those Naps
If your baby doesn’t sleep through the night, analyze the naps, says Axelrod, who also created her own app, Kulala, to help parents keep their babies on schedule with pop-up reminders. “The first thing, when parents come to me, they say, ‘Oh, my baby used to sleep wonderfully, and suddenly they started waking up again.’ And the first thing I ask is, ‘How much do they nap? And when is bedtime?’ And it’s always off. So, this is the biggest misconception: sleep begets sleep. Not true. Many people think that you need to sleep more during the day for a baby to sleep better at night, and that is not true. And there’s research that literally shows the opposite. There is a paper that has been done, very well-controlled, and the title of the paper is literally Daytime Naps Control Nighttime Sleep.” Axelrod says that we all have a daily sleep need, which is the total of any naps and nighttime sleep. That number goes down as we age, hence the need for less sleep. “If I put you down for a three-hour nap during the day, you’re just not going to be tired in the evening.” The same is true for your little one.
White Noise Is Your Friend
When fetuses are in the womb, they hear a mother’s heartbeat, digestive sounds, air moving in and out of the lungs, and even a rumbly tummy, which is exactly why a white noise machine is a must-have for new parents. “White noise just lulls right to sleep,” says Axelrod. But, she warns, “I would not overuse it. Use it when you put them down, and then, in the middle of the night, if you have a newborn, you have to feed them or change a diaper, turn it off for the duration and turn it back on when you put them back to bed.”
Take a deep breath, because this part will pass and you will sleep again. Eventually.
Just this morning, I jolted wide awake wayyy before my alarm clock went off. I’d had the craziest dream: I had a boyfriend who was not only really cute, but smart in a hot way, rich, and super attentive but not clingy. After an initial moment of joy (the coronavirus thirst is real), I quickly realized that this dream guy was, in fact, a dream. Let’s be honest, none of us have ever met a man that checks all these boxes. Turns out, I’m not the only one having f*cking bizarre dreams during the COVID-19 pandemic. The other day on the Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast, Betches co-founders Aleen and Sami sat down with Dr. Deirdre Barrett, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, to discuss why our dream lives have gotten all screwed up from being stuck at home.
Why Our Sleep Is Being Affected
One huge reason we’re all experiencing weird dream lives is because we’re literally just sleeping more, according to Dr. Barrett. With state-wide lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders in effect, people are spending way more time at home than usual, allowing for random naps, late wake-ups, and passing out on the couch at 8pm from your fourth glass of wine (not judging—it’s always Wine Wednesday in quarantine). While we tend to have ramped-up anxiety dreams during any crisis, the extra sleep we’re getting is pretty unique to this pandemic. According to Dr. Barrett, “In most crises, people end up getting less sleep, but in this one, the average person is getting more because of the lockdown orders and the furloughs from work and school. I think we go around a little bit chronically sleep-deprived and we’re catching up on sleep right now, and so we have a big rebound in our dream life.”
What Types of Dreams People Are Having
If you’re having crazy anxiety dreams rn, you’re not alone. Turns out, if you’re freaked out about the virus IRL, it’s likely that you’ll be angsty in your sleeping state, too. For a lot of people, these panicky dreams don’t mention the virus outright, but manifest their anxiety in metaphorical—and freaky—ways. In a recent survey, Dr. Barrett found that bug-themed nightmares are the most common metaphor for corona (so yeah, murder hornets are def coming for you during your next REM cycle). She thinks part of this is due to our use of the word “bug” as slang for a virus, “but in a deeper sense, just lots of little things that cumulatively could kill you make them a good metaphor.” Great, time to go lock all of my windows.
If you’re on the more ~practical~ side (I’m talking about you, fellow quarantined Virgos), you might have dreamt that you actually had the virus. Waking up thinking you’re spiking a fever or having trouble breathing is really common, Dr. Barrett says. Virus dreams can also be super absurd (the dream sequence in The Big Lebowski, anyone?). One woman in Dr. Barrett’s survey reported dreaming that she looked down at her stomach and saw blue stripes on it, which dreamt-up medical authorities had told her was the first sign of COVID-19.
While the average person’s dreams are all wack because of general pandemic anxiety, many healthcare workers are having the ultra-realistic trauma dreams often experienced by combat veterans. “They’re dreaming literally about a patient who’s dying of the disease,” says Dr. Barrett. “They’re trying to put a tube down them, or the respirator is malfunctioning, and they’re trying to save their life and failing. That’s the nightmare, based on something that happens to them by day.” Because real life isn’t stressful enough for those on the front lines—they get to relive their daily pressures in their dreams too.
What These Dreams Mean
Apparently, these same types of dream patterns happened post-9/11. Like our present-day healthcare heroes, Dr. Barrett recalls, “the first responders and the people who’d barely gotten out of the lower floors, and the people working in Manhattan…were the ones that had nightmares as bad as wartime.” At the same time, average people were anxiously dreaming about the attacks, like most of us are dream-panicking about the virus today.
And as if they weren’t already suffering enough, lots of patients with COVID-19 are experiencing fever dreams. One patient in her survey dreamt that doctors were replacing his lungs with robot parts (can you imagine??). “In the dream, he was ascribing his trouble breathing to the fact that he didn’t know how to use the robot lungs,” says Dr. Barrett. She says this type of fever dream likely signifies the patient’s “fear of having to be on a ventilator, but maybe just more broadly, a fear of what was happening in his lungs.”
Fever dreams can also make normal things totally terrifying. While I wouldn’t mind a dream transporting me from my couch to a tropical island, for patients who are stuck in hospital rooms, changes in location can be completely jarring. According to Dr. Barrett, fever dreams “are probably not from a normal state of sleep. We think they’re sort of a hybrid of sleeping brain states, waking brain states, and just completely abnormal brain states all superimposed on each other.” Fever dreams can throw you for a loop and completely blur the lines between hallucination and reality.
How To Get Better Sleep
If you’ve been experiencing especially weird dreams since quarantine started, Dr. Barrett recommends keeping a dream journal in your spare time (which you now have plenty of). After all, Twilight was based off of a dream Stephenie Meyer had, so who knows? You could soon be sitting on the next hit YA series. And if you’re not sleeping well, crazy dreams might not be the only culprit, so be sure to practice good sleep hygiene. We all love a good late-night Netflix binge, but the blue light from our precious phones screws with our bodies’ ability to produce melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Dr. Philip Westbrook, former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, recommends that we put down electronics an hour before bedtime so our brains can relax. Establishing a pre-bedtime routine also helps our bodies destress and prepare for a good night’s sleep. This might include taking an Epsom salt bath, flowing through a few yoga poses, or doing your daily skin care routine. Do whatever helps you destress, but avoid getting too emotional. Texting your ex is NOT an appropriate activity when turning in for the night (or ever, tbh), because it makes your body produce stress hormones.
The pandemic won’t last forever (right, Dr. Fauci?? Please confirm), but know that you’re probably not the only one in your group chat having crazy dreams. For now, focus on making changes that will help you get better sleep, and you’ll hopefully avoid further dreams about wasp attacks or unrealistic boyfriends.
For more insight from Dr. Barrett, listen to the Diet Starts Tomorrow episode below.
Images: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels; Gregory Pappas / Unsplash; Giphy (2)
None of us ever get the amount of sleep we actually need to function as a contributing member of society, and we most definitely do not get our beauty sleep, ever. There’s always something that seems to f*ck up our sleep schedule and give us Crypt Keeper skin overnight—things like taking 2am tequila shots, binge-watching The Bachelor, or just stressing out over f*ckboys’ texts. All the Starbucks, organic smoothies, and contour sticks in the world will only work for so long. You may think it’s too soon to start buying night creams while you’re 20- or 30-something years old, but you’d be wrong. Overnight creams are actually the life-saver we don’t nearly appreciate as much as we should. They’re like, so hydrating, anti-aging, and v brightening. Amazing, so here are the best night creams you should buy if you want to wake up with flawless-looking skin.
1. Tula Beauty Sleep Overnight Repair Treatment Cream
The Tula Beauty Sleep Overnight Repair Cream works its magic while you sleep, smoothing your wrinkles and brightening your skin overnight so that by the time you wake up, you will look as fresh and glowing as ever. The cream can be used for all skin types and has fruit extracts and probiotics to hydrate and nourish your skin. We love to see it.
2. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
If you didn’t already know, retinol is basically like, crack for your skin. And I mean that in the best way possible. It actually reverses aging, tightens big-ass pores, and helps your wrinkles disappear ASAP. It smoothes and evens out your skin tone, so eye bags and tiny lines are gone.
3. Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream
Again, this is full of that good sh*t, aka retinol, so already you know it’s amazing. It’s super lightweight and creamy, so you won’t feel like a greaseball after putting it on. It tightens your face (but not too tight that it feels like you just got botox), and it reduces any signs of wrinkles by the time you wake up.
4. KORRES Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial
This soufflé (which sounds bougie and great already) helps your skin get some beauty sleep of its own overnight. Think of it as rubbing Chobani on your face before bed. Okay, well, it sounds better in theory since Greek yogurt is a natural skin-soother, softener, and hydration-giver, but I swear this sh*t is good. It’s a facial mask and night cream in one, so you wake up feeling refreshed and looking five years younger.
5. Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Anti-Wrinkle Deep Wrinkle Night Moisturizer
Most overnight creams can be ridiculously expensive and cost like, more than your average bar tab. However, there are still some good options at your nearest drugstore that work just as well. Our good ol’ go-to Neutrogena cream is full of vitamins for a deep moisturizing, oil-free, non-comedogenic wrinkle cream that won’t make you break out.
6. Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Overnight Recharging & Refining Moisturizer
Anything from Philosophy is obviously amazing, so this speaks for itself. The Renewed Hope in a Jar helps combat winter dry skin throughout the night and provides you with literal glowing skin by the time you wake up for work in the morning. It’s fab for sensitive skin so you def won’t wake up to pimples, and it refines your skin tone so there aren’t any awkward red or discolored patches.
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
Images: Linda Prebreza / Pexels, Giphy (1)
It’s almost 2020, and you know what that means… time for literally everyone to say “where the HELL did the time go???” But for real. It seems like it was just yesterday when we published our predictions on what food and health trends were going to take over 2019 back in December 2018, and here we are now, reviewing those predictions to see if we were actually right or not. Want to know just how far we’ll go to prove we’re always right? We consulted health, food, and trends experts to double-check those receipts. You’re welcome. Now let’s reflect.
We predicted these 2019 health trends would be big in the new year:
- Shorter workouts
- Fitness streaming services
- Vibration therapy/percussion guns
- More sleep
- Personal training
- Treadmill classes
And the verdict is… ALL OF OUR HEALTH TREND PREDICTIONS WERE ACCURATE AF. Christine Lusita, TV health expert and author of The Right Fit Formula, confirms that every single thing on this list was actually trendy in 2019. “We’re in a crucial time right now where we’re celebrating our individuality and building community,” she says, which is why short classes, apps, and gadgets gained popularity and helped us live our best lives this year. Wanna know just how sleepy we all were in 2019? MINDBODY’s senior director of research and product marketing, Amaya Weddle, Ph.D., adds that “60% of Americans say they’re frequently exhausted at work. Nearly 22% say they regularly nap in their cars during the week.” Vibes. Hence the need for more rest and self-therapy.
Speaking of self-care, I know I’m not the only one who watched slow-mo videos on Instagram of fitness influencers using percussion guns on their thighs and ass in the name of
engagement “post-workout therapy” (hello? Am I actually the only one?). The only trend Lusita thinks might be slightly off (BUT STILL RIGHT) is personal training, because that was “more popular with Gen X and boomers” (lol, ok boomers) than with millennials. But all of our other trends were, and I quote, “SPOT ON” and “great predictions by yourself and Betches.” Ugh, we’re like sooo smart.
We also predicted these weird af 2019 food trends:
- Fake meat snacks
- Avocado ice cream
Drum roll, please… Lisa Richards, nutritionist, author, and the creator of The Candida Diet, confirms we were *basically* ALSO TOTALLY RIGHT! “Fake meats have certainly become more popular as we close out 2019. While they’re not necessarily snack based, there are many restaurants and food manufacturers turning to plant-based proteins for burgers and other fake meat products,” says Richards. And if you need further evidence, just look at every single burger chain scrambling to get a version of The Impossible Burger up on their menu rn. Fats were a thing, too, but mainly for people who follow a Keto diet. “A focus on preventing inflammation and improving heart health has contributed to this focus on healthy fats as well.” She notes that seaweed had a “steady presence that wasn’t so large it would be considered a fad, but not too small that it wasn’t noticed.” Avocado ice cream was also prob at the bottom of the 2019 food trend list, but it was popular nonetheless. “The overall category of ice cream with non-dairy bases has certainly risen in popularity. Especially people with lactose issues can now find plant-based frozen desserts made of coconut, almond, oat, cashew bases,” adds Joy Wang, RDN with Sun Basket. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by lactose. *raises hand*
Anyway. See??? Right. Always. Can’t wait to show this to the next person who doubts me. Maybe I should quit my day job and become a fortune teller.
2020 Health & Food Trend Predictions
We’re too tired from being right all the time, so we’re not doing a full-length 2020 trend predictions list this year. BUT, because we’re also really nice, here’s a preview of some health and food trends to come after the ball drops.
Weddle claims that fitness streaming services like Peloton (despite that tragic holiday commercial) and more sleep will continue to reign supreme in the new year, including an emphasis on… wait for it… NAPS. “We’re seeing the demand for nap bars and nap pods is growing. In fact, 54% of us want to try nap bars for some midday Zs.” SIGN ME TF UP FOR A NAP BAR. (Sorry for yelling, I’m just very enthusiastic about this trend.) In addition to fermented foods like kimchi, Uber predicts (based on what people were ordering off Uber Eats this year) that starfruit, cold brew, udon, bone broth, oat milk, and Impossible burgers are going to spike in popularity in 2020. I mean, I just Uber Eats things like bagels and Gatorade when I’m hungover, but to each their own, I guess.
Finally, according to Lusita, “we’re going to see an increase in more ‘fun’ related workouts that build community, spirit, and all the feels,” as well as an increase in a more individualized approach toward food and fitness. Think wellness and nutrition coaching, mindful exercise, intuitive eating, and at-home workouts with MIRROR and Hydrow. Health and wealth, here we come!
Here for it. Maybe 2020 is the year I’ll finally eat right and pick up a dumbbell or two. Prob not tho. Who needs to workout when you can predict the future? Not us!
Images: Brenda Godinez / Unsplash, GIPHY (2)
Another week, another hookup horror story. This week’s latest awkward sex from U Up? will definitely make you feel better about your own hookups and relationships—yeah, it’s that insane. Let’s dive in.
Hey J and J,
Love the podcast! It makes me feel I have a superpower for understanding the male mind. All my friends totally love all of the unsolicited advice I give them about their love lives now.
I know y’all have gotten a few sleep talking awkward sex moments but this one was way more than talking. I have a once-or-twice-a-year booty call thing with a guy I dated for 2-3 months a couple of years ago. Last night he came over and after hooking up, he fell asleep immediately (Like every guy).
Like. Every. Guy. Lol. No after sex spoon sesh? Not even a kiss goodnight?
I knew from our previous hook ups that he has some really weird sleep habits – twitching, flaying his arms, sleep talking etc – and so I was having a hard time sleeping next to him.
Brennan? Dale? Is that you?
In the middle of the night, he rolled over and was like “I want you to sit on my face right now.” I said “what?” And he said it again and kind of pulled me up on top of him and he started going for it. I was up there for a minute or so but something was just a little weird and I was like what the fuck it’s 4 am I’m going to sleep. So, I … um… dismounted and he immediately did the twitching thing that he does in his sleep.
This may be the funniest part of this whole situation. Not the fact that in his sleep he wants her to sit on his face, but the fact that she didn’t realize it was weird until after the fact.
I thought he had just fallen back asleep really fast. A few mins later he rolled over so that we were spooning and he started talking about how he wanted to have sex with me. He was kind of trying to but not really, so I started to think he was sleep talking. I told him that I wanted to go to sleep (obviously I have moral qualms about having sex with someone who is asleep even if they are asking for it haha) and he rolled back over.
Is it that obvious? I mean you sat on his face a few minutes ago??
Then – for his grand finale- he turns to me and goes “hey I love you and I’m sorry about Saturday.” I looked at him like he was crazy and he grabbed my face and repeated it again: “I LOVE you and I’m so sorry about Saturday!” He 100% does not love me so that was definitely confirmation that he was still asleep. Who knows who he was actually dreaming about!
I love how she calls this the “grand finale.” I find that hilarious. At this point in the night, I would be laughing so hard I would wake him up and tell him about all the weird sh*t he’s put me through that night, then have him call me an Uber home.
I asked him in the morning if he remembered the middle of the night romp and he had no clue what I was talking about so I think he was asleep for the whole thing. Maybe he has sex insomnia which I’m pretty sure I heard once about on Law & Order: SVU? Obviously I didn’t tell him that he told me he loved me because I knew he’d think I was fully insane. I can’t believe he could literally eat me out in his sleep, but the “I love you” thing makes me sure he was out cold.
I WISH this girl asked him questions the next day, or at least told him everything that happened.
Hope this makes y’all laugh! I’d love to know if you think this is even possible!
Also the phrase “wake up sleepy pussy” was involved somehow? 🥴🤢
What would you call this?
The Night Rider? Dream Girl? Night of the Living Head?
I actually laughed out loud to this letter. If someone ever said these things to me in their sleep, I would be concerned and uncomfy…100% a deal-breaker for me.
Find out what Jordana and Jared thinks about this on the latest episode of the U Up? podcast.
Images: Adi Goldstein / Unsplash
Is it just me, or do people literally never crave salad when they’re really hungry? Like, if I haven’t eaten since lunch and it’s rolling on 9pm (I eat dinner late, sue me), I am never hunting around for a big-ass bowl of mixed greens. If “you are what you eat” is true, then I’m a Domino’s thin-crust cheese pizza, and I’m honestly fine with that. Here’s the thing, though: in the decades that have passed since that ridiculous phrase was coined, we’ve come a long way. And by “we,” I mean the nutritionists and doctors of the world. That’s because what you eat is not the only important factor in your diet. Sounds fake, but it’s true, at least according to Dr. Michael Crupain.
Dr. Michael Crupain, medical director at The Dr. Oz Show and author of What to Eat When, believes that it’s not only about what you eat; it’s also about when you eat. Thank the f*cking lord. I spoke to Dr. Crupain about why timing is so important in your diet. So if you tend to feel hungry before bed and always reach for the bag of pretzels, read on!
Does When You Eat Matter As Much As What You Eat?
Simply put, yes. They both matter a lot because, according to Dr. Crupain, “it has to do with something called our circadian rhythm. That is our body’s internal clock, which is set by the sun. We often think about it as important for sleep, and it is, but it also helps regulate all the systems in our body including our metabolism.” And our metabolisms actually change throughout the day. Did anyone else know that? I sure as f*ck didn’t!
In layman’s terms, our bodies generally expect a lot of high-quality food earlier in the day and less food in the evenings. “When you eat a big meal at night,” explains Dr. Crupain, “you throw a wrench into the whole system, and instead of burning fat you are more likely to store it.” Ah, so that explains the bloat I wake up with, that part of me worries is an actual baby bump at this point. So if you don’t want to massively confuse your body, don’t have your pesto pasta right before you plan on passing out. However, this does not mean that you can’t eat before bed. Like, sometimes, I am so hungry that my body won’t let me sleep until I feed it something edible. More on this in a moment.
What Foods Should We Eat/Avoid?
If you’re aiming to live a healthy and clean lifestyle, which, like, same, eat the good stuff like whole grains, healthy fats, lean fish (salmon), seeds, and veggies. This applies at any time of day. So if you’re mad hungry right before bed, spread some mashed avocado on a seeded cracker and, boom, you’ve got yourself a healthy snack that will actually help you fall asleep without f*cking up your metabolism. Eating a low-energy food before bed helps regulate blood sugar levels that usually drop while you sleep.
Dr. Crupain also notes one thing we all already know but refuse to accept: “The most important foods to avoid are ultra-processed ones that are loaded with sugar. Also skip fried foods and a lot of red meat.” Look, cheeseburgers are my best friends and I will never fully give them up, but after talking to Dr. Crupain, I will def limit my Shake Shack intake because it is slowly killing me. *Cries quietly* Baby steps, though, right?
When Should You Have Your Largest Meal And Why?
Has anyone ever heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” Lol, I joke. We are all too familiar with that phrase. Dr. Crupain says that the jury is actually out on this but, “what we do know is that breakfast and lunch combined are the most important meals of the day because that is when your metabolism is expecting you to eat and is best able to process that food. We recommend that you make breakfast and lunch your largest meals of the day and dinner the smallest. Ideally, you should eat when the sun is shining and get 75% of your calories in before 3pm.”
*Pauses to perform elementary-level math* I mean, this makes sense given that your metabolism is hard at work during the day and not as much while you sleep. I, however, have been doing the literal opposite of this since graduating college. I have coffee for breakfast, then the chicken and cheese from my salad for lunch, and an enormous dinner every damn day. Where has Dr. Crupain been all my life?! Since speaking with him, I’ve started waking up earlier to have a legit breakfast that ranges from avo toast to Purely Elizabeth granola with bananas and a lunch that consists of actually eating the greens in my salad. Adjusting to dinners that aren’t Michael Phelps-sized has been hard, but I have found that I’m sleeping a lot better and haven’t looked super bloated in the mornings! Speaking of sleep…
What’s The Best Type Of Food To Eat For A Good Night’s Sleep?
“For specific foods that can help you sleep, studies show that eating a lot of saturated fat and sugar can interfere with the ability to fall asleep, while foods like whole grains and fish can make falling asleep easier. In a pinch, some research suggests that kiwis and tart cherry juice can help people fall asleep,” I’m not a huge fan of kiwis, but I’d be down to try tart cherry juice because that just sounds delicious
and like it’d be a great mixer.
So there you have it, everyone. What you eat is important, but so is when you eat. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should start eating Chipotle for breakfast, it just means maybe don’t have Chipotle for dinner if you eat dinner at 9pm. Of course, everyone’s bodies are different, but it’s safe to assume that having a heavy and enormous meal before bed will not work for you if you want quality sleep and a healthy gut.
Images: Giphy (4); Unsplash
In today’s episode of “Bad News to Our Waistlines”, science has just found that our cellphones could be making us gain weight. To get specific, it’s the type of light being emitted from our cellphone screens that’s at fault and not our dependence on Postmates and GrubHub at 3am—although I suspect that could play a role.
This scientific study from the University of Strasbourg and the University of Amsterdam was presented earlier this month at a conference in the Netherlands. The study was based on the premise that blue light from LED screens found on our phones, laptops, and tablets have an impact on the areas of the brain that regulate appetite. The retinal sensitivity to these kinds of lights causes our bodies to send a message to our brain telling us to consume more sugar.
The study specifically looked at the effects of blue light exposure on diurnal rats (that are awake during the day and asleep at night, like humans—as opposed to regular rats, who are nocturnal). The rats were exposed to the blue light at night for one hour. The day after exposure, the rats were given options to choose between rodent food (standard, nutritionally balanced), water, lard, and sugar water. After the nights with exposure to blue light, the rats consumed more sugar compared to nights with no exposure. The light also seemed to alter their glucose tolerance.
There are a few things to consider. Because the rats were all males, the scientific study does not show if the outcome would be the same on female rats. The rats were also only tested on for one night, so we have a very short time period to work with. If these effects were repeated, then over time, the rats would experience weight gain and develop diabetes with exposure to blue light. Still, even given the limited scope of the results, the authors of the study recommend limiting the time spent in front of screens at night, using night mode on devices, and/or using blue light filtering goggles to lessen the impact of LED lights on our appetite.
Now while this study was conducted on rats, I do think the results send a message of the impact electronic devices have on our human bodies. The recommendation of limiting screen time and using blue light filtering apps and goggles make a lot of sense, not only in terms of appetite control, but also because previous studies have shown blue light impacts quality of sleep. There are more studies on the internet on blue light’s effects on sleep, so I did further research. I was able to discover that the shorter wavelengths in LED light affect our bodies’ ability to produce melatonin, which is the sleepy hormone. To connect the dots further, melatonin also directly effects weight gain/losses, in that it helps your body regulate leptin and adiponectin hormones. These two hormones regulate your appetite. So while the original study suggests that the appetite change is due to blue light affecting the appetite-regulating part of our brain, it could be possible that the blue light is also disrupting our bodies’ ability to create essential hormones.
Our parents and grandparents used to read a book (real, not electronic) before bed, whereas nowadays we’re scrolling through IG until we’re close to passing out. Turns out, they were on to something. Personally, I’m terrible at staying off the phone immediately before bed and immediately upon waking up. I am constantly laying down, reaching for my phone, which evidently is not the healthiest habit. With all this research on the negative impacts blue light has on our health, I will definitely be making a conscious effort to step back from the phone. Will you be lessening screen time with me? Sound off below, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Images: Giphy (2)
So much of fitness is divided into teams. We have Team Yoga vs. Team Bootcamp, Team Gyms vs. Team Outdoor, Team Workout Solo vs. Team Workout Class. Now, we have Team Early Risers vs. Team Night Owls. Some people will work out early in the morning, while others find they put their best effort in later in the day or even late at night. Today, I’m going to break down the pros and cons of working out in the morning and at night that I have found in science and from personal experience. As always, I’ll let you decide what is best for your routine.
Team Early Riser
There was a time where I would wake up at 4:45am for a 5am workout. That was because I would have to leave the house by 7am to drop my dog off at daycare then head to an 8:30am class at school, go train morning clients, come back to school for a 3pm class, go train afternoon clients, then come back to school again for lab at 7pm. I would then pick up my dog at 9:30pm from daycare, then get home around 10:30pm. This schedule, or different but equally long variants of it, comprised my entire work week. Talk about a schedule from HELL. The only reason I did 5am workouts was because I had no other choice. I applaud people who do this voluntarily, truly. And it seems like they might be onto something.
Studies have shown that those who exercise early in the morning make better food choices throughout the day by lowering neural response to food, and another study shows that exercise during a fasted state results in improved muscular adaptations. I will say, though, that if you’re not used to working out while in a fasted state, you will not feel as strong as you normally do when you’re adjusting to this new routine. Be careful of feeling dizzy or nauseous, and take it a little lighter for the first few early morning sessions. You might feel extra tired, even though you’re doing less work.
For me, the first couple of weeks, waking up seemed impossible, but over time, I adjusted. It felt great to get it out of the way and not have to worry about cramming it in somehow. As a trainer, I also worked better when I knew I had already done my work. From personal experience, my most committed and consistent clients were the ones who exercised earlier in the day as opposed to my afternoon or evening clients. They were the rockstars. When you think about it, it makes sense—you’re working out before anyone has a chance to throw your day off track, so whatever happens, at least you got that workout in.
Morning workouts get points for easing up the rest of your day’s schedule and setting the right tone for the rest of your day. It may also help you get to your fitness goals faster by better utilizing fat stores in a fasted state, although there are contradicting studies, so the jury is still out on this.
Team Night Owl
I work out best, weight-lifting wise, in the afternoon or evening. Let me have some food in me, let me get some other work done for a bit, run some errands—or, in L.A., just be in the car long enough to build up some angst and anger—and I unwind at the gym.
Studies have shown that you’re naturally stronger and mentally more prepared for exercise later in the day, which could really help you in lifting heavier and longer or sprinting faster. Your body is actually more capable of increased endurance training during this time as well, so these benefits aren’t only limited to resistance training. I find this to be true in practice—I am able to really work during these afternoon workouts because my body is already up and ready to go. There’s no getting eye boogers out, no hitting the snooze button. Because of this, I am usually more sore after an evening all-out effort workout than morning sessions where I’m still tired, lifting too heavy makes me dizzy, and I’m wishing I was back in bed.
While I am an afternoon/evening exerciser nowadays (those 5am days are long gone—the earliest I’ll do is 7am when I first wake up), I will say the temptation to skip a workout in the afternoon or evening is greater. The day goes on and maybe things come up that leave you too drained to even imagine setting foot in a gym, or Netflix just ends up sounding like a wayyy better idea.
Evening workouts are great if you’re really looking for an extra oomph to put into your workouts. Your body (and let’s face it, mind and mood) are more prepared to really put the pedal to the medal a little later on in the day. It can also help you ease off a particularly stressful day at work.
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Here’s the thing: the end of a workout feels like a relief no matter what time you’re done with it. Do what works for your schedule and choose whatever time makes exercise less of a chore for you. The end goal here is that you can stick to doing this for a long time. So whether that’s crossing exercise off the to-do list first thing in the morning, or giving yourself some time to ease yourself into the mindset, everyone has their preference. I will say if you’re more likely to dip on a workout, then just get it out of the way in the morning, but if you’re really looking to put in that work or let off some steam, then wait until your body is already fueled and warmed up from the day. Sometimes, you gotta just get it in where you can fit it in, honey, so you might be all over the board, and if that’s the case, give yourself a round of applause for not letting anything get in the way of you and your workout. All that matters is creating a routine that works for you, whether that’s morning, evening, or a mix of both.
Please note: If you’re training for something particular, such as a marathon, you should train the same time as that event. You want to keep your body’s routine the same and amplify that routine (optimize the body’s circadian rhythm), so don’t mix it up with training in the evening if your marathon is set to start at 8am. You want your body to be used to and basically, totally trained, at running at 8am.
I would love to hear what time of day you prefer to exercise and why. Sound off below!
Images: Unsplash; @dietstartstomorrow (3)/ Instagram