These are 12 things that improved my health/life/well-being significantly.
There are some technology involved, foods, and habits.
It may be a lot to incorporate all of it at once, but if you make it a point to do add one to your routine every day for a week you’ll be a healthier, happier person in less than 90 days.
1. Night Shift
This is an option on your iPhone (I’m sure it’s on Android as well) to remove the blue light from the screen. This is important because before the advent of modern fluorescent lighting our main exposure to blue spectrum light was from the sun during the morning and midday.
Blue light wakes us up in the morning and disrupts the production of melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone). This is the reason work lighting is so “white”. But in ancient times as the sun went down it shifted towards the red end of the spectrum just like the color of a fire. This signaled to our bodies it was nearly bedtime so melatonin production would ramp up.
Minimizing your exposure to blue light 1-3 hours before you intend to sleep ensures you fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly. Give it a shot.
This computer program does the same thing as “night shift” for your desktop/laptop.
This program can be set to automatically shift the blue light out at times that you set. You won’t even notice it soon, but your body will thank you.
3. Sleep Cycle
The first two tips help you get to sleep and stay asleep.
But what about waking up?
Are you someone that hits the snooze button over and over just to finally get up feeling like you didn’t get enough sleep?
Sleep cycle is an alarm app but what makes it special is that it will wake you in a 30-minute window.
You plug it into the wall, put it face down on your bed, and it measures what stage of the sleep cycle you are in. Then it decides the time you are in the lightest stage of sleep leading up to your set alarm time and wakes you gently. This is important because although you may get less total sleep time you will wake up feeling more rested.
I’ve had a neti pot for a few years now. It’s a necessity in Tallahassee with the obscene amount of pollen we get.
If you aren’t familiar with a neti pot it’s like a little tea kettle that you put salty water into and pour it through your nose. It goes in one side and pours out the other nostril.
The magic is that it clears your sinus cavity of foreign particles and most importantly boogers(yea I said it). You haven’t lived until you’ve had perfectly clear sinus passages every day.
The shortcoming of traditional neti pots is that they rely on gravity, and if your nose is already stuffed up it won’t allow the water to flow through.
The nasopure fixes this because it is a plastic squeeze bottle that forces the solution through your nose. I haven’t had a stuffy nose in the 6 months I’ve been using the nasopure. That’s a lifetime record.
Booch is my best friend’s endearing term for kombucha.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink–a few steps short of beer. It’s naturally effervescent (it has some bubbles like soda), a very small % of alcohol (but still considered non-alcoholic), and chock full of probiotics.
It made the list because it promotes gut health. Science is learning that gut health, the myriad of bacteria and life in your gastrointestinal tract, is incredibly important for your overall health.
Excessive alcohol consumption, antibiotics, and sickness can wreck your gut health. Fermented foods, probiotics, and kombucha can help restore balance.
Kombucha can take a little getting used to. Try different flavors until you find the one you like. My go-to’s are Kevita’s Pineapple-Peach (contains caffeine) and Synergy’s Trilogy (caffeine free). It’s a healthy, tasty alternative to soda.
6. Drink WAter, BUT NOT TOO MUCH
Everyone knows they need to drink more water. But how much is enough?
General recommendations are between 64-128oz a day, but there is a better way to gauge how much you need. The better way is to look at the color of your pee.
Until recently I always thought if my urine was perfectly clear I was well-hydrated, but only recently did I learn that wasn’t true.
Clear urine means you are over-hydrated. This isn’t bad for your health, but it can mean you’re taking an annoying level of bathroom breaks. It can interrupt your sleep and if you are waking up to pee more than once a night (I was having this problem) you may be drinking too much water.
Aim for a slightly yellow color instead of perfectly clear.
7. INCREASE YOUR FIBER INTAKE
I’m guilty of low fiber intake, and you may be too. When most people these days change their diet they inadvertently cut out a lot of their fiber intake. It turns out most fruits and vegetables aren’t phenomenal sources of fiber, and with the popularity of paleo/keto/grain-free diets we’ve cut out a lot of fiber.
I looked in my fridge last week at kale, mixed green salad, baby carrots, and small bell peppers to see what the fiber content for a serving of each was. I was shocked to see each vegetable only had 2g of dietary fiber per serving. I thought for certain 2.5 cups of kale would be tons of fiber, but it wasn’t.
The RDA for women is up to 25g of fiber per day, and men should intake up to 38g.
You can add a fiber supplement in, but it’s best to start eating more legumes (beans, peas, lentils). They have 10-15g of fiber per serving–way more than most vegetables. You will notice it’s much easier to “go” and much easier cleaning up when you get more fiber every day.
This is something I picked up from Tim Ferriss’ book “Tools of Titans”. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a journal that takes 5 minutes per day. Half in the morning, and half at night before bed.
A lot of the things on this list are about your physical well-being while this tip is aimed at your mental well-being, and I promise those two things are closely connected.
It’s a simple mindfulness exercise that helps you with habit forming, behavioral change, and reflection. Name three things that you hope happen today, three things you appreciate and three things you want to affirm about yourself. End the day by expressing gratitude for three things that did happen today and three things that could have gone better.
9. Walk More
They recommend 10,000 steps, but there’s no hard science backing it up.
What does science say? Walk more. More is better. 10,000 is a good amount of walking, and it constitutes a great target.
But no matter how much you’re currently walking just walk more. Put on some headphones, turn on an audiobook, leash the dog, and walk for 30 minutes.
It will promote mindfulness, burn some calories, and create your time.
10. Lift Weights for at Least 3 HOurs a Week
Three hours of strength training per week is the sweet spot for beginners. This would be the equivalent of three 1-hour full body training sessions per week and is exactly what you’ll find in The Seriously Strong Beginner Program.
Lifting weights builds muscle, burns fat, strengthens bones, improves balance, gives you a positive body image, prepares you for the rigors of daily life, improves sleep, and about a million other things.
If you aren’t already doing this download our free beginner program to get started.
11. Stop Taking Caffeine After Midday
Caffeine has a half-life (the time it takes for your body to get rid of half) of 5-6 hours.
This means caffeine will still course through your veins 10-12 hours after consumption. If you are struggling to fall asleep at night, or your rest isn’t restful, caffeine may be the culprit.
You may need caffeine to make it through the second half of your day, but part of that could be from poor sleep.
Fix your blue/red light issue, exercise more, clear your mind with the journal each night, cut out the caffeine late in the day, and your sleep will improve significantly.
12. Stop Drinking Diet Soda
It turns out artificial sweeteners do a lot of the bad things real sugar does. It can mess with your gut bacteria in a negative way, and it can cause you to consume more calories.
I was drinking 2-4 Coke Zero (I love coke zero) per day, and I didn’t realize how bad it was messing up my gut flora until I cut it out. I’ve replaced it with kombucha and sparkling water (like La Croix). I still get the fizzy drink I crave without all the negative effects of diet soda and artificial sweeteners.