17 Proven Ways to Get a Better Night's Sleep
A good night's sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Here are 17 evidence-based tips to sleep better at night:
1. Increase Bright Light Exposure During The Day
In patients with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83 percent (19).
A similar study in the elderly found 2 hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by 2 hours and sleep efficiency by 80 percent (20).
To date, most of the research is in patients with severe sleep issues. However, even if you have average sleep, daily light exposure will most likely help improve it.
You can achieve this by getting daily sunlight exposure or, if this is not practical, invest in an artificial bright light device or bulbs.
2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
Again, this is due to its impact on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep (23, 24).
Blue light is the worst in this regard, which is emitted in large amounts from electronic devices like smartphones and computers.
There are several popular methods you can use to reduce nighttime blue light exposure. These include:
- Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
- Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for iPhones and Android phones.
- Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
Read more here: How Blocking Blue Light at Night Can Transform Your Sleep.
Bottom Line: Blue light tricks your body into thinking it's daytime. There are several ways you can reduce blue light exposure in the evening.
3. Don't Consume Caffeine Late in the Day
However, when consumed late in the day, the stimulation of your nervous system may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
In one study, consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality (34).
Caffeine can stay elevated in the blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you are caffeine sensitive or have trouble sleeping (31, 35).
If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, then stick with decaffeinated coffee.
Bottom Line: Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if large amounts are consumed in the late afternoon or evening.
4. Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime Naps
While short “power naps" have been proven beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep.
In one study, participants actually ended up being more sleepy during the day after taking daytime naps (37).
Another study found that while napping for 30 minutes or less can enhance daytime brain function, longer naps can negatively affect health and sleep quality (38).
However, some studies have shown that those who are used to taking regular daytime naps did not suffer from poor quality or disrupted sleep at night.
Bottom Line: The effects of daytime naps depend on the individual. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.
5. Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times
Your body's circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid in sleep quality in the long-term (42).
One study found those who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep (43).
If you struggle with sleep, try to get in a habit of waking up and going to bed at a similar time each day and night. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
Bottom Line: Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle, especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day.
6. Take a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that signals your brain when it's time to relax and head to bed (46).
A melatonin supplement is an extremely popular aid to fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality.
In one study, 2 mg of melatonin before bed improved sleep quality and energy the next day and helped people fall asleep faster. Another study found half the participants fell asleep faster and had a 15 percent improvement in sleep quality (48, 49).
Additionally, no withdrawal effects were reported in either of the above studies.
Melatonin is also useful when traveling and adjusting to a new timezone, as it helps your body's circadian rhythm return to normal (50).
In some countries, you need a prescription for melatonin. In others, melatonin is widely available in stores or online. Take around 1–5 mg, 30–60 minutes before bed.
Start with a low dose to assess your tolerance and then increase it slowly as needed. Since melatonin may alter brain chemistry, it is advised that you check with a medical professional before use.
Bottom Line: A melatonin supplement is an easy way to improve sleep quality and fall asleep faster. Take 1–5 mg, 30–60 minutes before heading to bed.
7. Consider These Other Supplements
Several supplements can induce relaxation and help you sleep, including:
- Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb with many benefits, it can aid in sleep, relaxation and stress reduction. Take 250 mg, 30–60 minutes before bed (51, 52).
- Glycine: A few studies have found that 3 grams of the amino acid glycine can improve sleep quality (53, 54, 55).
- Valerian root: This root is backed by several studies that show it can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality. Take 500 mg before bed (56, 57, 58).
- Magnesium: Responsible for more than 600 reactions within the body, studies show magnesium can improve relaxation and enhance sleep quality (59, 60, 61).
- L-Theanine: An amino acid, l-theanine can improve relaxation and sleep. Take 100–200 mg before heading to bed (62, 63, 64).
- Lavender: A powerful plant-based supplement with many health benefits, lavender can induce a calming and sedentary-like effect to improve sleep. Take 80–160 mg containing 25–46 percent linalool (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71).
Make sure to only try these supplements out one at a time. Of course, they are not a magic bullet for fixing sleep issues, but they can be useful when combined with some of the other tips in this article.
Bottom Line: Several supplements can help with relaxation and sleep quality. These can work well when combined with other strategies.
8. Don't Drink Alcohol
Drinking a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones.
Bottom Line: Avoid drinking alcohol before bed, as it can reduce nighttime melatonin production and lead to disrupted sleep patterns.
9. Optimize Your Bedroom Environment
Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night's sleep.
This can include aspects such as temperature, noise, furniture choice and arrangement, external lights and more (79).
One study investigating the bedroom environment of women found that around 50 percent of participants noticed improved sleep quality when reductions in noise and lighting were introduced (83).
To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place.
Bottom Line: Try to optimize your bedroom environment by eliminating external light and noise and making it a generally relaxing environment.
10. Set Your Bedroom Temperature
Body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly impact sleep quality.
As you may have experienced during the summer or when on vacation, it can be very hard to get a good night's sleep when it's too warm.
One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality even more than external noise (79).
Around 70 F or 20 C, seems to be a comfortable temperature for most people, although it always depends on your preferences and what you're used to.
Bottom Line: Test different temperatures to find out which is most comfortable for you. Around 70 F/20 C seems comfortable for most people.
11. Don't Eat Late in the Evening
That being said, a high-carb meal eaten a few hours before bedtime may help you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality.
This is likely due to its effect on the hormone tryptophan, which can make you feel tired (95).
Bottom Line: Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. However, eating carbs a few hours before bed may help.
12. Relax and Clear Your Mind in the Evening
Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.
In one study, a relaxing massage improved sleep quality in ill patients (102).
There are many strategies you could try, including listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, deep breathing and visualization.
Test different methods and find what works best for you.
Bottom Line: Relaxation techniques before bed can be useful and have even been used to treat insomnia.
13. Take a Relaxing Bath or Shower
A relaxing bath or shower is another popular way to sleep better.
In one study, a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped participants get greater amounts of deep sleep (104).
Bottom Line: A warm bath, shower or foot bath before bed can help you relax and improve your sleep quality.
14. Rule Out a Sleep Disorder
An underlying health condition may be the cause of your sleep problems.
This condition may be more common that you think. One review found that 24 percent of men and 9 percent of women had sleep apnea (110).
If you've always struggled with sleep, it may be wise to speak to a doctor about it.
Bottom Line: There are many common conditions that can cause poor sleep, including sleep apnea. See a doctor if poor sleep is a consistent problem in your life.
15. Get a Comfortable Bed, Mattress and Pillow
Some people wonder why they always sleep better in a hotel.
One study looked at the benefits of a new mattress for 28 days. They found it reduced back pain by 57 percent, shoulder pain by 60 percent, back stiffness by 59 percent and improved sleep quality by 60 percent (115).
It is recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 years.
If you haven't replaced your mattress or bedding for several years, this can be a very quick (although possibly expensive) fix (116).
Bottom Line: Research shows that your bed, mattress and pillow can greatly impact sleep quality and joint or back pain. Try to buy a high-quality mattress and bedding every 5–8 years.
16. Exercise Regularly, But Not Before Bed
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health.
One study in the elderly found that exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and helped them sleep 41 minutes longer at night (125).
In insomnia patients with severe issues, exercise provided more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55 percent, total night awake time by 30 percent, anxiety by 15 percent and increased total sleep time by 18 percent (127).
Although daily exercise is key for a good night's sleep, performing it too late in the day may also cause problems falling asleep for some people.
This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine or adrenaline. However, some studies show no detrimental effects, so it clearly depends on the individual (128, 129, 130).
Bottom Line: Regular exercise during daylight hours is one of the best ways to ensure a good night's sleep.
17. Don't Drink Any Liquids Before Bed
Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.
Although hydration is vitally important, it is wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.
Try not to drink any fluids 1–2 hours before going to bed.
You should also make sure to use the bathroom right before going to bed, which may decrease your chances of waking in the night.
Bottom Line: Reduce fluid intake in the late evening and try to use the bathroom right before bed.
Take Home Message
Sleep plays a key role in your health.
One large review found that insufficient sleep increases obesity risk by 89 percent in children and 55 percent in adults (133).
If you are interested in optimal health and well-being, then you should make sleep a top priority in your life.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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By Jill Joyce
Maybe you're trying to eat healthier these days, aiming to get enough of the good stuff and limit the less-good stuff. You're paying attention to things like fiber and fat and vitamins … and anti-nutrients?
What Are Anti-Nutrients?<p><a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/anti-nutrients/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Anti-nutrients are substances</a> that naturally occur in plant and animal foods.</p><p>The name comes from how they function in your body once you eat them. They <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/antinutrients" target="_blank">block or interfere with how your body</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1631/jzus.B0710640" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">absorbs other nutrients</a> out of your gut and into your bloodstream so you can then use them. Thus, anti-nutrients may decrease the amount of nutrients you actually get from your food. They most commonly interfere with the absorption of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2016.09.025" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc</a>.</p><p>Plants evolved these <a href="https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070111p54.shtml" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">compounds as a defensive mechanism</a> against insects, parasites, bacteria and fungi. For example, some anti-nutrients can cause a food to taste bitter; animals won't want to eat it, leaving the seed, for instance, to provide nourishment for future seedlings. Some anti-nutrients block the digestion of seeds that are eaten. The seeds disperse when they come out the other end in the animal's fecal matter and can go on to grow new plants. Both of these survival tactics help the plant species grow and spread.</p><p><span></span>In terms of foods that people eat, you'll most commonly find anti-nutrients naturally occurring in whole grains and legumes.</p>
Time for an Image Makeover as Health Enhancers<p>Despite sounding scary, studies show that anti-nutrients are not of concern unless consumed in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcs.2014.01.010" target="_blank">ultra, unrealistically high amounts</a> – and they have numerous health benefits.</p><p>Anti-nutrients are currently undergoing a change in image very similar to the one dietary fiber experienced. At one point, scientists thought dietary fiber was bad for people. Since fiber could bind to nutrients and pull them out of the digestive tract in poop, it seemed like something to avoid. To address this perceived issue, grain processing in the late 1800s removed fiber from foods.</p><p>But now scientists know that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x" target="_blank">dietary fiber is incredibly important</a> and encourage its consumption. Eating plenty of fiber lowers the risks of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some gastrointestinal diseases.</p><p>In the same way, rather than something to avoid, many anti-nutrients are now considered health-promoting nutraceuticals and functional foods due to their numerous benefits. Here's an introduction to some of the most frequently eaten anti-nutrients that come with benefits:</p><ul><li><a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/109662004322984734" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Saponins, common in legumes</a>, can boost the immune system, reduce risk of cancer, lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar response to foods, result in fewer cavities, reduce risk of kidney stones and combat blood clotting seen in heart attacks and strokes.</li><li><a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcs.2014.01.010" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Lectins, found in cereal grains and legumes</a>, are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers and becoming overweight or obese.</li><li><a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10408699891274273" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Tannins, commonly found in teas, coffees and processed meats and cheeses</a>, are antioxidants that can inhibit growth of bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast and may decrease cholesterol levels and blood pressure.</li><li><a href="https://doi.org/10.1631/jzus.B0710640" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Phytates, found in wheat, barley, rice and corn</a>, are associated with increased immune function and cancer cell death, as well as reduced cancer cell growth and spread. They also have antioxidant properties and can reduce inflammation.</li><li>Finally, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1024/0300-9822.214.171.124" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">glucosinates, found in brassica vegetables</a> like cauliflower, inhibit tumor cell growth.</li></ul><p>Oxalates are one of the few anti-nutrients with mostly negative impacts on the body. They are <a href="https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aa166321" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">found in lots of common foods</a>, including legumes, beets, berries, cranberries, oranges, chocolate, tofu, wheat bran, soda, coffee, tea, beer, dark green vegetables and sweet potatoes. The negative impacts of oxalates include binding to calcium in the digestive tract and removing it from the body in bowel movements. Oxalates can also <a href="https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aa166321" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">increase the risk of kidney stones</a> in some people.</p>
Fitting Anti-Nutrients Into a Healthy Diet<p>Overall, comparing the benefits to the drawbacks, anti-nutrient pros actually outweigh the cons. The healthy foods that contain them – mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes – should be encouraged not avoided.</p><p>Anti-nutrients become a concern only if these foods are consumed in ultra-high amounts, <a href="https://www.ars.usda.gov/research/project/?accnNo=426312" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">which is very unlikely</a> for most adults and children in the U.S. Additionally, a large proportion of anti-nutrients are removed or lost from foods people eat <a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/anti-nutrients/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as they're processed and cooked</a>, especially if soaking, blanching, boiling or other high-heat processes are involved.</p><p>Vegetarians and vegans may be at higher risk of negative effects from anti-nutrients because their diet relies heavily on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. But these <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2016.09.025" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">plant-based diets are still among the healthiest</a> and are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and numerous types of cancers.</p><p>Vegetarians and vegans can take a few steps to help counteract anti-nutrients' effects on their absorption of particular nutrients:</p><ul><li>Pair high iron <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/130.5.1378S" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">and zinc</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.afnr.2014.11.003" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">foods with</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/59.5.1233S" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">foods high in vitamin C</a> (examples: meatballs with tomato sauce, tomato-based chili with beans).</li><li><a href="https://www.jblearning.com/catalog/productdetails/9780763779764?jblsearch" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Soak legumes before cooking</a>.</li><li><a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/70.3.543s" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Time dairy intake</a> such that it is not always paired with high oxalate foods.</li><li>Purchase dairy products that are fortified with calcium.</li><li>Consider a multivitamin-mineral supplement with about 100% of the daily recommended dose of nutrients (check the nutrition facts panel) as nutrition insurance if you are worried, but be sure to talk to your doctor first.<em></em></li></ul><p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jill-joyce-1172925" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Jill Joyce</a> is an assistant professor of Public Health Nutrition at Oklahoma State University.</em></p><p><em>Disclosure statement: Jill Joyce does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/anti-nutrients-theyre-part-of-a-normal-diet-and-not-as-scary-as-they-sound-149229" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>
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Toxins enter the body through what we eat, drink, breathe in, and process in any way. Once inside, toxins overtax our immune system and detoxification system and leave us more vulnerable to illness — not ideal during cold and flu season, and especially not this year during a pandemic — and make us age a little faster, too.
1. Source Your Food Wisely<p>Try to stay away from packaged and processed foods that contain ingredients you can't pronounce, and instead reach for fresh food from natural sources. Aim to make vegetables more than 50% of your daily diet — their fiber is a great natural binder, and they're full of beneficial <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/the-case-of-the-missing-phytochemicals-and-how-to-get-them-back" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">phytochemicals</a> — and minimize your red meat consumption.</p><p>Also, whenever practical, choose <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/how-to-eat-organic-without-spending-a-fortune" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">organic</a> over conventional products. That said, we know organic prices and accessibility can be an issue, so for help making strategic decisions, refer to the <a href="https://www.ewg.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Environmental Working Group</a> (EWG) "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" lists:</p><h3>The Dirty Dozen:</h3><ol><li>Strawberries</li><li>Spinach</li><li>Kale</li><li>Nectarines</li><li>Apples</li><li>Grapes</li><li>Peaches</li><li>Cherries</li><li>Pears</li><li>Tomatoes</li><li>Celery</li><li>Potatoes</li><li>Raisins*</li></ol><p><em>(*While raisins aren't technically a fresh food, the EWG found that they are "one of the dirtiest produce commodities on the market — and even some organic raisins are contaminated.")</em></p><h3>The Clean Fifteen</h3><ol><li>Avocado</li><li>Sweet corn</li><li>Pineapple</li><li>Onion</li><li>Papaya</li><li>Frozen sweet peas</li><li>Eggplant</li><li>Asparagus</li><li>Cauliflower</li><li>Cantaloupe</li><li>Broccoli</li><li>Mushrooms</li><li>Cabbage</li><li>Honeydew</li><li>Kiwi</li></ol>
2. Consider Detoxifying and Immune-Boosting Herbs<p>There are a number of herbs and natural ingredients that can help support detoxification and immune health. Here are the ones at the top of Dr. Rawls' list:</p><p><span></span><strong>Chlorella:</strong> This nutrient-rich freshwater algae binds to toxins so they can be eliminated from your body more efficiently. Chlorella works particularly well for withdrawing heavy metals. Pure chlorella can be purchased in the form of bulk powder, tablets, or capsules.</p><p><strong><a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/milk-thistle" target="_blank">Milk Thistle</a>:</strong> It's been used for thousands of years to support a healthy liver, the primary organ responsible for detoxification.</p><p><strong>Dandelion:</strong> Known to help support liver function, research suggests <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/dandelion-extract" target="_blank">dandelion</a> helps promote the body's natural detoxification and elimination processes.</p><p><strong>Bitters:</strong> <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/the-impressive-health-benefits-of-bitter-foods" target="_blank">Bitter</a> flavors are important to digestion — they stimulate the release of the saliva, enzymes, and bile that help break down your food. Include bitter herbs and foods in each meal, or take a botanical extract that blends bitter herbs like dandelion root, burdock root, orange peel, and gentian root</p><p><strong>Reishi mushroom:</strong> An extensively studied adaptogenic mushroom, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/reishi" target="_blank">reishi</a> has exceptional immunomodulating and antiviral properties. It helps normalize <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/are-you-inflammaging-how-to-stop-the-inflammation-that-speeds-up-aging" target="_blank">inflammatory</a> cytokines and promotes healthy immune response against threatening <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/the-immortal-life-of-your-microbiome" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">microbes</a>.</p><p><strong>Rhodiola:</strong> Another adaptogen, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/rhodiola" target="_blank">rhodiola</a> improves stress tolerance by reducing fatigue, supporting energy levels, and improving tissue oxygenation.</p><p><span></span><strong><a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/turmeric" target="_blank">Turmeric</a>:</strong> This popular spice is well loved for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.</p><p><strong>Shilajit:</strong> An herbo-mineral adaptogen, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/shilajit" target="_blank">shilajit</a> has a long history of use in traditional Indian medicine for longevity and strength. It's also an immunomodulator with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.</p><p><strong>Gotu Kola:</strong> Best known for improving memory and mood, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/gotu-kola" target="_blank">gotu kola</a> is also great for promoting a normal response to inflammation, balancing stress hormones, and supporting circulation.</p>
3. Filter Your Water<p>Much of America's tap water has been shown to contain pollutants, so filtering what comes out of your kitchen sink is smart. To be sure you're using a filter that does the trick, keep these guidelines in mind:</p><ul><li>Look for a filter certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association.</li><li>Choose one that removes the contaminants in your water (check your local drinking water quality report to see what's present).</li><li>Change your water filters on time.</li></ul>
4. Choose Safe and Effective Cleaning Supplies<p>When buying household cleaning products, don't bring home chemicals that could harm your health more than some of the microbes you're trying to get rid of. Fortunately, there are a number of products on the market that work safely; here are some ways to shop wisely:</p><ul><li>Look for the Green Seal, Ecologo, or Safer Choice (EPA) seals.</li><li>Opt for fragrance-free options.</li><li>Avoid triclosan and quaternary ammonium compounds or "quats." (One tactic is to choose products that don't advertise as "antibacterial.")</li><li>Consult the EWG's list of <a href="https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2020/03/16-effective-and-safe-products-guard-against-coronavirus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">safe and effective products</a> for guarding against coronavirus.</li></ul>
5. Opt for Non-Toxic Beauty and Personal Care Products<p>There are a lot of claims made on beauty and self-care products these days, but words alone, like "natural," "organic," "non-toxic," "clean," "green," and "eco-friendly," don't mean a thing — they aren't backed by any sort of regulatory or certification processes. Instead, to find non-toxic products you trust, you have to do a little research.</p><p>Start by checking reputable ratings databases like <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Skin Deep</a> (EWG) and <a href="https://www.thinkdirtyapp.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Think Dirty</a>. Another good bet: Look for reliable third-party certifications on products labels, including:</p><ul><li>USDA Organic</li><li>EWG Verified</li><li>Made Safe</li><li>NSF/ANSI 305</li><li>Natural Products Association Certified</li><li>Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care</li></ul>
6. Get Outside<p>One more reason to <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/how-to-feel-great-and-boost-longevity-in-just-17-minutes-a-day" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">get outdoors</a> beyond combatting cabin fever: The air in natural environments is generally much cleaner than indoor air. For one, outdoor air contains ⅔ less carbon dioxide, high levels of which negatively affect our productivity, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/natural-sleep-aids" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">sleep</a>, and more.</p><p>Forest air in particular contains phytoncides, organic compounds emitted by trees and plants that have been shown to boost our immune system function, plus plants in general help neutralize toxic substances in the air. Forests, open spaces, and open water are also rich in negative ions, which reduce inflammation.</p><p>So take your pick of natural environs, and get out there as often as possible — while still maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, of course.</p>
7. Bring Nature Indoors<p>Plants are natural air purifiers, so bringing some plants indoors can help clear the air in your home. Here's a list of the top 10 air-purifying plants to consider:</p><ul><li>Areca palm</li><li>Lady palm</li><li>Bamboo palm</li><li>Rubber plant</li><li>Dracaena</li><li>English ivy</li><li>Dwarf date palm</li><li>Ficus</li><li>Boston fern</li><li>Peace lily</li></ul>
8. Drive Less, Move More<p>Staying off the roads decreases air pollution, and the fact that many of us are driving less these days is noticeably improving air quality. If your commute is on hold, try to translate some of your usual travel time into getting more physical activity, or sneak in more movement between other normal routines.</p><p>Exercise improves circulation, oxygenates your tissues, and enhances the work of the lymphatic system through muscle contractions — all of which make it easier to move toxins out of your body.</p>
9. Practice Forgiveness<p>Through the practice of gratitude, we stay centered and in the present moment. This allows us to move through situations from our heart. Take time to forgive someone or yourself for things in the past. When we forgive, we expand and open up to endless possibilities.</p>
10. Quit a Bad Habit<p>Are you a smoker? Pack rat? Chronically sleep-deprived? In a bad relationship? Toxins come into our lives in many forms. Consider if you're participating in any unhealthy patterns or holding onto anything that no longer serves you, and then find a way to limit those things in your life.</p>
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