Every quantum leap in the history of humankind can be traced back to the desire to innovate through improvement. From preserving and sharing information via the printing press, to bridging the gap – quite literally – with suspension bridges, and every incremental marvel in between, we’ve been busy giving rise to the quality of life. But what about the quality of YOUR life? The only reason we’ve advanced through the ages so swiftly, from creating the wheel to riding the one wheel, is because those pioneers of productivity took time to step away from the cares of the collective, and invest time in personal introspective and improvement.
September is Self Care and Self Improvement Month! We know you’re going to love and learn from this special installment of Lull’s Slumber Party Blog because it’s all about the one thing that can always benefit from more care – you. We’re so excited about this Top-10 list of Lifehacks to master your daily routine, let’s get into it.
Here are the Top-10 ways to enhance, improve and care for yourself, leading to a more productive and powerful life!
1. Bedtime Routine
Your nighttime ritual is a prime time to prepare the mind and body for restfulness. Have you ever tried to relax? It’s a paradox! The point of your pre-bed pattern is to purge your mind of the day’s negative energy and amplify the positivity. Bedtime lifehacks are methods that nudge your mind-muscle connection into a shared peaceful harmony, where you eliminate negative external elements, and introduce calming rejuvenating elements. Here are the ABCs of how you can successfully set the stage for a serene slumber.
- Apply face lotions and body balms at least 20 minutes before bed to allow the products to properly absorb on your skin, not the pillow
“THE proper nighttime routine, when followed consistently, preps the body’s biological launch pad for the next day. From Circadian Rhythms to detoxification, setting the stage for a peaceful night’s sleep is the portal to productivity.”
-Hanah Novak, Biologist & Organic Bath & Body Formulator for Bird’s Nest Boutique & Decor
- Reduce your blue light screen time 1 hour before bed, by enabling your phone’s built-in filter, or wearing some blue-light shielding non-prescription reading glasses
- Eliminate central nervous system excitatory stimuli (i.e., caffeine) at least 8 hours before bed
When it comes to self-improvement AND self-care, exercise reigns supreme. The only reason we didn’t start with exercise, is because we didn’t want to scare everyone away! That was only a joke, if you laughed hard enough (or at all) you just released at least one endorphin, which means you’re better for it. Keep laughing, and you’ll find you’ve developed a spontaneous six-pack of abs (maybe). Actually, this list isn’t in order, we didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the other self-care and improvement strategies. Think of this Top-10 as more of the best practices you can implement as you see fit (pun intended).
- Your exercise routine doesn’t have to look like a triathlete training session. Set attainable goals to build momentum, 30 minutes daily 4x per week
- Joining a gym is a great choice, but not a necessary one. You can achieve effective, low-impact workouts at home with minimal equipment
- Be careful not to workout too closely to bed, stopping 90 minutes prior to the pillow will allow adrenaline and endorphins to normalize, along with your body temperature
You might be thinking we lost our place, or maybe our notes fell off the desk because self-care isn’t a Top-10 category, it’s part of the overall better-you September strategy. Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. Caring for yourself isn’t an abstract concept, it’s a very specific set of practices (plus, it’s 50% of this blog’s title)! At Lull, our entire mission (no, seriously, read our About Us page) is to help people sleep better so they can live better. It’s not a passive platitude, it’s a passionate pursuit. With that mission comes our zeal to dive deeper into details, narrow down the general and get granular. Let’s take a look at what self-care looks like, practically.
- Adequate sun exposure, which is defined as at least 15 minutes daily, will kickstart Vitamin-D production, leading to improved mood, better sleep, stronger bones, and better blood pressure
- Visit a local salt cave, water massage spa, or red light therapy clinic to enjoy some of the most robust (and researched) benefits you can imagine!
- Take time to treat yourself to a manicure, facial, massage, or simply go outdoors
4. Healthy eating
Welcome to the most needlessly convoluted topic known to ever exist. We don’t expect to distill and debug a millennium of misinformation, trends, fads, celebrity books, and infomercial guidance with a silver blog bullet. Instead, our approach is to share timeless immutable axioms that have enhanced the health of everyone that has followed them (and have been exhaustively vetted by a biologist we nicely asked to provide insight). Since your nutritional input is directly tethered to your potential output (energy, productivity, focus, etc.), a tried-an-true sensible meal plan is your golden ticket (oops, sorry for the Willy Wonka reference, chocolate didn’t make the list)!
- The basics are brilliant! Avoiding junk like gluten (indigestible), oats (are for goats, because they have 4 stomachs), soy (converts into phytoestrogens), pasteurized dairy (superheating removes enzymes within the milk that aid digestion), nut and seed oils (these become toxic when heating during the cooking process, causing a provocative release of free radicals that bring disease and advanced aging), fried foods (see seed oils again), overcooked meat (overcooked meats are not digested, and stored in the colon leading to cancer proliferation)
- Go organic! Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms, which are saturated with poisonous pesticides. Also, GMOs contain transgenes called “cry toxins” which are indistinguishable from anthrax. GMO foods are also nutritionally deficient, which leads to observable malnutrition and disease.
- Supplement with the 90 essential nutrients. 60 plant-derived minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 essential amino acids, and 2 fatty acids (Omega 3, 9). This assortment can be easily achieved with a few off-the-shelf products, without carving a hole in your credit card. The vast prevalence of illness is directly traced back to a deficiency in one, or more, of these 90 essential nutrients.
This category of brain-boosting smart supplements might be a new revelation to you. Pronounced “new-tropics,” it’s not a newly discovered Pacific island, but in the context of self-improvement month, it’s just as exciting! You’re still thinking about the island, aren’t you? Palm leaves large enough that they touch the sand as they sway, and the sound of distant birds calling to each other is drowned out by the melodic metronome of crashing waves. Focus! See, if you were integrating nootropics into your self-care protocol, you’d be zeroed in and profoundly productive! Nootropics are a surefire way to get your neurons chugging along, and while they won’t impart results like the movie Limitless, decades of clinical research reveal how powerful, and healthy, they can be in your self-improvement campaign!
- Nootropics naturally boost your neural synapses and cognition which means improving your memory! Also, nootropics naturally boost your neural synapses and cognition which means improving your memory (are you LOL’ing yet?).
- Avoiding Alzheimer’s is a startling and encouraging effect of nourishing your brain with smart supplements, meaning you won’t just be self-improving in September, but for years to come, you can enhance your resistance to degenerative disease.
- Enhance your productivity acutely by strengthening your brain chemistry. With a controlled excretion of dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine, you can boost not only your focus and efficiency but also your mood! Not only will you feel better and perform better, but people will enjoy being around you more.
6. Proper Hydration
Are you drinking water right now? You’d be a lot cooler if you were! No, really, water regulates your body temperature (and a LOT more). You may have heard the waves’ tale that you can only survive 3 days without water. Well, the wives weren’t only right, they were being generous with that warning! Depending on a person’s age and activity level, those 72 hours could be much less. How much water is enough? The simple answer to that is more. If you want to improve yourself and achieve the apex of self-care, start with the basics. No matter what the commercials said in the 90s, it’s actually water that does a body good!
- First, consider the source of your water. Is it a city supply that is piped to your home directly from the municipal vats they dump chemicals in? Don’t be so fast to trust those little Pringles can filters in the door of your refrigerator, either. Research has shown that up to 90% of America’s water supply that has been treated, contains significant amounts of resilient hormones like estrogen, a known endocrine disrupter (like BPA and Phalates).
- Purify your supply! The only filters that have demonstrated, in controlled settings, the ability to remove toxins like heavy metals and industrial chemicals from your water, are Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems, and a select few pour-in systems like Zero Water that luckily can be found almost anywhere.
- Watch out for the warning signs. Even a nominal lack of water can wreck your health with symptoms like migraines, acute muscle cramps, confusion, dizziness, etc. An easy fix to this difficult problem is to develop the habit of carrying around a stainless container and sipping at all times.
7. Antioxidants & Herbs
Have you ever heard of the Fountain of Youth? In actuality, it was a river, but sadly a lot of resources were squandered over several centuries searching for this mythical place. Ponce de Leon launched a long campaign seeking this immortality spring, ending up empty-handed in the thick forests in one of the 700 Bahaman islands. It wasn’t all for naught because Ponce enjoyed vigorous exercise, invigorating sunlight, and ample fresh outdoor air – three primary factors in any self-improvement and care regimen. But he could’ve stayed in Puerto Rico, and enjoyed the scientifically verified anti-aging effects of antioxidants and healing herbs at the molecular level!
- You’ve probably heard of free radicals – but what are they, anyway? Well, nothing good! Free radicals are the generic name given to a whole assortment of nasty molecules that have an unpaired electron. GASP! Ok, that doesn’t explain a lot, but the point is they are unstable and highly volatile (like Elmer Fudd when Buggs outsmarts him).
- By using antioxidants through supplementation (e.g., Spirulina, CoQ10, Astaxanthin, or Alpha Lipoic Acid), or eating functional foods such as raw dark chocolate (hey, looks like you DO get to eat chocolate), pecans, blueberries, and kale, you can easily ward off free radicals. Take note that you’ll need an extra dose of defense when you’ve been under stress, like a long day at work or when you’ve had a poor night’s sleep. Cortisol, the grim reaper hormone, thrives in that bio-environment.
- Herbs and functional foods play a powerful part in the fight against premature aging, lethargy, muscle soreness, and irritability (all symptoms of free radical proliferation). Some documented bodyguards you can rely upon with confidence are basil, ashwagandha, turmeric, and ginseng.
8. Collagen Synthesis
Collagen is the cellular building block that forms connective tissues, and so much more. You’re wondering about that “so much more,” aren’t you? Connective tissue isn’t merely what aches and pains in your elbow after playing tennis, it’s the most important component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, AND cartilage. Wow, reading that list, it probably would’ve been easier for the biologists at Harvard just to say collagen makes everything. Now, imagine how that “everything-ness” suffers when you’re not synthesizing (creating) new cells that heal, nourish, and rebuild this ubiquitous tissue. You certainly won’t be improving or caring for yourself! Let’s see how to leverage collagen for a better quality of life.
- Collagen sounds important, right? Here’s the skinny on how you can take total collagen control! Concerning natural food sources that increase collagen synthesis, reach for bone broth. Your mouth probably isn’t watering, but this versatile liquid can be used in countless recipes and is basically tasteless. Other more-than-honorable mentions would be fish, eggs, and citrus fruits!
- Switching gears to supplements, you guessed it, collagen is your #1 choice! Be careful to only get hydrolyzed collagen, and looks for a source from grass-fed beef if possible. You’ll get a great assist from hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, aloe vera gel, and the antioxidants we covered above!
- Here’s a myth we’re busting: You cannot absorb topical collagen creams through your skin. Bummer! This method of application is called “transdermal,” but the reality is your skin (your body’s largest organ) can only accept or receive up to a molecular weight of 500 Dalton. Essential oils, hyaluronic acid (above), and vitamin C are all well below the Dalton threshold, so rub away!
9. Hormonal Balance
Guess what hormones affect? Everything. That’s not an overstatement by any measure. Simply put, you cannot be an effective version of yourself if your hormones are deficient or in a state of non-normative flux. For men and women alike, the endocrine system is the beginning and the end of our ability to lead a productive life. If just one hormone is over-or-under optimal secretion and circulation, you’ll experience an extreme and lengthy list of debilitating symptoms. The goal isn’t to rewire or otherwise force any specific hormone into overdrive – since everything is interdependent – but rather to achieve and maintain superlative hormonal homeostasis. Like Goldilocks in search of the right soup temp after breaking and entering.
- Do you know what hormones, or more accurately your endocrine system, affect? EVERYTHING. Fortunately, we have 8 total glands that produce our hormones, and they’re always working overtime to keep things in check. From your pituitary to your hypothalamus, thyroid, and adrenal glands, you can fast-track your self-care plan by focusing on healthy hormones.
- Your endocrine system is solely responsible for your metabolism, emotions, fertility, blood pressure, growth before you’re even born…and SLEEP (more on that below). Did we mention sleep?
- Your self-improvement grind will come to a grinding halt if you’re battling diabetes, thyroid disease, infertility, or osteoporosis, which are all attributable to out-of-whack hormones. To remove this concern from the corner of your mind, following the other lifehacks in this article will rapidly get your levels back on track!
10. Mattress Experience
Whoa, did we save the best for last? Pop quiz, how much of your life do you spend sleeping? You’re never going to guess, this is mind-blowing. You spend 33 years of your life in bed! 7 of those 33 years are spent TRYING to fall asleep. In fact, aside from spending more time than it takes to earn a Master’s Degree just tossing and turning, you sleep more than you work, eat, vacation, exercise, and socialize… COMBINED. At Lull, we know just how much restful sleep impacts your life. After all, you begin your days best, with better rest. Our manufacturing philosophy is driven by the fact people want to sleep on their mattresses, not in them. We’ve spent our time studying the science of sleep, so you can spend more time sleeping.
- The longest documented case of sleeplessness was recorded back in 1965, by a high school student named Randy. The record was 264 hours or more than 11 days. Randy’s symptoms were traumatic, to say the least, ranging from memory loss, hallucinations, and paranoia. These reactions to poor sleep exist on a spectrum, so even if you’re not going for a Guinness Record, less dramatic versions of these adverse reactions can haunt your days.
- Lull goes beyond the pale of developing and delivering a world-class sleep experience, and in line with our mission (and every Top-10 lifehack above), we’ve provided a lo ultra-low VOC (0.5ppm) and a GREENGUARD GOLD certification on our Original mattress with the others in our lineup completing certification. This means our mattresses emit fewer chemicals, leading to cleaner air in your home, so you can breathe easily and focus on caring for yourself.
- We saved the best for last. Check out this amazing list of the rewards you’ll reap, from a good night’s sleep: Boost your immune system, prevent weight gain, strengthen your heart, enjoy a better mood, increase productivity, boost memory recall, and enhance exercise performance! Wow, that above covered every base above, talk about self-improvement!
Okay, we know we said Top-10, but you wouldn’t mind a little bonus with your blog, would you? One of the most profound steps you can take toward self-improvement is breaking a mental sweat. Read non-fiction, solve puzzles, and contemplate your self-improvement journey while you consciously think about breathing deep. Not only will this sharpen your mind and make you more adaptable and efficient at work and home, but these simple tasks have been proven to increase IQ!
When it comes to self-improvement, there’s nothing that can turn good nights, into great mornings, like a blissful night’s rest. While each of these Top-10 self-care lifehacks is crucial to productively thrive through life, the inequality of time that sleep requires in our life makes it foremost in our self-care efforts! If you’re not sleeping great, you’re not thinking straight. No amount of water, exercise, or supplementation can overcome poor spinal alignment, joint pain, and the harsh effects of insomnia.
Want to experience how enhanced sleep enhances your life? We’re now offering up to $700 off when you upgrade to a Lull mattress, the best savings in our history!
Get ahead of the New Year, by implementing these indisputable methods of self-improvement now, and welcome 2023 with a renewed mind, strengthened body, and fresh perspective! At Lull we don’t just invest in the best sleep technology, we invest in YOU through articles like this. We’ve already got the mattress mastered, so let’s focus on how you can improve and care for yourself each month.