If you’re a coffee drinker, you might wonder about the health effects of your daily cup (or cups) of joe. Research has shown potential benefits of coffee, but also some important reasons to cut back. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of coffee so you can decide for yourself and adjust as needed.

Pros and Cons of Coffee, and How It’s Made

Coffee is a drink that’s been made and enjoyed for centuries. It’s produced from cherries that grow along the branches of coffee trees. Once a coffee cherry has matured, it’s picked, dried, processed, roasted, and ground so it’s ready to brew into each cup.

Many of us love coffee for its rich flavor and caffeine content that helps us get started each morning. But there’s more to it than that—which brings us to the pros and cons of coffee consumption.

The Benefits of Coffee for Your Body and Brain

Coffee effects the brain in a way that increases alertness and boost concentration, which is why many people love it to start their day.

Plus, according to Harvard Health, research has shown 3-4 cups per day may reduce the risk of:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Parkinson’s disease [1]
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Death [2]

Many health benefits of coffee seem to come from its antioxidant content. However, it’s important to know that whole foods like fruits and vegetables have much higher antioxidant amounts than coffee. If you eat a heavily processed diet, coffee may be a good source, but it’s better to receive these benefits from foods that are also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Despite the benefits, there’s a darker side to the pros and cons of coffee to consider, as well.

Side Effects of Coffee—How Much Is Too Much?

A standard 8-ounce cup of coffee contains around 95-165 mg of caffeine, and that varies by origin, prepping method, brewing time, and type of coffee drink. Here are some average numbers (most according to Mayo Clinic):

  • A shot of espresso has about 47-64 mg. (For reference, a grande latte at Starbucks typically has two espresso shots—and their caffeine content is typically higher than average.)
  • An 8-ounce cup of instant coffee has about 64 mg.
  • A 16-oz cold brew from Starbucks has around 200 mg.
  • The lighter the roast of coffee, the more caffeine it contains.

Health recommendation discourage consuming more than 400 mg of coffee per day. Too much coffee consumption can lead to problems like:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Upset stomach and heartburn
  • Trouble getting or staying asleep, especially if consumed later in the day
  • A crash after the caffeine wears off

There is also evidence that coffee may increase heart rate and blood pressure, and elements in unfiltered coffee can increase LDL “bad” cholesterol [3].

Some can experience side effects from coffee at amounts much lower than 400mg, so it’s important to listen to your own body and reduce your intake if you notice adverse side effects.

Also note that your body builds up a tolerance to caffeine over time. This means it eventually won’t have the same level of effect it once did and you’ll need to drink more to get the same benefits (i.e. alertness and focus).

2 Healthy Coffee Alternatives

So, there are good and bad reasons for consuming coffee. If you want to avoid relying on coffee for all your energy needs, there are some healthier and safer solutions.

Here at Creative Concept Labs, we’ve developed two better natural energy options.

1. CCL Caffeine: Inhaled Natural Energy

CCL Caffeine is an almost-instant energy shot to give you a boost, help you stay awake and alert, or give you extra energy before a workout.

Here’s why CCL Caffeine is a great alternative to coffee:

  • No sugar, carbonation, or harmful additives—it’s completely safe!
  • No crash like with coffee
  • More convenient: fits easily in a purse or pocket for an energy boost anytime
  • Absorbed directly so you can inhale and feel it within seconds (much faster than drinking coffee)
  • Requires only a small amount of caffeine to produce the same results as other caffeine products

Try CCL Caffeine here.

2. CCL Advanced Vitamin B12 Complex

Vitamin B12, also known by the complex word cyanocobalamin, is a key player in many crucial health functions, including DNA production, metabolism, healthy weight loss—and energy levels.

The vitamin B12 complex in Advanced Vitamin B12 is like an all-natural shot of energy for your body! And it’s completely free of the side effects often associated with caffeine. Benefits include:

  • Instant absorption through nanotechnology delivery.
  • More effective than B12 liquids, pills, powders, or gummies.
  • Great for everyone—including vegetarians and vegans.
  • Delicious berry flavor!

Try Advanced Vitamin B12 here today.

At the end of the day, there are both pros and cons of coffee to think about. If you’re concerned about the side effects of having too much or want to try something new, one of the above options can provide the same boost as a safe alternative.

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-07-coffee-parkinson.html
  2. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/11/10/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.017341
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11207153

Supplements can be life-changing. Since our modern world (especially our food) is lacking in nutrition it once provided, vitamins can “fill in the gaps” to help us thrive. But there’s a potentially dark side of taking these vitamins and minerals. Today we’ll explore the question of “can you get liver damage from supplements?” and what to do about it.

First, let’s do a quick break down of how the liver functions for us daily.

How the Liver Works: Your Body’s Detoxifier

Your liver is a large organ located right above the right side of your stomach and beneath your ribcage. It’s reddish-brown, rubbery, and weighs about three pounds. There are two sections to the liver: the right and left lobe.

Your gallbladder, intestines, and pancreas all sit right under your liver, and these organs work together digesting and absorbing food and other things you consume.

One of your liver’s main functions is filtering toxins:

  • Filtering blood coming from your digestive tract before it goes to the rest of your body
  • Detoxifying chemicals in your body
  • Metabolizing any drugs you take

(The liver also creates proteins needed for important processes, like blood clotting, and secretes a greenish-brown fluid called bile that aids digestion.)

Like medications, supplements (yes, even all-natural ones) are also filtered through the liver—which can be a problem in some cases.

The Truth About Liver Damage from Supplements

According to WebMD, national registry data from 2003 to 2011 shows dietary and herbal supplements were involved in 18% of cases where drugs or supplements caused or were suspected of causing liver injury. These were mostly supplements linked to bodybuilding or weight loss.

And according to a Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) Consumer Survey from 2015, 71% of Americans take dietary supplements.

So while many supplements can be very beneficial for your health, it’s important to be careful about what and how much you take regularly. Vitamin toxicity like too much vitamin A, for example, can lead to liver damage (which is why we advocate not taking it in supplement form), along with too much niacin.

Plus, if you take a supplement pill and suffer from underlying issues, such as leaky gut syndrome, it might be less effective because your “in-transit” system is off [1,2].

But thankfully, if you want to avoid this liver filtering process altogether and still get the benefits of healthy supplements, there is an easy solution.

How to Bypass The Problem: Sprays and Inhalers

Most traditional supplements are offered in pill form, which is why they typically take the same route in your body as prescription medications and food.

But there’s a more effective way to take daily supplements that avoids potential problems: sprays and inhalers.

Benefits of Spray Supplements Over Pills

Taking your vitamins in spray or inhaler form provides a simple shortcut. It bypasses the first step of having to be digested and metabolized through liver or kidney. This circumvents the concern about liver damage from supplements while also boosting absorption and effectiveness.

Besides that, sprays and inhalers are great because:

  • Nutrients through spray or inhalation are absorbed more rapidly and in higher amounts than capsules, pills, or powders.
  • The ingredient list is almost always cleaner. No binding agents, fillers, or gelatins you could do without. (And while some sprays may include questionable flavors or preservatives, CCL Supplements are always free of starches, sugars, preservatives, and other unnecessary junk.)
  • Plus, they’re more pleasant to take! No need to worry about downing gigantic supplement pills, timing them around meals, or finding the right drink to add them to. Just spray and go, wherever you are.

All this and you can avoid burdening your liver with anything extra.

So whether you want natural solutions for better sleep, healthy bones, getting your trace minerals, B12, detoxing, or a caffeine boost, sprays and inhaler supplements can save you from worry about messing with your liver.

(And Advanced Liver will even help detoxify your liver, reduce its load of toxins, and keep it functioning properly.)

Let your liver do its thing and try out the safer, simpler solution today. Find the right spray or inhaler supplement for your needs here.

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19826292
  2. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-015-0105-1

More than 77 percent of Americans are deficient in one key nutrient: vitamin D [1]. But that’s not all. Many of us are imbalanced in vitamin A and vitamin K2. Alone or combined, these disparities can lead to serious health issues if not corrected.

And here’s the craziest part: getting the balance right of these three critical elements is not actually that hard—we’re just uninformed about how to do it.

So if you want to ensure healthy bones and teeth and a thriving body for many years to come, let’s dive into why each of these vitamins are so important and how we can bridge the best balance between them.

How to Balance Vitamins A, D, and K

It’s no enough to simply grab a multivitamin off the shelf containing these vitamins and call it a day. Your body needs the right balance of vitamins A, D, and K to prevent further problems. Here’s where you should land on each and how to get there.

Vitamin A: Too Much of a Good Thing

Here’s how to optimize your vitamin A supplementation: stop taking any.

Here’s why:

  • A review of seven high-quality clinical trials involving 131,727 people found mortality rates increase by 29 percent in people taking too much vitamin A.
  • Half of the sources of this too-much vitamin A was coming from multivitamins that contained it.
  • Vitamin A is an essential vitamin, and you do need some, but too much of it can actually hurt your health.

So, unless you’ve been told by a healthcare professional that you’re deficient in vitamin A, you do not need to supplement with it. That includes multivitamins that include vitamin A. (Because as we know, not all multivitamins are created equal).

Also, examine any other supplements you’re currently taking to ensure they don’t have added vitamin A. Stick with food for your vitamin A sources, which you’ll easily get from a well-balanced diet.

Vitamin D: You Probably Need More

As we mentioned above, more than ¾ of the U.S. population isn’t getting enough vitamin D! This is often despite taking multivitamins, drinking milk, and getting sun each day—and yet it’s still not enough.

This is a problem because vitamin D deficiency is linked to higher risks of:

  • Cancer
  • Dying from a stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Multiple sclerosis

The National Cancer Institute also found that the further North you live, the more likely you are to be vitamin D deficient because you’re not getting as much from the sun.

Overall, people with higher vitamin D levels appear to have lower mortality rates than those with lower vitamin D levels.

And what’s the best way to know your vitamin D levels? Have your blood levels tested to see where you stand.

You should be between 35 ng/mL and 50 ng/mL. While vitamin D deficiency is extremely common, toxicity is (while possible) very rare and hard to achieve, especially in America and if you don’t have a job where you’re out in the sun all day.

For most people who are also eating healthy sources of vitamin D, we’ve found at least 2000 IU is sufficient.

And be sure to eat more natural sources of vitamin D like egg yolks, organic butter, liver, and supplementation. A little more sunlight can also help us.

And now, this is where vitamin K comes in.

Vitamin K2: Crucial Companion to Vitamin D

What is vitamin K2? Like vitamins A and D, it’s an important fat-soluble vitamin. And Vitamin K benefits are crucial. It’s needed for [2,3,4,5,6]:

  • Proper blood clotting
  • Bones to calcify properly
  • Preventing bone fractures and loss of bone strength
  • Protecting against atherosclerosis, heart disease, and even cancer risk
  • Proper neurological and cognitive function

Related: Vitamin D3 and K2 Benefits.

As with vitamin D, most people aren’t getting enough vitamin K2—and our bodies actually can’t store it very well. This is why the right supplementation is key.

What you need to know is that vitamin D is best absorbed when taken with vitamin K2. In fact, vitamin D and K2 are the perfect match! Vitamin K2 makes sure vitamin D is actually ends up in your bones.

And thankfully, there’s no known toxicity that comes from supplementing with vitamin K1 or K2.

The best way to get vitamin K2 in your diet is by eating vitamin K foods plus supplementing.

Good vitamin K2 foods include:

  • green leafy vegetables
  • fermented vegetables
  • organic butters and creams
  • egg yolks
  • aged cheeses
  • liver

An Easy Solution: Vitamin D & K Spray

Advanced D-K Spray makes it easy for kids and adults to get optimal amounts of both vitamin D and K2 without worrying about vitamin A (or other unnecessary extra vitamins) like you do with many multivitamins.

And also unlike many multivitamins and other supplements, our spray is safe for children as young as four years of age.

Plus, it’s easier to take than supplement pills—simply spray and go—and provides two of the most important nutrients for good health: vitamin D and K2. It absorbs rapidly and the nano-pure formulation is designed for maximum safe effectiveness.

Advanced D-K Spray ensures you and your family get the vitamin D and K2 needed for the healthy bones, teeth, bodies, brains, and disease prevention that come with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Try it for yourself today by clicking here.

Sources:

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/414878
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16801507
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22489224
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8642453
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19179058
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19027415

Afternoon tiredness is a monster many of us struggle with on a regular basis. The work day is going well, but then 2:00 or 3:00 hits and it can become a battle just to focus.  This article covers ways to combat afternoon lethargy and keep your energy levels more consistent throughout the day.

Snack Regularly
Physiologically afternoon lethargy has a lot to do with our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that tells our body when it’s time to wake up in the morning.  The levels of cortisol in our body fluctuate throughout the day, and when cortisol is low we feel more tired. One easy way to stay alert is to intersperse snacks between meals. There are many low calorie, healthy snacks to choose from. Here at CCL Supplements we are big fans of healthy protein bars (such as RX Bars, G2G Bars, Cliff Bars etc.), nuts, dried fruit, and guacamole.

This graph shows how cortisol levels change throughout the course of a day, and how snacks can help keep it high:

circadian-cortisol-sleep-hack.jpg 42.6 KB View full-size Download

Aim for 7-9 Hours of Quality Sleep
If you are an adult the amount of sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation is 7-9 hours.  Everyone’s body is slightly different and it is worth experimenting with different lengths of sleep to really dial in what feels best for you. For example, I have found that 7.5 hours per night is just about right for me. My wife on the other hand usually needs about 9.

Time is only one factor however.  The quality of sleep you get each night is just as important as how long you lie in bed. There are many factors that play into this such as temperature, light levels, white noise, quality of mattress, and pre-bed rituals, which you can learn about here.

Take the Right Supplements
One of the causes of our bodies tiring is lack of nutrients which are vital in our metabolic processes.  Glutathione is a good example of this.  This tripeptide chemical is one of our bodies’ waste eliminators. It is a natural antioxidant that gets rid of free radicals and toxins. Eliminating these toxins can help us feel more energetic and less sluggish.

Vitamin B12 is a coenzyme that participates in many biochemical pathways in our bodies.  When B12 levels are deficient, the production of red blood cells diminishes.  Not enough red blood cells leads to not enough oxygen being transported throughout our bodies, which leads to feeling fatigued and drained throughout the day.

And of course there is always the crowd favorite: caffeine. We of course recommend our pure caffeine inhaler to avoid unnecessary sugar, carbonation, and toxins.

Take Naps If Possible
Not everyone is able to take naps in the afternoon, (although Ben & Jerry’s, Zappos, Uber and Google have installed dedicated nap spaces in their headquarters, so it may be worth trying to convince your boss to install some lazyboys) but if your schedule allows it, the science has shown that a nap can do wonders for your mind and body.

The American Psychology Association has shown that naps help improve learning, ability to cope with frustrating situations, alertness, and more.  Some research even suggests that a 90 minute nap has similar benefits to an 8 hour night’s.

Notes & Sources
http://www.gestaltreality.com/2014/04/03/supercharge-your-health-by-sleeping-less/  [cortisol graph]
http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/07-08/naps.aspx
https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times

Many of us associate Vitamin B12 with things like low energy levels, anemia, trouble sleeping, irritability, and depression. But we often don’t realize that vitamin B12 deficiency may also cause hair loss!😦

Vitamin B12 plays a role in many biological processes including the formation of red blood cells 💉 and cellular metabolism. Probably more important than these however is the crucial role it plays in DNA replication. It participates in several DNA-related biochemical pathways including stabilizing DNA, donating methyl groups, and ensuring that the DNA replicates properly.

Our hair grows as the follicles at the base of each strand replicate and push older follicle cells outwards. These older cells keratinize and end up looking like what you see on your head, arms legs etc. DNA replication is an essential part of cell replication, and if this process is stunted then cells will no longer be able to duplicate themselves. Since hair follicles are rapidly dividing cells, they are constantly in the process of replicating their DNA, but if there is not enough B12 present, then they won’t be able to do their thing and keep the hair growing. 👴

As our bodies age their ability to absorb vitamin B12 from our diet diminishes.  Although not the only cause of hair loss, this decrease in absorption does contribute to some people’s hair loss as they get older.

Hair loss is just one of the maladies supplementing vitamin B12 can help with.  To learn more about Vitamin B12 check out this article.

If you are or think you may be deficient in vitamin B12 we recommend checking out Advanced Vitamin B12 Spray!  It is formulated to be a convenient and effective way to get your body the Vitamin B12 it needs.

Resources:
1. https://www.frontiersin.org/10.3389/conf.fphar.2010.60.00140/event_abstract
2. https://www.hairlossrevolution.com/does-vitamin-b12-deficiency-cause-hair-loss/
3. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/science-hair#1

It is estimated that 75% of adults and teens are deficient in Vitamin D. 😲 Many may not see symptoms right away, but long term this deficiency can lead to bone, heart, blood pressure, and mood issues. So while supplementation is important for many of us, it is critical for others. 🤔

Recent studies have shown that some of the population have polymorphisms (an error in DNA) in the vitamin D biochemical pathway, which can cause symptoms, but also lead to premature death! Because Vitamin D is so crucial to our bodies (it is used in pathways which create about 4.6% of our proteins) those with this polymorphism are prone to dying early from several different causes. ☠ To find out if you have inherited, or are likely to pass on this polymorphism, we recommend taking the 23andMe DNA Test.

Because Vitamin D is a fat soluble hormone, those who are overweight often have deficient levels of Vitamin D in their blood stream as well. 🍩 The Vitamin D can get trapped in excess fat cells and not make it to other parts of the body where it is needed for its various functions.

In addition to this, those who maintain a Vitamin D blood level of 40-60 ng/ml (less than 30 ng/ml is considered inadequate) show lower rates of cancer,💀 cardiovascular disease, ❤ and stroke!🧠   Plus vitamin D helps aging 💁

These and other issues relating to Vitamin D are explained in a presentation by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in the video below (see minutes 5:46-12:36

Vitamin D’s efficacy is increased dramatically when coupled with Vitamin K. Hence the reason we paired them together in our Advanced Vitamin D & K Spray!  Learn more about how these two vitamins work synergistically together here:

One of the best ways to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D is with our new Advanced Vitamin D & K Spray! Check it out here.

1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/vitamin-d-deficiency-united-states/
2. See this post for more references of scientific studies: https://goodies.cclsupplements.com/vitamin-k2-and-vitamin-d3-benefits/[/wr_text][/wr_column][/wr_row]

Every day, your body is under attack. You can’t see them, but microscopic compounds are present that contribute to disease, aging, and instability in the body. These are known as free radicals, and in this article we’ll cover what they are, what they do, and how to get rid of them naturally.

What are Free Radicals: What You Need to Know

Basically, free radicals are unstable atoms. But to help you fully understand, let’s get into a little more detail.

Your body is made up of atoms. At all times, electrons are orbiting these atoms and form “shells.” Every shell must have a certain number of electrons to fill it.

When a shell is full, the atom is stable. But if an atom’s shell doesn’t have enough electrons nearby, it might bond with another atom and start sharing its electrons. This creates a free radical, which then becomes unstable and very reactive (in a bad way), stealing electrons from molecules around it.

When too many free radicals are present and causing damage, it’s called oxidative stress—and it’s a problem in a number of ways.

Dangers of Oxidative Stress and Free Radical Damage

Oxidative stress is harmful because it damage cells in your body. That damage shows up in the form of aging and various types of disease.

This information stems from what’s called the free radical theory of aging, which states aging is caused by free radicals damaging cells over time.

As your body ages over time, it loses it’s spunk for fighting off these free radicals. This leads to the buildup of more free radicals and more oxidative stress on the cells. The results of this aging along with disease-causing processes and damage.

Many studies on rats support this free radical theory of aging, showing free radicals increasing significantly with age [1].

Research suggests these free radicals that are made in the mitochondria, the “powerhouse” in your cells, where a few things happen:

  • The free radicals damage what is needed for the cell to properly work
  • The damage leads to mutations that create more free radicals
  • This speeds up the amount of damage to the cell

This chain reaction of free radical creation can break cell membranes and affect what gets in and out of the cell. The can lead to damaged molecules that mutate and form tumors or DNA code damage.

In addition, research has connected various health problems with oxidative stress from free radicals, including:

  • Aging-related appearance changes like gray hair, wrinkles, hair loss, and loss of skin elasticity
  • Cardiovascular, brain, nervous system, and blood sugar-related diseases and concerns [2]
  • Decreased immunity, autoimmune diseases, and disorders related to inflammation [3]
  • Vision decline related to aging
  • Headaches, fatigue, brain fog, and memory loss
  • And much more

Lifestyle Habits that Increase Free Radical Production

Free radicals are produced in the body, but certain lifestyle choices made outside the body can increase the generation of free radicals too:

  • Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol
  • Consuming fried foods like fast food
  • Being exposed to air pollution or pesticides from GMO and non-organic foods and drinks

These lifestyle choices have also been shown to contribute to diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Going along with the free radical theory, it could be that oxidative stress is behind some of the reasons these things cause diseases.

In addition, substances that make free radicals are found in medicines, everyday foods, the air, and the water we drink.

In a nutshell, free radicals are a problem—and they’re unavoidable. But thankfully, there are substances in the body that can fight these damaging compounds too. Those are antioxidants.

How to Use Antioxidants to Eliminate Free Radicals from Your Body

Antioxidants are compounds known as “free radical scavengers” because they can react with free radicals and neutralize them or reduce their creation.

One way antioxidants can do this is by donating an electron to a free radical before it’s able to bond and become unstable. This can stabilize the free radical and keep it from oxidizing and becoming toxic to the cells.

By consuming more antioxidants like Advanced Glutathione, you can help increase the fight against free radicals.

How to Get More Antioxidants

There are many ways to get more antioxidants. Certain foods are rich in them, including:

  • Vitamin C in citrus fruits and berries
  • Beta carotene in carrots, squash, spinach, kale, and sweet potatoes
  • Phytoestrogens in meat substitutes and soybeans

Other antioxidant sources include supplements like vitamin C, vitamin E, lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, phenols, polyphenols, and the powerful glutathione.

CCL Advanced Glutathione Extra Strength was created as a way to fast-track the power of antioxidants into your body. It’s now easy to get a daily dose of the glutathione antioxidant (increasing your levels by 10% within hours) without worrying about pills or injections. The bottle will even fit easily in your purse, pocket, or wallet!

If you have symptoms of or lifestyle habits that promote free radical damage—like being sick often or chronically, lack of exercise, poor diet history, taking prescription medications, or feeling fatigued or irritable all the time—glutathione can help you feel your best while working its magic in your cells.

Learn more about Advanced Glutathione and order your own bottle here.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0047637487900571?via%3Dihub
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7785961
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/
bedtime routine ideas for better sleep

Having trouble getting to sleep at a good time—or not getting enough good-quality sleep? Whether you toss and turn, can’t seem to wind down for bed, or feel tired all throughout the day, having a good bedtime routine can make all the difference.

This article will cover some of the best bedtime routine ideas—from calming activities to sleep supplements—for the deeper, better sleep your body and mind need to be healthy and functional.

Why Have a Bedtime Routine?

Creating a bedtime routine might seem like one more thing to worry about, but really, it’s all about making things easier for you. If you struggle with getting enough sleep each night or never feel rested enough, it’s likely taking a toll on your mental and physical health—even if you don’t notice it.

Our bodies need good sleep to function correctly. So if you’re not currently getting that, you need something to help. That’s what a bedtime routine can do: help you relax and get ready for true rest.

Here are just a few reasons to create a nighttime routine:

  • You can calm your mind and let go of any of the day’s worries keeping you up.
  • You’ll create a habit for your mind and body that tells it when it’s time for rest and slumber.
  • You’ll become more mindful of what you currently do before bed and how certain activities might contribute to poor sleep.

Now, let’s look at some of the best bedtime routine ideas that you can try as early as tonight.

1. Brain Dump Your Thoughts and Worries

A common reason for poor sleep is an overactive mind. If you have a lot of worries, it can be hard to turn off troublesome thoughts for the evening. So, try “letting them go” on paper.

Research shows writing can benefit your physical and mental health, so grab a cheap journal and spend a few minutes writing about what’s on your mind. It doesn’t have to be well-written or even make sense to anyone else—because you’re the only one who will see it!

This is your chance to get your thoughts or worries onto the page and out of an anxious loop in your head. Just start writing and see what comes up.

P.S. This activity is good for not only preparing for sleep but also freeing up your mind for fresh ideas the next day.

2. Choose a Relaxing Activity You Love

It’s hard to jump right into sleep if you’re not feeling calm and relaxed. So make sure any activities right before bedtime are conducive to the setting.

Think about stuff you like to do that calms you down.

Plus, setting aside this time (ideally at least 30 minutes) ensures your day includes something you enjoy. Many of us are so focused on work or other responsibilities that we spend all day on activities we wouldn’t necessarily choose to do.

But it’s good to have those little things to look forward to!

Here are some ideas, but feel free to do whatever relaxes you the most:

  • Read a book (many people fall asleep when trying to read, so use it to your advantage).
  • Listen to calming music.
  • Watch an episode of your favorite show.
  • Write in a journal about what matters most to you in life.
  • Take a bath or shower.
  • Spend some time calmly talking with your partner or family members about your day or anything else on your mind.
  • Talk on the phone with a loved one.
  • Do any of these activities with a warm cup of herbal tea or other non-caffeinated drink you enjoy.

Give your mind some time for the enjoyment and rest it deserves away from all the hustle and bustle of the day.

3. Try a Sleep Supplement Like Melatonin

There are all sorts of supplements out there to help you sleep. Finding the right one for you can work wonders, and melatonin is a great place to start.

Melatonin is a natural hormone your body produces to help you fall asleep. For almost three decades, people have been using melatonin as a supplement to reset their internal body clocks and get better sleep.

You can get it in tablet, pill, liquid, and powder forms. But the most efficient way to take melatonin is by inhaling it.

CCL Sleep is a natural inhaled melatonin sleep aid that starts working in just 30 seconds (as opposed to waiting 20-30 minutes for another form to kick in). You can use it anytime you need to feel sleepy and wind down—whether that’s at home, in a hotel, or on a plane. Try it here.

4. Refrain From Work or Electronics Before Bed

This is the hardest one for most people.

Being a workaholic (checking emails, finishing some work here and there, etc), hanging out on social media, or playing any type of electronic games before bed can wreck your sleep in a number of ways:

  • It stimulates your brain and messes with your internal body clock, making it hard to wind down, fall asleep, and wake up rested.
  • It’s easy to get caught in the flow and before you know it, it’s 1am and you only have a few hours left to sleep.
  • They can be addictive, making it hard to turn them off at a decent time—planning to just check something for few minutes can easily turn into hours.
  • Working right before bed just causes extra stress and worry, which are the last emotions you want to feel right before sleeping.

At least one hour before bed, stop using all electronics—including your computer, tablet, and smartphone—and stop any work. That includes not scrolling through Facebook or Instagram once you’re in bed.

Try to make the hour before bed your time to not worry, work, or stress. Your mind needs rest just like the rest of your body.

If you have trouble justifying rest time, remember that it’s good for your health and will actually make you less overwhelmed and more productive the next day.

5. Stop Caffeine, Alcohol, and Food at the Right Times

Consider the fact that what you consume during the day could be causing sleep issues. Here are some tips:

  • Have your last cup of coffee, energy drink, or any other caffeine energy booster you use during the day at least six hours before you plan to go to bed.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks at least three hours before bedtime. (While alcohol can help you get to sleep faster, it reduces rapid eye movement—REM—sleep, the restorative stage of sleep. Less REM sleep can lead to poor concentration, daytime sleepiness, and poor quality sleep.)
  • Try to finish dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime. While some experts say there’s no problem with eating before bed, if you’re someone who struggles with sleep, your body might have trouble resting while it digests. Try it to see if it makes a difference in your sleep quality.

Replace any normal drinks with something alcohol- and caffeine-free, like chamomile tea, and see how much of a difference it can make.

6. Do Some Nighttime Yoga or Meditation

This comes back to soothing your mind and body before bed. Following a specific meditation or gentle yoga routine can help you get into a more calming state of mind.

Look up guided meditations or bedtime yoga flows online (YouTube especially is great for free yoga classes) that you can do right before bed. It might be just what you need to pacify and ground yourself for slumber.

If you’re religious or spiritual, saying a prayer or mantra before bed can help too.

7. Prep the Lights and Temperature for Sleep

Make sure your environment is set up for optimal sleep in the evening.

Most people sleep best when the room is a little cooler, so try turning down the thermostat more as you’re preparing for bed.

The ideal bedroom temperature for sleeping is somewhere between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, so play around with what works best for you. If this isn’t possible or you live in a really hot climate, maybe invest in a bed fan or mattress pad that helps cool you down.

If you air feels stuffy, you might try opening the windows for a while too.

Consider the lighting, too. At least an hour before bed, turn down the lights in your bedroom to help signal to your body that it’s nighttime and you’re ready for rest.

You might even try speaking quietly and just overall promoting a sense of quiet and calm.

What If You Still Can’t Sleep?

If you try each bedtime routine above and still have trouble falling asleep, remember that it can take time to develop a habit and get your body used to it. Try your new routines for at least a week, then adjust until you find the right bedtime routine for you.

But also, if it’s still taking more than 20-30 for you to fall asleep, it might be that you’re just not ready for sleep yet. Try repeating one of your routines (while always keeping the lights dim) then trying to go back to bed after about 15-20 minutes.

Sometimes good sleep can seem impossible in our crazy busy world, but it’s never out of reach completely. All it takes is a little schedule adjustment to find a routine that works for you. Be patient, be kind to yourself, and know that pursuing better sleep is the ultimate way to make life more manageable.

To supplement your new routine, try CCL Sleep inhaler to help mimize racing thoughts, insomnia, and any other troubles you have falling asleep.

Around 90% of Americans have some form of caffeine every single day [1]. But most people don’t know why that cup of coffee gets them going in the morning or how that energy drink makes it easier to power through work or school.

So, how does the most widely used psychoactive drug increases alertness and make you feel more awake? To answer that, we must take a trip under your skull (metaphorically, of course) to look at the effects of caffeine on the brain.

That trip begins with caffeine and a compound known as adenosine.

Adenosine: The Relaxation Molecule

Adenosine is a brain molecule that attaches to a brain receptor—called the A1 receptor—and promotes sleepiness and muscle relaxation.

Adenosine can also bind to another receptor—the A2A receptor—interfering with the release of dopamine (the “feel good” chemical) and other neurotransmitters that boost mood.

Adenosine is most present in your body at the end of the day. That’s because adenosine concentration is highest when you’re awake and increases the longer you’re awake. This can explain why you feel sleepier as the day wears on and are groggy when you wake up after a night of sleep.

Caffeine: The Adenosine Bully

Caffeine is like a bully to adenosine in the brain. Here’s how:

  • Caffeine’s chemical structure is very similar to adenosine, so it can compete with it and block it from binding to A1 receptors. This promotes wakefulness instead of sleepiness and prevents us from getting as tired.
  • Caffeine also blocks the A2A receptor so adenosine can’t reach it as it normally would. By blocking the receptor, caffeine supports a release of “feel good” dopamine and “excitatory” glutamate.
  • At the same time, caffeine prevents the reabsorption of dopamine into your system, meaning it hangs out longer and makes us feel good longer.

So with this information in mind, let’s look at how this works in a typical day…

Caffeine Through the Workday

While we use caffeine for a variety of reasons, such as for increasing alertness, boosting workouts, making up for lost sleep, or studying for an exam, this example shows the effects of caffeine on the brain from one cup of coffee during a typical workday.

Waking Up: Caffeine Consumption Begins

Through the night, your body has metabolized adenosine, and after you wake up and shake off the grogginess, you become more alert.

You walk to the kitchen and make a cup of coffee, which your small intestines absorbs in the next hour. It’s now usable by your body and brain.

As the caffeine reaches your brain, its molecules start competing with adenosine and blocking it from binding to receptors.

Mid-Morning: Caffeine Peaks

A couple hours after consuming the caffeine, your blood concentration of caffeine is at its highest. Adenosine is still blocked from reaching and binding to A1 and A2A receptors, and you feel most alert and “good” now. Great time to be productive!

Late Afternoon/Early Evening: When Caffeine Lays Off

As the day wears on, caffeine “gets tired” of blocking adenosine receptors and gets metabolized more. You might notice yourself feeling more tired or sleepy as the end of the workday gets closer.

Since most of the caffeine molecules aren’t in the way anymore, adenosine is able to bind to the receptors again. This makes you start feeling sleepy and relaxed.

Assuming you had the coffee in the morning, most of it is gone by early evening.

At night, as you get into bed to sleep, your resting body goes into recovery mode, metabolizing the adenosine molecules.

Rinse and repeat the next day.

Caffeine, whether it’s in the form of coffee, tea, chocolate, or energy drinks, is a handy tool to fight sleepiness and boost alertness during the day throughout the day. We developed our CCL Caffeine as a healthy source of caffeine (that you inhale!) without any crash or added sugars. Learn more about it here.

 

Sources:
1. https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/studentlife/health/promotion/goto/resources/drugs/caffeine.html

Most of us are (at least slightly) familiar with the benefits of vitamin D, but there’s another missing link  preventing us big time from maintaining optimal health: vitamin K2.

To help you understand the delicate tango vitamin D and vitamin K2 must perform to keep us thriving, let’s do a quick overview of each and then talk about why they’re a powerhouse together.

Vitamin D3: Healthy Bones and More

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays many roles in the body, the most well-known being bone health.

Benefits of Vitamin D3

Vitamin D takes both calcium and phosphorus—essential nutrients for developing bones—and absorbs them into your body to maintain healthy bones.

Besides that, we now know Vitamin D also plays a part in many functions of the body, including:

  • Proper muscle function
  • Regulating immune function
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Maintaining healthy lungs, brain function, and brain health
  • Supporting a balanced mood

A deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to type II diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, and some autoimmune diseases. A study from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine in 2014 even showed those with low levels of vitamin D are twice as likely to die prematurely as people with higher levels of vitamin D.

Your body can make its own vitamin D from sunlight, and you can also get it in small amounts in vitamin D foods like wild-caught fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms, or in supplemental form.

Although soaking up sunlight might seem like the most efficient way to get vitamin D, the problem is that during certain times of year, especially October through May, the sun isn’t strong enough in many parts of the U.S. for your body to make sufficient vitamin D.

At the same time, most of the sunscreens we use block almost all of the UVB rays needed to make vitamin D. This makes supplementation the best choice for many people.

Why Vitamin D3 is Better than D2

Did you know there are different forms of vitamin D?

Many supplements use vitamin D2, or calciferol, as their source. The problem is that this form comes from irradiated fungus and is not the same type of vitamin D your body makes naturally.

Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the natural type your body makes from sunlight. It’s the best form of vitamin D and was found to be twice as effective at raising vitamin D levels than vitamin D2 [1].

Vitamin K2: Healthy Bones, Arteries, and More

While vitamin D is more widely recognized for its supplemental benefits, vitamin K2 is a largely underrated vitamin, but it’s finally starting to get the attention it deserves. And it’s important to know about to understand the benefits it provides with vitamin D3.

Vitamin K is fat soluble and best known traditionally for its necessary role in helping blood clot properly. It was first discovered in 1929 by the scientist Henrik Dam and reported in the German scientific journal by the name “Koagulations vitamin,” which is where the “K” comes from [2].

The Different Forms of Vitamin K: K1 vs K2 vs K3

K2 is just one of three different forms of vitamin K, and it’s good to know the differences when looking at which vitamin K supplement is best:

  • Vitamin K1 (also known as phylloquinone) is found naturally in some vegetables, especially leafy greens and vegetable oils, but only a small amount of this form is actually absorbed and used by the body.
  • Vitamin K2 (also known as menaquinone) is found in both natural sources like fermented foods (created by bacteria during fermentation) like natto and cheese and it’s the most common (and best) form of vitamin K used in supplements.
  • Vitamin K3 (also known as menadione) is a synthetic form of vitamin K used in some supplements. We’re often injected with this form of vitamin K when we’re born.

Vitamin K2 has an advantage over K1 because it is likely absorbed better than K1, which is poorly absorbed from its plant food sources [3,4]. It’s best to increase your levels of both K1 and K2.

Benefits of Vitamin K2

Vitamin K is necessary for many reasons, including the following benefits.

Keeps Blood Clotting Normally

Vitamin K helps our blood clot properly. Without blood clotting, we would bleed to death every time we cut or scraped ourselves!

Protects Our Bones

Vitamin K2 helps active osteocalcin, the protein crucial for calcium deposition in our bones that maintains healthy bone density and reduces the chance of fractures. Vitamin K may be able to stop bone loss and reduce fractures in people with osteoporosis as well as possibly reverse it [5].

Supports the Heart

Research suggests an association between higher vitamin K2 intake and a lower risk of coronary calcification, when plague develops on the lining of heart arteries, which can cause strokes, heart disease, and circulatory diseases [6].

There is also some research showing vitamin K2 might help lower cholesterol in those with high levels.

May Reduce Cancer Risk

Some population research even suggests more vitamin K2 intake is linked to a lower risk of prostate, breast, liver, and lung cancers [7,8,9].

Brain Health

In a 2008 study looking at the diets of early-stage Alzheimer’s patients found the Alzheimer’s patients had consumed lower levels of vitamin K than the control group [10].

Vitamin K may also help with:

  • Wound healing
  • Varicose or spider veins
  • Scars, swelling, and stretch marks

Vitamin D3 and K2: Better Together

While both vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 are crucial for health and have many benefits separately, they are both necessary for how they work together.

Vitamin D3 and K2 Benefits

Healthy bones need both vitamin D and K2. While vitamin D is needed for calcium to be absorbed, vitamin K2’s job is to make sure that calcium actually ends up in the bones. Without this special combination, excess calcium might not be utilized correctly and can actually cause harm.

Both vitamins D3 and K2 also make and activate something called matrix GLA protein, or MGP. This protein:

  • Is found around the elastic fibers of the lining of the arteries
  • Helps protect the arteries from calcification and slow its progression

This is possible with the combination of vitamin D and vitamin K2 together and far more effective than vitamin D alone [11].

In addition, most of the benefits of vitamin D and K2 mentioned in this article are made possible when there’s a proper balance of both vitamins in your body.

What this all comes down to is: Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 work synergistically in the body. So taking too much of one can lead to an imbalance in the other.

If you’re considering or already supplementing with vitamin D or vitamin K2 alone, it’s time to think about taking them together for maximum benefit and proper function.

Advanced D-K Spray makes it simple to get your daily dose of vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 benefits without worrying about an imbalance or deficiency. Check it out today:

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310306
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4899-1789-8_19
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8813897
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23590754
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15802772
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15514282
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12888897?dopt=Abstract
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17982189
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19214667
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19027415
  11. https://academic.oup.com/ndt/article/28/suppl_1/i352/1838602