Fatherhood Then and Now

As we adapt our lifestyles to environmental challenges and our evolving communities, there is one notable area which is changing and heartwarming for everyone involved: fatherhood.

Generations ago, fathers played the roles of protectors and breadwinners for the family. They were guardians who fought off enemies and the scourge of natural disasters. Mothers played the roles of nurturers and educators and were often children’s sole source of emotional support and physical affection.

As women entered the work force—jumping from 33% to 60% between 1948 and 20011—men’s roles in parenting adjusted accordingly to share in the duties of the primary caretaker. The effects of these changing roles are being studied and have already shown some positive effects not only on fathers but also on their children. Historically, research on child development has focused more on the sensitivity of mothers to fulfilling their children’s needs. However, in the last 20 to 30 years, research has increasingly focused on fathers. This is due to the growing role modern day fathers play in caregiving.

A study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) found that fathers tended to be more involved in caregiving when they worked fewer hours than other fathers, had high self- esteem, lower levels of depression and hostility, and coped well with the major tasks of adulthood. In general terms, those fathers lived with co-parenting mothers who worked more hours outside the home than other mothers.2

Other research on the role of fathers suggests that the influence of father love on children’s development is as great as the influence of a mother’s love. Fatherly love helps children develop a sense of their place in the world, which helps their social, emotional and cognitive development and functioning. Moreover, children who receive more love from their fathers are less likely to struggle with behavioral or substance abuse problems.3

Fatherhood has become more complex as fathers take on more caregiving. Three areas of fatherhood that anthropologists and behaviorists have reported notable changes in are:

1. Commendation: Fathers of the past took on the role of disciplinarian and were sparse in their compliments. Modern fathers use positive re-enforcement to sustain outstanding performance in their children.4

2. Accessibility: Children have the freedom to talk to their fathers more than it was possible in the past. Now fathers communicate freely with their children. Very few topics are off-limits with the modern father. 5

3. Emotional Availability: In the past, fathers were mainly involved in protecting their children from physical harm. Now fathers want to be part of every little detail of their children’s well-being, from mental to physical health. 6

In the 1970s, attachment theory was the focus of child development studies, focusing on the first years of children’s lives and their bond with their mothers. Michael Lamb, a forerunner of fatherhood research and still continuing with studies at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., explains, “That went along with the assumption that the bond with the mother was the only [primary] relationship kids could form.”7 However, Lamb and a small number of other researchers were all coming to the same conclusion: Babies can form as strong an attachment to their dads as to their moms. From that seed has grown an intriguing but limited body of evidence stating that not only are men built to care for children, but that being an involved dad impacts kids’ physiologies, psychologies and outcomes for the rest of their lives.8

It wasn’t until the turn of this century that researchers discovered the fascinating detail that men’s bodies transform when they become fathers. Oxytocin—the “love hormone”— has been known to play a role in a mother’s initial bonding with her child after birth. Recently, researchers have observed that the same spike in oxytocin occurs when fathers hold and play with their newborns. The new fathers also register an increase in prolactin—a hormone best known for helping women produce breastmilk. Its purpose, it turns out, is greater than that.9

University of Notre Dame anthropologist Lee Gettler explains that the presence of prolactin goes back hundreds of millions of years to our animal ancestors—before mammals existed (even before breastfeeding existed). Over the past decade, Gettler’s research has come to some conclusions about the hormone’s function in modern-day dads. “Fathers with higher prolactin play with their babies in ways that are beneficial for their babies’ learning and exploration, and the fathers also seem to be more responsive and sensitive to infant cries,” he says. In other words, this ancient hormone plays some role in increasing dads’ desire to be close.10

In the book Do Fathers Matter?, science journalist Paul Raeburn summarizes findings from a 2007 Swedish study: “Children whose fathers played with them, read to them, took them on outings and helped care for them had fewer behavioral problems in the early school years, and less likelihood of delinquency or criminal behavior as adolescents.” When you talk to involved dads, you quickly discover that the positive effects of becoming one aren’t just for the children. Fathers’ own ideas of manhood expand during the transition, as do their abilities to form rewarding human connections. Having an involved dad has been associated with fewer cognitive delays, better school readiness, a decrease in tantrums and aggressive behavior, and lower rates of depression.11

Happy Father’s Day from Nikken! On June 19 this year, Nikken is celebrating fathers and men’s health with a self-care pack that empowers men with Active Wellness. Our Father’s Day Pack, available June 1 through June 30, targets the immune system and gut health with one bottle of Kenzen® Immunity and one bottle of Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0. You also receive a bonus bottle of Kenzen® Mega Daily 4 for men at no cost, an added retail value of $53 US / $65 CA.

1, 2, 3 https://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/changing-father

4, 5, 6 https://guardian.ng/life/life-features/fatherhood-in-the-past-and-fatherhood-today-what-changed/

7, 8, 9, 10, 11 https://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/the-science-of-how-fatherhood-transforms-you/

Restful Sleep is So Sweet

Scientists don’t yet understand exactly why we need sleep so badly.  They believe it restores us physically and helps us organize things in our brain.1 We do know, however, that we can’t live an Active Wellness lifestyle without it. We cannot force ourselves to fall asleep, just as we can’t force ourselves to digest food more quickly or to eat as much as we want without gaining weight. In other words, we can’t control our sleep patterns; however, we can create the right conditions for sleep, both mentally and physically. That is, we can create good sleep habits for a pleasant sleep experience.

The study of sleep makes for fascinating science. Here are some interesting facts about other species:

• English bulldogs are the only canines known to experience sleep apnea, a breathing disorder. Their unusual airway anatomy (short snouts and underbites is the likely reason.2

• Sea otters hold hands when they sleep so they don’t drift away from each other.3

• Whales and dolphins literally fall half asleep. Each side of their brain takes turns so they can come up for air.4

• Trees go to sleep at night by relaxing their branches and perk them up in the morning.5

• Snails can sleep for three years.6

• Giraffes can get by on an average of 30 minutes of sleep each night.7

There are also intriguing facts about humans and our sleep patterns:

• We are the only mammals that willingly delay sleep.8

• Thirty minutes of exercise each day correlates with 14 minutes of extra sleep per night.9

• Parents of newborns lose about six months’ worth of sleep in their child’s first two years of life. Each additional child increases the mother’s loss of sleep by 46%.10

• Sleepwalking is most likely to occur between the ages of three and 17, with 15% of people thought to be sleepwalkers.11

• Women sleep longer than men. The reason is that women tend to multitask more than men; therefore, their brains work harder and take longer to recover.12

• We can dream in color or in black and white. About 12% are believed to dream exclusively in black and white.13 Today about 75% dream in color, while only 15% did before color television became available.14

Scientists used to think that everything shut down when we sleep, but over the last 60 years, they’ve discovered that our brains are very active while we sleep. In fact, some parts of the brain use more oxygen and glucose while asleep than when awake. The timing of our need for sleep is based on how long we have been awake and our body clock. For example, if we stay awake all night, we will feel more tired at 4 am than at 10 am.  Recent breakthroughs may have identified the gene that makes some people cope more easily with a lack of sleep.15

Have you tried Kenko Sleep Technology to help you get a great night’s sleep? For the entire month of November, Nikken Registered Customers will receive cash back in the form of Nikken Reward Points on the purchase of any Kenko Naturest® Fit or any Kenko Sleep Pack. There’s nothing else like the Kenko Naturest® Fit anywhere—it’s only from Nikken. Designed with natural latex nodules to massage you while you sleep, the reflective fibers help keep you warm while promoting air circulation. Tourmaline interspersed between 800 gauss magnets help create a calming effect, to help you get your best night’s sleep, every night! The Kenko Naturest® Fit transforms any mattress into a Kenko Sleep System that supports your body’s natural abilities to recuperate while sleeping!

1, 15 https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/facts-about-sleep.html

2, 3,4, 8, 14 https://health.clevelandclinic.org/22-facts-about-sleep-that-will-surprise-you/

5, 6, 7, 10, 12 https://www.thegoodbody.com/sleep-facts/

11, 13 https://www.thinktank.org.uk/blog/1363-30-fun-facts-about-sleep.php

Sleep Can Be Your Superpower

To maintain an optimal level of Active Wellness, we can eat right, exercise regularly, use a good air filter and drink hydrogen water. Even more importantly, we need to sleep well and sleep enough! According to sleep and brain scientist Matt Walker, “Sleep is a non-negotiable biological necessity. Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health.” 1 Humans are the only species who intentionally deprive ourselves of sleep, creating the public health challenge of the century.

What are some of the benefits of getting a good eight hours of restful sleep? Matt Walker states that in studies of restful sleepers vs. sleep-deprived participants, the hippocampus in the brain shows significant memory signals in the good sleepers but not in the sleep-deprived. Here’s why:

  • Sleep prepares the brain for learning activities.
  • Sleep helps create permanent memories after learning.
  • Deep sleep acts like a transfer system for memories and learning.
  • Gene activities are impacted by sleep. Good sleep increases immune system activities, while poor sleep is associated with an increase in genetic stress activities and chronic inflammation.

Disruptions of deep sleep can impact brain functions, leading to certain dysfunctions. The good news is that scientists can now research ways to rectify this situation, as it is believed that sleep loss leaks into every aspect of physiology. Here are some tips for good sleep:

  1. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time as regularly as possible. The body likes regularity and a fixed schedule. (This is why new mothers who are sleep-deprived or those who are on a split shift and can no longer adhere to a regular sleep schedule say they have “fuzzy” brains or “can’t think.”)
  2. Keep it cool. It takes a two to three degree drop in body temperature to fall asleep and stay asleep. 65º F or 18 Cº is generally ideal for most people.
  3. When you can’t sleep, get out of bed and preferably go to another room. The bed should be associated with sleep, not with tossing and turning.
  4. Go to bed only when sleepy.
  5. Turn off all electronic devices. In other words, don’t fall asleep with the TV on. Don’t have your mobile phone on and blinking and buzzing throughout the night.
  6. Stay away from alcoholic or caffeinated beverages before bedtime, preferably hours beforehand.
  7. Don’t take sleeping pills, unless prescribed by your physician. It’s easy to form a dependence on sleep aids, but it is not a natural way to go to sleep. We can retrain our bodies to rest naturally, but like any activity, it takes practice and patience.
  8. Invest in comfortable bedding. Make sure your mattress has the firmness that supports your comfort level.

For the entire month of November, any Nikken Registered Customer will receive cash back in the form of Nikken Reward Points on the purchase of any Kenko Naturest® Fit or any Kenko Sleep Pack. There’s nothing else like the Kenko Naturest® Fit anywhere—it’s only from Nikken. Designed with natural latex nodules to massage you while you sleep, the reflective fibers help keep you warm while promoting air circulation. Tourmaline interspersed between 800 gauss magnets help create a calming effect, to help you get your best night’s sleep, every night! The Kenko Naturest® Fit transforms any mattress into a Kenko Sleep System that supports your body’s natural abilities to recuperate while sleeping!

1 http://t.ted.com/NKWxqbD

Technologies That Augment Natural Energies

Our guest blogger Dave Balzer is a Technology Consultant and International Advisor in Product Development, Design Engineering, Prototype, Manufacturing, and Regulatory compliance of new devices. He has worked with Nikken on many projects over the past three decades. Since 2012, he has guided his own medical device company that produces specialized diagnostic kits.

All of the Nikken technologies take their cue from the natural world. Whether it is magnetic energy, warming energy, or negative ions, Nikken has keenly observed nature and created ways to support the benefits that it offers.

Nothing could be more natural than magnetism. In fact, the earth itself is a giant dipole magnet that imparts its flux energy to every living creature on the planet. This flux energy forms a shield over the globe known as the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere protects the surface of the planet from being irradiated with harmful solar energy. In essence, the shield itself acts as a filter, which permits biocompatible light energy to pass through. Without the protection offered by the earth’s magnetic flux, life as we know it would be destroyed. 

Many animals are able to sense the earth’s magnetic field. This is true for birds, insects, plants and even humans. All of the creatures sensitive to the earth’s magnetic energy possess a protein known as a cryptochrome. It is this molecule that reacts to magnetic energy. Unfortunately, NASA has reported that the earth’s magnetic field is weakening and even developing irregularities. Nikken has chosen to utilize permanent dipole magnets in many of its products as a way of buttressing and supporting the degradation of the earth’s natural magnetic energy.

The energy from the sun that reaches the surface of the planet is made up by visible, ultraviolet and infrared light. The visible wavelengths of light are the ones humans can detect with their eyes. They comprise 40% of the light energy reaching the earth’s surface. Ultraviolet light cannot be seen by mammals and makes up 7% of the total. This leaves infrared light energy representing 53% or the majority of the sun’s energy that reaches the earth’s surface. Infrared light is fundamentally important to human life. Tissues and cells found in the body are in tune with infrared energy. They absorb, utilize and even emit infrared energy.

Nikken produces several products that incorporate special ceramic reflective fibers. These fibers have the ability to absorb light energy and reflect it back to the user as infrared energy. In doing so, Nikken is able to support and balance the natural warming energy found in the environment.

Negative ions are all around us. Nature provides them in abundance in forests and near waterfalls. They are a key component to inducing the feeling of wellness and relaxation that is experienced during a nature walk. It is ironic to understand that negative ions have a positive impact on wellness while positive ions have the opposite effect. Appliances, electronics and other fixtures of city dwelling emit positive ions and can cause feelings of fatigue and depression. Consequently, the environment needs to be buttressed with new sources of negative ions in order to counteract the ill effects of the positive ones. Nikken offers an advanced air filtration system known as the KenkoAir Purifier® that utilizes negative ion technology.

Some examples of Nikken magnetic products with patented DynaFlux® technology are the insoles (Kenko mSteps® and mStrides®) and the KenkoTouch® handheld massage system. Ceramic reflective fibers are found throughout the Kenko Sleep system, including the Kenko Naturest® Fit, comforters and pillows. 

Loving Our Furry Family Members

We love our pets so much and our affection is reciprocated in ways that melt our hearts. In North America, the two most common pets are dogs and cats. Not only do those who live with pets receive that special love from their furry family members but cohabiting with them teaches children how to treat non-humans with kindness, care and respect. This in turn shows children how to treat living creatures, big and small, as part of planet Earth.

Since 1998, the pet population in the United States has almost doubled, with two thirds of the country being pet owners.1 Similar to humans, dogs and cats that sleep well, live a healthier lifestyle than those that don’t. Not only that, but a good night’s rest can help improve your dog’s memory and can even make your pooch smarter, according to a study published in a 2017 edition of Scientific Reports.2

Domestic dogs and cats sleep an average of 12-15 hours daily, with up to 20 sleep cycles, each lasting 15 minutes. In contrast, humans average four to five sleep cycles, each lasting 90 minutes. Cats and dogs reach REM less, so they need more sleep to obtain adequate rest.3

Humans spend a lot of time searching for the perfect mattress that provides us with ample support, good circulation and all-night comfort. The Kenko Naturest® Fit supports quality human sleep and the Kenko Sleep Pet Pad does the same for our furry friends. Both are made with magnetic, rubberthane and tourmaline technologies. Together, these technologies impart a gentle massaging effect that is activated by the sleeper’s natural movements. The breathable fabric helps with temperature control by allowing air circulation and helping your pet to maintain a comfortable level of body heat. And because we know well how much shedding and staining can occur with any pet, both the small and large Pet Pad have removable covers that are easy to launder.

Keeping our pets healthy and happy also makes it easier for us to live the Active Wellness lifestyle. Recent studies suggest having a pet can actually help reduce our blood pressure, alter the course of heart disease and decrease our stress levels.4 By taking good care of our pets, we are actually taking better care of ourselves! Astounding numbers show that this reciprocal relationship between humans and their pets is growing:

• According to the National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association from 2017-2020, there were approximately 95.6 million pet cats and 89.7 million pet dogs in the United States as of 2020.

• In Canada, there were about 8.1 million pet cats and 7.7 million pet dogs in 2020.5

Contrary to common belief, some cats and dogs live together happily, proving that interspecies “siblings” can love each other as much as we love them! It’s a win-win situation!

1 https://www.amazon.com/Pet-Nation-Affair-Changed-America/dp/0593083865

2 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/the-importance-of-a-good-dog-bed/

3 spacecoastpetservices.com/2020/01/09/how-much-sleep-dogs-cats/#:~:text=Dogs%20and%20cats%20go%20through,lasting%20up%20to%2090%20minutes.

4 https://thezebra.org/2021/04/05/the-love-affair-with-our-pets/

5 https://www.statista.com/statistics/1015882/number-of-pet-cats-and-dogs-canada/

Sleep Your Way to Better Health

There’s no question that a good night’s sleep can brighten our days and is an integral part of Active Wellness! Why is sleep so important? Why does it affect us so much? Here are seven bodily actions that take place to help understand the importance of sleep:1

  1. Your brain processes your day while you sleep, sorting and storing information. This process is particularly important for creating long term memories, as your brain consolidates all the information it’s picked up during the day and files it away for later use.
  2. Hormones flood your body during sleep. The pineal gland releases melatonin, which controls sleep patterns. Levels increase at night time, making you feel sleepy. The pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which helps the body to grow and repair itself.
  3. Your sympathetic nervous system needs rest. When deprived of sleep, activity increases in the sympathetic nervous system, which is accompanied by an increase in blood pressure. Scientists studying coronary disease are investigating whether decreased sleep may increase the risk of heart disease.
  4. Cortisol levels are lowered. Known as the stress hormone, cortisol decreases during the first few hours of sleep before rising to peak soon after you wake up. This helps you feel alert and energetic when you awaken.
  5. Your muscles are paralyzed. While asleep, you cycle through periods of non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM). The most vivid dreams occur during REM. During this stage, your muscles are temporarily paralyzed, so you can’t move.
  6. Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH) helps you not have to get up and use the bathroom. It is released by the brain under a circadian rhythm which switches off the need to urinate as often overnight as during waking hours.
  7. Your immune system releases cytokines, which are small proteins that help the body fight inflammation, infection and trauma. Without enough sleep, your immune system might not be able to function at its best.

To help get quality sleep consistently, Nikken has an entire Sleep System that encloses you in a cocoon of magnetism. The latest addition is the Kenko Naturest® Fit, a thin mattress topper with elasticized skirts on four sides, so that it fits easily over the mattress, under a fitted sheet. Made with Nikken Sleep Technology, it has 800 gauss magnets, reflective fibers and rubberthane to help achieve sweet dreams while feeling relaxed and massaged! Alone or as part of a Sleep Pack, it may well change your waking hours as much as your sleeping ones! (The Kenko Naturest® Fit is available for pre-orders. We expect it to be in our warehouses near the end of May.)

1 https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/7-amazing-things-that-happen-to-your-body-while-you-sleep

Give the Gift of Wellness

Most of us think of the approaching season of gifting in conjunction with sales galore. This year many people are not venturing out of their homes. Retail stores therefore are facing the challenge of making their holiday sales entirely online. At Nikken, we’ve been conducting business with our Consultants and Registered Customers online or by phone for years. Simply use the online shopping cart 24/7 or call Customer Service Monday through Friday! It doesn’t get easier than that.

More than ever before, this year is the perfect time to think of giving everyone on your list the Gift of Wellness. Nikken truly has something for everyone when it comes to helping people improve health and fitness, and now is the perfect time to get a jumpstart on your gift list.

Good sleep is critical to Active Wellness. An investment in a supportive mattress and pillow, quality sheets and temperature-controlled covers can help you feel refreshed and energetic at the start of every day. Right now, we have a really good deal for you to take advantage of during the season of giving! The Cozy Winter Packs are 15% off and will be available through the end of the year. They come in three sizes, and not matter which you choose, you’ll be benefiting from substantial savings. Whether you purchase for your own home or as gifts, the Cozy Winter Pack contains Sleep items that are rarely discounted.

•            The King Pack has one king size Kenko Dream® Comforter, two KenkoNaturest® Custom Pillows and two Kenko PowerSleep Masks.

•            The Queen Pack has one queen size Kenko Dream® Comforter, two KenkoNaturest® Custom Pillows and two Kenko PowerSleep Masks.

•            The Twin Pack has one twin size Kenko Dream® Comforter with one KenkoNaturest® Custom Pillow and one Kenko PowerSleep Mask. 

Staying hydrated is key to overall health. During these trying times, drinking lots of filtered water is even more important, as it is known that staying hydrated helps boost our immune systems. Carry an eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle everywhere and drink up! It makes the perfect green gift all year round.

Do you know anyone who doesn’t do much cooking and relies on ready-made food? Unfortunately ready-made in this day and age often means highly processed and full of preservatives and artificial flavoring. Kenzen® Wellness Organic-Based Nutrition can help fill in dietary gaps while elevating your nutrient density. And for both children and adults who don’t eat enough vegetables and fruits, Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix can provide four of the recommended daily servings in one delicious chocolate-flavored scoop. It’s green superfood!

What about a gift that takes care of the body’s largest organ, skin? True Elements® skin care helps cleanse, tone and moisturize skin of all ages with organic ingredients that include seaweed that is rich in natural minerals. These skin care preparations are natural, organic, and free from parabens, GMOs, mineral oils, phthalates, phenoxyethanol, PEG, EDTA, synthetic colorings and fragrances.

Make holiday gifting stress-free with Nikken, and remember to wash your hands and stay safe!

Do You Have a Sleep Disorder?

Sleep disorders are conditions that disturb our normal sleep patterns. Sleeping is a complicated biological process where we are unconscious but the brain and body are still actively functioning. These continuous bodily functions help us stay healthy. When we don’t get enough restful sleep, we feel tired, but even worse, it can affect our physical and mental well-being. Restful sleep is one of the most important facets of Active Wellness.

The term “sleep disorder” refers to conditions that affect sleep quality, timing, or duration and impact a person’s ability to properly function while they are awake. These disorders can contribute to other medical problems, and some may also be symptoms for underlying mental health issues.1

Over four decades, more than 100 specific sleep disorders have been identified and complex methodologies categorize them based on causes, symptoms, physiological and psychological effects, and other criteria.2 However, most sleep disorders can be characterized by one or more of the following four signs:

  • Trouble falling or remaining asleep
  • Difficulty staying awake during the day
  • Imbalances in circadian rhythm that interfere with a healthy sleep schedule
  • Being prone to unusual behaviors that disrupt sleep

Some fairly common types of sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome (RLS), hypersomnia and parasomnia.3 According to general estimates by the Sleep Foundation, 10 to 30% of adults live with some form of insomnia. Most of us have experienced some form of insomnia—either having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Chronic insomnia occurs when sleepers experience symptoms at least three times per week for at least three months. Insomnia lasting less than three months is known as short-term insomnia.

Sleep apnea is ubiquitous and presents more of a problem, because left untreated, it could lead to serious health issues. It’s not only a sleep disorder but also a breathing disorder where the sleeper stops breathing for 10 seconds or more. There are various forms of sleep apnea, but each warrants checking in with a health practitioner for possible treatment.

Restless leg syndrome causes the sleeper to waken from an urge to move the legs or simply twitching from an irritating sensation, while hypersomnia causes extreme sleepiness during the day, to the point of not being able to function.

Parasomnia is a collective term for unusual behaviors that occur prior to sleep, during sleep, or during the transition period between sleep and waking. These behaviors can occur during different stages of sleep. Sleepwalking and night terrors are examples of parasomnia, as are talking or eating while asleep.

Sleep disorders can be caused by health issues including heart, lung, nerve and pain conditions. They can also be caused by depression and anxiety, certain medications, caffeine, alcohol, irregular schedules, aging and even genetics. It’s best to check in with a health practitioner, just to be on the safe side.

When going to sleep, make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend removing all electronic devices from the bedroom.4

From November 1 through December 31, 2020, the discounted Nikken “Cozy Winter” Packs not only help you to reap the health benefits of a good night’s sleep but also to expand your Global Wellness Community when you share it with others.


1, 2  https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders

3 https://medlineplus.gov/sleepdisorders.html

4 https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

Sleep Better to Work and Feel Better

What a difference a good night’s sleep can make! We work better, feel better and consciously or not, we treat people better when we’re well rested. In fact, the importance of sleep continues to be a hot topic. Nikken has been advocating for restful sleep with the help of advanced magnetic technology way before it became one of the primary focuses of Active Wellness practitioners!

Just how important is sleep for Active Wellness and overall health? In a 2018 study, Mayo Clinic scientists found that sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of age-related memory loss.1 This follows a 2017 study that linked poor sleep to higher levels of other biological markers associated with age-related brain conditions.2 Another 2018 study even determined that one sleepless night alone can be damaging, leaving behind harmful protein debris in your brain.3

The National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) annual Sleep in America® poll shows Americans feel sleepy on average three times a week, with 62% trying to “shake it off” as their primary response. Those who feel sleepy five to seven days a week report especially high rates of irritability (52 percent), headaches (40 percent), and feeling unwell (34 percent). The Sleep in America poll found when people feel sleepy, more Americans say it’s generally because they’re not sleeping well enough (55 percent) as opposed to not having enough time to sleep (44 percent).4

To help achieve restful sleep, The National Sleep Foundation advises us to focus on maximizing comfort and minimizing distractions:

•            Use a high-performance mattress and pillow, such as the KenkoNaturest® Custom Pillow. This helps with comfort and the support of the spine to avoid achy muscles and joints.

•            Choose quality sheets and blankets. Again, this is to help with comfort and maintenance of suitable temperatures throughout the night. The Kenko® Dream Comforter is ideal to snuggle under during cool nights.

•            Avoid light disruptions. Excess light exposure can throw off sleep and circadian rhythm. Use blackout curtains or a comfortable sleep mask, such as the Kenko PowerSleep Mask, to block out light.

•            Keep noise to a minimum. If you can’t eliminate nearby sources of noise, consider drowning them out with a fan or white noise machine. Earplugs or headphones are another option to block abrasive sounds when you want to sleep.

•            Make sure the room temperature is not too hot or cold by using heaters, fans and air conditioning as necessary. Researchers have found that sleeping in a cooler environment of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit is conducive to restful sleep.5

From November 1 through December 31,2020, the discounted Nikken “Cozy Winter” Packs not only help you to reap the health benefits of a good night’s sleep but also to expand your Global Wellness Community when you share it with others.

1 D. Carvalho et al. Association of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness with Longitudinal Β-Amyloid Accumulation in Elderly Persons Without Dementia JAMA Neurology. Vol. 75, June 2018. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.0049.
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/article-abstract/2674279

2 Sprecher KE et al. Poor sleep is associated with CSF biomarkers of amyloid pathology in cognitively normal adults. Neurology. 2017 Aug 1; 89(5): 445-453.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5539733/

3 Shokri-Kojori E et al. Β-Amyloid accumulation in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. PNAS April 24, 2018. 115 (17) 4483-4488;
http://www.pnas.org/content/115/17/4483

4 https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/nsfs-2020-sleep-america-poll-shows-alarming-sleepiness-and-low-action

5 https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/healthy-sleep-tips

Are You Gaining Weight While Staying Home?

Nobody has yet done an assessment of how COVID-19 has impacted the nation’s weight—in fact, there are reports that some people are losing weight. But John Morton, MD, MPH, MHA, medical director of bariatric surgery at Yale New Haven Health System, says he has seen patients in telehealth appointments who have gained five, 10, and even 30 pounds.1

In fact, the global pandemic has disrupted life in major ways: Gym and park closures have upended exercise routines, parents have had to work at home while teaching their children, and elective medical checkups have been postponed, whereas updates on blood pressure, AC1 and cholesterol numbers would have been motivation to think about weight.

WebMD readers in the U.S. cited a number of reasons for their weight gain in a poll conducted on May 17. About 72% reported a lack of exercise. About 70% said they’ve been stress eating. An overwhelming 59% said both a lack of exercise and stress eating were a problem, and 21% attributed it to extra alcohol consumption. The same poll conducted among international readers on May 18 found 73% cited lack of exercise, 35% stress eating, and 17% to drinking more alcohol.2

Purpose gives direction, and it helps when it comes to weight management. A few pounds short term may not make a difference. It could be fluid. It might be just a little weight gain while we establish new routines. Obviously, the more weight we gain and the longer it’s maintained, the more it affects our health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, for example, it’s been shown that children’s weight tracks to some extent. If children establish those habits, or lack of healthy habits when they’re young and they gain weight, that might persist as they go into adolescence and adulthood.3 This is a great time to role model healthy eating habits. In fact, cooking can be a family affair and a source of quality time.

With adults, it’s more important for some people than others to manage weight. Weight gain of a few pounds can hurt people who have diabetes or high blood pressure, as the extra weight can increase their blood glucose and blood pressure.4 So, it’s important to establish new habits that help maintain a healthy weight even when we are sequestered at home.

Here are a few tips on keeping unwanted poundage off by practicing Active Wellness:

• Create a daily routine. Include wake-up time, bed time and meal times. Even if you are working at home now, adhere to a schedule.

• If you are home more than usual, take the time to learn about healthy foods and do more cooking. Restaurant food is generally higher in calories but when you’re the cook, you can focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

• Control your portions. Practice eating until you’re 70% to 80% full.

• Eat proteins first, because they will make you feel full. Too many carbohydrates can cause swings in blood sugar.

• If you simply do not cook and have no interest in it, resist ready-made processed foods. Instead choose a healthy meal replacement drink like Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix at least once daily. It’s high in plant protein, MCTs and sweetened with all-natural, zero-calorie monkfruit.

• For those with finicky children, keep offering fruits and vegetables but don’t add more stress if they refuse them. Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix is a yummy alternative that delivers four recommended daily servings of vegetables and fruits with a single scoop.

• Schedule regular exercise. Exercise is not the main factor for weight loss, but it plays a role in keeping weight off as well as helping loosen stiff joints. Remember the simple rule that fewer calories consumed than expended is what produces weight loss. There are many ways to exercise at home.

• Get a good night’s sleep. Those who do not get restful sleep tend to gain weight!

• Decide how to manage stress. Meditation, prayer, yoga, listening to soothing music, playing a musical instrument, reading, etc. It all depends on what relaxes you best. Enjoy the time you have at home and stay healthy and active!

1 https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/quarantine-15-weight-gain-pandemic/

2 https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200518/webmd-poll-many-report-weight-gain-during-shutdown

3,4 https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/packing-on-pounds-during-covid-19-and-how-to-turn-it-around/