Putting the Restful Part Back into Sleep

A third of our lives is spent sleeping and resting, but not everyone actually feels rested after spending time in bed. There are many reasons for not sleeping—maybe tomorrow brings an event that is too exciting! Or, it could be the first day of a new job or at a new school. You could be auditioning for a gig as a musician or actor. There might be a big celebration to attend—an anniversary, a birthday, so many kinds of parties!

Whatever the reason, between 10 and 30% of adults have insomnia at one time or another, but thankfully there are simple steps to take to get a sound night’s sleep. Where and how you sleep can make a difference in how well you sleep.

When you rest in an environment that is comfortable and soothing, it helps you fall asleep. Even though you are sleeping, getting enough rest is part of the Active Wellness lifestyle. Here are a few things to try.

• Keep the room dark and quiet. In other words, whenever you’re able to, keep any stimulation out. Some people fall asleep to the TV or headset every night. If you can sleep through the night that way and get up feeling rested, that’s great, but chances are, the TV and the headset could keep you awake longer.

• Try keeping your electronic devices off and see if it helps you. The cell phone is an especially big disruptor because it can jar you awake when you’re in a nice, sound sleep, and then you can’t fall back asleep. Make sure to turn it off or at least keep it on silent.

• Give yourself the chance to calm down and empty the mind. Breathe in and breathe out, slowly and rhythmically. It may even help to count 1, 2, 3 as you breathe in and 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 as you breathe out, keeping the exhalation slower than the inhalation.

• Have you heard the “counting sheep” method of going to sleep? This is similar to counting your breaths, but parents have been known to tell their children to count sheep when they have a hard time falling asleep. The monotony of visualizing sheep and counting them has a slightly hypnotic effect that may lull you to sleep.

• Ventilation is as important as your breath. If the bedroom is stuffy, open a window. If there’s no window, try a fan. The KenkoAir Purifier® is also a big help, because it cleans the stale air.

• If you feel wired, don’t go to bed. Wait until you feel sleepy! A warm bath or shower may help you unwind.

• Make sure you get some kind of routine exercise every day. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but getting the circulation going earlier in the day will help you be tired and ready to catch some zzzzzs.

• In bed but not quite ready to shut your eyes? Pick up a real book with pages, not an e-Book. Reading tires out the eyes and does not have the same effect as an electronic device that lights up—and paper does not give off undesired electromagnetic waves.

• To get your body to calm down and feel more connected to a natural state, try putting a KenkoGround® under your feet or neck—just make sure it’s touching your skin.

• Very importantly, make sure your bedding is comfortable. Nikken has a whole Kenko Sleep Pack, sized for different beds, that can help make your nightly slumber a restful experience to look forward to!

Nikken is launching a revolutionary pillow that takes Sleep Technology to a new level. We’ll explore this innovation next week. Meanwhile, check it out in the shopping cart: Kenko Naturest® Makura, Item 13122. It is in all the Makura Sleep Packs but once you try the new pillow, you’re going to want one or more for every bed in the house!

Can Grounding Blast Spring Allergies?

Sniffles, sneezing, itchy eyes and throat—spring can be such a beautiful and rejuvenating time of year, but for those of us who suffer from allergies, it can put a damper on our outdoor activities! Unfortunately, allergies affect more than 50 million Americans yearly1 and can be obstacles in Active Wellness.

The most common way to fight allergies is to take antihistamines, but many of us really do not like the side effects that may occur, such as dry mouth, foggy brain and fatigue. What’s a body to do?

Reconnecting with nature by grounding has shown great promise in helping to overcome not only spring allergies but allergies in general. The reason for this is based in science.

Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance—such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander—or a food that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people. The immune system produces substances known as antibodies. When there are allergies, the immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t. Once in contact with the allergen, the immune system’s reaction can inflame the skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.2

Research has shown that grounding is a viable method to counter inflammation. Since the body runs through a type of electrical current, the Earth’s negative charges can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of the body’s systems. The body is naturally able to absorb the negative electrical charges from the Earth since the skin acts like a conductor.3 That’s why grounding requires skin contact with the Earth. Luckily, if we can’t breathe in the pollen-filled air outside, we can use the KenkoGround® directly on our skin while indoors.

The brain, heart and neurotransmitters all rely on electrical signals to function properly. When the electricity is off, certain aspects of health can be compromised and produce inflammation. Put simply, researchers believe that the influx of free electrons from grounding help to neutralize free radicals and reduce the acute and chronic inflammation that causes accelerated aging. Basically, the free or mobile electrons from the Earth can help relieve chronic inflammation by serving as natural antioxidants! 4

Other than grounding, some simple ways to help decrease the risk for allergy attacks include frequent hand washing, staying hydrated, keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons, vacuuming often, keeping your sinuses clear with water or a saline rinse, and helping to boost the immune system with dietary supplements such as Kenzen® Immunity, Kenzen® Omega Green +DHA and Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox.

1 https://www.westsidehn.com/are-allergies-a-sign-of-a-strong-immune-system/

2 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351497

3, 4 https://draxe.com/health/earthing/

2 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351497

3, 4 https://draxe.com/health/earthing/

Healthy Feet Propel Active Wellness

April is Foot Health Awareness Month—good foot health is essential for an active life. With 26 bones plus 33 joints, feet serve as the foundation for the rest of the body. If the feet are not mechanically sound, it can affect the knees, hips and even the lower back.

We carry approximately four to six times our body weight across the ankle joint when climbing up stairs or walking steep inclines. We need our feet to carry us an average of 115,000 miles in our lifetime; therefore, avoiding foot problems should be a priority.1

The importance of feet serves as the foundation for reflexology, which studies how one part of the body relates to another. Practitioners of reflexology rely on a “map” of the foot, where each part corresponds to another body part, notably the internal organs. Pressure applied to different parts of the foot is believed to stimulate or activate corresponding parts of the body.2

Food is a great enabler for foot health. What we eat can help avoid swelling and other discomforts of the feet. For example, eating food with diuretic properties may help prevent fluid retention.3 Incorporate watermelon, asparagus, parsley, beets, grapes, green beans, leafy greens, cucumbers, pineapples, pumpkins, onions, leeks and garlic into your diet.3

Foods to avoid (or least to partake of infrequently) include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, dairy products, animal protein, dried shellfish, fried foods, gravies, olives, pickles, salt, soy sauce, tobacco, white flour and white sugar.4 Fortunately, what we should incorporate and what we should reduce in our diet correspond to basic healthy eating, Mediterranean style. (link to https://nikkenactivewellness.com/2017/03/14/go-mediterranean-for-good-nutrition-and-health/)

Other ways to maintain foot health include:

• Stretching the feet, ankles and lower legs every day and before exercising. This helps to keep the muscles strong and to avoid injury.

• Keeping a healthy weight. Excess weight puts pressure on the feet, leading to foot pain, stress fractures, circulatory issues and possible arthritis.

• Making sure shoes fit properly. Avoid rubbing or squeezing toes, and try to maintain a half inch space between the longest toe (usually the big toe or the second toe) and the end of the shoe.

• Replacing worn out shoes. Some of us have a favorite pair that are especially comfortable; however, if they are worn out inside or outside, they can cause foot strain.

• Keeping feet clean and dry in between the toes. This will help prevent fungus, otherwise known as athlete’s foot.

Feet are one of the more complex parts of the human anatomy, so they are prone to a wide variety of issues, such as ingrown toenails, neuropathy, bunions and more. In addition, it’s fairly common to have one foot be slightly larger than the other, so always wear shoes that favor the larger foot in fit.5 We also need to be aware that our feet may not stay the same size—as we age, they tend to flatten out, and some pregnancies may cause feet to enlarge.

Two of the Nikken flagship products are the insoles. Founder Isamu Masuda developed the magnetic insoles to simulate the therapeutic pebbles in the Japanese public hot baths. The Kenko mStrides® and Kenko mSteps® can both be cut to size to fit right into your shoes. The magnetic nodules massage the soles of the feet and act similarly to the acupressure practiced as part of reflexology. People who work while standing find Kenko insoles particularly helpful in keeping feet energized and stable.

The KenkoGround® is a Nikken product that can work in tandem with bare feet. Simply place the KenkoGround in direct contact with bare feet while seated or sleeping, and experience a reconnection with nature to help feel more relaxed, and less stressed.

1 https://www.bvhealthsystem.org/expert-health-articles/national-foot-health-awareness-month#:~:text=Did%20you%20know%20that%20April,least%20one%20foot%20problem%20annually.

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4624523/

3, 4 www.foot.com

https://www.voyagehealthcare.com/blog/put-your-best-foot-forward-this-national-foot-health-awareness-month

Stay Grounded Even When Secluded at Home

With social distancing, seesawing merchant closures and openings, seclusion, and various unwelcome kinds of fear—we live differently now than ever before. Some fears cause excitement and nervousness in a positive way, but fear associated with possible life-ending illness causes distress. During these troubling times, even the most positive minded individuals may succumb to bouts of irritability, depression, anxiety and resentment—none of which help on the path towards Active Wellness.

How can we avoid falling into the rabbit hole of despair during these trying times? There is no simple answer, but reconnecting with nature might help in more ways than one.

Emerging scientific research has revealed a surprisingly positive and overlooked environmental factor on health: direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth. Modern lifestyle separates humans from such contact. The research suggests that this disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness.

Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being. Grounding refers to the discovery of benefits—including better sleep and reduced discomforts—from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body.1

Grounding is being studied and researched for its potential benefits for countering inflammation, cardiovascular disease, muscle damage, chronic pain and mood. Researchers measured white blood cell count and pain levels before and after grounding with both grounding patches and mats. Blood work indicated that grounding helped reduce muscle damage and pain in participants.2

Some massage therapists have incorporated grounding in their practices. Evidence shows that after grounding therapy, stress, depression and fatigue were reduced among participants.3

Urban living often prohibits the natural ways to reconnect with nature. The KenkoGround® makes grounding easy to accomplish indoors. There’s nothing that compares with feeling the earth under bare feet or swimming in a lake or ocean, so we should do those activities as often as we can. Meanwhile, indoor living continues and the KenkoGround can help make a difference in how we feel overall.

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/

2, 3 https://www.healthline.com/health/grounding