Sleep is critical to our health — physically and mentally. During sleep, your brain is quite active in restoring tissue and consolidating the information you learned during the day. An important factor in proper sleep is your home environment, including temperature, lighting, and noise.
The optimal sleep sweet spot is to get comfy at 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures that are too low or too high can lead to restlessness.
Keeping within this range assists in decreasing core body temperature, which leads to sleepiness (and sweet dreams!). Studies reveal that those suffering from chronic insomnia are more likely to have a warmer core body temperature. And a warmer core temperature leads you to feel more aroused because energy is shifted to resetting the internal thermostat.
Changing your surrounding temperature could include resetting your thermostat, opening a window, and changing bedding for the seasons.
Two tips for better sleep tonight:
Our body has a natural cycle it likes to stick to known as the circadian rhythm. Light greatly affects the brain chemicals needed to maintain alertness or help us wind down. When you are exposed to light, melatonin, the neurotransmitter most associated with sleep, is reduced.
Three tips for better lighting:
Just as you can reduce light as one way to wind down, you also can use an increase in light to help you wake up. If you hate the jolt of an alarm clock, consider investing in light alarm clocks.The light gradually brightens to gently wake you up from a restful night’s sleep.
Sudden sounds cause people to wake up, but people can become accustomed to regular sounds like a partner snoring or a fan. If earplugs don’t do the trick, here are two more tools.
Two tips for reducing sound stimulation:
Onen, et al., Prevention and treatment of sleep disorders through regulation of sleeping habits, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (1994).
Lu and Zee, Circadian rhythm sleep disorders, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University (2006).
Lack et al., The relationship between insomnia and body temperatures, School of Psychology, Flinders University, South Australia, Australia (2008).
- Dr. Thalia Farshchian, Naturopathic Doctor
This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary/health changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.
P.S. – Check out the wonderful world and work of illustrator and designer Tad Carpenter here.
This is part of our ongoing series helping consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!
Ingredient: Sodium Borate (also commercially known as “Borax”).
What it is: A naturally occurring mineral called boron combined with oxygen and sodium.
What it does: Sodium borate cleans and whitens by changing water molecules into hydrogen peroxide. It also softens water (making cleansers more effective) and helps balance and stabilize pH levels.
Why we use it: Sodium borate is not only a versatile and effective ingredient, it’s also preferable because it’s natural and safe when used as directed.
Why we’re featuring it today: We had a customer ask specifically for us to write a blog post about sodium borate because there’s so much conflicting information about it online. (You ask, we answer!) Here’s a breakdown of the main things we’ve seen that could cause confusion:
The health impacts of boric acid are being attributed to sodium borate. Some of the most commonly cited studies are those that have been performed on “sodium borate and boric acid.” The assumption is that because the chemicals are close relatives, they’ll have similar effects. In some cases they do, but not always. Goodness knows why it’s acceptable to use such ambiguous language, but it’s rather common in the abstracts (and bodies) of the scientific literature. Many people skim an abstract and then misrepresent the results of these studies instead of poring over the detailed results to find out what the actual impacts were for each specific chemical. Suffice it to say, sodium borate is NOT boric acid. They are related, but different.
The EWG lists sodium borate as a 5-6 (or moderate hazard) in their Skin Deep Database. EWG’s assessments are a useful starting point for understanding what’s in your everyday products, but their ratings need to be taken into context. For our purposes, the rating in Skin Deep is totally inapplicable because we don’t use sodium borate in any of our body care products. So, the potential exposure is entirely different. Admittedly, they also rank our Stain Remover poorly, but that assessment doesn’t take into consideration the concentration or overall formulation of the product. You certainly don’t want to eat sodium borate or use it in its pure form on your skin, but in our formulation, used as directed, you really don’t have anything to worry about.
Here are the safety facts of sodium borate in a nutshell:
The Material Safety Data Sheet lists sodium borate as a health hazard of 1, the same as baking soda and salt.
Studies demonstrating evidence of significant harm are from very high exposure levels. Some of the biggest red flags people are waving in regards to sodium borate are due to a potential link to reproductive harm. But studies have only been done on mice that ingested high levels of sodium borate. (Again, not translatable to any of our products or most any uses of sodium borate.)
Sodium borate is classified as non-carcinogenic and only a mild skin irritant. It doesn’t penetrate the skin very well and it doesn’t build up in your system with repeat exposures. The one concern is with its potential to disrupt the reproductive system. Studies have not been done in humans regarding this; however, potential reproductive issues in mice are suspected from high levels of ingested sodium borate. (Again, our use of sodium borate is a very low concentration, isn’t intended to be ingested, and wouldn’t even be present on your clothing after its been washed.)
Still have questions about sodium borate? Let us know in the comments. We’re always happy to help translate the science and help you better understand our formulations.
Learn more: National Library of Medicine’s ToxNet Database
I really love this dish for breakfast and wanted to share it. This morning meal ticks all the boxes: delicious, easy, satisfying, and really good for you.
Oats are awesome and have so many great qualities (packed full of nutrients, massive fiber benefits, and inexpensive). But sometimes a bowl of warm oatmeal isn’t what I feel like in the morning. Instead, I’ve discovered a way to enjoy them without the cooking.
This recipe presents one version of the dish. You also can use different milk, fruit, seeds, nuts, and so on. Try this one first though — it’s my favorite.
*Serves about 2
Ingredients – Use Organic Options When Possible
Combine the oats and almond milk in a bowl about 30 minutes (or longer if you wish) before you want to eat them, so that the oats have time to soak up the milk. Then add the remaining ingredients and give it a good mix through. I like the berries and banana to get crushed up in the no-cook oatmeal. Garnish with mint.