Hey Marcey! If I had to narrow down ten things to purchase to improve my health, what would they be?
I'm glad you asked! Here are ten things I could live without, but don't want to.
Sleeping headphones*. Sleep is the #1 thing I work on with clients if they have issues. It doesn't matter how good your nutrition or exercise habits are, if you don't have a good sleep, you can't optimize the other two. The effects of poor quality or lack of sleep are so significant, entire books are written on it, so I'll stick to the products. I am a light sleeper. We have a white noise machine by our bed, but it doesn't drown out my husband's occasional snoring or sing or talk me to sleep. I used AcousticSheep SleepPhones* for several years (see my review of the Classic version) and recently tested out the Simple version (review here). I opted to return them for the Effortless. Key features – they lie flat against your head, work with any meditation or music app, and double bonus for being able to run with them!
Sleep mask. Any light can be disruptive to sleep. The photoreceptors on our skin can detect light in our room, and pure darkness puts us in the best state to sleep. Besides our black-out blinds and covering smoke alarm lights with electrical tape, I wear a sleep mask. This keeps me from waking up or disrupting my sleep (even unconsciously) when my husband comes to bed or gets up to go to the bathroom. My mask of choice is the super affordable Dream Essentials Contoured Eye Mask (Get it on Amazon*). It doesn't lay flat on your face (it's a bra for your eyes!), It is adjustable and lightweight.
Blue-ray blocking glasses.* Okay, this is the last thing for sleep, but do you see how obsessed I am with getting good quality? The blue rays from our device screens disrupt our circadian rhythm and suppress our melatonin. This leads to poor quality sleep and longer sleep latency (amount of time to fall asleep). You can now get prescription glasses with blue-ray blocking lenses or buy video gaming glasses. Gamers use these glasses to help with eye fatigue (do you know we also blink less when looking at a screen?).
Meditation app. Calm.com has hundreds of meditations from 2-30 minutes, sleep stories, music tracks, and masterclasses. This is how I started with meditating – just two minutes at a time. Now I have a streak of almost 1000 days. I especially like the sleep meditations (I lied, another sleep reference!).
Coffee alternatives. I like to drink all day at my computer. If I have coffee after 2pm it seriously affects my sleep (good grief, again!). I cut down on the caffeine with Teeccino*, a coffee alternative that brews just like coffee and tastes delicious. I make a half and half version of coffee and Teeccino every morning. My two favorite teas are the Good Earth Sweet and Spicy* caffeine (for mornings and early afternoon) and decaf versions. I am a total diva with these and you will find them in every bag I carry plus my car, so I am never without.
Magnesium. I don't recommend a lot of supplements, but feel entirely safe recommending magnesium. About half the US and European populations are deficient, and we need it for over 600 reactions in the body. Taking it in the evening can help with sleep and contribute to a healthy poo in the morning. I like Natural Calm* brand and mix a teaspoon in with my home-brewed Kombucha every evening (#KombuchaHippie).
Bike desk. I use a standing desk for most of the day. Still, when my legs get tired, I'm a watching participant in a meeting, am reading a book or article, or just need some movement, I use my FitBike. This affordable bike at less than $300 can help you be productive with work without needing to change your clothes, get special shoes, or even break into a sweat. Watch my fitbike review. To purchase, please visit FITDESK and use the code MARCEYFREEMAT to get a free mat on all bikes, under desk products, and desks! ( Get it on Amazon* ).
Tahini. Okay. This may seem a little strange, but I'm adding Tahini because I eat it almost every day. Tahini is a light, nutty paste made from toasted, ground sesame seeds. The consistency is like natural peanut butter and it's used in a lot of Mediterranean and Asian dishes. It is the main ingredient in hummus. It is not low calorie or low fat, but it is very nutritious. About 50% of the fat comes from healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. I use it on my vegetables for healthy fat and protein, as a spread on mini tortilla pizzas and to mix with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice for a salad dressing.
Pull-up bar. I did not have defined arms until I was in my 40s. Seriously, look at my pictures from doing Ironman Triathlons and hard-core 24-hour Adventure Races in my 30s, and you'll see some tone, but not definition. Diet has a large part to play in getting leaner, but I attribute the pull-up for my arms. Even when I'm giving an Email Extinguisher workshop, someone will raise their hand and say “great inbox stuff, but how do we get arms like yours?” I use my pull-up bar every day as a trigger when I go into my closet. For the full story, watch the video below.
This is the bar I use – ProsourceFit Pull-up Bar.
Heart variability tracker. This is an advanced technique, but I track my heart rate variability (different than heart rate) to keep my autoimmune disease under control and recognize when I'm starting to overreach or get stressed before the symptoms become apparent. I use the Oura ring, which is also one of the best sleep trackers on the market. I've also used the Elite HRV and Sweetbeat Apps.
There you have it, my ten products I wouldn't want to live without for my health. Let me know if you try them out!
*denotes an affiliate link where I make a few extra coins at no extra cost to you.