The best days begin the night before. And sleep, as it happens, is far more active than we may realize. It’s during sleep that muscles repair themselves and grow. It's when the brain learns new things. Sleep is one side of the equilateral triangle of health—the necessary complement to good nutrition and fitness. A good night allows us to have the most high-performing waking hours possible. It sets us up for enlightenment.

Furthermore and DUXIANA Present

Like all of us, Phil Torres and Silja Danielsen face countless choices each day. They have careers that take them all around the world, and schedules that don't always amount to routine. But the one constant in their no-two-days-are-the-same lifestyle: their choices. Beginning each day with natural light, focusing on fresh and beautiful foods that replenish the body, prioritizing energetic movement in both the gym and their natural environment—these are the choices they make during the day that make for their restorative, regenerative nights on their DUX bed. It's their unique life cycle. Watch the video above to hear more and be inspired.

The Active State of Sleep

What many athletes see as passive recovery is actually a physically intense process.

“You might have a great exercise routine and eat well all the time, but if you’re not getting enough sleep, it cancels out all your healthy behavior,” says James Maas, Ph.D., a sleep expert and author of Sleep to Win. “Sleep is the most important thing we can do to reset our brain and body,” he says.

But turning in at night doesn’t mean you’re turning off—sleep is actually one of your body’s most active states. “A lot of really important things happen during sleep,” says Jennifer Martin, Ph.D., clinical sleep psychologist and associate professor of medicine at UCLA. “Sometimes I hear athletes talk about sleep as a form of passive recovery when actually I think about it as active recovery.”

There are four stages of sleep: non-rapid eye movement stage one, two, and three, and finally REM sleep. “Stage three is when our brain waves are slow and our body is active, and REM sleep is when our brain is active,” says Martin. Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, adds: “Non-REM sleep is linked to physiological recovery like muscle repair and REM sleep is key in memory consolidation and cognitive ability and all the skills you need on a mental level.”

Here’s how busy your body is when it’s unconscious:

1. Your muscles recover from tough workouts….
When your body enters non-REM deep sleep, it signals your pituitary gland to secrete growth hormones that stimulate tissue growth and muscle repair. At the same time, circulation increases so there’s a boost in blood supply to your muscles, sending extra oxygen and nutrients to support growth and recovery. Says Berenc, “Sleep is essentially the cornerstone of the muscle recovery process.”

2. ...and learn how to do new things.
“During sleep, the brain moves short-term muscle memory—like a new dance step or a tennis serve—into long-term muscle memory, where you can more easily retrieve it later,” says Maas. “So the old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ only works if you get adequate rest afterward, meaning we should really be saying ‘practice with sleep makes perfect.’”

3. Your immune system is strengthened.
“While you sleep, your immune system is bolstered. So, when you later encounter bacteria, being well-rested makes you more likely to fend it off,” says Martin. In fact, a study found that people who slept fewer than six hours per night were four and a half times as likely to catch a cold when exposed to a virus compared to their counterparts who logged at least seven hours.

4. Cravings are controlled.
Research found that people who didn’t get adequate sleep showed decreased levels of leptin (which manages feelings of satiety) and increased levels of ghrelin (which stimulates appetite). “When people are sleep deprived, they crave more high-fat, high-sugar, calorie-dense foods so that can make it really difficult to stick to a good nutrition plan, despite your best intentions,” says Martin.

5. You'll get a healthy glow.
Your complexion can often give away whether you’ve had a fitful night (pale and sallow) or a solid eight hours (rosy and glowing). When you sleep, “blood flow and oxygen to the skin increases, aiding skin repair processes responsible for skin elasticity and youthful appearance,” says Jeffrey Benabio, M.D., a dermatologist in San Diego, California. “It also helps repair some of the damage that has been done by UV light during the day. Sleep is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help with skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.”

6. Toxins are flushed out.
Research shows that during sleep our brain clears out metabolic waste including a toxic protein called beta-amyloid. This is important because beta-amyloids are one of the markers of Alzheimer’s,” says Martin. Sleep also strengthens the neurons that keep your memory sharp: A study found that skipping out on shut-eye can slow brain activity and stunt neural connectivity in the hippocampus.

7. Your heart beat slows and blood pressure drops.
As you slip into stage three non-REM sleep, your blood pressure naturally drops about five to seven points, the way it does when we meditate, says Maas. And a study indicated that consistently getting adequate sleep can reduce blood pressure over time and prevent hypertension. Adds Maas, “One extra hour of sleep per night decreases the risk of artery calcification—a leading cause of heart disease—by 33 percent.”

THE LAST FITNESS FRONTIER: CHRONOTYPING

How to time your workout based on your circadian rhythm

You’ve found the workouts that work best for you. You’ve pinpointed your perfect eating plan. You've invested in a high-performance sleep system. But if you haven’t identified your chronotype to optimize your health and fitness, you may be missing an important piece of the puzzle.

“Your chronotype is your genetically pre-determined sleep schedule,” explains sleep expert Michael Breus, M.D., author of The Power of When. “By knowing your chronotype, you know your personal natural hormone schedule. Being aware of when your hormones are at the right level for a particular activity (i.e. workouts) will give you a significant advantage.”

Joseph Geraghty, a Tier X manager at Equinox Sports Club Los Angeles, agrees. Determining your ideal time to sleep and exercise will make you most productive in all aspects of your life.

Indeed, this October three scientists—Jeffrey C. Hall, Ph.D., Michael Rosbash, Ph.D., and Michael Young, Ph.D.—were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the body’s circadian rhythm, which controls biological clocks that govern eating behavior, metabolism, and, of course, sleep. Using fruit flies (which are known to have similar circadian rhythms to humans), the team of researchers discovered the clocks’ molecular mechanism. “We found that when we manipulate sleep artificially, if we induced it in some cases by tightly regulating their circadian clocks, we could extend sleep and life span in those flies.” In other words, the scientists were able to understand how our biological clocks regulate all of our behaviors, particularly sleep.

How to Identify Your Chronotype

Your chronotype is determined by the PER3 gene (which stands for period circadian clocks 3) and new research shows that it varies widely among people and even changes a bit throughout your life. And while scientists used to think there were just morning or evening types, recent research has found that there are actually four chronotype categories. Most people should have a good idea of which category they fall into simply by identifying with the following patterns. (If you’re not sure, though, you can head to your doctor or try an at-home test you can mail in for a full analysis. “Your chronotype can be determined with blood or saliva analysis,” notes Breus.)

HIGH ENERGY IN THE A.M.

Often called Larks or Lions, these naturally early risers are ready to go before dawn, tend to be most productive between 10:00 a.m. and noon, and their energy declines throughout the day. Bedtime should be around 10:00 p.m.; workouts should be in the morning and late afternoon.

HIGH ENERGY IN THE P.M.

These people—whom scientists sometimes call Owls or Wolves—naturally stay up late and sleep in later. Their energy spikes when the sun goes down. Bedtime is likely around midnight; workouts should be in the evening, when they tend to be most productive.

CONSISTENTLY HIGH ENERGY

About half of all people fall into this category: Energy ebbs and flows predictably with the sun so they’re most productive in the daytime and have less mojo at night. Bedtime should be around 11:00 p.m. and workouts are best in the early to late morning. Overall, these people (Breus calls them Bears) are most alert from late morning (but they’re not as energy-charged as morning types) to early afternoon and most productive just before noon.

CONSISTENTLY LOW ENERGY

If you wake with minimal noise, sometimes feeling unrefreshed after sleep, and experience fogginess off and on during the day, you might naturally have lower energy, a category that Breus calls Dolphins (because they sleep with half their brains still awake). Athletes who identify with this type should aim to work out about 90 minutes after rising for the day. While they tend to be most alert in the evening, their energy comes in unpredictable spurts throughout the day.

And while they’ve identified these types, scientists are still investigating why you’re a certain chronotype. There are different theories, but an important one: Research indicates that levels of melatonin—the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle—varies widely in people and can change as you age, based on diet and lifestyle.

How to Optimize Your Chronotype

Geraghty has witnessed the effect of adapting your fitness routine to your genetic type first-hand: “I’ve seen people shift when they exercised based on their chronotype—and their energy, focus, and productivity have gone through the roof.” Science agrees. As does Suhas Kshirsagar, M.D., author of the upcoming book Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life: How to Harness the Power of Clock Genes to Lose Weight, Optimize Your Workout, and Finally Get a Good Night’s Sleep. Understanding the body’s circadian rhythm will help you set a daily schedule that allows you to get the right amount of sleep, eat the right foods at the right time, and get enough daily exercise to keep you focused and fit,” he says. His top tips to sync up with your chronotype:

  • Unplug from electronics by 9:30 p.m. Research has shown that blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and screens messes with your circadian rhythm and lowers the levels of natural melatonin in your system.
  • Go outside. “We get far too little natural light during the day. This confuses and delays the natural circadian rhythm and puts you in the path of insomnia. Take an outdoor walk; you will be able to fall asleep easier at night if you get more natural light during the day,” says Kshirsagar.
  • Make lunch your largest meal. “Eating late at night could contribute to insomnia and interfere with your body’s ability to produce serotonin and necessary hormones for the next day,” says Kshirsagar. “Moving your largest meal to the midpoint of the day erases all of these problems for all chronotypes.”

In some cases, people struggle with adjusting to their natural chronotype—say, people who have to travel across time zones regularly and suffer from jet lag. Breus often prescribes different variations of light, melatonin, caffeine, and napping to patients to help them adopt their natural schedules.

“Sleep is the entry point—If you can fix your sleep to adapt to your chronotype, you can make better decisions with nutrition and have more energy during your workouts so you see better results,” Geraghty concludes.

MEET SILJA DANIELSEN AND PHIL TORRES

The Brooklyn-based couple on their jet-setting, active lifestyle

MEET SILJA DANIELSEN AND PHIL TORRES

The Brooklyn-based couple on their jet-setting, active lifestyle

Los Angeles-turned-New York City residents Phil Torres and Silja Danielsen are truly citizens of the world. While the power couple may be currently based in Williamsburg, you’re just as likely to find them hiking in the Amazonian rainforests, boating on the Norwegian fjords, or running along Nicaraguan beaches. As a biologist and conservationist, Torres goes where science takes him, whether it’s studying bees up close at Elizabeth Garden in SoHo or leading treks in the Peruvian jungles. His fiancé, Danielsen, also travels the globe as a model and ensures the couple is well fed, with her healthy eating digital platform Silja From Scratch. Here, the couple shares how they fuel their packed days, prepare for long flights, and prioritize restful nights in their DUX bed.

How does science influence your everyday lives?

Phil: “I have the most fun job in the world. I get to spend time in the field discovering new species and I also work in science communication—on TV shows, shooting images for scientific magazines, and giving talks. Contributing knowledge to the world while furthering your own personal exploration is pretty exciting.”

Silja: “For me, I like to play the role of scientist by experimenting in the kitchen. I’m always trying to find hacks to make classic comfort foods healthier, whether it’s using alternative pastas like lentil noodles, or sweetening a dish with natural ingredients such as dates instead of sugar. Playing around with different flavors, textures, ingredients, and techniques is the best way to build kitchen confidence. For example, something as simple as eggs can be transformed with a little salt and low heat. Suddenly, soft scrambled eggs take on a whole new level and you realize you never needed butter or extra oils.”

How do you start your days?

Silja: “At home, we have floor-to-ceiling windows, which we don’t black out so that we can wake up with the sun. One of the first things we do is drink a tall glass of water with a few squeezes of lemon to help wake the body up.”

Phil: “Every morning we work out together. We loving taking HIIT classes at Equinox like MetCon3 or hopping on adjacent treadmills. Silja can run for miles, whereas I’ll hit the weights after one or two.”

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Phil: “Silja’s oatmeal. If you haven’t had it you’re missing out.”

Silja: “I make a sweeter version topped with pears or sometimes a savory one with a poached egg and Norwegian cheese. We’ll also drink one cup of coffee in the morning, which I call my Viking coffee. It’s prepared black with cardamom, collagen powder, and sometimes I’ll add maca root powder as well.”

What do you do for recovery?

Phil: “I make sure to stretch. I’ve found it’s extremely important as you get older. Doing 10- to 15-mile hikes in the Amazon carrying heavy photography gear is very taxing on the body, and it wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t spend time taking care of my body, foam rolling, and getting enough sleep.”

Silja: “In addition to good sleep, infrared saunas have been a game-changer for me. They help relax and rejuvenate tired muscles and decrease inflammation. I like to go for a 30-minute session at HigherDOSE in SoHo, but I also have an infrared wrap (it looks like a sleeping bag) at home, which I’ll hop into immediately after a long flight.”

How do you stay fit while traveling?

Phil: “We try to be outdoors as much possible. In the Amazon, you see a set of species during the day that’s completely different from the wildlife at night, so going into the field at all hours keeps you on your feet. It’s important to stay active and healthy because if you get tired you can’t see as much as possible or take advantage of being in such an amazing part of the world.”

Silja: “You take for granted how much walking around, exploring, can be a workout. I’ll go for a run in whatever city I’m in—it’s the best way to immerse yourself in local culture.”

What’s the most important part of your travel routine?

Phil: “Hydration is key. I make sure to drink plenty of water to prevent headaches. It’s also important to pack a nutritious meal before the flight, since airport food is not something we’re generally excited about. Whatever city we’re traveling in, we look for a local healthy spot from which to source our next meal before getting on the plane so that we’re always prepared.”

Silja: “I’m flying cross-country and back next week in 24 hours for work and so being prepared is essential. I like the healthy Brazilian food that can be taken to-go from Market Ipanema in SoHo—they’re like my food family. Another trick is adding a few drops of anti-inflammatory tinctures to water to drink on the plane. Tweefontein Farm makes fantastic ones like turmeric and echinacea that they sell at the Union Square Farmer’s Market.”

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Silja: “We’re planning to go to Italy for our honeymoon and Japan is also up there.”

Phil: “Any place that has fantastic local markets for Silja and allows me to do jungle time.”

Los Angeles-turned-New York City residents Phil Torres and Silja Danielsen are truly citizens of the world. While the power couple may be currently based in Williamsburg, you’re just as likely to find them hiking in the Amazonian rainforests, boating on the Norwegian fjords, or running along Nicaraguan beaches. As a biologist and conservationist, Torres goes where science takes him, whether it’s studying bees up close at Elizabeth Garden in SoHo or leading treks in the Peruvian jungles. His fiancé, Danielsen, also travels the globe as a model and ensures the couple is well fed, with her healthy eating digital platform Silja From Scratch. Here, the couple shares how they fuel their packed days, prepare for long flights, and more.

How does science influence your everyday lives?

Phil: “I have the most fun job in the world. I get to spend time in the field discovering new species and I also work in science communication—on TV shows, shooting images for scientific magazines, and giving talks. Contributing knowledge to the world while furthering your own personal exploration is pretty exciting.”

Silja: “For me, I like to play the role of scientist by experimenting in the kitchen. I’m always trying to find hacks to make classic comfort foods healthier, whether it’s using alternative pastas like lentil noodles, or sweetening a dish with natural ingredients such as dates instead of sugar. Playing around with different flavors, textures, ingredients, and techniques is the best way to build kitchen confidence. For example, something as simple as eggs can be transformed with a little salt and low heat. Suddenly, soft scrambled eggs take on a whole new level and you realize you never needed butter or extra oils.”

How do you start your days?

Silja: “At home, we have floor-to-ceiling windows, which we don’t black out so that we can wake up with the sun. One of the first things we do is drink a tall glass of water with a few squeezes of lemon to help wake the body up.”

Phil: “Every morning we work out together. We loving taking HIIT classes at Equinox like MetCon3 or hopping on adjacent treadmills. Silja can run for miles, whereas I’ll hit the weights after one or two.”

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Phil: “Silja’s oatmeal. If you haven’t had it you’re missing out.”

Silja: “I make a sweeter version topped with pears or sometimes a savory one with a poached egg and Norwegian cheese. We’ll also drink one cup of coffee in the morning, which I call my Viking coffee. It’s prepared black with cardamom, collagen powder, and sometimes I’ll add maca root powder as well.”

What do you do for recovery?

Phil: “I make sure to stretch. I’ve found it’s extremely important as you get older. Doing 10- to 15-mile hikes in the Amazon carrying heavy photography gear is very taxing on the body, and it wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t spend time taking care of my body, foam rolling, and getting enough sleep.”

Silja: “In addition to good sleep, infrared saunas have been a game-changer for me. They help relax and rejuvenate tired muscles and decrease inflammation. I like to go for a 30-minute session at HigherDOSE in SoHo, but I also have an infrared wrap (it looks like a sleeping bag) at home, which I’ll hop into immediately after a long flight.”

How do you stay fit while traveling?

Phil: “We try to be outdoors as much possible. In the Amazon, you see a set of species during the day that’s completely different from the wildlife at night, so going into the field at all hours keeps you on your feet. It’s important to stay active and healthy because if you get tired you can’t see as much as possible or take advantage of being in such an amazing part of the world.”

Silja: “You take for granted how much walking around, exploring, can be a workout. I’ll go for a run in whatever city I’m in—it’s the best way to immerse yourself in local culture.”

What’s the most important part of your travel routine?

Phil: “Hydration is key. I make sure to drink plenty of water to prevent headaches. It’s also important to pack a nutritious meal before the flight, since airport food is not something we’re generally excited about. Whatever city we’re traveling in, we look for a local healthy spot from which to source our next meal before getting on the plane so that we’re always prepared.”

Silja: “I’m flying cross-country and back next week in 24 hours for work and so being prepared is essential. I like the healthy Brazilian food that can be taken to-go from Market Ipanema in SoHo—they’re like my food family. Another trick is adding a few drops of anti-inflammatory tinctures to water to drink on the plane. Tweefontein Farm makes fantastic ones like turmeric and echinacea that they sell at the Union Square Farmer’s Market.”

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Silja: “We’re planning to go to Italy for our honeymoon and Japan is also up there.”

Phil: “Any place that has fantastic local markets for Silja and allows me to do jungle time.”

5 SCANDINAVIAN FOOD ADVENTURES

Travel the world while sampling healthy, Nordic foods

When traveling, eating the local cuisine isn’t just a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, it’s also better for your health. You’re more likely to get fresher, tastier produce that is minimally processed, which means the nutrient value is higher, says Christy Wilson, a Tucson, Arizona-based registered dietician. Ensuring that you consume high-quality foods while away is on par with staying active and acclimating your sleep schedule—essential to staving off travel-induced fatigue and returning home as fit as you were when you departed.

For adventure-seeking foodies, now is the time to book a trip to Scandinavia. In addition to stunning scenery, research suggests that eating the Nordic way has proven body benefits. Think of it as a cooler-temps take on the Mediterranean diet, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietician based in Chicago. “The Nordic diet has lots of good fats and fish,” she says. “The emphasis is on whole grains, berries, and cruciferous veggies like cabbage.”

“Nordic staples are generally locally sourced and seasonal, and many of the ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties,” says Wilson. A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that sticking to a Nordic diet can boost inflammation-fighting antioxidants in your bloodstream, while also tamping down compounds that increase your risk of diabetes.

No matter what part of Scandinavia you’re visiting, there’s an outdoor experience that will satisfy your appetite while putting you in touch with nature. And science has shown that physically interacting with soil can make you happier, just another reason to give foraging a try.

The Country: Norway
The Adventure: Hiking for wild blueberries in Bergen

Located on the country’s southwestern coast, Bergen is surrounded by fjords (long narrow inlets alongside scenic cliffs) and seven mountains with hiking paths for all levels. From summer to late autumn, wild berries grow in abundance. (Norwegian model and recipe developer Silja Danielsen enjoys picking blueberries for breakfast on the trail.) Book a hiking, biking, and boating day trip with local outfitter Berg Fritid that involves cycling up the Matresdalen valley, climbing ancient steep stone steps to mountain-ringed Hummelvatnet lake, crossing the water via boat, and more. Unlike store-bought varieties, wild blueberries are small and dark purple throughout—and taste best straight off the bush for a mid-trek refuel.

The Payoff:

Antioxidant-rich berries protect cells from damage, aging, and illnesses including cancer and heart disease. “They’re specifically helpful for brain health and keeping your blood vessels elastic, which is good for heart health,” says Blatner. “Wild blueberries have been found to have two times the antioxidant power compared with regular blueberries, offering more of what it takes to fight disease and promote healthy aging,” adds Wilson.

The Country: Denmark
The Adventure: Sea fishing in Bornholm

Denmark’s easternmost island in the Baltic sea has long attracted anglers and artists for its dramatic granite cliffs, white sand beaches, and long, sunshine-filled days. Along the nearly 100-mile craggy coastline, you can fish for trout every day of the year, in all weather conditions. Sign up for a trip on a dinghy or a fishing boat that goes beyond the reef to catch herring. Sustainably minded experienced fishing guide Bjarke Borup speaks English and takes visitors out all year for fly and spin fishing.

The Payoff:

Seafood is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that have been proven to improve heart health, keep your brain sharp, and boost your mood, says Blatner. And reeling them in may help you get some shut-eye. “Studies have associated increased fish consumption with better sleep quality,” says Wilson. “The DHA and EPA in omega-3 fatty acids help your body produce serotonin, the chemical that regulates your sleep cycle.”

The Country: Finland
The Adventure: Foraging for mushrooms in Lapland

Hire chef slash wildness guide slash hotelier Markus Maulavirta to take you on a forest bathing and foraging journey. He’ll show you where to pick chaga mushrooms, an aromatic fungus that grows on birch trunks. You’ll end up at a private hut complete with a wooden sauna and enjoy a dinner prepared with the ingredients that you gathered.

The Payoff:

Chaga mushrooms grow in the northern hemisphere and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries thanks to their antibacterial and immune-boosting properties, says Wilson. “Their high antioxidant content can protect the body against free radical activity,” she adds. They naturally contain a chemical called botulin, which has been shown in preliminary studies to kill a variety of tumor cells, though larger studies still need to be done to confirm the findings.

The Country: Iceland
The Adventure: Wild mussel picking on Hvalfjörður fjord

Spend the day with local farmers and learn from an environmental specialist on the shoreline with a tour organized by Hey Iceland. After a few hours of mussel picking, you’ll head back for a meal of the bivalves, housemade bread, and soup.

The Payoff:

Mussels are uber-concentrated with minerals, says Wilson. In fact, a six-ounce serving provides an entire day’s worth of both selenium and manganese. The former helps regulate your immune system, promotes sleep, and acts as an antioxidant that helps fight cellular damage. The latter mineral contributes to healthy bone structure and assists in the body’s metabolic activity.

The Country: Sweden
The Adventure: Gathering lingonberries in Skåne

Thanks to a tradition called Allemansrätten ("every man's right"), you can forage for wild foods, herbs, and flowers anywhere in the country, as long as nothing is disturbed or destroyed. This includes public parks and forests, and even privately-owned land, except farms and gardens. Plan a visit to Skåne, which is known for its beautiful countryside. The Kullaleden trail offers a picturesque, 40-mile path with views of dramatic cliffs and sandy beaches. There are campsites and hotels along the way as well as vineyards, farm shops, and quaint local cafés.

The Payoff:

The lingonberry is a small, tart fruit that belongs to the same family as the blueberry and cranberry. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found it was more effective than other berries at countering the effects of a high-fat diet and blocking weight gain. Moreover, lingonberries are rich in vitamin C, low in sugar, and have recently been shown to contribute to kidney health.

How to Hydrate for Quality Sleep

A timeline for high-performing athletes

hydration

Along with exercise and good nutrition habits, experts agree that sleep is equally fundamental to an athlete’s health and performance. But studies show that in addition to factors such as room temperature and light from electronics, hydration also plays a role when it comes to obtaining restorative shut-eye. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a lack of fluids can impair sleep, making you feel sluggish and irritable during the day.

“Even a slight level of dehydration will make you sleep lighter,” adds Chris Winter, M.D., a sleep specialist based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Here, he weighs in on an ideal hydration timeline.

hydration
  1. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
    Through respiration we lose a significant amount of water when we sleep, explains Winter, who suggests reaching for a glass of cold or room temperature water first thing in the morning. “Your body has to use more effort to warm up the water to body temp, which helps boost your metabolism,” he says. For extra energy, try adding a squeeze of lemon or an immunity-boosting tincture such as Echinacea.
  2. Wait two to three hours after waking up to have coffee.
    Winter advises holding off on the caffeine until after your morning workout, or at least a few hours after you wake up. It acts as a diuretic, and since you’re already waking up having lost fluids, it’s best to start the day rehydrating with water, he says. “Make sure you’re hydrating with water before and during your workout,” he adds. Then you can sip on your morning roast and opt for a lighter one, which is higher in antioxidants. “I like to make what I call Viking coffee after a HIIT workout,” says New York City-based model and recipe developer Silja Danielsen. “It’s prepared with collagen and cardamom, a spice that aids in digestion.”
  3. Drink water when you eat.
    It’s important to consume water at regular intervals, but especially with meals. Research shows that doing so aids digestion and helps your body absorb nutrients. Throughout the day, focus on foods like Brazil nuts and omega 3-rich fish, which contain nutrients such as selenium and magnesium that help promote sleep.
  4. Try a golden latte in the afternoon.
    After lunch, opt for a caffeine-free beverage since the substance can linger in your body for up to six hours and make it harder to wind down. Instead, try hydrating with this vegan recipe. “I like to have this drink in the afternoon or early evening because it gives me energy but still allows me to fall asleep,” says Danielsen. This is a great choice since it’s made with turmeric, an anti-inflammatory spice that can aid with muscle regeneration. Moreover, “turmeric can help bring down your body temperature and help you fall asleep more easily,” points out Winter.
  5. Have a glass of water right before bed.
    Leg cramps due to dehydration can disturb your sleep, which is why drinking fluids before bed is a good idea. It’s a misconception that you’ll wake up and need to go to the bathroom if you hydrate before bed, adds Winter. “Unless you have a bladder condition, in the majority of cases you wake up from an external stimuli such as a room that’s too humid. Then, because you’re already up, you feel the need to use the bathroom.”

Golden Latte

Turmeric in this dairy-free drink promotes hydration and sleep.

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups coconut milk or other nut milk
  • 2 nobs of turmeric root
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high for one minute.
  2. Heat a medium-size stock pan and add the blended golden milk.
  3. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and ladle into two mugs.
golden latte

Breath Work in Bed

Two exercises to harness relaxation and stimulation, respectively

Breathing—it’s one of the thousands of bodily functions we don’t have to think about. And that’s a huge relief: Adults take around 25,000 breaths per day, so if we had to remind ourselves to do it, we wouldn’t have time for anything else. But just because breathing comes easy doesn’t mean that we can’t improve or tweak it to help change our emotional or physical states. Breathing can bring on relaxation and sleep, or even boost your energy, depending on how you do it.

Here are two types of breath exercises ideal for before bed and when you wake up, respectively.

Type of breathing:
Deep breathing can help us relax, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and decrease anxiety. If you’re searching for some zen, try the 4-7-8 technique, which is an easy and effective way to breathe deeply, says Matthew Berenc, director of education for the Equinox Fitness Training Institute.

How to do it:
To get started, find a comfortable position, sitting up straight or even lying down. Inhale through the nose for four counts, breathing so that your belly expands, not your chest. Hold for seven counts, then exhale for eight. You can hold the breaths for longer, just remember to keep the exhalation longer than the inhalation. “Doing so will activate your parasympathetic nervous system which propels the body to slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and relax,” Berenc says.

Why it works:
Deep, slow breathing is great any time you are feeling stressed and it can also help you get to sleep, whether it’s done before bed or during the day, says Susan Hart, a Tier X coach at Equinox in Boston and a certified yoga teacher. “Each time you’re breathing deeply, you’re quieting your inner chatter and conditioning your mind not to be in a million places. That adds up, so by the time you’re going to bed, you naturally feel more centered and calm, and it becomes easier to fall asleep,” she says.

Type of breathing:
If you’re looking for a quick hit of energy during the day, you can try the Breath of Fire.

How to do it:
“During the Breath of Fire, which is common in Kundalini yoga practices, you’re doing short, powerful exhales for around 30 seconds at a time,” says Berenc. "These can be performed either through the nose or mouth and should be equal in length with no pause in between. You want to make sure that the driving force of the breath is your diaphragm." It’s a tricky tactic to master, however. Hart adds that high-stress individuals, pregnant women, and people who have high blood pressure or asthma should skip it. “Breath of fire requires a lot of practice, so if you’re interested in trying it, seek out a seasoned yoga teacher or breathing instructor who can help guide you,” she says.

Why it works:
Although there hasn't been much research on this type of breathing, it's thought to increase circulation, replenish the lungs with fresh air, and tone the abdominal muscles.

The Ideal Morning Workout

A three-part routine to capitalize on a good night’s sleep

Working out is lauded for its natural energizing effects and can have a particularly strong impact when done in the a.m. “Morning exercise increases blood flow to brain, stimulating the central nervous system,” says Susan Hart, a Tier X coach and yoga instructor at Equinox Franklin Street in Boston. “The resulting endorphin rush gives you energy to take on the day.”

And while any type of fitness can be beneficial, it so happens that focusing on specific movement patterns and types can take a good workout to an ideal workout. The routine detailed below, created by Hart, incorporates all four quadrants of motion (linear loaded, linear unloaded, nonlinear loaded, and nonlinear unloaded) and is divided into three parts: The warm-up, with stimulating breathing exercises and mobility drills, increases internal body temperature and range of motion and primes the sympathetic nervous system; the high-intensity segment includes both cardio and strength exercises to help get your heart rate up and trigger exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC), so your body will continue to burn calories long after you’re done; and finally a cool-down with stretching and down-regulating breaths creates space for healthy breathing and movement throughout the hours to come.

Get inspired by the video above, demonstrated by biologist and conservationist Phil Torres and his fiancé Norwegian model-foodie Silja Danielsen. (Read more about the globe-trotting power couple here.) Then, get a good night’s sleep and try this routine upon waking.

Part I: Warm-Up

Stimulating Breathing Exercise

With your left hand over your heart and your right hand on your belly, inhale slowly through your nose for a count of 4 to 6, then forcefully exhale through your mouth. Repeat as many times as possible in 2 minutes.

Sun Salutation A

Complete two 2 rounds as described here.

Sun Salutation B

Complete two 2 rounds as described here.

Lateral Lunge With Partner-Assisted Rotational Warding

Complete a lateral lunge on your left leg. Extend both arms straight out in front of you, palms together. Your partner should be ready in an athletic stance a few feet in front of you with arms extended out, palms together. Press the back of right hand (hands still together, arms locked out) against the back of your partner’s hand. Focus on using your core muscles to create the tension. Hold this isometric tension for 3 to 5 seconds. Then, bring feet back together. Complete 8 to 10 reps on the left side. Then, switch with your partner and they should complete the same number of reps on their left side. Switch again and complete the same rep count on the right. Do one set on each side per person.

Part II: HIIT

Complete each of the following exercises for 60 seconds. Move on from one to the next with little to no rest in order to keep your heart rate elevated.

1. Partner Plank with Contralateral Cross-Body Pull

Get in a plank position on your hands, feet hip-width apart, glutes and abs engaged, facing your partner (also in a high plank). With your right hand, grasp your partner’s right hand or forearm and pull for 5 seconds. Simultaneously lock down the right leg and the right oblique. Return to start, then repeat on the left side. Continue alternating sides.


Partner A will complete exercise 2a while partner B completes 2b. Then, switch. Do two rounds of each (make sure to switch sides on the deadlift for round 2).

2a. Agility Ladder Drills

Learn more about how to use the agility ladder here.

2b. Single-leg Romanian Deadlift with Dumbbell

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell (women should use 15 to 20lbs; men can use 25 to 35lbs) in your right hand. Lightly flex the left knee as you lift right leg up behind you. Keep your back naturally arched, hinge at your hips, and lower your torso (and dumbbell) until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Briefly pause at the bottom, then squeeze the glutes, thrust your hips forward, and raise your torso back to the starting position. Repeat. On the next round, switch sides.

3. Eccentric Push-Ups

Get in a plank position on your hands, feet together, glutes and abs engaged. Slowly lower your body to the ground, taking at least five seconds to get there. When your chest is the distance of one fist off of the ground hold for one second, followed by a one second count to return to the top of the push-up position. Repeat.

4a. High Plank Isometric Hold

4b. Partner-Assisted Eccentric Hamstring Curls

Come into a tall kneeling position with toes tucked under. Your partner will set up in a high plank position with their hands mounted on your ankles. Keeping glutes and abs engaged, focus on controlling your entire upper body to the floor by using your hamstrings. Once your hands hit the floor in a low push-up position, explode back up and return to the starting position. Continue for 60 seconds and then switch roles. Each person should complete both exercises two times before moving on.

5. Light Dumbbell Shadow Boxing

Select a light set of dumbbells you can fully extend out in front of you (2.5 to 5lbs for women, 5 to 10lbs for men). Set up in a fighter stance, with the left foot in front of the right, soft knees, dumbbells in front of the face. Mix and match the following boxing combinations for 60 seconds: jab, uppercut, cross, left hooks, and right hooks. Focus on speed and quickness.

6. Battle Rope Power Slams

Much of the power will come from syncing up your body’s movement with the ropes. Raise both arms to shoulder level. Your whole body should also rise up, finding triple extension through your ankles, knees, and hips. Then use the downward momentum and all your might to forcefully slam the rope. As the rope comes down, your hips will drive back and your knees will bend. This will allow the chest to stay up and the spine to stay neutral. It is very important to keep your core engaged on the downward part of the slam. If you feel your form breaking down it is better to relax for a few deep breathes and continue when you are ready.

Part III: Cool-Down

Kite Position with Single-Arm Extension

Sit with your back against a wall, legs extended straight out in front of you. Let your palms be flat against the floor by your sides, left fingers facing 9:00, right fingers facing 3:00. Close your eyes, imagining the crown of your head and the tips of your shoulders in the shape of a kite. Start to crawl your left finger tips as far away from your body as possible while still maintaining some contact with the floor. Lower your right ear towards your right shoulder. Start to breath into the left side of your neck. Take 10 breathes. Slowly return to center. Repeat on the other side, then return to center and take 5 more breathes.

Down-Regulating Breathing Exercise

Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes. It’s important not to focus on counting reps; simply focus on your breaths. Begin seated as you were in kite position. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Slowly inhale through the left nostril only, filling your belly with air. Close the left nostril with your left ring finger so both nostrils are held closed. Hold the breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause. Lift the thumb to open the right nostril, release the breath slowly through the right side only, pausing briefly at the very bottom of the exhale. Slowly inhale through the right side only, taking as much time to fill all the way up. Close the right nostril with the thumb, pause with both nostril closed for a moment, then release the ring finger and slowly exhale through the left nostril only, pausing briefly at the bottom. Continue repeating the cycle allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales. You'll know you're improving when your inhales, pauses, and exhales are taking longer to complete without effort.

THE HEALTHY FINE-DINING REVOLUTION

Meet the chefs who are putting Scandinavia on the map

Previously, you might not have thought of Scandinavia as an epicenter of destination-worthy dining. But, spurred on by the overwhelming success of René Redzepi’s game-changing Noma in Copenhagen, local acolytes of The New Nordic Food Manifesto (which Redzepi co-authored) have been opening restaurants across the region that consistently top world’s best lists.

It’s a movement that’s dovetailed with renewed interested in Nordic nutrition. Research has shown that the diet, which emphasizes ingredients like whole grains, dark berries, root vegetables, and oily fish, could contribute to improved sleep and cardiovascular health.

And while eating mainly plant-based foods, seafood, and wild-foraged ingredients might not sound radical now, that just goes to show how much of an impact these Scandinavian chefs have had on the way we all think about food—not least because a stint interning at one of the region’s best restaurants is practically a requirement for ambitious American cooks.

Though all very different, these six chefs share a common goal: to innovate fine-dining using hyper-local ingredients.

THE CHEF: SASU LAUKKONEN

THE CHEF: SASU LAUKKONEN

THE RESTAURANT: ORA IN HELSINKI, FINLAND
Laukkonen recently revamped his Michelin-starred restaurant in order to place a larger emphasis on Finnish ingredients. “My number one aim was to ditch the use of foreign produce that I really don't need,” says Laukkonen. “It’s about having gifted local people in the project at every level.” Even the tables and windows at the 23-seat spot are made nearby from Finnish glass and lumber (and designed by the chef himself). Laukkonen also believes in having work-life balance, which is why the restaurant is only open Wednesday through Saturday. “Having three days off allows for my staff to be energized and fully focused come Wednesday,” he says. It lets everyone have time to be outdoors and to travel, which Laukkonen does regularly so that he can cook with other chefs and see how they are using local produce in innovative ways.

THE MENU:
The constantly-changing six-course tasting menu responds to what Laukkonen refers to as microseasons. For example, “I love to salt-brine birch leaves,” he says. “They have to be foraged early in spring, and there’s only about a two-week window every year. After six months in a three percent salt solution they almost taste like olives.” A dish of beetroot with plum also incorporates wild reindeer heart. “Wild meat may be superior due to a decreased amount of saturated fat and can be higher in protein,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. Venison meat also contains extremely high levels of iron, a key ingredient for high-quality sleep and one in which athletes are more at risk for being deficient.

The Chef: Christopher Haatuft

THE CHEF: Christopher Haatuft

The Restaurant: Lysverket in Bergen, Norway
Haatuft, who grew up skateboarding, cites the discipline it takes to stick with something—be it a sport or an occupation—as a driving force of creativity. That’s why the chef traveled extensively in his early career to work in challenging kitchens and hone his craft with culinary legend Thomas Keller (at Per Se) and slow food icon Dan Barber (at Blue Hill Stone Barns). Haatuft brought what he learned back home to Bergen, and in 2013 opened a restaurant that has fundamentally changed how Norwegian food is produced. Haatuft’s philosophy can be summed up in a term he coined, “fjoraging.” “We are on the fjord, and we are cooking a new style of food,” he says, “We joke around with it in the kitchen, but always with a serious undertone.”

THE MENU:
Haatuft not only champions native Norwegian ingredients that were otherwise ignored, but also asks partners like fishermen to explore new ways of treating their catch. “Take mahogany clams, for instance. The seabed is littered with them, but no one here has ever used them. Now they are on all fine dining menus,” says Haatuft.

THE CHEF: JESPER KIRKETERP AND RASMUS KLIIM

THE CHEFS: JESPER KIRKETERP AND RASMUS KLIIM

THE RESTAURANT: RADIO IN COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
Co-founded by longtime Noma sous chef Jesper Kirketerp and another fine-dining alum, Rasmus Kliim, Radio is like Noma’s quirky-yet-serious kid sister. With just three servers and rough-hewn furniture, the casual space belies a kitchen incredibly dedicated to seeking out the finest ingredients Denmark’s now-thriving farming scene has to offer. The duo spends a great deal of time outside of the restaurant too, whether it’s fishing, foraging for elderberries or chanterelles, or learning how to surf. “We wanted to create a place that is welcoming, modern, and urban, yet strongly connected to the surrounding landscape and people that hold great value to us,” says Kirketerp.

Chef Christopher Haatuft's dishes

THE MENU:
The three- or five-course tasting menus often feature brassica-derived rapeseed oil on tender lettuce leaves and a plate of lightly-cooked scallops. “Healthy fats are inherent in Nordic cuisine—especially the omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats found in rapeseed oil,” says Kirkpatrick. The duo’s menu is also restrained when it comes to sugar, pairing dried beets with chocolate sorbet and olives and drizzling yogurt ice cream with light licorice syrup and salted pumpkin seeds. “Nixing added sugar and butter in favor of naturally-occurring sweets and sorbets can help fit bodies fall asleep more easily,” notes Michelle Drerup, PsyD, sleep psychologist at Cleveland Clinic’s sleep disorders center.

The Chef: Mathias Dahlgren

The Chef: Christopher Haatuft

The Chef: Mathias Dahlgren

THE RESTAURANTS: Rutabaga and Matbaren in Stockholm, Sweden
Mathias Dahlgren points to his childhood experience of growing up on a farm in northern Sweden as the reason he is so passionate about foraging and cooking with authentic, regional produce. Now, the talented chef has two Michelin-starred restaurants located in Stockholm’s luxe, celeb-favorite Grand Hotel. Matbaren is the more casual bistro while Rutabaga is a modern lacto-ovo-vegetarian concept. As Dahlgren explains, a fear of stagnation keeps him moving forward. “I have a strong desire to create a completely new dining concept. I want to play an active part in developing Swedish restaurant culture.”

THE RESTAURANTS: Rutabaga and Matbaren in Stockholm, Sweden
Mathias Dahlgren points to his childhood experience of growing up on a farm in northern Sweden as the reason he is so passionate about foraging and cooking with authentic, regional produce. Now, the talented chef has two Michelin-starred restaurants located in Stockholm’s luxe, celeb-favorite Grand Hotel. Matbaren is the more casual bistro while Rutabaga is a modern lacto-ovo-vegetarian concept. As Dahlgren explains, a fear of stagnation keeps him moving forward. “I have a strong desire to create a completely new dining concept. I want to play an active part in developing Swedish restaurant culture.”

THE MENU:
Dahlgren is a proponent of local ingredients like Gotland truffles, rich black fungi grown on a Swedish island that are high in vitamin C and fiber. You can enjoy them tucked into a dish of molten poached eggs before heading upstairs for a restful night’s sleep in a luxe DUXIANA bed. Dahlgren also experiments with dishes such as matjes herring with mustard seeds, salty lemon, and trout roe that are meant to be shared, or a tonka bean ice cream with dried cherries (one of the natural sources of melatonin, which helps promote sleep).

THE CHEF: Ragnar Eiríksson

THE RESTAURANT: DILL IN REYKJAVIK, ICELAND
Ragnar Eiríksson obtained Iceland’s first Michelin star in 2017. The culinary up-and-comer spent seven years cooking in Denmark before returning home to the increasingly popular tourism destination, Reykjavik. Dill seats fewer than 30 guests and Eiríksson’s most talked-about technique is using dried dung to smoke meat. “I wanted to emphasize traditional Icelandic flavors, and when there was no lumber and no coal, farmers would often burn dung to heat their house or smoke salmon. Rather than invent new techniques, I wanted to bring back this very old-school way of doing things.” You’ll often find the chef fishing and hiking (even in inclement weather) to source the area’s freshest ingredients.

THE MENU:
“Under the umbrella of neo-Nordic cooking you still have to make good food that people really want to eat,” says Eiríksson. For him, that includes a dish of duck jerky topped with dehydrated buttermilk, or barley with malt and a wild seabird called guillemot. Eiríksson also ferments the area’s tart, antioxidant-rich blueberries. “The berries and the root vegetables common in the Nordic diet all share something in common in that they are typically very deeply-hued,” says Kirkpatrick. “The richer the color of any plant, the more benefit it provides, because phytochemicals are responsible for color.” These phytochemicals include resveratrol, lycopene, and phenols, which have been linked to everything from better skin to cancer prevention.

THE HIGH-PERFORMER'S OVERNIGHT ROUTINE

While your body and mind rest, your skin, hair, and teeth regenerate as well.

Sleep may be the cornerstone to the muscle recovery process but shut-eye is also key to the health of your hair, skin, and even your teeth. It’s all thanks to blood flow and oxygen increases that occur while you slumber, helping to deliver nutrients and repair damage. What’s more, you can enhance these naturally positive effects to your appearance with the right bedtime beauty and grooming regimen.

After you shower and brush your teeth, there are steps to an ideal overnight routine that will result in a clearer complexion, a brighter smile, and fortified hair. We spoke with a few professionals to hone in on the best products on the market.

HAIR MASK

“When your hair is dry or over-processed, an overnight treatment can help restore elasticity and moisture,” says New York City-based hair stylist Vaughn Acord. “Oribe's hair oil helps repair and fortify with a great compilation of ingredients like flower extracts, argan oil, and shea butter.” Apply it to damp hair before you turn in for the night.

FIND IT

NIGHT SERUM

Serums help repair damage that causes signs of aging, says New York City-based dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, of Marmur Medical. Dermalogica’s uses peptides, an ingredient Marmur says to check for. Apply it before your night cream or retinoid so that it can seep deep into all three layers of your skin to boost collagen production and soothe inflammation.

FIND IT

NIGHT CREAM

Marmur says that the best night creams and sleeping masks use hyaluronic acid, which acts as an ultra-hydrator and anti-ager for the skin. Vichy’s also uses mineralized water to provide an extra defense against harmful environmental aggressors.

FIND IT

RETINOID

Retinoids are vitamin A-derived topical creams that can clear acne and smooth fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Many overnight skincare products come with retinol as an ingredient—they must be used overnight since they are deactivated by the sun—but it’s best to use a prescription-grade cream. Marmur says you can mix it with your night cream, calling the mix “synergistic” in its overnight effectiveness.

See your dermatologist for the best prescription for you.

EYE CREAM

Retinoids are often too strong to apply to the delicate skin surrounding the eye. So you need something lighter, also with peptides and hyaluronic acid, says Marmur. Philosophy’s eye cream purports to tighten this skin and prevent fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles. Apply it gently with your ring finger by patting it into place.

FIND IT

TEETH WHITENER

Sleep is the ideal time for teeth whiteners since your mouth is often more dry. “Saliva is the enemy of the whitening; it makes the whitening agent less effective on contact due to its enzymatic properties,” says Dr. Keith Bracy, DDS, in New York City. Bracy says the KöR system is regarded as the most effective option in the industry.

FIND IT

Foot Cream

The ingredient your foot cream needs is urea, says Marmur, which can be found in this pick from SVR. “It dissolves dead skin and moisturizes. It can even be used on toenail ridges.” Take a warm bath or shower before applying the cream, “because the skin is more supple and the cream integrates better than on dry, hard skin.” Put clean socks on immediately after applying, then hop into bed to let it smooth while you rest.

FIND IT

The Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Sleep

How to deal with back pain, restless legs, and other pregnancy-related issues

sleep during pregnancy

Pregnancy comes with all kinds of curveballs. Some are trivial and easy to push to the back of the mind, like weird cravings and swollen feet, while others are so intrusive that they’re impossible to ignore. (There’s a human growing in there, after all.) Certain side effects make it difficult to log restorative sleep, which can put both mother and baby at risk.

A study from the University of California at San Francisco found that women who sleep fewer than six hours per night at the end of their terms have significantly longer labors and are 4.5 times more likely to need cesarean sections compared to those who clock seven hours or more. Research also shows that women who have sleep disorders during pregnancy are less likely to make it to term.

But while necessary, sleep can also be elusive during this nine-month period thanks to common side effects like back pain and restless legs, says Jennifer Martin, Ph.D., clinical sleep psychologist and member of the Equinox Health Advisory Board. A study published in Sleep Medicine found that throughout the three trimesters, all women wake up frequently throughout the night, three-quarters of them sleep poorly, and half feel extremely tired during the day.

That’s not to say it’s impossible to get a full night’s rest. Here, a trimester-by-trimester guide to overcoming the obstacles that pregnancy presents.

In the first trimester:

This is when night-time nausea starts to impair shut-eye. To offset its negative effects, Jacques Moritz, MD, an associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Cornell Medicine and a member of the Equinox Health Advisory Board, suggests taking a sleep aid that contains doxylamine, like Unisom, in combination with 25 milligrams of vitamin B6. (He notes that women should always consult their physicians before taking any new vitamins or supplements.)

The uterus also starts pushing on the bladder between six and eight weeks into the pregnancy, causing frequent urination plus the urge to relieve the bladder, even if it’s not necessary. To keep this from interrupting sleep, avoid drinking fluids two hours before bedtime, says William Schweizer, MD, clinical associate professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Health.

A more serious condition that can develop is sleep disordered breathing, or sleep apnea. Martin recommends that any pregnant woman visit her doctor if she experiences symptoms like snoring, which is likely to worsen with pregnancy weight gain. “Trouble breathing well while asleep can have an impact on the growing baby,” she says. Preliminary research on 1.4 million birth records found that babies born to women with sleep apnea are more than three times as likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit.

Anxiety over the baby’s health and development may also play a role in restless nights, Martin adds. “This is a great time to start a relaxing bedtime routine,” she says, to help keep worries at bay.

In the second trimester:

Hormonal changes can lead to sleep-impairing discomfort. “Heightened levels of relaxin and progesterone cause ligaments to become more stretchy, leading to back pain in the second trimester,” Schweizer says.

To ease the aches, lie on your side, wedge a pillow between your knees, and use another to cushion your abdomen, which will reduce pressure on the spine, he says. (Some beds even adjust as your body changes through all three trimesters.)

Schweizer recommends sleeping on your left side for the rest of the pregnancy. It maximizes blood flow to the heart; increases the amount of nutrients that reach the placenta and fetus; and reduces gastrointestinal pangs from acid reflux and heartburn, both common during pregnancy.

In the third trimester:

The real challenge, Moritz says, is resting well during the last three months of pregnancy, when physical discomfort peaks as the baby nears its birth weight. During this period, nighttime leg cramps are common; Moritz recommends taking calcium and magnesium supplements to help manage it.

Low iron levels can contribute to restless legs syndrome (RLS), another lower-body sleep disruptor that peaks around this time, Martin says. In fact, 36 percent of women reported experiencing RLS in their third trimester, and half of them had moderate to severe symptoms, according to a study published last year in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The American Pregnancy Association suggests that expecting mothers get 18 milligrams of iron per day. Getting it through food sources (such as tofu and beans) or supplements can help relieve the issue.

Photo: Paul Jung/thelicensingproject.com

WHAT YOUR DREAMS REALLY MEAN

Rapid eye movement sleep gives you a better understanding of yourself.

“In addition to sleeping well, you want to dream well,” says Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., a clinical assistant of medicine at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “People who don’t dream well are psychologically constipated, and that can contribute to conditions like depression and anxiety in daily life.”

In many ways, rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, when most dreams happen, is the brain’s prime time to process memories and dig into the psyche. Dreaming is linked to emotional health, though the connection isn’t completely understood.

With the right strategies, you can take advantage of what dreams have to offer and use them to improve your performance, solve your problems, and more. Here’s how:

THEY HELP YOU WORK THROUGH YOUR FEELINGS.

Consider REM sleep a gratis therapy session. “The experiences that we don’t process when we’re awake, we process during REM sleep,” says Naiman, adding that about two-thirds of people’s nightly reveries contain negative emotions like fear or anxiety. That’s healthy: It means you’re processing emotions or experiences you may have ignored during the day.

Dreaming represents an unconscious way for a person to work things out in their brain. In addition to having dreams, remembering them has also been linked to better mental health.

TAKE ADVANTAGE:
To improve your dream recall, buy a journal and keep it next to your bed. When you wake up, try to remember your last dream. Then, once you think you’ve grasped some of it, immediately write it down. Within seven to 10 days, you should begin to remember your dreams more frequently.

You might also consider consulting your doctor about taking B6 vitamins: A new study from the University of Adelaide in Australia found that people had better dream recall if they took 240 milligrams of vitamin B6 before bed.

THEY GIVE YOU THE CHANCE TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.

People often have lightbulb moments while they doze. “Dreams throw all logic out the window and allow us to think outside the box instead going down the same path over and over again,” says Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. She has spoken to several athletes who discovered ways to improve their performance while lying unconscious in their beds, like a tennis player who (literally) dreamed up a better way to serve.

TAKE ADVANTAGE:
Practice dream incubation, which Barrett details in her book The Committee of Sleep. Before bed, write down your problem, visualize it, and as you drift off, tell yourself that you want to solve this issue during shut-eye. When you wake up, spend a few minutes reflecting on your dream and keep a pen and paper nearby in case you rise with a eureka moment. When Barrett asked college students to solve personal problems in their sleep, about half woke up having dreamt of the issue and the majority of those people felt their dreams presented a solution.

THEY WARN ABOUT POTENTIAL HEALTH PROBLEMS.

The episodes that play out during sleep can bring hidden health concerns to the forefront of the mind. “When we dream, we’re getting some sensory input that’s ignored by day when we’re focused on other things,” says Barrett.

Researchers have found that many women dream of breast cancer before being diagnosed. Studies also show that idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), in which people act out vivid, intense, and violent dreams, is an early predictor of degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and dementia.

Another paper published in Sleep Medicine found that people with sleep apnea often have nightmares of suffocation, which disappeared in 91 percent of patients once they started using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

Still, they can’t tell the future. “It’s more like an early warning system, a way of watching out for possible issues that can later be verified, or not, in waking life,” says Kelly Bulkeley, Ph.D., director of the Sleep and Dream Database.

TAKE ADVANTAGE:
Dreams’ meanings may be more metaphorical than literal. “You might have to dig a little deeper to find out what the cancer in your dreams means to you,” Naiman says. “When you develop a habit of regularly paying attention to your dreams, you’ll be able to better understand what they mean.” It’s worth a trip to the doctor if you suffer from RBD or your nighttime adventures have led you to notice a problem. If your dreams are alluding to some specific health issue, it may be time to schedule that long-delayed appointment with your derm.

PACK A HEALTHY PICNIC

How fit bodies prepare for outdoor adventures

As the weather warms up, hiking is a great way to change up your fitness routine; it works your calves, quads, and hip flexors and is a challenging cardio workout. Plus, seeking sunshine in the morning can help you log better shut-eye at night. When planning for the day, skip store-bought foods and pack your own healthy picnic. Here, New York City-based model and recipe developer Silja Danielsen shares her go-to menu.

“I like to get a hearty seeded bread, such as rye, from the farmer’s market and make open-faced sandwiches, which I pack in reusable beeswax,” says Danielsen. “For savory toppings, I’ll use calcium-rich Havarti cheese, pickled cucumbers, and beets, which are rich in nitrates, compounds that help deliver oxygen to hard-working muscles.” Or for a sweeter option, “try using protein-rich skyr and homemade jam.” In addition to being easy to pack and assemble on a hike, these staples are part of the Nordic diet, which has been shown to help boost inflammation-fighting antioxidants in the blood stream.

Danielsen also makes a Scandinavian-inspired fish soup, which contains heart-healthy omega-3s as well as selenium and magnesium, minerals that are important for quality sleep and regeneration.

For your next hike, try Danielsen’s sandwiches and her soup recipe below; the latter travels well in a Thermos.

Norwegian Fish Soup
Serves 4


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium celeriac root
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 large colored carrots
  • 2 cups small purple potatoes
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 cups fish stock
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 pounds wild-caught cod, deboned and cut into small pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Using a potato peeler or sharp knife, remove the skin from the celeriac root and chop into 1-inch chunks; set aside.
  2. Rinse the leeks, carrots, and potatoes, then slice into small, bite-size pieces and set aside.
  3. Rough chop the garlic, then heat the butter over medium heat in a large soup stock pot.
  4. Add the garlic, leeks, carrots, and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook eight to 10 minutes, or until soft.
  5. Add celeriac, potatoes, fish stock, and cream, and bring to a simmer.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook veggies until tender, about 15 minutes.
  7. Uncover and add cod; continue to cook for another six to seven minutes.
  8. Add the lemon juice and garnish with dill.

TO SERVE

  1. Pour soup into a Thermos to enjoy warm.

CAN YOU MAKE UP FOR LOST SLEEP?

A new study goes against conventional wisdom.

hydration

As much as people try to prioritize solid rest, a full night of shuteye can escape even the most dedicated. When you lose out on it, you rack up sleep debt.

Think of it as the equivalent of credit card charges: Instead of losing money, you lost an opportunity to sleep, and now you’re in the red. For example, someone who needs eight hours of rest per night but only gets six accumulates 14 hours of sleep debt per week.

It's no joke: New research shows skimping on sleep can shorten your lifespan. People who consistently get fewer than five hours of shuteye per night have a 65 percent higher risk of dying early compared to those who log an average of six to seven hours. And while conventional wisdom says you should keep the same sleep-wake schedule every day, this study found that people who made up for deficits by dozing extra on the weekends lived just as long as those who slept well every night.

In other words, you can, and should, make up for lost sleep, says Raman Malhotra, MD, associate professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Repaying your debts is pretty straightforward: To catch up, you should sleep for a couple more hours each night than you normally would. If you have 10 hours of sleep debt, Malhotra recommends getting three to four extra hours over the weekend and an extra hour or two per night the next week until you're breaking even again. Try not to sleep more than nine hours, the healthy upper limit for adults, at once.

You can also do damage control through napping. “Keep them to 20 minutes or less, otherwise you run the risk of feeling more tired,” he notes. “Napping can help with daytime fatigue but it’s not always the best quality of sleep.”

Spreading the extra hours out over a few nights is better than making them all up in one fell sweep by seriously oversleeping, says Jennifer Martin, Ph.D., a member of the Equinox Health Advisory Board and associate professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. “First, you can’t sleep in until 2 p.m. most of the time because your circadian clock will wake you up,” she explains. And if you do, it’ll be hard to fall asleep that night, which sets you up for another week of subpar rest.

Bigger sleep debts could take several weeks to pay off. If your schedule allows for it, you can speed up the process by planning an obligation-free vacation, like one centered around lounging on the beach. That way you can go to bed early and doze into mid-morning without setting an alarm, Malhotra says.

While catching up on rest can revive slumping energy levels, you don’t want to make a habit of it. “The best way to overcome a week of not sleeping enough is to look carefully at why you’ve fallen into that pattern and make some adjustments so you’re able to sleep more on a regular basis,” says Martin. That’ll help you avoid the problem altogether instead of relying on damage control.

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