What comes next in my two part article in my interview with Sal is the topic of health and wellness. Specifically, supplementation of anti inflammatory aids such as fish oil and turmeric. Some keys or “steps” to take for optimal sleep patterns. And finally, what you should be on the lookout for when you are picking in house items and hygiene products.
Sal’s response to anti inflammatory supplements was pretty simple: Unless you’re getting the correct amount of sleep, and the correct nutrients from eating whole minimally processed foods, all the supplements in the world are not going to help your joints stop aching. This led us directly into the topic of sleep and some things you can key in on when trying to achieve optimal sleeping patterns. Electronics were the first item on the list. Sal’s advice is to cut out electronics (TV, phone, computer etc.) an hour before bedtime. This will give you time to think clearly and remove yourself from outside stresses of work emails, social media or any other online activities that distract us from sleep. Next is how we set up lighting when we are preparing for sleep. Since we are cutting off our electronics an hour before bed, Sal suggests cutting down on our exposure to light as well by using only very dim lights or using candle light. I definitely prefer using candle light before bed, just because it is very relaxing and allows me to clear my mind. Having a cup of something warm and soothing, like chamomile tea, before bed was Sal’s next piece of advice. Studies have actually shown that chamomile tea can actually depress the nervous system, allowing you to get into a deeper sleep. Even just the soothing sensation of something warm can help someone get in the right frame of mind to sleep. After having some warm tea, Sal likes to do something mindful. The example he gave me was doing some deep belly breathing. Sal and the MindPump guys actually have some YouTube videos on deep belly breathing on their channel if you’re interested in checking them out here. This might sound like something that is pretty easy, but if you really focus on how you’re breathing (feeling the breath in your abdominals, lower back etc.) this can be a game changer for someone who struggles with sleep. The final two pieces of the sleep equation are pretty simple: Keep the room where you sleep cool and dark, and sleep naked or in little clothing. This will optimize your bodies ability to sleep comfortably. If the room is hot and uncomfortable, you put yourself at a disadvantage for optimal sleep.
Earlier I stated that Sal talked about using only candle light before bed. Using candle light is good but what you are burning is also important. Unscented or beeswax candles are what Sal says is best, and beeswax are also what I use before I get ready for bed. Beeswax candles give off a faint honey smell and some of them have some natural vanilla or essential oils infused as well. Sal also gave me some tips on hygiene and household items. Instead of using processed toothpaste, Sal uses coconut oil and baking soda. Mixing the two will create a paste similar to toothpaste. Adding in some mint extract will add that minty flavor to the paste, if that’s what you are looking for. Sal is also a big advocate of using organic soaps and shampoos for the body. Since the skin is the largest organ on the body, it is important that we do not contaminate it with chemicals found in your typical soaps and shampoos we buy at the grocery store. If we do, we have a chance at having a negative impact on our skin’s microbiome by killing off healthy bacteria using chemicals found in most soaps and shampoos. Sal suggests using all organic soaps and shampoos that are not enhanced with chemicals. Another thing he suggestes to help our skin is not washing your ENTIRE body every day. Obviously, if you’re like me, Sal, and many of my friends, we weight train and exercise on a regular basis. Having good hygiene is important, so washing your groin, armpits and other things that need attention every day are important. But if you can help it, washing other parts like legs, arms, shoulders etc. less often will only help the microbiome of your skin that much more.
Again, I want to extend my gratitude to Sal for the opportunity to speak with him and answer my health, fitness and wellness questions. I’m very glad I took the opportunity to write about our conversation, because I think it has opened a bit of a window for me (I am a communication major, so it’s about time I start communicating about what I’m passionate about) to connect to people on multiple levels by sharing my experiences in health, fitness and just life in general. Expect more articles like these from me in the future on a variety of different topics. Thanks for reading and if you liked these, please share them with your friends and follow me on social media. My Instagram handle is just my name benracke. You can find me on Facebook if you search Ben Racke and my Twitter is @BenRacke_.