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Rihanna’s Nail Artist on the Best Nail Shapes for Every Manicure

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You take your hair and nail supplements. You keep up with the latest nail trends. You have a Pinterest board dedicated solely to nail inspiration. And you probably have a standing appointment with your favorite nail tech. But are you wearing the right nail shapes for your hands?

Featured image from our interview with Cyndi Ramirez by Belathée Photography.

Mary Ralph minimalist manicure

The Ultimate Guide to Different Nail Shapes

Don’t underestimate the power of switching up your nail shape. Even the most minimalist mani can become a showstopper with the right shaping. Of course, nail shapes change with the trends. The incredibly intricate, claw-like long acrylics might not be a natural, but they’re enviably cool. And, with trends like quiet luxury and the clean girl aesthetic still sitting pretty in the zeitgeist, short nails have been all the rage. But just because a shape is trending, doesn’t mean it’s the best nail shape for you.

For more on finding your perfect nail shape, I spoke with celebrity manicurist Kimmie Kyees, (Rihanna’s nail artist!). Ahead, discover the best nail shapes to choose for summer and beyond.

nail shapes

Kimmie Kyees





Kimmie Kyees is a Los Angeles-based manicurist. Her client list includes Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Issa Rae, Mary J Blige, Chrissy Teigen, Katy Perry, Dua Lipa, the Kardashians, and more.

Woman holding mug in kitchen.

How to Choose the Most Flattering Nail Shape

Kyees recommends using your cuticles to determine your ideal nail shape. For that, you need to properly push your cuticles and then reflect that shape in your nails. By doing this, no matter the shape you decide on, your nails will be naturally elongated.

Of course, personal preference is the ultimate deciding factor. However, because your hands are a key element of your day-to-day life, it’s important to take into consideration your profession and regular activities as well. Do you type on a computer all day? Are you moving equipment or materials? Perhaps you come into contact with small children. Reflecting on all of these factors will not only help you find a nail shape you love, but one that fits best with your lifestyle.

But—Kyees is quick to note that if you’re going for a textbook feminine look for your nails, almond should be your go-to. “It elongates the finger and is a very lady-like nail shape.” Bonus? It’s Adele’s favorite.

Good news for everyone adopting the short, naked nails look. “Square is always in style,” says Kyees. She encourages opting for a tapered, narrow sidewall with soft corners. “It’s a shape that will stand the test of time.” Case in point: Rihanna.

Kyees loves this look for summer, as it’s a great pairing with brighter shades. “I always love seeing soft round nails in popsicle and candy colors.”

Pregnant woman wearing purple dress.

Different Nail Shapes, Explained

To recap: the best nail shapes match your cuticles and/or make you feel the most confident. Like a haircut that frames your face or clothes tailored to your body, choosing the right nail shape can make you feel more like yourself.

If you’ve only tried one or two nail shapes, experimenting with new styles can get you out of a nail rut. And maybe even help you discover a whole new go-to manicure. Here are the most popular nail shapes for every style and every occasion.

Almond Nails

Fun, flirty, and femme, an almond nail is a glamorous take on the classic oval nail. Like its namesake, the nail wall tapers and then ends in a rounded peak.

Why we love it: The glamor of this look will never go out of style.

What to consider: Most natural nails would crumble under this shape, so you’ll probably get them reinforced with gel or acrylic.

Square Nails

Usually short and simple, these low-maintenance nails are high impact. You can jazz them up with bright colors or lean into your classy, clean girl aesthetic and pair them with a neutral shade for your skin tone.

Why we love it: They’re easy to take care of (and keep) but super stylish.

What to consider: You might be in danger of a chipped nail since the square edges aren’t the most durable.

Oval Nails

Similar to almond, but less tapered. Usually long and used to lengthen the appearance of your fingers.

Why we love it: These are some of the most versatile nails in the game. Flattering, functional, and femme. They’re also ideal for nail art.

What to consider: Oval nails require a little more maintenance and are harder on your natural nails than shorter styles.

Squoval Nails

Somewhere between a square and an oval. A true crowd favorite thanks to its durability and elegance. It keeps the flat edge of a square with the roundness of an oval nail.

Why we love it: More durable than a classic square and looks good on everyone.

What to consider: Because they’re so flattering, everyone has them. So if you’re looking for something daring to help you stand out, keep looking.

Round Nails

Like the oval, but most often used by people who prefer short nails. They soften at the edges and follow your natural nail shape.

Why we love it: Great for short nails. These are eye-catching while pairing perfectly with just about any color.

What to consider: There’s not much holding you back from this nail shape. It’s great for beginners who are just dipping their toes into the endless world of nail art options. Approachable and easy to love.

Ballerina Nails

Like an almond nail with a square tip, these come in different lengths but are most popular in a longer length.

Why we love it: Great for nail art and surprisingly durable. I recently loved it paired with the milky, glazed nail trend.

What to consider: They were everywhere for a while, so they might seem a bit passé. But don’t let that stop you!

Stiletto Nails

Like their heel namesake, stiletto nails are long, thin, and sexy. They taper to a point at the top.

Why we love it: They bring the drama and are ideal if your goal is to go bold with your look.

What to consider: Stiletto nails offer barely any structural integrity. They can also make it hard to type or use your hands in athletics or when working out.

Arrowhead Nails

Arrowhead nails can come in a range of lengths, but they all boast a signature flat tip. You’ll often see them in a longer length similar to stiletto nails, minus the pointy tip.

Why we love it: One word: striking.

What to consider: Best for long or medium-length natural nails.

Lipstick Nails

This style is defined by a sharp diagonal point at the top of the nail. They look like a tube of lipstick which, as a beauty editor, I can’t resist.

Why we love it: A perfect blend of elegant and exciting. The asymmetrical top adds interest—perfect for a bold color or design.

What to consider: Choose a geometric pattern to emphasize the funky shape.

Almondetto

Another mashup, these are similar to the almond mixed with the thinness of a stiletto. They are often used with a new take on the French mani.

Why we love it: Classy and cute—with a little excitement mixed in.

What to consider: You can get them as gel tips, which is currently the most popular order.





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30 Healthy Ice Cream Recipes Perfect for Summer

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There’s nothing quite like treating yourself to an ice cream cone as soon as the warm weather hits. Sweet, creamy, rich, and cooling, you simply can’t beat this classic treat. We’ve located 30 healthy ice cream recipes that are just as delicious as the real deal— minus the feeling that you’ve devoured a pure dairy and sugar bomb (which from experience, is not ideal while trying to fall asleep on a hot night).

These healthful alternatives put a lighter spin on some of our favorite ice cream flavors. (No sacrificing taste here!) And one of the nice things about DIY’ing your own ice cream situation is that you’ll know that your cone or cup will be totally free of any preservatives or artificial sweeteners.

Healthy ice cream recipes.

30 Healthy Ice Cream Recipes to Satisfy Your Summer Sweet Tooth

And before you think that not owning an ice cream maker takes you out of the homemade, dairy-free ice cream cake, don’t fret. Most of these healthy ice cream recipes can be done with a hand mixer, blender, or just some good old-fashioned elbow grease. And while we’ve included a few “nice cream” recipes involving frozen bananas, there’s no shortage of gluten-free, keto, paleo, and vegan options below.

So regardless of your or your loved ones’ dietary restrictions, everyone can enjoy one of these scrumptious and healthy ice cream recipes.

Golden Milk Latte Ice Cream

Golden Milk Latte Ice Cream

Why We Love It: Turmeric is chock-full of health benefits, and it’s the star of this luscious ice cream recipe. The spice also boasts an impressive mix of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and peppercorns to drive home the flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Parle-G biscuits are the unsung hero of this delectable dessert. Or, if you prefer Biscoff cookies like me, crush up a few extra for mix-ins. And use lots of candied ginger. It’s like Cold Stone Creamery, at home.

Mango Basil No-Churn Ice Cream

Mango Basil No-Churn Ice Cream

Why We Love It: This refreshing ice cream recipe is dairy-free and uses coconut milk as its base. And, you can make it all in the blender! Since it uses frozen mango, all you have to do is blend it up and you can enjoy right away. My kind of dessert.

Hero Ingredient: The basil shines here and delivers a nice herbal tone, complementing the sweet/tart mango really well.

Mango Melon Sorbet

Mango Melon Sorbet

Why We Love It: Get out your food processor, because this mango melon sorbet is the perfect summer dessert. All you need for this vegan delight is some melon, mango, bananas, and coconut syrup. This silky sorbet is best enjoyed poolside.

Hero Ingredient: I’m going with the bananas here. They bring a creamy texture to this sorbet that might be unexpected but is definitely appreciated.

3-Ingredient Vegan Matcha Nice Cream

3-Ingredient Vegan Matcha Nice Cream From Two Spoons

Why We Love It: Our obsession with matcha will never end. And as much as we love it as a morning latte, blending matcha powder into a healthy ice cream recipe is the perfect post-meal treat. Just frozen bananas, coconut milk, and matcha powder yield the dreamiest dairy-free dessert.

Hero Ingredient: Matcha, of course. High-quality, ceremonial-grade matcha is best.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream From Beaming Baker

Why We Love It: The Reese’s folks knew what we’ve all come to accept as fact: chocolate-peanut butter is an elite combination. There’s something endlessly delicious about the pairing—and thankfully, this recipe gives it to us in a dairy-free, no-sugar-added form. Proof that sometimes, you can have it all.

Hero Ingredient: I’d like all my desserts to involve a thick peanut butter swirl.

Healthy Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Why We Love It: I’m a huge cookie dough ice cream fan, but sometimes, the sugar overload can be too much even for this sweet tooth. When that’s the case, I defer to this recipe, which uses bananas for a naturally sweetened base. The texture play is on point, with wonderfully creamy ice cream and chewy cookie dough bits mixed throughout.

Hero Ingredient: I love the nutty, gluten-free bite that the almond flour gives these cookie dough balls.

Sea Salt Caramel Coconut Ice Cream

Sea Salt Caramel Coconut Ice Cream From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: When sea salt combines with caramel, beautiful things happen. That’s exactly the case for this healthy ice cream recipe. The cashews and coconut milk create a creamy base that’s rich in healthy fats. And I love using dates as a healthier, vegan caramel. The flavor is deeper and with a more nuanced sweetness than your traditional caramel.

Hero Ingredient: I’ll happily eat the salted date caramel by the spoonful.

Keto Funfetti Cake Batter Ice Cream From All the Nourishing Things

Why We Love It: Every roundup of healthy ice cream recipes has to include a cake batter variation—it’s just fact. Even as an adult, cake batter ice cream still ranks among my top flavors. It’s perfectly nostalgic and full of fun colors that just scream childhood joy. And while some can taste artificial (and set you up for a major sugar rush), this recipe uses coconut milk and the alt sweetener of your choice to temper the flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Egg yolks give this recipe that rich, French vanilla flavor that’s essential in cake batter ice cream.

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Ice Cream from Eating Bird Food

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Ice Cream From Eating Bird Food

Why We Love It: Oatmeal raisin cookies are one of my go-to desserts, and this ice cream is giving all of their flavors and more. Thanks to the frozen bananas used as this sweet-treats’ base, this ice cream is high in fiber and low in sugar.

Hero Ingredient: A hint of cinnamon makes this ice cream taste like you’re biting into a cozy oatmeal cookie.

Paleo Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream

Paleo Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream From Fed and Fit

Why We Love It: This ice cream takes all the beloved flavors and textures of a blueberry crumble and puts them into ice cream form. What could be better? Creamy and crumbly, all wrapped up in one delicious scoop.

Hero Ingredient: We can’t get enough of this gorgeous tart blueberry jam swirl and cashew cookie crumble.

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Soft serve is ice cream at its best. Not only is this chocolate and tahini take on “nice cream” absolutely delicious, but all you need is 5-10 minutes, one bowl, and four ingredients to make this healthy ice cream recipe.

Hero Ingredient: A pinch of sea salt pulls out all of that nutty tahini flavor and enhances the richness of this tasty treat.

Chunky Monkey Banana Ice Cream

Chunky Monkey Banana Ice Cream From Food Faith Fitness

Why We Love It: Whip up this peanut butter banana ice cream in just five minutes then top with gluten-free brownies and nuts. Healthy, delicious, and ready to eat.

Hero Ingredient: Lots of salty peanuts are the garnish you’ve been looking for. They hold the key to texture-town when it comes to this ice cream.

Chocolate Sweet Potato Ice Cream

Chocolate Sweet Potato Ice Cream From Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Why We Love It: Sweet potato gives this healthy ice cream recipe a smooth, creamy texture as well as tons of nutrients. Just grab some chocolate, coconut sugar, and coconut milk and you’re ready to go.

Hero Ingredient: Vanilla and sea salt pull all of that chocolatey goodness to the forefront.

Chocolate and Pomegranate Ice Cream

Chocolate and Pomegranate Ice Cream From Food Faith Fitness

Why We Love It: Arguably one of the most delicious healthy ice cream recipes that’s easy to make and gluten-free. Sign us up.

Hero Ingredient: A little bite of pomegranate in every bite is a welcome surprise.

Coconut Keto Ice Cream

Coconut Keto Ice Cream From The Recipe Critic

Why We Love It: If you’re a fan of coconut, then this is the recipe for you. It’s creamy, decadent, and tastes just as good as it looks. Plus, it’s a super basic recipe with only four ingredients and 15 hands-on minutes standing between you and a cool treat. Who’s drooling now?

Hero Ingredient: Because this recipe is super simple, it leaves lots of room for customization. Feel free to throw in whatever ingredients you have on hand or are craving. Some that come to mind are cherries, peaches, graham crackers, nuts, and hot fudge… yum.

Chocolate Coffee Nice Cream

Chocolate Coffee Nice Cream From Half-Baked Harvest

Why We Love It: Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and oh-so-delicious. All you need are six ingredients, five minutes, and patience as your nice cream firms up in the freezer. The last step is definitely the most difficult.

Hero Ingredient: Dates lay the foundation for this nice cream right alongside the bananas. They counterbalance the cocoa powder and bring a welcome sweetness, though they’re not overly saturating. If you’re not a fan of dates, though, maple syrup makes for a good substitute.

Cookie Dough Blizzard Ice Cream

Why We Love It: Although a blizzard could possibly fall in the milkshake camp, I firmly believe it’s an ice cream treat. This vegan, gluten-free recipe features a banana base and just a few additional ingredients that you probably already have in the pantry.

Hero Ingredient: The cookie dough, obviously.

Cherry Garcia Nice Cream

Cherry Garcia Nice Cream From The Simple Veganista

Why We Love It: To say that I’m obsessed with this cherry ice cream recipe is an understatement. It calls for just a handful of simple ingredients and can be blended up in your food processor. Easy, peasy—delish.

Hero Ingredient: The cherries are definitely delicious, and this recipe’s namesake, but you can get playful with other fruits and flavor combinations. Think blackberries and lime zest, frozen peaches, blueberries, and lemon zest. The list goes on.

Butterscotch Swirl Pumpkin Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Why We Love It: You might be looking at this ice cream and wondering, “how on EARTH is that healthy?” The ice cream base is made of raw cashews and coconut cream and it’s sweetened with coconut syrup that gives it a delicious caramel flavor. The proof is in the pudding… er, ice cream.

Hero Ingredient: Just look at that salted caramel. I have no words.

Vegan Chocolate Nice Cream

Vegan Chocolate Nice Cream From Fit Foodie Finds

Why We Love It: On the opposite end of the complexity spectrum, this recipe keeps it simple and vegan with just almond milk, bananas, cocoa powder, and vanilla. An everyday ice cream, if you will. Make a big batch of this tasty treat to enjoy all week long!

Hero Ingredient: This is another blend-and-enjoy recipe, so you don’t even have to wait for it to freeze. Talk about a hero method.

Healthy Vegan Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Sandwiches

Healthy Vegan Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Sandwiches From Dani’s Healthy Eats

Why We Love It: I know it’s technically not just ice cream—it’s even better. They’re refreshing, call for just a few ingredients, and can even be made vegan by using coconut yogurt. It even sneaks in a little protein powder to boost your daily intake.

Hero Ingredient: The genius shortcut to make these healthy cookies? It’s just that, genius.

Coffee Chip Ice Cream

Coffee Chip Ice Cream From Wholesomelicious

Why We Love It: I don’t know about you, but coffee is one of my favorite ice cream flavors. This recipe combines it with coconut milk, coconut cream, vanilla, dates, and more to make a delicious treat that incorporates that unbeatable coffee flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Strong coffee is key.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: It wouldn’t be a complete list of healthy ice cream recipes without mint chocolate chip. A classic combo, this recipe lightens things up with almond milk, coconut milk, maple syrup, and cashew butter. And, it’s completely vegan, so those following a vegan diet can enjoy it, too. Make your minty dreams a reality.

Hero Ingredient: Chocolate shavings top things off in style. And they literally melt in your mouth.

Creamy Vegan Chai Ice Cream

Creamy Vegan Chai Ice Cream From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Get your tea brewing, because this recipe has all the warm chai notes that are great year-round. Coconut milk makes this ice cream extra creamy. And with the perfect touch of sweetness, this ice cream is a winner across the board.

Hero Ingredient: The spice mix is next level. Black pepper, ground cloves, and cardamom. Yum, just yum.

Healthy Blender Raspberry Ice Cream

Healthy Blender Raspberry Ice Cream From Primavera Kitchen

Why We Love It: Greek yogurt, raspberries, honey, almond milk (or a sub of your choice), and bananas are probably all things you have on hand, which is what makes this healthy ice cream recipe so great. If you’re in need of a cool, tart treat, this recipe is definitely for you.

Hero Ingredient: I’ve always liked the idea of using honey to sweeten things up. You get a nice floral flavor that sugar just can’t provide.

Protein Ice Cream

Protein Ice Cream From Eating Bird Food

Why We Love It: If you’re anything like me, you know it can be a daily challenge to meet your recommended protein intake. What better way to incorporate a bit of extra protein than in your mid-day snack or dessert?

Hero Ingredient: Throw in any chocolate protein powder of your choice.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream From Heartbeet Kitchen

Why We Love It: Coconut is quickly becoming a flavor I strive to incorporate in all of my desserts. This recipe only takes eight ingredients and is naturally sweetened. Bonus points for also being vegan!

Hero Ingredient: Crunchy chocolate chips are never a bad idea.

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream From Sandhya’s Kitchen

Why We Love It: Ice cream and cheesecake— two of my all-time favorite sugar-filled desserts. This ice cream is the best alternative I’ve found to the sugar crash that comes with normal cheesecake, made from fat-free cottage cheese and unsweetened almond milk.

Hero Ingredient: This recipe wouldn’t be the same without fresh (and frozen) strawberries!

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream From Jessica in the Kitchen

Why We Love It: You may be skeptical about throwing avocado into something as sacred as ice cream, but trust me, it won’t disappoint. Avocado is a rich and flavorful alternative that keeps this recipe dairy-free. As a result, this ice cream is full of healthy fats and no refined sugar.

Hero Ingredient: Avocado takes the cake as the top ingredient in this recipe.

Dairy-Free Rocky Road Ice Cream

Dairy-Free Rocky Road Ice Cream From Feasting on Fruit

Why We Love It: I will always be a rocky road girl at heart, but sometimes loads of unhealthy ingredients that make this ice cream so delicious steer me away. Luckily, this recipe takes the same nostalgia-inducing flavors and creates a lighter and healthier alternative.

Hero Ingredient: Coconut cream is the key to your ultra-creamy base.





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An Expert Explains the Link

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We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

With dopamine detoxes continuing to dominate the wellness space, many misunderstand the trend as eliminating dopamine from our lives altogether. First, that’s impossible—given that dopamine is naturally produced by the body, we can’t detox from it completely. What’s more, it would ignore all the good dopamine does for us. The neurotransmitter is far-reaching in its influence over our decision-making and behaviors. Dopamine is linked to our pleasure and reward system, and it plays a key role in how we experience joy and satisfaction. Enter: the connection between dopamine and sex.

Camille Styles making bed.

The Connection Between Dopamine and Sex

In truth, I knew little of the link between dopamine and sex before chatting with the team at Juna, a women’s wellness brand offering plant-powered products to optimize mind, body, mood, and sleep. Detailed in an article on the topic, they outline the relationship between dopamine, love, and sex:

“The necessity of dopamine in our lives can be attributed to its influence on motivation, the pleasure and reward system, mood regulation, and attention […] The pleasure and reward system, intricately linked with love, relies heavily on dopamine to create feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement.”

Jewel Zimmer, a certified brain health trainer and the CEO and founder of Juna, elaborates on the correlation, “When your dopamine levels are high, it can increase feelings of arousal and desire—things we often associate with libido. Conversely, low dopamine levels may decrease libido, since it can reduce feelings of pleasure and motivation.

For more insights into the topic, I tapped Zimmer for her expertise. Ahead, we discuss all things dopamine and sex: how to respond to a lagging libido, and her eight top tips for naturally increasing dopamine levels—and in turn, your sex drive. Hot.

Jewel Zimmer

Jewel Zimmer





Jewel Zimmer is the CEO and Founder of Juna. As a certified brain health trainer, Jewel is dedicated to helping women everywhere feel their best. She’s passionate about educating on optimal gut/brain axis, the connection between the two and helping people implement daily habits to reach their health goals. Her mission is to equip individuals with the tools to optimize their health, inspiring a wave of healthier, happier humans.

Minimalist bedroom.

Understanding Your Libido

Boosting your sex drive is the topic of many a magazine article and girl chat. Who doesn’t want a healthy sex drive? It’s associated with everything from pleasure (of course) to pain relief, better sleep, and increased intimacy with your partner. But! It’s also natural for your libido to fluctuate. That said, you may be looking to spice things up. For that, we have answers.

Zimmer is quick to preface that when it comes to your libido, dopamine is just a single piece. “Your libido is influenced by many different factors, including hormone balance, stress, relationship dynamics, and your overall health,” she notes. If shifts in your sex drive are of concern, she recommends speaking with a healthcare provider to explore potential causes and treatments.

How to Naturally Increase Libido

When it comes to increasing your libido, Zimmer encourages a holistic approach. She cites the following ideas to address a low sex drive:

  • Regular exercise
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Managing stress through relaxation techniques
  • Getting enough quality sleep
  • Consult a healthcare provider about incorporating herbs like maca root or ginseng
  • Communicating openly with your partner
  • Limit alcohol use
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prioritize activities that bring you pleasure and relaxation

Zimmer also suggests speaking with your healthcare provider for more personalized advice. “The healthier you feel overall,” she says, “the more likely you are to be improving that web of factors that influence libido.”

Woman lighting palo santo.

8 Tips to Increase Dopamine

Fun fact: roughly 50% of dopamine production occurs in the gut. As such, it’s important to prioritize gut health, which is linked to everything from relieving stress to boosting mood. (Key elements of a strong libido.) I also religiously take Juna’s Gut Therapy supplement for optimal gut health.

Read on for Zimmer’s tips to help you naturally increase dopamine levels. Keep in mind that with all of these tips, balance is key. “Moderation is essential to maintaining a healthy balance in lifestyle habits to support overall well-being.”

  1. Exercise. Regular physical activity can boost dopamine levels. Aim for activities you enjoy, such as jogging, dancing, or playing sports, as they also increase endorphins.
  2. Healthy diet and dopamine-inducing foods. Include sources of tyrosine, such as lean proteins, dairy, eggs, nuts, and seeds, in your diet.  Dark chocolate is another great dopamine booster that’s also highly regarded for its aphrodisiac qualities.
  3. Sleep. Getting enough high-quality sleep helps regulate dopamine levels.
  4. Stress management. Chronic stress can deplete dopamine. Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature. Grounding is a great way to boost dopamine.
  5. Community. Positive social interactions and bonding with others can increase dopamine release. Make time for meaningful connections with friends and family.
  6. Fall in love. When you experience love, the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of your brain becomes active, releasing dopamine. Dopamine is famous for its involvement in romance.
  7. Music and creativity. Creativity or listening to music you enjoy stimulates dopamine release.
  8. Setting and Achieving Goals. Accomplishing tasks or setting and achieving goals can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost dopamine levels.





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Is Melatonin Safe? An Expert on What You Need to Know

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It’s a noble, albeit endless quest: our search for better sleep. Just one night of restlessness is enough to have us quitting caffeine for good, putting on a PM meditation, and investing in a game-changing alarm clock. And because there’s so much on the line (our mental capacity, work performance, food cravings, and morning workout commitment), you may have been tempted to explore the wide world of sleep aids. Namely, melatonin. Though it may seem like a magic pill, the supplement’s steady rise to fame has us asking: Is melatonin safe? Your answers await.

Featured image from our interview with Odette Annable.

Woman sitting on bed drinking tea.

Is Melatonin Safe? An Expert Sounds Off

I was introduced to melatonin during a particularly rough period of insomnia. Desperate for something to help me fall—and stay—asleep, I dove deep into sleep teas, lavender essential oils, and melatonin supplements. I took the latter on an as-needed basis. (Looking back though, I needed melatonin a lot.) Though the steps I was taking to address my evening anxiety showed progress, the journey was slow. I wanted results, and I wanted them now. Millennial, much?

But as with all things relatively quick-fix, caveats exist. My armchair analysis turned up the general consensus: melatonin supplements are safe in the short-term. But they worked so well! Was I really supposed to abstain from the *sole thing* that gave me a restful, restorative snooze? I either needed someone to spill the true tea on melatonin or walk me through all the lifestyle shifts that support healthy sleep hygiene. Thankfully, I connected with someone who delivered both.

For answers, I spoke with Jewel Zimmer, a certified brain health trainer and the CEO and founder of the wellness brand, Juna. Ahead, Zimmer and I discuss all things melatonin. From the potential short- and long-term risks to its impact on our circadian rhythms (and everything in between). Consider this your go-to guide not just to melatonin, but to transforming your sleep life altogether.

Jewel Zimmer

Jewel Zimmer





Jewel Zimmer is the CEO and Founder of Juna. As a certified brain health trainer, Jewel is dedicated to helping women everywhere feel their best. She’s passionate about educating on optimal gut/brain axis, the connection between the two and helping people implement daily habits to reach their health goals. Her mission is to equip individuals with the tools to optimize their health, inspiring a wave of healthier, happier humans.

Woman pulling back curtains.

When to Consider Using Melatonin

As we age, our melatonin naturally declines. Adults over 40 should consider supplementing a microdose nightly of 0.3 mg or under to make up for our bodies’ natural decline. This microdose can also be very helpful for jet lag and shift workers who need to reset their circadian clock. 

How Melatonin Impacts Our Circadian Rhythm

Melatonin helps regulate our sleep/wake cycles by signaling darkness to our bodies, which prepares us for sleep. Since light and dark have the most significant influence on our internal body clocks, melatonin plays a crucial role in managing our daily rhythms.

Potential Melatonin Risks

Melatonin, known as the hormone of darkness, has become one of the most talked about sleep aids/sleep ingredients on the market in recent years. It’s a powerful neurotransmitter, hormone, and antioxidant that is secreted deep in the limbic brain from the pineal gland. The limbic brain is also the part of the brain that controls our sleep/wake cycles or circadian rhythms. Our brains naturally release melatonin and signal our body to prepare for darkness and sleep.

Our bodies naturally produce about 0.1% of melatonin each night. However, this declines with age and increased blue light, so many of us are looking for supplementation. The biggest misconception is how much melatonin to actually take. An MIT study suggests 0.30mg is the ultimate dose to encourage our bodies to produce enough melatonin to fall asleep and stay asleep. But the majority of supplement brands on the market believe more is better, which is false.

The average melatonin supplement on the market is three to ten times more than what the body actually needs.

Short-term overuse and overdosing can result in nausea, bedwetting (in children), morning hangover (grogginess), inability to focus, headaches, vivid dreams and disruption to our sleep cycles, the exact thing we are trying to fix.

Long-term overuse and overdosing can result in more serious risks. Some research suggests hormone interference in children delaying puberty. Excessive overuse has also been linked to increased depression.

Camille Styles bedroom.

What to Look for in a Melatonin Supplement

It’s important to find a quality melatonin supplement that is third-party tested for potency and purity. 99% of the melatonin on the market is synthetic and oftentimes has drastically different amounts than advertised. Form factors, such as gummies versus capsules, are a personal choice. Look for something that has no sugar or filler that could upset your digestion and spike your glucose before bed, resulting in sleep disturbance. 

Melatonin Compared to Other Sleep Aids

If used correctly, starting with a microdose or dose suggested by your health care practitioner, you should be encouraging your body to produce the optimal amount of melatonin it needs for deep, restful sleep. Because the body is an interconnected system, melatonin optimization will usually have positive effects on your overall mood and hormones. In contrast, prescribed sedative sleep aids block receptors and may cause undesirable side effects like addiction, dizziness, headache, gut issues, and memory problems.

Studies show that sleep aids should not be used long-term and only actually help you fall asleep about 8–20 minutes faster and sleep an additional 35 minutes. 

Woman drinking smoothie.

When to Consider Taking Melatonin Long-Term

Lack of sleep has been known to affect our mental alertness, mood, and other health issues such as dementia and depression, thyroid, hormonal imbalances as well as metabolic issues like obesity. If you’re not sleeping and also experience one of the above, consistent supplementation could be beneficial long-term.

Additional research is needed, but initial findings indicate that melatonin could offer significant advantages to aging individuals—potential anti-aging properties, ability to alleviate cognitive decline, and enhanced sleep quality. It’s suggested that long-term melatonin supplementation should only be taken under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

Sanne Vloet reading in bed.
  • Incorporate sunlight into your eyes first thing in the morning or early in the day. Light regulates our melatonin and signals our circadian rhythms
  • Increase levels of vitamin D either through sunlight or supplementation. Vitamin D supports our bodies’ melatonin production.
  • Daily exercise has been known to improve sleep quality by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and may promote deeper sleep.
  • Avoid eating sugar after dinner. Sugar has been shown to disrupt our stages of sleep such as REM and deep sleep.
  • Limit bluelight use (screentime) to a minimum of one hour before bed to avoid melatonin disruption.
  • Turn your thermostat down to 65 F. Studies show our bodies sleep deeper in cooler temperatures.





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