Do you have a morning ritual or an evening routine? Health rituals can help you stick to better-for-you behaviors that may add up to have a big impact on your health over time. This is because better health starts with simple, everyday positive steps. A daily health ritual creates a habit, so you don't have to consider choices that might not be so good for your health.
For example, instead of deciding whether to eat that donut in the break room, you may include a healthy smoothie in your morning ritual. In turn, this may trigger other healthy food choices throughout the day. Or you may make it a habit to put on your sneakers right after work. This simple habit may prompt you to go for a walk instead of sitting on the couch to catch up on the latest episode of your favorite show.
Intentionally creating health rituals can help healthy behaviors stick to help you achieve your wellness goals.
Morning Rituals for Overall Health
Start by incorporating some of these health rituals in your morning routine for a lasting impact on your health and wellness.
Start your day with sunshine. Did you know that spending time outdoors may be a morning ritual that supports overall health? Direct exposure to sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, which plays an important role in many body functions, including bone health.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and maintain adequate phosphorus levels to support bone growth and strength.* Vitamin D also supports brain health and normal heart and lung function.* So, when the sun is out, kick off your day with an outdoor walk, run, or yoga practice.
A few foods also contain vitamin D, including salmon, trout, and fortified milk and cereal. However, most people don't get enough vitamin D from their diet, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A vitamin D supplement might help ensure you're getting enough of this essential vitamin to improve bone and overall health.*
Power up breakfast to boost your heart and brain health. For better heart and brain health, make it a morning ritual to include foods that are high in vitamin B-12 in your breakfast. Vitamin B-12 is essential to keep blood and nerve cells healthy.*
Studies show that vitamin B-12 can help maintain normal levels of an amino acid in the blood called homocysteine. Normal levels of homocysteine promote heart and circulatory health.* Adequate levels of vitamin B-12 are also needed for healthy cognitive function and blood cell production.
Vitamin B-12 is present in foods, such as eggs, dairy products, and some breakfast cereals. Other good sources of vitamin B-12 include fish, meat, and poultry.
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or if you don't consume enough foods that contain vitamin B-12, ask your doctor if you might benefit from a vitamin B-12 supplement.
Mood-boosting Health Rituals
Serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter naturally produced by the body, is essential for nerve cells and brain health. Serotonin also helps regulate mood. Healthy serotonin production helps to maintain a positive mood, normal appetite, and a regular sleep cycle.
Boost serotonin. You can promote healthy serotonin levels with health rituals that include exercise, a healthy diet, and exposure to sunlight. A dietary supplement that contains L-5 hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), such as NOW 5-HTP Veg Capsules or NOW Mood Support Veg Capsules, also may help.*
5-HTP is a natural chemical produced from the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin. Some studies have found that taking 5-HTP supplements daily can support normal serotonin levels, which assist in maintaining a positive mood.* However, if you've been feeling sad for several weeks or have lost interest in activities you used to enjoy, it's important to see your doctor.
Health Rituals for Restful Sleep
Sleep is essential to health. It improves mood, supports brain health, and helps to maintain normal blood pressure and heart health. Throughout the day and before bedtime, incorporate a few health rituals into your daily routine to promote restful sleep.
Support better sleep. Adding magnesium to your diet might help promote restful sleep.* Research shows low levels of magnesium in the body are associated with decreased sleep quality.
Magnesium is essential to many body processes, including immune health as well as muscle and nerve function.* It also supports bone health and helps regulate normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels.*
Magnesium is present in green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products. Some breakfast cereals also are fortified with magnesium. However, magnesium is lacking in many people's diets, according to the NIH. Research suggests that people who take magnesium supplements daily might be able to fall asleep faster and sleep longer.*
A dietary supplement that has melatonin also may help you fall asleep by increasing relaxation.* Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.* Studies show that taking a melatonin supplement may help people who have a delayed sleep-wake cycle.* If you have trouble falling asleep occasionally, ask your doctor if a melatonin supplement may help.*
Wind down and prepare for a restful night. Make a habit of turning off the TV and silencing your phone 30 minutes before bedtime. Disconnect and relax to prepare your body for rest. Try taking a relaxing warm bath or practice meditation.
For better sleep, the Sleep Foundation also recommends keeping the same sleep schedule each day. So, commit to a bedtime and a wake-up time every day, including weekends.
It's also important to set up your environment for a restful night. This means keeping your room quiet, dark and cool.
Sign up to Commit to You and get more nutrition and wellness inspiration from NOW Wellness Experts!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.