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The Raw Water Movement and Copper Water Vessels

The Raw Water Movement and Copper Water Vessels

If you have an interest in Ayurveda or other principles of healthy living, you have likely heard about the raw water movement, which many believe stems from the raw food movement. In this article, we discuss raw water’s health benefits and risks and then discuss how using a copper water vessel can permit you to enjoy many of the same benefits of raw water while avoiding the risks.

What is Raw Water and Its Health Benefits?

Raw water, which some people also refer to as live or unprocessed water, is simply water gathered straight from its source, which is generally a water spring. As defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, spring water is a type of water that flows from an underground aquifer and is filtered through rocks before emerging at the surface. Spring water may be fetched directly from the opening of a spring, or through a well. It may be purified, treated, or left in its original state prior to drinking.

In most cases, spring water naturally passes through and becomes filtered by limestone rocks, which are quite soft relative to other types of rocks. The spring water absorbs various minerals as it passes through these soft rocks. Spring water is oftentimes crystal clear, although it may also have a weak tint due to the minerals it has gathered during its journey.

Raw water is said to be naturally alkaline and possesses the right amounts and proportions of essential, health-enhancing elements such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. It is also said that raw water contains probiotics that are otherwise destroyed if the water is subjected to sterilization. Additionally, it is claimed that raw water is free from industrial chemicals and does not undergo any water treatment so as to ensure that its intrinsic minerals and nutrients are not removed.

Raw water is said to have a uniquely smooth feel and is characterized by its mildly sweet flavor profile. Many of raw water’s adherents claim that drinking it in its purest form can bring about a range of health benefits that typical tap or bottled water cannot. Those who drink raw water for an extended period claim that they feel and appear much younger and have fewer joint problems. Moreover, many who drink raw water say that it helped them lose extra pounds and makes them feel less anxious and tired.  

Risks of Drinking Raw Water

Raw water adherents maintain that their water is 100% safe for consumption as it is free from industrial additives and contaminants that arguably make tap or bottled water a less healthy option. Adherents note that various chemicals are applied to tap water to make it drinkable, such as chlorine, ammonia and fluoride. They also argue that treatments such as filtration and exposure to ultraviolet light or ozone gas removes the beneficial minerals and healthful bacteria in raw water.

On the other hand, many water safety experts claim that water only truly becomes potable (i.e. drinkable) if it has been filtered and treated. According to these experts, the real danger lies in the pathogens that get transmitted into the water through natural means, such as droppings from birds and various wild or domesticated animals. Springs, being an open water source, are susceptible to an array of disease-causing bacteria including e. coli, legionella and coliforms, which are the primary culprits for intestinal infections such as dysentery, cholera and diarrhea.

There is also a potential risk, albeit a small risk, of arsenic poisoning if the water has been washed over certain types of rocks that are naturally laced with such substances. Arsenic can enter the water stream either through natural earth deposits or through industrial and agricultural pollution. It is worth noting that simple methods such as boiling and chlorine disinfection are not enough to eliminate such substances from the water; a more sophisticated technology, such as reverse osmosis, ultra-filtration, distillation or ion exchange is necessary if a water source is suspected to be contaminated with arsenic.

Copper Water Vessels

If you want to enjoy many of the benefits of raw water while avoiding the potential risks, you should consider storing your water in a copper water vessel, such as a copper water bottle. When you store water in a copper water bottle, the water naturally and safely absorbs very small amounts of copper. This naturally ionizes the water and causes the water to become natural alkaline water.

As a result, a copper water bottle is essentially a natural alkaline water bottle. In fact, the process for making natural alkaline water in a copper bottle is much like the process by which water becomes natural alkaline water in nature. In nature, water can become alkaline by passing through a mountain spring and absorbing minerals. Water stored in a copper water bottle essentially does the same thing as it rubs against the walls of the copper bottle.

For more information on this subject, read our blog post on the health benefits of natural alkaline water, which also explains the manner in which a copper water bottle can help you create your own natural alkaline water.

In addition, copper  the benefit of being naturally antimicrobial, which means that it helps remove  bacteria that may be present in your water. For more information on this subject, read our blog post on avoiding bacterial growth in reusable water bottles, which also explains the manner in which a copper water bottle can help eliminate bacteria in your drinking water.

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Optimal Hydration and Athletic Recovery

Optimal Hydration and Athletic Recovery

Whatever your fitness regimen is – morning jogs, burning tons of calories at the gym, or hitting a spin class – keeping hydrated is of paramount importance. Not having enough water before, during or after your workout routine can lead to dehydration, which happens when you lose more water than you take in. Dehydration's effects on your body and performance can range from mild to severe.

The loss of water through sweat produced by exercising makes hydration all the more necessary. But what does it take to be properly hydrated?

Proper hydration is not only necessary during exercise, but before and after as well. Water does a lot of things – it provides lubrication to the joints, transports nutrients all over the body to keep you energized, and, most importantly, regulates your body temperature. Proper hydration means longer athletic endurance and a lower chance of feeling negative symptoms like fatigue, cramps or dizziness while working out.

In this post, we discuss the benefits of proper hydration, dehydration cues to look out for, and ways to ensure optimal hydration and athletic recovery before, during, and after a physical activity.

The Benefits of Proper Hydration

Most people are not fully aware of how proper hydration affects athletic performance. Unlike diet plans and adequate sleep, water is often overlooked and underestimated as part of a good fitness program. Below, we discuss why water is just as important as nutrition and sleep, and why you should start practicing proper hydration for optimum health and athletic success.

Reduces Fatigue

Fatigue is the most noticeable sign of dehydration. Dehydration decreases blood volume, which in turn makes it harder for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. This hampers the transport of much needed oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body, which in turn makes you feel lethargic and reduces your motivation. Although water does not energize the body in the same way that carbohydrates do, it is crucial to transforming those carbohydrates into energy and transporting them to various parts of the body to fuel your workout.

Aids in Weight Loss

Staying properly hydrated is very important if you are serious about losing extra weight. In fact, not getting enough water can actually have the opposite effect; this occurs because a reduction in water intake diminishes the kidneys' effectiveness. When this happens, some of the kidneys' functions are turned over to the liver. However, when the liver takes over, its efficiency to utilize stored fat as usable energy is consequently reduced. Thus, improper or inadequate hydration can actually mean extra weight gain for you.

Helps Repair and Tone Muscles

Exercise makes muscles stronger by breaking them down and rebuilding them through protein synthesis. However, this process requires sufficient hydration to work properly. If there is insufficient hydration, the process will be hampered and will negatively affect muscle recovery. In addition, water is essential to transporting  needed nutrients to the muscle cells, and, more importantly, in maintaining electrolyte balances. Electrolyte imbalance is one of the main reasons why our muscles get weak and cramp.

Signs of Insufficient Hydration

When you lose more water than you drink, your body becomes dehydrated. Aside from thirst and dark urine color, there are other signs to watch for in order to gauge dehydration. These may include dizziness, nausea, muscle cramping, bad breath, dry mouth and lips, dry skin, minimal to no sweating, and faster than normal heartbeat. Severe symptoms on the other hand are confusion, weakness and loss of consciousness.

You may also try some easy skin testing – pinch the skin at the back of your hand for a few seconds, and then let go. If you are well hydrated, the skin should return to its normal position immediately. If it takes longer than that, then you may need to address your hydration levels.

How to Hydrate Before, During and After Physical Activity

Hydration Before Your Workout

Starting exercise in a dehydrated state can seriously affect your energy levels. It might also cause you to get stiff muscles or cramps. It is advisable to drink approximately 8 ounces of fluid 2 to 3 hours prior to exercise. This will also allow your kidneys to process the liquid and give you enough time to empty your bladder before the exercise starts. Your urine should be pale yellow and not clear.

Drink another 5 to 10 ounces of fluid 30 minutes before the physical activity starts. You should only drink water or nutrient-rich fluids such as non-fat milk, fresh juice or a sports drink. If the exercise will last more than 1 hour, it is advisable to drink a carbohydrate-rich drink to prevent fatigue. Water stored in a copper bottle can offer a lot of help too, as copper ions are known to be excellent electrolytes.

Hydration During Your Workout

Proper fluid consumption during exercise depends on how long the exercise will last. The ideal amount to consume is also dependent on your weight before and after exercise. By knowing your weight, you can estimate how much water to consume to remain hydrated throughout your workout.

For example, assume that you only consumed 8 ounces of water during a 60 minute workout. Upon weighing yourself after the workout, you notice a loss of 2 pounds. As a general rule, you need to drink an additional 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost, which means that your fluid requirement during your workout was actually in the vicinity of 32 to 48 ounces. A helpful rule of thumb is to drink between 6 to 10 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout.

If the exercise is intense or might last more than an hour, ordinary water may not be enough. In these cases, it may be helpful to consume a fluid with carbohydrates and electrolytes so as to avoid decreased performance, dehydration and fatigue. This can also help prevent hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Replenishing electrolytes lost during sweating is also essential. Salt tablets (diluted with water) is always a good solution. Drinking water stored in copper vessels is also a great way to replace electrolytes lost due to sweating.

Hydration After Your Workout

Again, weighing yourself is a helpful way to determine the amount of fluid you need after an exercise session. If your body weight has increased, that means you have overhydrated and need less fluid intake in the next workout.

Thirst is not the best indicator when it comes to measuring dehydration post-exercise. The better way to assess your hydration levels after your workout is to check the colour of your urine. If you have not urinated a few hours after your exercise, or your urine is not pale yellow, you need to hydrate more. It is not advisable to start a new physical activity without ensuring that you have already achieved good hydration levels.

It is also important to replace lost carbohydrates, sodium and electrolytes post-workout. In addition, your fluid consumption should be distributed evenly and continue up to 6 hours after your workout.

Conclusion

The principle of hydration is simple – whatever you put out, you need to put back in. Proper hydration can have a huge impact on your physical and mental performance. Plan ahead and always make sure to hydrate before, during and after your workout. Lastly, keep in mind that you lose more than just water when you sweat, so it would be wise to level up your hydration strategy by also taking into account your electrolyte and carbohydrate levels.

Our handcrafted water bottles are made from 100% pure copper. When water is stored in these copper bottles it absorbs copper ions which can in turn be beneficial in replacing lost electrolytes. Available in two sizes, our water bottles can assist you in staying hydrated before, during, and after physical activity. 

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Avoiding Bacteria in Reusable Water Bottles

Avoiding Bacteria in Reusable Water Bottles

Reusable water bottles are handy tools to quench our thirst on the go and avoid dehydration. They are easy to carry around and reach to when we need a drink. If you lead an active lifestyle, you probably can’t get by without a trusty reusable water bottle.

If you care about the environment, you also know that using a reusable water bottles is the only way to go. Disposable plastic water bottles comprise the highest percentage of waste found in landfills. In fact, in a recent study it was determined that 50 billion plastic water bottles are discarded each year.

In addition, on average only 1 in 5 plastic bottles are recycled, and plastic bottles take between 400 and 1000 years to decompose. Did you also know that it requires three times as much water to produce a plastic bottle as it does to fill it?

In the US alone, 1,500 plastic bottles are opened every second on average. One recent study also found that an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic waste are floating in the ocean, much of which comes from plastic water bottles.

Reusable water bottles are also much more cost-effective than disposable water bottles. According to Earth Day, the average American buys more than 160 plastic water bottles and spends more than $200 each year. One could save thousands of dollars opting for a reusable water bottle instead.

Although reusable water bottles have many virtues, they do not come without risks. In particular, reusable water bottles can pose health risks caused by the growth of harmful bacteria. Since the nature and function of reusable water bottles involves moisture, they can become breeding grounds for bacteria.

In this blog post, we explain how bacteria can proliferate in reusable water bottles and how you can take precautionary steps so that you can continue using your bottle safely. In addition, we will also explain why the special characteristics of copper make copper water bottles naturally self-sterilizing.

What You Need to Know About Bacteria

Before understanding how to avoid the growth of bacteria in our reusable water bottles, we need to understand what bacteria is and how it thrives.

Bacteria are tiny, single-celled microorganisms that are capable of thriving in different environments. They typically appear in three shapes - round (cocci), cylindrical (bacilli), and spiral (spirilla). One of the means by which bacteria proliferates is through binary fission, which is where a single cell duplicates its DNA and the replicating copies are pushed out of the ends of its cell. Bacteria requires certain environmental conditions for it to reproduce. There must be a warm temperature, moisture, a conducive pH level, and oxygen.

While some bacteria is highly beneficial to the human body, other bacteria can cause serious illnesses. An example of helpful bacteria is lactobacilli, which helps in digestion. On the other hand, an example of a damaging bacteria is salmonella, which can cause food poisoning.

In one recent study, research was conducted to investigate the types of bacteria that grow in reusable water bottles. The researchers took swab tests from reusable water bottles that athletes drank from and found that the reusable water bottles hosted both harmless and harmful bacteria. The harmless bacteria that thrived in the containers included bacillus and gram-positive rods. Dangerous bacteria that grew on the bottles included gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci, which can cause strep and staph infections and can be resistant to antibiotics.

Risks of Using Bacteria-Contaminated Water Bottles

As various studies have shown, reusable water bottles can become environments that are prone to cultivating harmful bacteria. In fact, reusable water bottles that have not been washed for a week have been found to host gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci. When the water you are drinking is highly contaminated by these bacteria, it can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infection, and sepsis, among other infections and illnesses.

Various research has also been conducted to investigate the link between bottled water and pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium that is capable of causing diseases in plants, animals, and human. One such study collected bottled water samples after up to 30 days in storage. The results showed a very significant increase in the size of the bacteria colonies. The research also demonstrated that the bacteria were able to increase at a much higher density than they would in other environments.

Another similar study showed the predominance of pseudomonas in reusable water bottles and suggested that outbreaks of diseases caused by bottled waters have more to do with contamination than the quality of the water source. Another study, which had a duration of eight months and tested eight different kinds of bottled drinking water, recovered nine types of pseudomonas from the bottles, among them p. stutzeri and p. diminuta, both of which are harmful bacteria.

Preventing Bacterial Contamination

The best way to minimize your exposure to contaminated water caused by bacteria is to make sure that you are using a water bottle made from the right material. Some materials, such as copper, are far more resistant to bacteria growth than other materials such as plastic, glass, steel, or other metals.

Plastic

Plastic is the most common type of material from which reusable bottles are made. This is likely because plastic is also the cheapest material from which to make water bottles.

Be sure to be careful that any reusable plastic bottle you use is BPA-free. The presence of BPA (bisphenol A) is linked to fatal illnesses like cancer, particularly when the body is exposed to it frequently. BPA has been identified as an environmental toxin which may disrupt the development in humans by advancing the rate of puberty.

Accordingly, if you must use a plastic water bottle, make sure you only use bottles that are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE #2), low-density polyethylene (LDPE #4), and polypropylene (PP #5), as these materials are the least likely to leach harmful chemicals. However, these materials tend to be less durable, and can retain odors and stains, and also leak. In addition, plastic bottles tend to be problematic havens for the growth of bacteria, which make them less desirable.

In addition, the environmental harm caused by plastic water bottles should encourage you to consider other options.

Copper

Water bottles are increasingly made from copper, which has been used since ancient times to disinfect and purify water. Interestingly, studies have repeatedly shown that copper bottles actively kill bacteria that comes into their presence through a process known the oligodynamic effect.

In one recent study, researchers inoculated water samples with e. coli, salmonella typhi and vibrio cholerae and stored it overnight in a copper vessel at room temperature. The bacteria was no longer recoverable when the researchers examined it the next day, which was an incredible result compared to water stored in control glass bottles under the same environment (in which the bacteria continued to grow and flourish).

Copper water bottles also have a variety of additional health benefits, including creating natural alkaline water.

Glass

Glass is another common material from which reusable bottles are made. Water bottles are often praised for being able to retain the natural taste of water. However, glass bottles are not a practical choice if you aim to keep your baggage light, and they can also shatter easily when dropped. In addition, glass bottles are poor choices when it comes to avoiding the growth of bacteria.

One recent study investigated bacterial growth in water stored in glass containers. The researchers determined that bacteria could easily multiply on the glass container’s surface and in the body of the water itself. In the result, the researchers concluded that the number of bacteria grew excessively compared to water in natural conditions.

Stainless Steel and Aluminum

Stainless steel is another common type of material from which to make water bottles. Such water bottles are typically made of culinary-grade stainless steel.

While stainless steel bottles are generally more lightweight durable than glass, a study by Stanley determined that stainless steel is vulnerable to the irreversible attachment of pseudomonas aeruginosa. The researchers found that when the bacterial cells came into contact with stainless steel, they irreversibly attached in less than one minute and then began to multiply. Stainless steel bottles are also not very good at resisting the formation of unpleasant odors.

Aluminum water bottles are crafted through fashioning an aluminum puck into a cylindrical shape using a metal press. Aluminum bottles are generally shock-proof and can resist odor formation. However, aluminum insulates liquids poorly, and condensation can form outside the bottle when cold water is stored within it.

Like stainless steel, aluminum can also be unsafe when exposed to hot temperatures. Aluminum is also reactive with acidic substances and must be lined with an enamel or epoxy layer. Unfortunately, researchers have determined that the epoxy layer used in many aluminum bottles contains BPA, which is one of the primary components used when creating aluminum bottles.

One study was conducted to probe the trace amounts of metals in water stored in metal water bottles. The experiment involved testing 132 different brands of bottled water from different countries. Leaching experiments were also conducted. The researchers found that some of the water had an exceedingly high amount of aluminum, beryllium, manganese, and uranium. The researchers also cautioned against certain metal bottles which contaminated harmful levels of toxic trace metals like antimony and thallium.   

Cleaning your Water Bottle

Regardless of the material from which your water bottle is made, you should never allow it to sit around for days without washing it, with the exception of copper water bottles which are naturally self-sterilizing.

Ideally, you should scrub your water bottle daily with soap and water. Bottles with a wider mouth will be easier to reach inside for cleaning. If your bottle has a narrow mouth, use a brush to scrub the inside of your bottle.

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Fighting the Flu with a Copper Water Bottle

Fighting the Flu with a Copper Water Bottle

If you have ever experienced the flu, you know how incredibly awful it feels. You feel chills, aches, and pains all over your body. You become confined to your bed and are unable to move much because your body needs to rest as it recuperates. Although most of us have found ourselves stuck with the flu, what exactly is the flu, what does it do to our bodies, and how can a copper water bottle help fight off the flu? In this post, we set out to answer these very questions.

What you Need to Understand about the Flu

The flu has been around for thousands of years and has caused sickness and death to multitudes of people. The flu is caused by the influenza virus, which is speculated to have originated when animal domestication and permanent settlement first began.

A significant outbreak of the flu was recorded as early as the 15th century. It is reported that this outbreak started in Rome and spread to other areas in Europe as well as Africa. The pandemic is reported to have caused the deaths of approximately 8,000 people and severely affected several cities in Spain.

Perhaps the greatest pandemic of influenza happened in the years 1918-1919. This pandemic was known as the “Spanish influenza” and killed an estimated 50 million people. This occurrence was considered the most lethal outbreak of the influenza virus. In a study by Taubenberger and Morens, they note that all modern influenza pandemics can be traced back to the Spanish influenza.

What Happens During an Influenza Invasion

Once the influenza virus enters the body, it travels to the lungs where it attaches itself to a host cell’s surface. The virus then opens and sets loose its genetic information in the nucleus of the cell. The virus creates copies of itself using the cell’s nucleus and overtakes its function. The replicas of the virus then travel to the cell’s membranes and kill it. The death of the cell permits the virus to release itself into the body so that it can infect other cells.

The immune system then sets out to fight the foreign invader. Some of the cells that engage in this battle include macrophages, neutrophils, cytokines, chemokines, and T lymphocytes.

In a study by van de Sandt et al., researchers learned how the influenza virus can avoid the immune system’s offensive response. In particular, the “antigenic drift” of the influenza virus permits it to escape the antibodies’ neutralizing activity as induced by previous infections or vaccination. This is the reason why flu vaccines do not provide a lifetime of protection and must be updated every year.

Symptoms of Flu

The unpleasant feeling you experience when you have the flu is a side-effect of your immune system’s efforts at fighting the virus. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the symptoms you will experience when you have the flu include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue (tiredness)

  • Vomiting and diarrhea (occurs more commonly in children than adults.)

One of the main reasons why headaches occur during the flu is because Interleukin-1, an inflammatory type of cytokine, is activated while the body is fighting off the virus. This cytokine is vital to the development of T cells, which help kill the virus. As this process unfolds, the brain is affected, particularly the hypothalamus, which regulates the body’s temperature. Meanwhile, muscle aches are caused by the increase of muscle-degrading genes and the reduction of muscle-generating genes.

Severe Flu

Although the immune system works hard to eradicate the influenza virus, all that work leaves the immune system weakened and vulnerable. This makes a person more susceptible to other severe infections. These complications may include bacterial pneumonia, bronchitis, dehydration, sinus issues, and ear infection. Worsening of pre-existing conditions may also occur, which conditions include diabetes, chronic congestive heart failure, or asthma.  

Certain people are at a higher risk for severe  flu. Among them are people 65 years old and older, children, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions.

The Transmission of Flu

The flu is highly contagious, and a person with the virus can infect others even before the symptoms start manifesting themselves within the host. This means that you can pass on the virus even before you know you have it.

When a person with the flu coughs or sneezes, thousands of droplets containing the viruses spread in the air and can land in the nose and mouth of another person. You can also get infected with the influenza virus when you touch an object with the virus on it and then touch your nose or mouth.

In a study by Lowen et al., researchers determined that influenza virus transmission is dependent on relative humidity and temperature. The researchers performed 20 experiments that involved varying humidity and used guinea pigs as hosts. They discovered that the influenza virus transmission favored cold and dry conditions.  

Flu Season

The most common season for the flu falls in autumn and winter. However, the flu can still spread year-round. It can start around October, have peak periods around December and February, and then persist in late May.

Multiple hypotheses seek to explain why the flu season happens around these times of the year. One theory is that people tend to stay indoors more often during colder months, with the result that the virus is more likely to spread in enclosed spaces where more people are breathing the same air.

Another theory is that reduced exposure to the sun, which results in decreased absorption of Vitamin D and melatonin, weakens the immune system, making it more susceptible to the influenza virus. Another theory is that the influenza virus thrives in the cold and dry air of winter rather than the warm and humid air of summer.

How Copper Can Help

Copper has been used for centuries for its antimicrobial properties. Some studies have considered the effects of copper against the influenza virus. One such study, conducted by Horie et al., discovered that copper ions had the effect of inactivating the influenza virus.

Another study by Borkow et al. researched how copper-infused face masks affected the influenza virus. Face masks permeated with copper oxide were able to filter more than 99.85% of air-borne viruses. Researches also discovered that no infectious human influenza viruses were recovered from the face masks with the copper oxide, compared to the control masks that did not contain copper ions.

In addition, Grass et al. carried out a study focused on copper’s ability to kill microbes. In particular, the researchers explored copper’s effectiveness at “contact killing”, which is when bacteria, viruses, and yeast are quickly killed when they come into contact with copper surfaces.

One principle that is attributed to copper’s antimicrobial capability is known as the “oligodynamic effect”. Research by Varkey outlined the mechanism of this phenomenon, which essentially comes about by way of copper ions penetrating the cell wall of microbes. Copper ions bind to various parts of the cell, such as the DNA, RNA, cellular proteins and respiratory enzymes, which has the effect of immobilizing the cell.

Another interesting study, this one conducted by Noyce et al., explored the effects of copper on the inactivation of the influenza virus compared to stainless steel. In their experiment, the researchers introduced two million influenza virus particles onto sheets of copper and stainless steel. They then incubated the subjects. The results showed that, after several hours, 500,000 virus particles were present on the stainless steel whereas only 500 active virus particles were present on the copper.

You can enjoy the antimicrobial benefits of copper by using a copper water bottle. Combined with a nutritious diet and other healthy practices, drinking from a copper bottle can be a great way to stay free of the flu and other illnesses. In addition, storing water in a copper bottle is a great way to create natural alkaline water.

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The Ultimate Guide to Ayurvedic Sleep

The Ultimate Guide to Ayurvedic Sleep

Everyone needs a good night’s sleep. In Ayurveda, proper rest is considered one of the three pillars of life, together with proper digestion and proper management of sexual energy. Your life expectancy and health could depend on these three pillars. In today’s society, sleep tends to be overlooked and most adults feel tired throughout the day even after several hours of rest. Having a healthy sleep can affect your mind, your mood, and your physical well-being. While the amount of sleep needed is not the same for everyone, we all need sleep to be refreshed and rejuvenated for a new day.

Correct Time to Sleep

Sleep can either kill you or heal you.  Studies have shown that sleep disruption can have both adverse short- and long-term health consequences. Lack of sleep can lead to pain, depression, anxiety, and memory deficits. Hypertension, weight gain, gastrointestinal disorders and even cancer risks increase over time due to sleep disruption. The days tend to be longer for everyone yet life expectancy is decreasing. This is why it is important that you allow yourself to get the sleep your body needs to repair and rejuvenate.

There are those that will say you will need more than six hours of sleep to function properly. Ayurveda recommends between six and eight hours of sleep every night. But more than that, it also recommends the best time to go to sleep according to the doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Doshas are derived from the five elements. Vata is the combination of space and air. Pitta is the combination of fire and water. Kapha is the combination of earth and water. Each have different qualities and energy. Each dosha has its primary function that you can align to have both a quality sleep and a productive day. Vata’s primary function is movement and communication. Pitta oversees digestion and transformation, while Kapha provides structure and cohesiveness. Doshas also govern our daily rhythm. Every twenty-fours hours is divided into the three energies:

Kapha - 6:00am to 10:00am and 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Pitta - 10:00am to 2:00pm and 10:00pm to 2:00am
Vata - 2:00pm to 6:00pm and 2:00am to 6:00am

Ayurveda suggests the best time to sleep is during pitta-dominated time. This means sleeping by 10:00pm and until 2:00am. You should prepare to go to sleep when Kapha turns to Pitta which is between 9:00pm and 10:00pm. Pitta energy has fire. If you are asleep, the fire destroys and repairs damaged cells and regenerates your body. Pitta is also in charge of your digestion and cleansing. If you keep skipping the repair time of the night by going to bed late, you are allowing your body to deteriorate at a faster rate than normal. This can lead to chronic diseases in the long run because you did not allow your body to repair at the right time every night. You might notice that when you are awake past 10:00pm you tend to have that fire of ideas and activities. You might think it’s a good thing but you are disrupting your body’s time for detoxification and repair.

If you stay awake when Pitta comes, you will also experience restlessness. It is usually caused by Vata-Pitta disturbance. Remember that vata is the energy of movement while Pitta is the energy of transformation. There are two types of insomnia that you may experience at night. If you are the type of person who falls asleep easily but wakes up around 2:00 or 3:00am, then you have a Vata-type insomnia. On the other hand, if you have trouble falling asleep until past midnight, then you have a Pitta-type insomnia. There are also Kapha imbalances that can cause you to oversleep and feel tired throughout the day.

Optimized Daily Activities

When to wake up is as important as when to go to sleep. Our bodies are naturally designed to wake up before sunrise. Ayurveda suggests you wake before 6:00am when the dominant energy is Vata. Vata gives you the energy to do your morning activities. If you wake up late, you will likely wake in Kapha which is slow-paced. This would explain the feeling of heaviness and drowsiness when you wake up after the sun has risen. You might feel sluggish and need a cup of coffee to wake you up. But if you wake up during the active dosha Vata, you can synchronize yourself with the sun. It is also the best time to meditate and prepare yourself for the day.

Knowing the three doshas can also help you maximize your day by doing the right activities at the right energy. This will help you skip the need for caffeine every morning just to get you through the day.

If you’re looking at the best time to exercise, vigorous activities are best done during Kapha time in the morning (6:00am to 10:00am) to give you more energy throughout the day. What you do during Kapha time can continue throughout the day. So make sure your morning routine during that time sets the right mood for the rest of your day.

If you want to accomplish your goals daily, the best time would be during Pitta in the morning (10:00am to 2:00pm) when heat is dominant in your mind and body. It is also when the sun is highest in the sky. Focus on accomplishing your most difficult tasks during this time. It is also suggested that you eat your biggest meal, usually lunch, during this time as the heat will help the digestion process. However, do not eat any heavy meals during the Pitta time in the evening (10:00pm to 2:00am) to allow your body to digest and repair. That time is for your body to remove the toxins from the food you ate throughout the day. If you eat heavy meals during that time, then you may end up with indigestion and a restless night.

Do you have a creative task to finish or a problem to solve? Vata hours (2:00pm to 6:00pm) allow your creativity and thinking to peak. Go find yourself a peaceful environment where you can work on your activities. Avoid stressors or too much noise during this time.

It is important that you understand your “energy buckets” throughout the day to avoid any imbalances. An imbalanced Vata can cause you to feel fear or anxiety. It can also lead to exhaustion and muscle spasms. When your Kapha is imbalanced, you can feel greed and resistance to change. An out of balance Pitta can create fiery reactions including frustration and jealousy. It can also lead to inflammation in your body affecting your tissues and organs. If you don’t seem to understand why your days are unproductive, check the timing of each activity and realign them to the appropriate dosha. Do not push yourself to finish strenuous tasks when you should be processing your day or when your mind is supposed to be unwinding. Learn to go with your body’s natural flow for productivity.

Keys to a Good Night’s Sleep

Aside from sleeping at the right time, you can also try a few  of these things to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Drink water from a copper vessel

Not everybody realizes that dehydration can affect your sleep. Our body is made of 50-60% water so it is important that we keep ourselves hydrated throughout the day. If you become dehydrated, your mouth and nasal passages can become dry and lead to sleep-disruptive snoring. But instead of just keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day, Ayurveda recommends drinking water that has been stored in a copper vessel. Copper is an essential mineral in our body. By storing water in a copper vessel, called “Tamra Jal”, you help balance all three doshas. This practice has been employed for centuries in India.

A study conducted by the University of South Carolina explored how copper can reduce infection. The research showed that “antimicrobial copper surfaces in intensive care units (ICU) kill 97 percent of bacteria that can cause hospital-acquired infections,” resulting in “a 40 percent reduction in the risk of acquiring an infection.” Copper has also been found to play a key role in metabolizing fat. Because copper is a conductor, it can help amplify your thoughts and reduce negativity in the mind. It also helps balance your body’s natural pH.

You can skip the fancy filters and get yourself a copper water bottle to help you stay hydrated and get enough sleep. Store your water in a copper water bottle for 6 to 8 hours then drink at least one cup in the morning as part of your morning routine.

Massage your head

You can also practice self-massage on the energy points on your head to promote better sleep. All you need is 1-2 minutes. When you find yourself struggling to sleep, your Vata dosha might be causing too many thoughts. That is the time to practice your self-massage.

When massaging, the three points that you should focus on are: a) the center of the top of your head, b) the back of your head, and c) the indent at the base of your skull. Use your index finger when massaging. You can also use coconut oil or ghee for your self-massage to help balance your Vata and Pitta. You can follow your gentle, full-body self-massage with a warm bath. Do not rub your head too hard to avoid over-stimulating it.

Let the sun into your room

You want your sleep and your daily activities to be aligned with nature. Allow sunlight to enter your bedroom if possible. This will help you be in tune with the sunrise. Remember it’s best to wake up before the sun rises to avoid the sluggishness that Kapha brings in the morning. If you go with the day’s natural waves, you can experience better well-being. Wake up before the sun rises. Go to sleep when the sun goes down. It is better if sunlight enters your room so you have nature’s reminder when to wake up and go to sleep.

Eliminate distractions

It might be tempting to continue working until the late hours of the evening but your nervous system and cortisol levels should be winding down during Kapha time (6:00pm to 10:00pm). Do not force yourself to do high energy and high concentration activities at night. It’s time to unplug those gadgets. Gadgets emit blue light that inhibits melatonin production. We tend to overstimulate the mind with gadgets even if those gadgets have blue light filters. All those social media posts can flood your brain with information that you do not need before sleeping. Let your nervous system relax. Listen to soft music. It is best if you turn off or stop using devices an hour before you intend to sleep. Have a relaxing nighttime routine that tells your mind and body it’s time to sleep. Let your mind detach and calm down after a long day.

Oil Therapy

Another Ayurvedic ritual for quality sleep is abhyanga. Abhyanga is anointing your body with oil.

Apply warm sesame oil on the soles of your feet. Sesame oil is known as the “king of oils” because of its high concentration of antioxidants. If you have some essential oils, you can soothe your body and mind by putting a few drops on your pillowcase or wrist and breathing it in.

Meditate

Studies have shown that meditation can help you sleep better and lessen insomnia and fatigue. It can also increase your melatonin levels. Melatonin plays a vital role in regulation of sleep. Meditation increases melatonin concentration by slowing its hepatic metabolism. This affects your quality of sleep at night. Give yourself time to meditate at night before going to sleep. Allow your body and mind to be in harmony.

Conclusion

How our day goes can affect our sleep and how our sleep goes can affect our day. Give yourself the sleep you deserve so you can make the most of your day. Don’t make sleep a luxury but rather a necessity each day. Imagine getting a good night’s sleep and waking up feeling refreshed and ready for a new day. You can do more and become better each day because of a good night’s sleep.

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