The Checkup: The 10-Minute Trick to Overcome the Dreaded Afternoon Slump

• The dreaded afternoon energy slump hits harder than ever on Fridays, when you are counting down every single second until the clock strikes five. But research shows that, instead of reaching for a shot of espresso come 2 p.m., taking on a set of stairs for 10 minutes could be just the fix to perk yourself up and make it through the rest of the day. Worth a try, right? [Men’s Health]

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A Science-Backed Reason to Go Camping (Plus: Where to Camp Around Philly)

Spring is here, which means that the folks of Philadelphia have begun to emerge, slowly but surely, out of hibernation. Eventually, by May I’d say, this city becomes a different place — it’s more crowded than usual, but not yet as smelly as it will be once August hits and, after exploring the Wissahickon for weekends in a row, us Philadelphians get the urge to plunge into the woods outside the city.

And if you need an excuse to skip out of the real world for a weekend, let it be known: A recent study from the University of Colorado at Boulder found that a weekend in the woods can seriously improve sleep. Turns out, a weekend of camping can help reset your internal clock, which has probably (definitely) been affected by modern life (read: spending your entire life looking at screens). For the small study, researchers sent small groups camping in Colorado. After a week of camping, folks had reset their internal clocks to fall asleep and rise two or more hours earlier than before and lost a midday jet-lagged feeling they usually experienced. Long story short: Camping seems to be good for fixing sleep woes.

Now that you have an excuse to ditch town for a few days, the real question: Where to camp? Not to worry: We’ve got you covered there. We chatted with Christina Saboe, owner of Fireside Camp Supply, and Charlotte Bronner, co-owner of Trove General Store, to see where they go when the camping bug bites. Does hiking with waterfall views sound appealing to you? How about setting out on the water and canoeing your worries away? Below, their top picks for where to pitch a tent around Philly.

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The Checkup: The Healthy Food Trends You’re About to See Everywhere

• If you follow every health-obsessed, acai bowl-Instagramming food blogger alive like I do, then you are well aware of the fact that Expo West, a giant healthy-food expo where companies showcase their latest creations, went down in Los Angeles last week. Here, the Well + Good team predicts, based on what they saw there, the seven healthy food trends — from mushrooms in everything to specialty canned and bottled coffees (hey, La Colombe Draft Latte) — we’re about to see all over the place. [Well + Good]

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The Checkup: The 4-7-8 Technique to Help You Fall Asleep Fast

• Excuse me while I sound like a new mom bragging about her infant: I have always been a really good sleeper. Like, the kind of sleeper who zonks out on a plane or a train or on hardwood floor (I went to one of those weird, super-liberal high schools where we called our teachers by their first names and slept wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted) with no problem. So it’s really bothered me that over the past few months, I’ve started waking up around 2 a.m. every morning, unable to fall back asleep. If you have similar sleep issues, or trouble falling asleep in the first place, this 4-7-8 breathing technique could help you get into snooze mode fast, says integrative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil. Hey, worth a try, right? [POPSUGAR Fitness]

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How to Tell If You Actually Got a Good Night of Sleep

We all know that there are some trustworthy tricks to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep (like not taking a hot shower before bed and sleeping with your socks on, to name a few), but come morning, how do you know if you actually got a good night’s rest?

The National Sleep Foundation has pinpointed four simple indicators of quality sleep based on the findings of over 275 peer-reviewed sleep studies. In a piece on the Huffington Post, chief executive officer of the National Sleep Foundation, David Cloud, said, in a world where trackers of everything from fitness to sleep rule, these indicators are aimed at helping people understand what good and healthy sleep looks like, so they can actually, you know, understand what it is their tracker is telling them about their sleep patterns. Below, the four indicators that tell you if you did, in fact, get a good night’s rest.  Read more »

Do You Shower Right Before Bed?

Last week, we alerted you all to the fact that, despite the cozy feels a hot shower or bath may give you, you actually shouldn’t take a hot shower or bath right before you go to bed. (You can read all about why here.) The post went, in a word, bananas. And I was kind of surprised by this, thinking that most folks preferred to shower in the morning, mostly to jolt themselves awake and avoid getting shampoo residue all over their pillow at night.

Guess I was wrong.

Comments on Facebook and on the post itself ran the gamut, going from “I’ve been doing this for years — I knew something was up!” to “I’ve been doing this for years — YOU’RE WRONG.” (I’m paraphrasing here.) And now, since people are clearly very passionate about their showers — and their shower times — I’m curious to know, when do you shower? In the morning? When you get home from the gym, a few hours before bed (this would, scientifically, be ideal for nighttime shower-takers)? Right before you hop into bed? Satisfy our nosiness in the poll below.

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The Simple Nighttime Rule That Could Transform Your Sleep Life

Getting quality sleep is like trying to figure out WTF is going on with Kanye right now: Frustratingly, it’s harder than it should be. And bummer alert: Your addiction to Instagram (and Snapchat and even the Headspace app) is only making getting quality ZZZs more difficult, as staring at smartphones and tablets before bed is known to disrupt sleep by messing with melatonin levels and cutting into your REM sleep, thanks to the blue light the devices emit. Womp, womp.

But James Hamblin, senior editor at the Atlantic, who focuses on health in his writing, has a suggestion that doesn’t sound quite as miserable as Designated Screen-Free Hour, even though that’s exactly what it is. Instead, in a new video for the Atlantic, he suggests you embrace what he calls Awesome Hour. Spoiler: It’s a pre-bed screen-free hour, just with a better name. The idea of Awesome Hour is simple: abandon screens for the hour before bed, an expert-backed suggestion, to improve shuteye once you hit the sack. And in that time, do other awesome stuff: read! Go all retro and write a letter to a friend! Do anything besides staring at a screen! Hamblin claims this time, while free of technology, often turns out to be the most productive time of his day.

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The Checkup: The Classic Cold-Weather Mistake That’s Ruining Your Sleep 

• If you plan on going home tonight and curling up under your giant down duvet, buttoned up in flannel PJs, with your thermostat set to a nice and toasty 71 degrees, you might want to rethink your plan: According to sleep researchers, one big mistake people make in the winter — that ends up screwing with their ability to fall asleep, losing out on valuable ZZZs — is getting a little too warm in bed. In fact, your thermostat should be set somewhere around a cool 65 degrees. [Byrdie]

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