How To Beat Summertime’s 6 Most Common Sleep Problems, Tonight

Sun-filled vacations, backyard barbecues and long days at the beach: summer is jam-packed with calendar-consuming social events, easily making it the best time of year. That is, until night falls and it’s time to try and get some shut-eye. Even for those who usually have no trouble sleeping through the night, summer can be a trial, due to sweltering temps and long days conspiring to keep us up well beyond our bedtimes.

If summer has turned your dreamy night’s sleep into a nightmare, you’re actually in luck. We’ve partnered with Sleep Number to find out how to beat the heat all summer long in order to catch those much-needed Zs.

1. Long Days …


By this time of year, the sun doesn’t go down until after dinnertime, stymying your attempts to stick to a regular bedtime. It’s not just your imagination ― the long hours of daylight actually trick your brain into wanting to stay up later.

“Light is a strong trigger to delay sleep,” says Dr. Carl Bazil, neurology professor at Columbia University Medical Center, “especially in areas where daylight lasts quite late.”

The farther north you go (or, in the Southern Hemisphere in its summer, the farther south), the worse it gets, until it seems like it never really gets dark at all. For morning light, blackout shades or a sleep mask should help you get the extra sleep you need. But for long, bright evenings, Bazil recommends a solution straight out of an ‘80s pop classic: to help your brain wind down, wear your sunglasses at night.

2. … And Hot Nights

Strain of the Week – Northern Lights

Strain Highlights

Northern Lights stands among the most famous strains of all time, a pure indica cherished for its resinous buds, fast flowering, and resilience during growth. Itself a descendant of indigenous Afghani and Thai landrace strains, Northern Lights has given rise to famous hybrids like Sour Diesel, Shiva Skunk, and Super Silver Haze. Rumor has it that Northern Lights first sprouted near Seattle, Washington, but was propagated out of Holland after 1985 at what is now Sensi Seeds.

Pungently sweet, spicy aromas radiate from the crystal-coated buds, which sometimes reveal themselves in hues of purple. Northern Lights’ psychoactive effects settle in firmly throughout the body, relaxing muscles and pacifying the mind in dreamy euphoria. Comfortable laziness allows patients to relieve pain and sleeplessness, while its mellow contentment roots out depression and stress. Several different Northern Lights phenotypes circulate the market, but Sensi Seeds recommends a general indoor flowering time of 45 to 50 days.


Of the many active ingredients in marijuana, cannabinoids — the miracle molecules that deliver most of the medical efficacy of marijuana — are not the whole picture. Some cannabis consumers may be aware of terpenes, the cannabinoid-like chemicals that give herb such a pungent aroma.

What most do not know is that terpenes also deliver therapeutic relief, just like their cannabinoid cousins.

Terpenes are produced in special secretory cells within the trichomes of the plant, the nearly microscopic resinous stalks that cover the flowers and sometimes leaves. This is also where all cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, are created. About 20,000 terpenes exist in nature; more than 200 have been identified in cannabis (compared to 111 cannabinoids).


Like amino acids, terpenes are powerful building blocks within the plant’s physiology that aid in the production of vitamins, hormones, pigments, resins, and — yes, that most cherished part of the herb — cannabinoids. Cannabis plants release more terpenes when temperatures are higher.

Beyond odor, terpenes play several roles, including protecting the cannabis plant against predators like insects and animals. These special molecules constitute roughly 10 to 20 percent of the total pre-smoked resin in the trichome. It is estimated that 10 to 30 percent of smoke resin produced by marijuana comes from terpenes.

Understanding Myrcene

Myrcene, one of the most common terpenes in cannabis, produces earthy, balsamic, spicy, and clove-like odors. According to a 1997 study in Switzerland, it is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, sometimes composing up to 50 percent of the terpene volume in a cannabis plant. More important, myrcene has been found to be a precursor to many other terpenes in cannabis, meaning it helps form them.


To save your kids from a lifetime of unhealthy takeout, teach them how to cook

At the end of every school year, I am awed by how much my children have learned, the extent to which they have matured and the inches they have grown. The beginning of summer is a milestone worthy of pause.

On the flip side, I also mull over the things I had intended to personally teach my kids during the past year, goals that generally remain little more than a hope or dream.

kids cooking

Teaching them to cook is still on my bucket list. I also mean to teach them money management, meditation, how to resist technology (the toughest challenge of all!) and, once they can drive, how to change a tire. These are pretty basic ambitions, but honestly, I haven’t fully accomplished any of them.

Tackling these tasks seems impossible during the school year, when the kids have long days, piles of homework and weekend sports and therefore not a wink of free time. But a happy byproduct of summer is that we might have the time to knock one goal off my list.

So I hereby vow to conclusively teach my kids to cook. Here is my 11-step plan:

1. Start with the shopping. Successful cooking begins at the store. Teens should learn how to stock a pantry, plan meals for the week ahead, make a comprehensive and organized grocery list and stick to a monthly budget. I constantly encourage my kids to eat whole foods, but that doesn’t mean they have to shop at Whole Foods — their budget, when they’re on their own for the first time, will surely be small.

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How To Prepare Yourself For The Perfect, Stress-Free Vacation

If you’ve ever found yourself wishing for another vacation before you’ve even finished unpacking your suitcase from the last one, it’s time to do something a little differently before you hit the road next time.

Items in suitcase on bed.

It sounds like extra work, having to prepare for vacation. But turns out, if we don’t take a few crucial steps, we’ll end up sabotaging our free time. Matt Richtel wrote for the New York Times last year about setting out to find a way to avoid what he calls “the seven-day trap” of a week-long getaway: “three days impatient to be relaxed already, two days actually being relaxed, and then two final days of dread before going back to work.”

He didn’t mean reminding the boss you’ll be gone, leaving detailed documentation of who is covering what and emailing around your in-case-of-emergency contact information — although those are all good ideas. Richtel’s point was that a busy brain can keep you from fully relaxing, and that it’s nearly impossible to ask your mind to just cool it at the drop of a hat. In that spirit, here are some de-stressing steps to take to help you shift seamlessly from work mode to vacation mode — and back again.

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Strain of the Week – Girl Scout Cookies

Strain Highlights – Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies, or GSC, is an OG Kush and Durban Poison hybrid cross whose reputation grew too large to stay within the borders of its California homeland. With a sweet and earthy aroma, Girl Scout Cookies launches you to euphoria’s top floor where full-body relaxation meets a time-bending cerebral space. A little goes a long way with this hybrid, whose THC heights have won Girl Scout Cookies numerous Cannabis Cup awards. Patients needing a strong dose of relief, however, may look to GSC for severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss.

There are several different phenotypes of the Girl Scout Cookies strain including Thin Mint and Platinum Cookies, which exhibit some variation in appearance and effect. Typically, however, Girl Scout Cookies expresses its beauty in twisting green calyxes wrapped in purple leaves and fiery orange hairs. Patients and consumers looking to cultivate this cannabis staple themselves should wait 9 to 10 weeks for their indoor plants to finish flowering.


This 5-Minute Yoga Sequence Will Boost Your Energy ASAP

Ditch the coffee cup and grab your yoga mat instead.

In the Udaya video above, yoga instructor Caley Alyssa demonstrates a super-short sequence designed to help reenergize your body and mind. The moves are perfect if you’re slouched over a desk from nine to five. Each posture helps you stretch out your spine, release your back and open your chest.

Give the routine a try at the end of a long workday. You’ll be surprised at how invigorating it’ll be — no java required.

Find more teachings at

Everything You Need To Know About Choosing The Best Sunscreen


Fourth of July weekend is upon us, and along with barbecue equipment, beach toys and sandals, don’t forget to stock up on some sunscreen for the holiday.

Sun damage is responsible for 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers in the United States, itself the most common form of cancer in the country, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In fact, more than 3.3 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each year.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends that consumers look for three things in their sunscreen: a “sun protection factor” (SPF) of 15 or more, “broad spectrum” protection and water resistance.

But with so many options on store shelves — not to mention an impending change in the way that sunscreens are labeled and rated — selecting the appropriate sun protection can be a confusing endeavor. On the one hand, the block is essential to prevent the skin’s absorption of damaging sun radiation that can cause free-radical damage and lead to skin cancer and premature aging. But new research has suggested that some chemicals found in leading sunscreen brands can actually increase the risk of some melanoma skin cancers. So what should you do?
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Organic Meat and Milk Contain More Omega-3s

Whether organically-raised foods are nutritionally superior has been a matter of debate for some time. While some studies have shown, for instance, that the concentration of nutrients in organic fruits and vegetables is higher than in their conventionally-grown counterparts, other studies have found otherwise. Two new meta-analyses focusing on organic milk and meat found that organic versions of these foods do in fact differ from conventional ones.


The two papers (published earlier this year in the British Journal of Nutrition) were funded by the Sheepdrove Trust, a British nonprofit supporting research on organic farming, and the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union. One paper analyzed 196 studies that compared the nutritional profiles of organic and conventional milk. Since there have been fewer comparable studies of meat, the other paper looked at 67 studies of a variety of meats including beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, so they would have enough data for a meta-analysis. Researchers found that organic milk and meat contained over 50% more omega-3s than their conventional counterparts.

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Edible Landscaping 101

I live on a half lot with no back or side yard, so for better or worse, any food gardening experiments I’ve done have been conducted in the publicly-viewed area in front of our house. Inspired by Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates projects, I sheet mulched our scrappy lawn and put in a bunch of annual vegetables. One challenge I hadn’t fully understood as a novice gardener in a northern climate: in places like Minnesota, the soil isn’t really ready to be planted with anything until well into April, which meant limited planting opportunities till kale and chard plants sized up and sweet potato slips could go in sometime in late June!


Doing a beautiful front-yard food garden is certainly possible, but with limited time and talent and a short growing season, perennial food plants seemed a smarter way to go. I read extensively about permaculture, a method that mimics natural systems to create “food forests” that resemble the way forests grow in nature, with diverse plants that mutually benefit one another. Short for ‘permanent agriculture,’ permaculture is a method of garden design that emphasizes perennials and seeks to minimize inputs while maximizing efficiency.

A Food Forest Takes Root

I picked out seven dwarf fruit trees to get me started and began scoping out areas of our traditionally-landscaped yard that I could take over for food production.

Edible landscaping has allowed me to grow food in our front yard without offending the neighbors’ sensibilities. (At least, not too badly. Thankfully, I have pretty tolerant neighbors.) Our tiny lot includes dwarf apples, plums, and serviceberry trees as well as shrubs and groundcovers that give us food all season long. Our lawn mower is a distant memory, and yard work more often than not includes harvesting snacks while we watch busy insects at work in our diverse plantings.

Early season honeyberries are followed by serviceberries, strawberries, gooseberries, and raspberries. We also enjoy rhubarb, mint, thyme, lemon balm, and numerous other herbs and edible flowers (including several most folk consider weeds.) We can never get enough groundcherries (which are annual) so we fill in with them anywhere we discover an open space that gets enough sun.

Want to grow more food while maintaining an attractively “landscaped” yard? Start thinking of your yard as a food forest using some permaculture principles.

The 7 Layers of a Food Forest

If you want to dig more deeply, as it were, into permaculture, there are technically seven layers to the food forest. The tallest trees are the overstory of the permaculture garden, with smaller understory trees below them. Next comes the shrub layer, where you can grow small fruits. The next layer is herbaceous, which can include herbs such as mints, rosemary, or sage as well as medicinal plants like feverfew or comfrey. Groundcovers form the lowest above-ground layer, then come below-ground roots and tubers, like Jerusalem artichokes. The last layer is composed of vines, which can twine up trees or other supports.

Apples in tree

Overstory and Understory Layers:

When you need to replace landscape trees, consider selecting new varieties that will give you food. Depending on your climate and preferences, this may mean apples, peaches, nuts, oranges, or some of the luscious tropical fruits we northerners can only dream of.

Depending on the amount of space you have, you may or may not be able to fit in the biggest overstory trees, like majestic pecans or full-size pear trees. For smaller spaces, your overstory and understory layers might be the same, using dwarf varieties of apple, for example. Talk with a local nursery about your options, and whether you need more than one tree for pollination. Apples and pears, for example, require another tree for pollination, while some varieties of cherry and plum are considered “self-fertile.” Here’s a useful guide to choosing fruit trees.

Shrub Layer:

Here’s where things get fun. Instead of just mulching around your tree, you underplant your trees with fruiting shrubs. Possibilities are endless: blueberries, currants, hazelnuts, honeyberries, serviceberries. Fruiting shrubs can also make great hedges if you need one. Highbush blueberries, nanking cherries, or elderberries are among the many possibilities to consider. You can add a raspberry or blackberry patch if you have the space for plants that ramble a bit more (and usually have thorns).


Herbaceous layer:

All sorts of wonderful culinary and medicinal herbs can go in this layer. Chives, oregano, sorrel, mint, and sage are among your many options. Flowers such as echinacea, wild indigo (also a nitrogen fixer), and flax add visual interest and attract pollinators. Early perennial greens like miner’s lettuce and good king Henry are also popular additions to permaculture gardens. I think rhubarb is a striking landscape plant, and its stems are delicious in a variety of breads and desserts. Depending on your tastes, you might allow nutritious weeds like lambs quarters, dandelions and chickweed in this layer as well.


Groundcover layer:

Groundcovers help crowd out weeds, and they can also provide food for insects, animals, and people. Creeping varieties of thyme are especially useful, as they tolerate a decent amount of foot traffic and smell amazing when you step on them to pick fruit off your shrubs and trees. Herbaceous ground covers like wooly thyme, however, lack the flavor of culinary varieties. Wild ginger, sweet woodruff, and ever-bearing strawberries also work well as groundcovers. Groundcover raspberries would be one of my top choices if I lived a bit further south. Plant a bunch and enjoy them for me, OK?

I like to encourage the “weed” purslane wherever I find it, as it’s an amazingly nutritious plant. Other medicinal and edible weeds like plantain might deserve a spot in your groundcover also.

Root layer:

If you’re really looking to maximize your growing space, think underground as well. There are several perennial roots you can eat, including ramps (wild leeks) and groundnuts. Daylily bulbs are also edible. Jerusalem artichokes, which are fast-multiplying tubers a little like a cross between a potato and a water chestnut, grow very tall (over 8 feet!), so these are best planted where their height won’t pose a problem. They make a nice privacy screen if you have a narrow space to fill.

Vine layer:

You can use perennials such as grapes, hops, or kiwis, or you can add some annual vines like beans or cucumbers to your plantings. Just be sure if you’re using a tree for support that it’s a sturdy one like an apple rather than a more delicate sort, like plum. Vines can also climb fences, arbors, or purpose-built trellises or other structures.

Create Mutually Beneficial Guilds

Permaculturists have studied which plants get along best together, noting that in nature certain species tend to grow near one another, forming what permaculturists refer to as “guilds.” For instance, only certain plants can tolerate the juglones produced by black walnut trees, so you will find hackberries and elderberries growing alongside them.

Permaculture practitioners also use their knowledge of plants’ habits, like fixing nitrogen, or attracting pollinators, and plant them in guilds accordingly.

You don’t have to go all-in on permaculture to create edible landscaping, though its principles might help you make the most of your garden. Some plantings strike people as looking a little “wild,” since they’re built to resemble forests, but they don’t have to. You can construct very tame-looking groupings if you choose your plants carefully.

Or if you prefer, you can simply start adding edibles wherever it suits you. Check out some of the excellent ideas these edible landscaping gurus and permaculture experts have for squeezing food into any landscape, even quite formal ones.

What delicious treats might you add to your yard this season?