Top Tips & Resources

Getting Your Baby to Sleep

Parents of newborns and babies know how sleep deprivation impacts them. But sleep deprivation and irregular sleep patterns aren’t good for the babies either. Swaddling has long been considered a good way to ease the transition from the womb to the crib. But ‘first generation” sleep swaddles didn’t put babies in a natural position.

Enter the Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle, created by pediatric sleep consultant, Angelique Millette.  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.



Sleep. The word itself can conjure up a myriad of emotions for most people. Some people have a love-hate relationship with it because they find good, restful sleep to be elusive. I fall into that category. I either have trouble falling asleep or I have trouble sustaining sleep – but I love, love, love to sleep.

Others have what may be categorized as a “binge-and-purge” relationship with sleep. This can occur when one experiences consistent sleep deprivation and then, in attempt to make up for the lack of sleep, the individual spends 12 hours or more asleep whenever possible.

Whatever your experience, my guess is that you have strong feelings about sleep too.

My sleep issues began in my mid-twenties, with the onset of what would later be diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Thankfully, my sleep issues are one of the few lingering symptoms of fibromyalgia. But it’s been a blessing in some ways because, over the years, I have learned healthy ways to improve the quality and duration of my sleep. Here are a few pointers that may help you, or someone you love, as well.

Make sleep a sacred ritual. It’s very important is to be disciplined about your sleep habits. Consistency is the most important thing of all. So make sleep a sacred ritual by doing as many of the following things as possible:

  • If you do nothing else, this is the #1 thing to do: Establish a regular bedtime that is designed to give you eight hours in bed. For instance, if you need to be awake by 6:30 AM, you will want to plan on being in bed, with the TV off and lights out, by 10:30 PM. This can change from day to day if needed, but your best chance of success is holding yourself to an 8-hour rest period every single night and budget the rest of your time around your sleep schedule.
  • Establish some soothing pre-bedtime rituals that you can do every night. Beyond brushing your teeth, establish some rituals that help you wind down from Awake Mode to Sleep Mode. Some ideas include: Using fewer lights so the room gets progressively darker as you get ready for bed; playing soothing music for a few minutes before bed; reading something positive for a few minutes before bed.
  • Create a space that is optimized for sleep by removing distractions (no pets or children in the room, turn off the TV), ensuring that the room will be dark (shut the blinds, turn off all lights, use a comfortable sleep mask) and cool without being cold (you don’t want to sweat while you sleep), and make sure your bedding is clean and comfortable.
  • Get in bed, with the TV and lights off, at or just before your established bedtime. Even if you just lay there for hours, it’s better to lie down with your eyes closed than to disrupt your rest by getting up. Experts agree that your body benefits almost as much from resting in this way as from sleep itself. But you actually have to let yourself just lay there. You can do it.
  • Tell the other people in your house to leave you alone when you’re resting or sleeping, unless there is an emergency…an actual emergency.
  • Learn to quiet your mind. Most people I work with tell me that the number one issue they have with sleep is quieting their minds when they lay down. I have that problem myself. In fact, I used to tell people, proudly and with only a hint of sarcasm, that my best ideas came to me right before I fell asleep. But I do find that I tend to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer when I can quiet my mind using simple deep breathing or meditation techniques as I lie in bed with my eyes closed. And you will too.

Do’s and don’ts

  • DO take sleep seriously and make it a priority in your life. The more disciplined you can be about sleep, the more successful you will be at achieving a higher quality and duration of sleep.
  • DO reduce your overall intake of caffeinated foods and beverages, and of those items that contain a lot of processed sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
  • DO increase the amount of physical activity in your daily life. Even if you can only park a few spots further away from your office or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, more physical expenditure will help you with your sleep.
  • DO try healthy alternatives to traditional sleep aids such as one or more of the following: Warm milk or chamomile tea two hours before bedtime; melatonin or a melatonin product like Hyland’s – Calms Forte, 100 tablets or MidNite style=. It’s okay to occasionally use a small dose of an over the counter or prescription sleep aid, but it’s easy to become physically and/or psychologically dependent on them – so avoid them if you can.
  • DO nap, if you can, for no more than 30 minutes during the day if you can, but DON’T nap for longer. Resist the urge to use a nap to make up for sleep that you lost during the night.
  • DO be patient with the process. If you have been experiencing sleep issues for a month or more, it will take time to get your body used to a new way of doing things, and it may take a while to find the system that works best for you. I recommend creating a system and following it consistently for at least 30 days before making any adjustments.
  • DON’T drink anything caffeinated after 3:00 PM.
  • DON’T exercise and don’t eat or drink anything two to three hours prior to bedtime if you can help it.
  • DON’T overdo it when it comes to making up for lost sleep. For instance, don’t sleep for 10 hours or more on Saturday night if you have to be in bed before 11:00 PM on Sunday night. This will disrupt your sleep pattern and actually works against you – it doesn’t make up for the deficit of staying up late.


Sweeteners that Won’t Kill You

I have a sweet tooth but have to watch my blood sugar. And, I’ll say it; I am appalled by the sweetener obsession in the United States. We’re one of the last countries to allow the use of high fructose corn syrup in the production of food, we have trained ourselves to believe that if food isn’t sweet it doesn’t taste good, and our consumption of sugar substitutes is skyrocketing. None of these trends are moving in the direction of better health.

So I’m going to share some of my sweetener tips with you, in the hope that you will adopt and pass them on to your family and friends.

  • Cut back on your sugar intake. Yeah, it’s just that simple. Put down the Twinkies and the Mountain Dew and find out how much better your life will be without the incessant need for a sugar high. You can thank me later.
  • Instead of sugar, use a healthy alternative. There are quite a few natural sweeteners that are easier for your body to metabolize, lower in calories and have a low glycemic index. A few I recommend are agave nectar, yacon syrup and stevia. Honey can be a very good alternative as well. 
  • Have you considered cinnamon? Yes, cinnamon. Not only does cinnamon taste great and have broad appeal, but it’s a sweetener with potent health benefits. The most notable of which is its ability to help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Cinnamon is great for everyone, but especially those who are “pre-diabetic”, diabetic or wrestling with high cholesterol. Plus, it’s inexpensive and a little bit goes a long way. I like to add cinnamon to coffee, hot cereal and even sprinkle it on fresh fruit.  


Simple Strategies for Healthy Eating

Here are a few tried and true strategies that anyone can do to eat healthier foods and to create healthier eating habits. Pick a few to try, or try them all. But don’t feel that you must  try them all. Do what works best for you, your budget and your lifestyle.

Low-cost, high value

Long before Jessica Seinfeld wrote a book, I was using jars of organic baby food to augment meals. It’s easy – anyone can buy a jar of organic baby food for less than a dollar, and it can add a great deal of nutritional value to even the simplest of meals. Some idea starters:

  • Add a jar (or two, or three…) of carrots, squash and/or spinach to spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce
  • Add a jar of chicken into broths or soups (in addition to the base)

This practice does triple-duty: It provides your healthy eating habits with a kick-start, it’s inexpensive and, of you have kids, it’s a great way to hide healthy foods in plain view!

Another way to hide healthy foods in plain view is to find vegetables of the same color as another food and combine them. A favorite in our house is to steam and puree a small amount of white cauliflower and add it to mashed potatoes. Parsnips and leeks (the white part) are other great additions.

Get more out of veggies and fruitsDon’t just eat vegetables and fruits with one meal – incorporate them into every meal and snack, for both you and your family. One way is to augment your meals as we mentioned above. Here are a few other ways:

  • Keep favorites on-hand year-round: We have five people in our house. Two love bananas, four love apples, three love kiwis and everyone loves carrots and mangoes. So these are just a few food staples that you will find in our house. Our preference is to have fresh, organic items available, but we’re just as happy with organic apple sauce (inexpensive and easy to find in most stores, or make at home). The point is to make sure you keep the house stocked with vegetables and fruit you know everyone will eat, and introduce them at every meal.
  • Plan ahead. An easy, economical way to keep every member of the family (even if you are a family of one) on track with healthy eating habits is to plan ahead so you can bring food with you wherever you go – including outings, work/school, and even short trips. We have gotten into the habit of doing this and it keeps us from spending money we don’t need to spend, and from eating foods we don’t need to eat. Don’t just pack a lunch for your kids, pack one for yourself and be sure to put a fresh fruit or veggie in there as a snack.
  • Make soup. Soup is an easy food to make, it freezes well and it’s a great way to get the most out of vegetables (and your money). You can also use soup as a way to make use of veggies that are otherwise going to be thrown away (unless they’re no longer good, of course).  Check out our soup recipe, or create your own!
  • Eat organic whenever possible. Organic foods are much healthier than non-organic. So, as your budget allows, buy organic whenever you can. If you need to buy a combination of organic and non-organic, try to make sure as many of the foods you eat most frequently fall into the organic category.

Keep it colorful

It’s a well-established fact that the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more nutritious. But only eating greens is not enough. Challenge yourself to create colorful dishes like salads, stir fry, etc. Check out the’s Signature Salad recipe – or share one of your own with The Tribe.


Foods I love…

Healthy, organic foods and foods for those of us with food allergies can be difficult to find, depending on where you live. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and most local health food stores can be your best resources for affordable options. But you can also find many of these foods online.

Regardless, here is a list of some of the foods I absolutely love – they’re delicious and I can eat all of them, even with all of my food allergies. Try them!

Click on the links below for more information and, in some case, to purchase.

GT’s Raw Organic Kombucha

Kinnikinnick gluten-free breads and pizza crust

Almond milk, unsweetened is best:

Pacific Natural Foods Unsweetened Almond Milk (the best price I’ve found is at Trader Joe’s)

Also: Pacific Natural Foods Organic Almond Non-Dairy Beverage, Low Fat Vanilla, 8-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 24)

Gluten-free brownies:
Trader Joe’s gluten-free brownie mix

Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix Gluten Free, Bulk, 21 oz


Yogi Tea – Detox Tea Bags

Triple Leaf Teas – Sugar Balance & Women’s Tonic Tea Bags

LARA Bars – contains nuts:

LaraBar Peanut Butter Cookie 16 bars

Breakfast foods:

Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Gluten Free Hot Cereal — 24 oz

Nature’s Path Organic Wildberry Buckwheat Frozen Waffles

24 Responses to “ Top Tips & Resources ”

  1. C.P. says:

    Amazing, I found your site on Bing looking around for something completely unrelated and I really enjoyed your site. I will stop by again to read some more posts. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous says:

    *very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

  3. Shannon T. says:

    Really great articles — helpful and informational. I especially love the information on the gluten free brownies!

  4. Tribe Leader says:

    Thanks, Shannon. Let us know if there is other information you’re looking for. I will add this: The Trader Joe’s gluten-free brownies are my favorite, but everything Bob’s Red Mill makes is very good too. I like to add some allergen-free chocolate chips from Enjoy Life to the brownies too. Dee-lish!

  5. Liza H. says:

    Fantastic post. Awesome.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!

  7. Cody T. says:

    Nice website, do you have a facebook page or twitter page I can follow? I love finding out about the health benefits of things and your site is perfect for finding stuff out.

  8. W.K. says:

    Thanks for the fantastic share

  9. Nicky S. says:

    Amazing write-up. I’ve not had the chance to peruse this all in its entirety but have saved as a favorite this page and definitely will come back. Keep up the nice work!

  10. Novielli says:

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  11. Tribe Leader says:

    @Anonymous: We apologize for the inconvenience. All comments left on our site are moderated, so they may not post to the site as soon as you submit them. Feel free to leave us another post, or email Catherine at

    @Cody T.: Yes, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and Catherine’s professional profile may be found on Linkedin. Please go to our Contact page for direct links to all of our pages on these social networking sites.

  12. B.L. says:

    Useful info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  13. M.L. says:

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  14. Tribe Leader says:

    Thank you, B.L. and M.L. Please join us on Facebook and Twitter as well.

  15. L.S. says:

    I’m impressed, I have to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s both educational and entertaining, and let me tell you, you could have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the problem is something that not enough persons are speaking intelligently about.

  16. L.C. says:

    Excellent post, helped me out. Always keep up the fabulous posts!

  17. G.B. says:

    The information you offer on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time and work.

  18. B.B. says:

    Hello, I love your writing so so much! Keep it up, I’ll be back.

  19. H.M. says:

    I just want to say I like your article. This information is useful to me and you made it fascinating to read. Really excellent job!

  20. P.V. says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  21. S.S. says:

    Great post!

  22. Thomas H. says:

    Good articles. I’ll check back for more from you on this. More reading to do, well written.

  23. W.M. says:

    You are incredible! Thanks!

  24. Gerry A. says:

    Very nicely put together post with lots of good tips. I’ve got to say, extremely well done and all the very best moving forward.

Leave a Reply