2018 Wellness Trends

2018 Wellness trends

Here we are at the end of January and there have been plenty of new trends in the health and wellbeing field. Industry experts predict that 2018 will see moringa (a “super” anti-inflammatory green) replace turmeric, collagen overtake protein powders and “nootropic” (brain boosters/cognitive enhancers) supplements climb the top of the popularity list.

Other trends include the focus on gut health, supporting your mitochondria (cell power houses) produce more energy and sleep optimisation. But I’m not going to discuss these here because these trends may work for some people but they may not for others. This happens because of our biochemical individuality – we are all unique in terms of genetics, current health status and environmental & lifestyle factors.

With that in mind, I have picked a couple of trends I found interesting and could perhaps be applied to most of us. Let’s take a look:

2018 Trends - Tech

I’m really happy to see that disconnecting from social media and technology is deemed to be one of the top wellness trends for 2018. According to top wellness websites Mindbodygreen and Well+Good this year more and more of us will turn away from social media platforms and tech gadgets in a bid to reduce stress and break away from harmful addictions. As technology and apps improve their designs and features to keep us hooked, we aim to retaliate by returning to the real world and stimulating our brains with real interactions and fostering new communities.

As more and more evidence suggests smart tech is to blame for stress, anxiety, depression (and even rising teenage suicide rates), we have become determined to break free from tech chains and companies & entrepreneurs are taking notice. Catering to this trend are a growing number of co-working spaces, phone-free social clubs, wi-fi free cafes & hotels and “analogue” travel destinations (Check out Villa Stephanie in Baden-Baden, Germany —which blocks all WiFi signals from your room by embedding copper plates in the walls — the Mandarin Hotel Las Vegas’ ‘digital wellness escape” where phones are left at the front desk and glamping startup Hipcamp for totally off-the-grid places).

But we are not completely turning our backs to technology – rather we’re choosing when and how we use it (#we’vegotthepower – literally). Sleep-tech innovation now enables us to rest our weary bodies on smart mattresses which can track your sleep cycles, adjust room temperature and wake you up only when you are in a stage of light sleep. And if you don’t want to part with your existing mattress you have a choice of sleep trackers, apps and gadgets like Apple watch. Another helpful tech category that has recently emerged is femtech – female health apps (from cycle mapping to fertility and conception apps, there’s something for every woman).

2018 Trends - Self-care

Part of the motivation for these changes in technology use and demand are due to our increasing awareness for mental and spiritual wellbeing. The rise of “self-care” marks a new direction for the yoga/meditation/mindfulness trend. More and more people are looking to engage in a slower pace of life. We are just beginning to accept that it is ok to not have a thousand goals on your list / not exercise everyday / not sacrifice sleep / not put yourself last. Scheduling daily or weekly me-time is gaining popularity because it gives us time to recover, get some peace of mind and be fully charged and ready to help and support those who need us.

Mindfulness industry

Meditation and mindfulness are welcoming a lot of new kids on the block – knitting, journaling, colouring,  home bath ritual products, taking the time to sit and enjoy our food or even just having lazy mornings in bed! Oh and there’s this new thing called breathwork which is not new really, but instead derives from the way yogis use breath to further their practice. It is becoming popular because, unlike meditation, it does not require you to be in a calm mental state. In fact, you can use specific patterns of breathing to calm down or boost your energy and thus improve your mental wellbeing.


Related to the rise in self-care is the increasing demand for affordable, natural, “green” beauty products. Big corporations like Target, Procter & Gamble and Unilever are finally giving a lot more prominence to chemical-free products (perhaps in the hopes to cash in on consumer’s demand?) and improving transparency on label info.

2018 Trends - Green Beauty

It’s not just about cleaner, organic products though – we want our products to be high performing. Not only are we looking for products which match the efficacy of non-natural products but we want them to nourish and protect our skin from the sun and pollution. Enter “skin-barrier-supporting” and “microbiome-enhancing” serums which promise to build our skin’s defence against environmental toxins and improve its function. These products use ingredients such as lipids, ceramides, adaptogens, and even live bacteria to help our skin adapt to our environment.

Ultimately what these trends show us is two things – 1. we, as consumers, have the power to change entire industries and 2. investing time in our wellbeing is an important (and growing) aspect of health.

The most important thing you should keep in mind when making any health related decisions is that you are unique and only you can tell what works for you.


Kim on Why Sleep is Vital to Muscle Recovery

By Kim Barnard

Not many people know that during a workout you are actually breaking down your muscles. In particular, when you do strength training or lift weights, the muscle fibers are broken down and will tear. It is the repairing of these small tears that creates stronger muscles.

Sleep is the most important time for your body to recover as it has a profound effect on muscle growth and physical well being. Enough sleep aids mental health, hormonal balance and muscular recovery.

The recommended amount of sleep is seven to nine hours however this is based upon an individual’s lifestyle, exercise and genetics. Research suggests that sleep deprivation increases the level of the stress hormone cortisol as well as causing a decrease in the production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. Basically, sleep deprivation means lower energy levels!

While you sleep your energy consumption is lowered allowing you to convert the food you consume during the day in order to efficiently build muscle. During sleep the growth hormone is produced and protein synthesis occurs, improving muscular recovery and regeneration. The growth hormone is usually secreted during early sleep when the deepest stage of sleep occurs.

There are five stages to the sleep cycle. These stages progress from stage one to the rapid eye movement (REM) stage and then start again. A complete cycle will take an average of 90 to 110 minutes. The first sleep cycle has a relatively short REM stage. The longer periods of deep sleep later in the night have longer REM periods and shorter deep sleep time.

Sleep stages

Stage One: tends to be light sleep where you will drift in and out of sleep and be easily awoken. During this stage, your eyes and muscle activity slows down.

Stage Two: during this stage your eye movement ceases and the brain waves slow down. There will be occasional bursts of rapid brain waves during this stage.

Stage Three and Four: during stage three extremely slow brain waves called delta waves are interspersed with shorter, fast waves. When sleep moves into stage four it is almost exclusively delta waves. Delta sleep is the deepest point of sleep and therefore the hardest point to wake a sleeper.

REM Sleep Stage: The most active stage of sleep, known as REM, accounts for 20-25% of a night’s sleep. This is the time when dreams can occur. The majority of people experience three to five REM cycles during a night’s sleep.

Young children can spend almost 50% of their time in REM sleep whereas adults can spend about 20% in REM. Older adults will spend progressively less time in this stage.

During the REM stage, your breathing, heart rate and brain activity will quicken. This is the stage at which the body restores organs, bones and tissue, replenishes immune cells and circulates the growth hormone.

Therefore, when you don’t have enough sleep you will not complete the sleep stages required for muscle repair and recovery. So if you’re getting less than the recommended amount of sleep then the chances are that you’re not benefiting from all that hard work at the gym.


Is Sleep Deprivation Sabotaging Your Life?

Lately I have been pushing the envelope a bit too far it seems. With so much to do at home, at work and at the gym, I have taken “sleep is for the weak” to the next level.

Reaching a point where I could no longer focus and had started to see moving spots during the day, I realised it was time to take some action.

Often times, we think we can catch up on sleep later and that losing a few hours of sleep to catch up on work/hobbies/social life will be worth it in the end. But will it?

Here are some compelling facts which highlight how even minor sleep deprivation can cause serious damage to your health.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep: It’s Affecting Your Health

From Visually.

  • Stress & sleep have a huge effect on our bodies and energy levels.
  • Sleep deprivation hits your central nervous system hard: it interferes with your ability to concentrate and learn new things. It can negatively impact both short-term and long-term memory. It gets in the way of your decision-making process and stifles creativity. Overall cognitive function is impaired
  • Your emotions are also affected, making you more likely to have a short temper and mood swings. Over time, lack of sleep and sleep disorders can contribute to the symptoms of depression.
  • Lack of sleep makes you fatter. There is a 20% increase in appetite when even slightly sleep deprived.
  • Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone. In fact, research has found that fat loss is 50% lower and muscle loss is 50% higher in people who sleep 5.5 hours a night compared to those who sleep 8 hours a night.
  • Studies have shown that the eye needs at least five hours of sleep per night to properly replenish. Without enough time to revive themselves, your eyes cannot work at their full potential.
  • Chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes.This is due to all the excess cortisol (stress hormone) released as the body struggles to cope with less sleep.
  • Research shows that stress doubles the time the body needs to recover from workouts (and hence if you are going through a stressful period in life, you need more sleep!)

Are you ready to make sleep your priority? Here are some tips to get you started:

Sleep tips

Good night!