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Longevity Holiday Gift Guide: Sleep, Exercise, and Nutrition Ideas

The Guide

With the holidays fast approaching, Nowgevity has compiled a list of healthy, fun and useful holiday gift ideas. This year you can give your loved ones a gift they will love, love, love! Whether it’s giving gifts that are healthy for their bodies or those that will help improve their sleep, get them caught up on sports or even pass on knowledge that will improve their mental wellbeing, we’ve assembled some great suggestions for all personality types.

 


Hacks


Whoop

$30/month (at the time of publication)

What it does: Like a wearable and health coach in one, this wristband offers daily, personalized tracking info on your sleep, fitness and recovery periods. The built-in Strain Coach can look at your heart rate variability (HRV) and tell you how hard to push yourself in your next workout based on your prior recovery, while the Sleep Coach can tell you exactly how much sleep you really need.

What the science says: In early 2020, a federally funded Johns Hopkins study found that wearables are “better than traditional methods for assessing risk of death in older adults.” It was just the latest study to show that “an accurate report of physical activity outperforms standard predictors of mortality within five years, such as age, smoking, diabetes, alcohol use, or history of cancer or heart disease.”

Why we recommend it: Whoop claims to gather 50-100 megabytes of data per day, making it one of the most high-performing trackers on the market. (No wonder professional athletes comprise some of Whoop’s core users.) What makes Whoop even better is that its app socializes your wellness journey by letting you join teams of friends, family or other fitness enthusiasts who will help keep you motivated.


Biosense

$299.99 (at the time of publication)

What it does: A boon for Keto followers, this palm-sized breath meter’s patent-pending technology can deliver unlimited ketosis testing without “finger pricks or urine sticks.”

What the science says: Evidence illustrating the metabolic and life-extending benefits of ketosis abounds. Here’s just one such study: Researchers at UC Davis found that mice that were fed a ketogenic diet experienced a 14% longer lifespan than control mice, while also preserving their cognitive and motor functions as they aged. In humans, that effect would translate to an extra 7 to 10 years of longevity.

Why we recommend it: It solves several hurdles to successfully adopting the Keto diet, including taking the guesswork out of determining your ketone levels. A blood meter might offer higher accuracy, but it also requires finger pricking and buying test strips, making the Biosense a more user-friendly and still-reliable tradeoff.


Joovv Red Light Therapy

$545 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Delivers the healing power of red and near infrared light (through a portable device or a wall-mounted, full-body system) to enhance cellular function, optimize performance and recovery and lead to better overall health and wellness.

What the science says: A 2017 study found that red and near infrared light can lead to “improved cell survival [and] new protein synthesis, as well as decreased inflammation overall.

Why we recommend it: At home or on the go, Joovv’s products provide the kind of high-quality red light therapy that used to require going to expensive clinics or salons. They’re also recommended and used by Ben Greenfield and other renowned longevity authorities.


HumanCharger

$199 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Offers mood-boosting, energy-increasing light therapy on the go—through your ear canals! HumanCharger’s earbuds allow UV-free white light to hit the light-sensitive regions of your brain, which can deliver positive, tangible benefits in as little as 12 minutes. To alleviate jet lag, you can also administer yourself up to four HumanCharger treatments per day.

What the science says: Photosensitive areas of the brain are stimulated by light, which affects the neural circuits in the brain via neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin and noradrenaline).

Why we recommend it: With winter arriving and the pandemic still here, light stimulation of the brain can help maintain a healthy mental equilibrium. Plus, this handy-sized device even lets you get your dose of light therapy on the go.


Elite HRV

Free App | Sensor: $165 (at the time of publication)

What it does: In just two minutes a day, this app and its accompanying pulse oximeter will give you a “comprehensive, non-invasive snapshot of your autonomic nervous system” by measuring your HRV (meaning, the time interval between your heartbeats).

What the science says: HRV is quickly becoming the leading indicator we have for increasing resiliency, optimizing your fitness regimen, and knowing how well your body handles and recovers from daily stressors. A 2018 study determined not only that “HRV is impacted by stress,” but that HRV is also the most “objective assessment of psychological health and stress.”

Why we recommend it: The Elite not only lets you obtain HRV data without the need for a 24/7 wearable, it also gives you live biofeedback, which is a great tool for bringing stress under control.


Sleep


Chillipad Sleep Cooling System

$499 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Personalizes your sleep climate with a water-based hydronic pad that boasts built-in temperature control.

What the science says: A 2014 study found that sleeping in a climate of 66° F for one month increased subjects’ levels of calorie-burning brown fat by 42 percent, while a 2019 study found that most people’s ideal ambient sleep temperature is a cool 65° F.

Why we recommend it: It’s well-known that high-quality sleep is a pillar of healthy longevity—and that temperature is crucial to sleep quality. Plus, if you and your other half can never agree on the sleep climate you share, the Chilipad can finally put an end to that standoff. (Consider it a bonus mental wellness hack to boot!)


EnVy Pillow

$129 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Ensures proper spinal alignment while decreasing facial wrinkles by offering optimal neck and spinal support for side and back sleeping alongside copper-infused, germ-killing technology.

What the science says: Copper has long been known to contain antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, while a recent study suggested it may even inactivate COVID-19 on surfaces.

Why we recommend it: Customers overwhelmingly give EnVy pillows high marks for curing their neck pain and reducing or even eliminating facial wrinkles.


SleepSpace

$29.99/year (at the time of publication)

What it does: With you on every stage of your nightly sleep journey, the Sleepspace app offers relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep faster, followed by a “sound mask” to help you sleep more deeply and a gentle “smart alarm” to help you wake up feeling refreshed.

What the science says: Sleepspace’s deep-sleep “sound mask” emits pink noise instead of white noise; multiple studies have shown that pink noise may actually promote higher-quality sleep, with subjects reporting that they feel they slept better overall.

Why we recommend it: Deep sleep is the most restorative of the sleep cycles, when cells are regenerated, tissues are repaired. Since we tend to get less deep sleep as we age, the Sleepspace app could be a great tool for supporting brain health and overall wellness.


Oura Ring

$299 (at the time of publication)

What it does: During the day, this fitness wearable measures your steps, activity levels, caloric intake, and naps. At night, it tracks your sleep cycles, body temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate variability (HRV).

What the science says: According to a 2016 study from Finland, the Oura Ring provides sleep data much like you’d get in a laboratory setting with a polysomnography—but without that machine’s awkwardness and discomfort.

Why we recommend it: Tracking sleep and recovery can help you fine-tune your daytime lifestyle choices so that you get maximum-quality sleep. The Oura is designed to integrate with several other apps and wearables on both Android and iOS, making this a great gift for the tech-savvy tracker who loves having the latest, state-of-the-art products.


Marpac Dohm: The Original White Noise Machine

$44.95 (at the time of publication)

What it does: One of the original white noise machines, it features a signature, fan-based sound of rushing air—without the actual disturbance of moving air.

What the science says: There’s long been research that shows white noise machines can improve sleep duration and quality—including a 2005 study that found the machines allow for disruption-free sleep even if your bedroom is exposed to external sounds.

Why we recommend it: How often we wake up at night directly correlates to overall sleep quality, and white noise machines are a tried and true way to mask disruptive sounds. The Marpac Dohm machine has been around since the 1960s for a reason; it offers dependable quality and proven results.


Mental Wellness


Apollo Neuro

$349 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Whenever chronic stress triggers your nervous system’s “fight or flight” reaction, this wearable emits vibrations to activate the touch receptors in your skin—which, in turn, resets your parasympathetic “rest and digest” response and improves your HRV. The technical term for this therapy is “transcutaneous stimulation,” but you might think of it as the same relaxing feelings you experience when holding someone’s hand.

What the science says: Constant stress can leave you overexposed to cortisol—which, according to the Mayo Clinic, “can disrupt almost all your body's processes,” including digestion, heart function, weight regulation, sleep cycles, memory, and concentration. In a self-reported study on Apollo’s vibration patterns, participants’ HRVs increased by two to three times their average in as little as three minutes.

Why we recommend it: Effective stress management is a key pillar for overall longevity success. While meditation is one way to support those goals, it’s not for everyone. The Apollo Neuro can be a reliable tool for lowering your stress levels, maintaining your focus, and sleeping more soundly.


Neuvana Xe Box Set

$399 (at the time of publication)

What it does: This one-button, pocket-sized device works in tandem with your phone to deliver a dose of ear-based therapy through a pair of custom earbuds that gently stimulate the auricular branch of the vagus nerve, which has been shown to reduce stress, boost your mood and improve sleep.

What the science says: Loads of studies agree that gentle stimulation of the vagus nerve is not only the best way to reduce stress (particularly by counteracting the effects of your body’s “fight or flight” reaction), but may even be an overall “key to well-being.” A 2015 study even posited that “the relationship between depression, inflammation, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease might be mediated by the vagus nerve.”

Why we recommend it: The Xen’s most appealing feature may be that you can use it while also listening to your favorite music, which makes it easy to incorporate into your existing daily routine to promote relaxation and balance while you work, exercise, walk the dog, etc.


Muse Guided Mediation Bundle

$244 (at the time of publication)

What it does: One of the biggest challenges when meditating is maintaining focus. The Muse 2 headband’s seven brain sensors provide bioactivity feedback while you meditate and can react in real time to gently prompt your attention back to where it needs to be. It also uses your data to customize the hundreds of guided meditations included in the Muse app and curate the best practice for you.

What the science says: A 2012 study found that meditation actually increased brains’ white matter, which is critical to cognitive function.  

Why we recommend it: Like a fitness tracker for your mind, Muse helps you improve the quality of your meditation by objectively assessing your practice, including a visual. real-time representation of your meditative brain activity.


Breathwrk: Breathing Exercises App

$38.99/year (at the time of publication)

What it does: Offers free guided breathing exercises for any occasion: To promote calm, sleep, balance, focus, or endurance; to relieve stress and anxiety; to improve HRV and cardiovascular health; or to manage sleep apnea or pain.

What the science says: A 2018 study reported that breath control work increased subjects’ HRV while “increas[jng] comfort, relaxation, pleasantness, vigor and alertness, and reduc[ing] symptoms of arousal, anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.”

Why we recommend it: Enhancing your breath awareness and technique could be the easiest way to boost your overall wellness in numerous areas. Plus, like some of the best things (and gifts) in life, this app’s free!


A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

$8.57 (at the time of publication)

What it does: In his highly regarded book, author and philosophy professor William B. Irvine illustrates how the ancient wisdom of stoic philosophy is remarkably relevant to finding meaning and happening in our modern lives.

What the science says: Besides the fact that this book’s subject is about increasing your personal happiness, don’t forget that reading itself has been found in numerous studies to improve brain health and lower dementia risk.

Why we recommend it: Yes, we want to improve our physiques in order to live longer and enjoy increased healthspan, but what’s it all really for? If you or a loved one has been grappling with that existential question, this book will provide some insightful answers and compelling food for thought.


Nutrition


Prolon 5-Day Fasting Diet

$249 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Sets you up for fasting success with a fasting “mimicking” diet that lets you ward off hunger and low energy while enjoying nourishing, flavorful soups, teas, olives, plant-based crackers, and other treats that your digestive system won’t recognize as food.

What the science says: The New England Journal of Medicine wrote in 2019, “Evidence is accumulating that eating in a 6-hour period and fasting for 18 hours can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy, with increased stress resistance, increased longevity, and a decreased incidence of diseases, including cancer and obesity.”

Why we recommend it: The science illustrating the link between intermittent fasting and longevity is compelling (and growing). Many of the most respected experts in the longevity field practice 5-to-7-day fasts, which you can emulate on the Prolon diet while still consuming (some) calories to quell hunger pangs.  


Genoplate

$69.95 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Uses DNA data to build a comprehensive dietary plan—including specific food and nutrition recommendations—based on your genetic profile.

What the science says: Genetic variants in your DNA may predispose you to process some substances (like fats or caffeine) better than others. Acclaimed holistic nutritionist M. Nathaniel Mead wrote in a 2007 study on nutrigenomics, “Although genes are critical for determining function, nutrition modifies the extent to which different genes are expressed and thereby modulates whether individuals attain the potential established by their genetic background.”

Why we recommend it: Makes a great gift for anyone looking to implement some scientifically backed hacks into their diet, or who wants to experiment with how they might benefit from personalized, preventative medicine.


Coway Aquamega 200C Smart Water Purifier

$398.99 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Eliminates up to 99.9 percent of drinking water contaminants, including lead, mercury, chloramine, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), aesthetic chlorine, and even parasite-containing cysts.

What the science says: The Aquamega’s filtration system is NSF 401 certified; that means it meets national standards to reduce trace amounts of emerging contaminants found in drinking water, including prescription drugs, pesticides, detergents, and flame retardant chemicals. Put simply: It blows a Brita filter out of the water (pun intended).

Why we recommend it: With chemical and plastic nanoparticles increasing in our water supplies, this countertop appliance is a worthwhile investment that comes in at a lower price point than some of the more exhaustive water testing systems.


Zero Fasting App

Free plan or $69/year (at the time of publication)

What it does: Customizes your fasting schedule and delivers advanced biometric data alongside a “responsive mood journal” to give you all the tools you need for long-term intermittent fasting (IF).

What the science says: In 2014, a Harvard study found that an IF diet can improve the body’s reaction to metabolic stressors and increase overall lifespan.

Why we recommend it: Created in part by renowned longevity expert Peter Attia, Zerofasting is more about using IF as a tool to improve overall health rather than just losing weight. It also has a simple-to-navigate dashboard, making it an easy lifestyle tool to adopt.


Basis Cellular Health Supplements

$40 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Helps maintain DNA health and promotes positive cellular aging by increasing NAD+, a coenzyme found in all human cells that activates anti-aging sirtuin proteins.

What the science says: NAD+ is believed to promote optimal sleep cycles, protect cells from stress and help the body extract energy from food. In 2016, Washington University professor of neurological surgery Dr. Albert Kim said, “There’s a lot of buzz about taking NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) precursors for their anti-aging effects, which is based on a lot of great science.”

Why we recommend it: As the science shows, NAD+ positively affects several metabolic processes that are linked to slower aging.


Exercise


Xero Shoes: HFS Lightweight Road Running Shoe - Men

$97.98 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Offers the benefits of going barefoot—including proper posture and toe spread—with footwear designed for all occasions, not just exercise.

What the science says: A recentstudy found that eight weeks of walking in minimalist shoes increased foot muscles’ size and strength—which is critical for maintaining good posture, natural mobility and overall musculoskeletal health.

Why we recommend it: Lots of fashionable styles—everything from Chelsea-style boots to casual flats to huarache sandals—means lots of options for anyone curious about transitioning to an all-barefoot lifestyle. (In fact, we think they’re the perfect gift-you’d-never-think-to-get-yourself gift.) For a more affordable and customizable choice, there are even DIY sandal kits.


Hyperice Hypervolt Bluetooth

$279 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Uses percussive therapy to relieve aching muscles with three speed settings, five attachments, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, and Bluetooth technology that lets you “set and forget” your recovery routine.

What the science says: A 2014 study found that percussive therapy is as effective as human-touch massage in preventing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Why we recommend it: It’ll shorten your exercise recovery periods, increase natural mobility and release stress. It’s also dramatically more powerful than other consumer-market massagers, yet still super-quiet. Over time, it’s more bang for your buck than in-person massages—with no appointments required (and no worries about social distancing).


Withings Wi-Fi Smart Scale with Body Composition & Heart Rate

$119.96 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Provides comprehensive body metrics, including BMI, water percentage, muscle and bone mass, heart rate, and (of course) weight.

What the science says: According to a 2017 study, smart-scale users weigh themselves more frequently than regular-scale users or non-scale users, making them an effective tool for overall health and weight management. (Remember: what gets measured, improves.)

Why we recommend it: Sleek aesthetics and a well-designed display make this a sophisticated pick for tech lovers looking for a data-driven, personalized approach to health and fitness. We also like that this scale stores your metrics to help you determine the lifestyle choices that do and don’t lead to overall improvement.


The Fehn Seat

$1199 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Allows you to easily move through a wide range of postures, stretches and exercises while seated at a standing-height desk for increased fitness and mobility throughout the workday. (It also stows away easily under standing-height desks for when you’d rather stand.)

What the science says: According to a 2019 study, alternating sitting and standing at work decreases blood pressure and low back pain. Maintaining healthy posture is also critical to preserving mobility and musculoskeletal health.

Why we recommend it: While sitting too long has been shown to shorten your lifespan, maintaining good posture on your feet for long stretches can be uncomfortable. This product offers a simple, intermediate solution.   Plus, the ergonomic seat sets the pelvis at the correct angle to allow the spine to rest in its natural curvature.


Stocking Stuffers


Immunity Gum by Mighty Gum

$16 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Delivers 11 vitamins and adaptogens to boost immunity with all-natural elderberry, ashwagandha and astragalus extracts, plus vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D2, E, and zinc.

What the science says: The Cleveland Clinic recommends vitamins A, C, E, and zinc for a healthy immune system, while studies have shown that adaptogens play a key role in stress management, helping to counter chronic inflammation.

Why we recommend it: If taking daily supplements is a habit you find hard to keep, this sugar- and aspartame-free gum could be the solution. And if chewing gum is a habit you find hard to break, don’t worry! Multiple pieces of this product per day will actually help maintain adaptogen availability in your system. Plus, chewing has been shown to prime the digestive system to best absorb nutrients.


Kin Euphorics

$39 (at the time of publication)

What it does: This line of tart, floral beverages designed for social drinking doubles as a tasty health supplement, containing the cortisol-balancing herb Rhodiola rosea, as well as happiness-inducing chemicals.

What the science says: One study found that Rhodiola rosea extract has the same beneficial effects as lifestyle choices like diet and exercise and may even help prevent cancer, while another found it can improve attention span and enhance cognitive function.

Why we recommend it: It’s the perfect present for the teetotaler who still loves to socialize with their alcohol-imbibing friends and family. (Maintaining social connections has repeatedly been shown to be the #1 way to ensure a long, healthy life.)


Lakanto Sugar-Free Chocolate Bars

$6.61/bar (at the time of publication)

What it does: Takes a traditional, high-end chocolate bar, swaps out the sugar and replaces it with non-GMO monkfruit sweetener for a zero-carb, all-natural, zero-glycemic indulgence.

What the science says: As repeated studies have shown, even moderate sugar intake is linked to increased chances for early death—whether or not obesity is also a factor.  

Why we recommend it: Lankato bars work with all kinds of diets and in all kinds of recipes, making them ideal for avid bakers and those with incurable sweet tooths. Maintaining your blood glucose levels is one of the keys to longevity; monkfruit minimizes the glucose response, making it longevity-friendly!


ZenBlend

$40 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Hacks the body’s stress response, improves memory and raises libido while delivering a non-addictive, caffeine-like jolt of adaptogen-provided energy and focus.

What the science says: Dr. Brenda Powell, co-medical director of the Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, told TIME Magazine in 2018 that incorporating adaptogens into your regular diet is like “training your body to handle the effects of stress.”

Why we recommend it: Adaptogens allow our bodies to respond better to external stressors, which benefits the immune system and overall mental health. Plus, ZenBlend can serve as either a substitute for your morning coffee when mixed with water, or it can be blended into your cup of joe for extra protection against stress.


TrueDark Daylights Transitions 2-in-1 Sunglasses

$89 (at the time of publication)

What it does: Blocks 99% of the UVA/UVB light you may encounter outdoors, as well as 40% of the blue light emanating from the screens you interact with every day.

What the science says: Harvard Medical School and several other reputable organizations have warned that blue light—especially when encountered later in the day—can disrupt the circadian rhythms that dictate your sleep cycles. Blue light may even increase your odds of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Meanwhile, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light can lead to cataract formation and retinal degeneration.

Why we recommend it: The fact that these are 2-in-1 glasses means you won’t have to carry around more than one pair to get blocking benefits inside and out. We like them in a classic aviator design, which never goes out of style.

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