The weather is getting warmer, birds are singing and flowers are blooming; this means that summer is on its way! You may be panicking because there isn't much time to get your body in beach-ready shape. However, if you worry about your body less and focus on your overall health and wellness more, you'll get healthier than ever before and you'll probably shed those extra pounds without even fretting over it. Whether you're taking a vacation or a staycation this summer, you can create and maintain healthy habits that will make you feel good on the inside and the outside. Here are five tips to help you do just that.
The summer heat can leave you feeling exhausted and dehydrated. On a normal day, you should drink nearly two quarts of water. Consider how much more you need to drink when you're overexerting yourself in the heat. Because your body naturally cools itself through sweating, you're losing even more water. It's best to get into the habit of drinking the recommended amount of water now, so as summer arrives, you'll be ready to drink extra.
The benefits of drinking water are many. Staying hydrated keeps your body performing at its optimal level. It can boost your mood and increases brain function by keeping your dopamine and serotonin levels balanced. Because of this, drinking water can actually make you feel relaxed.
Water intake treats headaches, flushes toxins from your kidneys, keeps your joints lubricated, and prevents constipation. It also maintains your skin's elasticity. Drinking water may not fix everything, but it certainly helps with a lot of issues.
Everyone wants to splurge and eat things that they shouldn't; that's just a part of being human. However, if you start to change the types of food you eat on a regular basis, you will see and feel the results. Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables because they are high in vitamins A, C, and E as well as other minerals. Including these in your diet can help you to maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Plus, there are many fruits and vegetables to choose from and countless unique ways to prepare them. They are easy to pack as an on-the-go snack or as part of a meal. This variety will ensure that you won't get bored with your diet.
Many people argue the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. It's a vital meal because it gives you the energy to start your day. Since you've just slept for eight hours, and you haven't eaten anything, your body is yearning for replenishment of glucose to boost your metabolic health. Eating breakfast prevents blood sugar fluctuations, which can help deter weight gain because it keeps you fuller for longer. Without this meal, you're likely to feel sluggish and your mental abilities can suffer. Tasks may seem more difficult than usual. Make sure you choose foods that are high in essential vitamins and minerals to fight fatigue.
Soaking Up the Sun
Take in some rays when you're outside. Vitamin D is important for a healthy immune system and strong bones and teeth. It fights against several diseases including heart disease and multiple sclerosis.
You may have noticed that sitting in the sun lifts your spirits. This is due to the sun triggering your brain to release serotonin, the hormone that helps you to feel calm. Without sun exposure, these levels can drop, leaving you feeling sad or depressed.
Of course, if you plan on going out into the sun, make sure to wear sunscreen! While these rays can be extremely beneficial for your health, they can be just as detrimental to your skin if proper precautions aren't taken. You can avoid premature wrinkles, sagging, and skin cancer by applying sunscreen. This will ensure that your skin stays beautiful for years to come
It doesn't matter if you're walking around the block or running a marathon - as long as you're exercising in some way. Regular physical activity can improve your health as well as to reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Your muscles will get stronger, which reduces the possibility of getting osteoporosis. You can get to the desired weight and maintain it much easier through exercise.
Exercise can aid with mental or emotional issues as well. Physical activity is an effective outlet for releasing depression, anger, or other negative emotions. If you're upset when you start your routine, you're likely to feel better by the time you're done because your endorphins would’ve kicked in. If you have an issue that's been bothering you, you may find that exercising can help you to think of solutions to your problems.
If you don't currently exercise, start small. Doing something is better than doing nothing. If it's nice out, try to do work out outside. The fresh air and sunlight will encourage you to keep going. Likewise, if it's raining or cold, make an indoor plant. Once you've gained some stamina, aim to exercise for 30 minutes each day. This will keep you in tip-top shape, both mentally and physically.
Sleep is essential to the recharging of your mind and body. You should try to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. To do so, you may need to create a sleep schedule, and follow that schedule even if it means missing your favorite television show. The changes in eating and exercise mentioned earlier will aid in getting a good night's rest.
Sleep deprivation can lead to reduced cognitive function and delayed reactions, which can be dangerous to you and to others especially if you're driving or working. Additionally, a lack of sleep has been associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
Jobs, life stresses, kids, and responsibilities all contribute to a lack of sleep. You may have built a tolerance to sleep deprivation, which has led you to become accustomed to feeling exhausted. Although you may think that what you're feeling is normal, it's not. Reevaluate your sleep patterns. You may be mentally and physically drained and not even know it! Once you get yourself back on track, you'll be surprised just how good you feel.
If you start taking better care of yourself now, you'll feel the best you ever have by summer. All that it takes is some self-reflection and the desire to be healthier and happier. These tips will lead to changes that you probably thought weren't possible, changes that start from the inside and work their way out. While change isn't easy, it's worth it if it results in a better you.
Solutions for getting sleep during Alaskan Summers
But you shouldn't worry too much about disruptions to your circadian rhythm. With a few sleep tips, you will more than be able to withstand the midnight sun, and even come to love and accept it like Alaska's year-round residents do.
Here are a couple of tips to remember when visiting the Last Frontier:
- If you're only visiting for a short time, try and keep your sleep/wake cycles as close to your home time zone as possible. By staying relatively close to your home time, you will avoid having to adjust to Alaska time, without having to adjust back to your home time after your short trip.
- If staying for longer than a weekend, start adjusting your sleep/wake schedule to match that of your destination. For instance, if you are traveling west to reach Alaska, start staying up a little later and waking a little later each day until you are in sync with Alaska time. If traveling east to Alaska, go to bed and wake a little earlier until on AK Standard Time.
- Try to avoid the daylight in the evenings close to bedtime, and get exposed to light early in the morning. As stated before, light exposure helps regulate your sleep/wake cycles, and getting or avoiding light at key times of the day can go a long way to keeping your sleep patterns healthy.
- Make sure that the bedroom you are staying in has dark curtains or blinds to keep the extra light out of the room. In a pinch, thumb-tacking a blanket over the window can work just as well.
- If sleeping in a bright room, RV, or in a tent under the midnight sun, wear a sleep mask to bed to keep the light from disturbing your sleep.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. We know, you're on vacation, so a nightcap is probably in order. However, while alcohol can make initiating sleep easier, it also causes you to have disturbed sleep and wake frequently in the night.
- And finally, just because you can stay up past midnight to enjoy all the wonders of Alaska, doesn't necessarily mean you should. Unless of course, you're attending the annual Midnight Sun Baseball Game played by the Alaska Gold-panners, in which case staying up past midnight to watch a ball game played without artificial light is perfectly acceptable (and even encouraged).
So there you have it, a few summer sleep tips for your visit to Alaska this summer. We can't wait to have you visit our beautiful state and share with you the wonders of the midnight sun.