Get right for the summer with these surprising tips!
With summer just around the corner, who isn’t feeling the pressure to get beach-body ready? While there’s nothing wrong with putting a little effort into your appearance, rather than stressing about obtaining the “perfect” beach body, we think focusing on a “beach proud” body is the way to go. So we got the scoop from Canadian wellness and happiness expert Catherine Roscoe Barr on how to get a body that you can be #beachproud of. And it turns out the answer is super easy: Sleep!
As Catherine explains, quality pillow time can help you eat less, move more and feel stronger, so you’ll be ready to strut your stuff at the beach this summer with confidence. Here are five ways a good sleep will help you feel fiercer than ever. Rawr.
1. A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP KEEPS YOUR APPETITE IN CHECK
A number of hormones play a role in sleep. In the ideal situation, your melatonin levels rise as bedtime rolls around, which sets the stage for a rejuvenating sleep and keeps the hormones that suppress and stimulate appetite — leptin and ghrelin, respectively — in check. But skimping on sleep throws things out of whack in a major way: Ghrelin increases and leptin decreases, leaving you hungrier than usual. And it’s not like you’re hungry for a salad. Elevated ghrelin leaves you craving the wrong kind of food: high-calorie, sugar-laden, processed junk.
2. MORE SLEEP = MORE WILLPOWER
When you’re sleep deprived, it becomes harder for you to make healthy choices, so you’re less likely to eat well, move well or think well. And it gets worse: You’ll also have less willpower — and less motivation — for important decisions like, “Should I work out this morning?” or “What’s the healthiest option for an afternoon snack?” But when you’re well-rested, the opposite is true.
3. YOU CAN TURN BACK THE CLOCK WHILE YOU CATCH SOME ZZZ’S
Touted as the fountain of youth, growth hormone is an antiaging hormone produced when we exercise and when we sleep. But there’s a catch: Its release is seriously hampered when we get low-quality or not enough sleep. By implementing a regular routine of bedtime rituals that prepare your body and mind for sleep — like taking a bath, dimming the lights, reading a book or journaling about gratitude — you’ll maximize your body’s overnight antiaging action. Plus, getting adequate sleep can boost your athletic performance the following day so you produce even more muscle-building, fat-blasting growth hormone at the gym. #FTW!
4. CHILL OUT FOR A SMALLER WAISTLINE
Anxiety and unhappiness activate your body’s stress response and elevate cortisol levels, which affects the amount of fat you store, especially around your waist. And it’s a vicious cycle: Elevated cortisol levels make it difficult for you to fall asleep, stay asleep and get back to sleep, increasing the likelihood you’ll make poor food choices and dramatically dropping your ability to shed unwanted pounds. Yikes.
But by identifying behaviours that help you relax — such as meditating and spending time in nature — you can reduce the effects of excess cortisol and not only sleep better, but feel and look better too.
5. SEX CAN MAKE YOU SVELTE
Okay, sex isn’t sleeping per se, but a good romp between the sheets can send you into a deep slumber — and it could also reduce your appetite! Oxytocin (aka the love hormone) is released with physical contact, and recent studies suggest it may act as an appetite suppressant. Who knew? So rev up your metabolic engine with a little love session at night, and see the positive effects carry over to the next day — and all the way to the beach.