This summer most of us are staying home to enjoy a low key summer with our loved ones. As the temperatures rise, here are some healthy tips to use this quiet time to reset your health and build healthy habits.
How To Sleep Better In The Summer
Getting a good night's sleep can be harder when it’s always bright outside even when it’s 10 pm at night or 5 am in the morning. Our pineal gland responses to daylight, which can turn off sleep hormone melatonin production. It can be challenging to not get the quality sleep our body needed. Sleep deprivation can affect our appetite by suppressing the satiety hormone production, and have a detrimental effect on our metabolism by desensitizing our body to insulin, leading to weight gain and increasing blood sugar levels. A lack of sleep can also affect our daytime energy, affecting our productivity, and making it harder to resist refreshing sugary and caffeinated beverages that feed into this vicious cycle. There are several things you can do to optimize the dark environment needed for your body to naturally produce melatonin.
1. Eliminate screen time: blue nights coming from our TV’s and other electronic devices have the wavelength between 380-525 nm which are the most disruptive for sleep hormone production. Try to reduce or eliminate your screen time 30 min before bed. You can also set up a ‘Night Shift’ schedule to shift the colour of your display to the warmer end of the color spectrum after sunset to reduce your blue light exposure. Pink Himalayan lamps are also a great investment that provides light that’s on the orange-red spectrum to help support healthy circadian rhythm.
2. Black out curtains and eye masks can also help you block out unwanted lights. If you have blinds, you can use them in combination with black out curtains to achieve best results. Blinds should be turned upward to block the sun from coming into the room.
3. If there are a few rough nights, consider a low dose melatonin. Instead of taking 20 drops, I would just add one drop in a small amount of water. My favourite is: Finlandia's Melatonin liquid
High room temperatures can also impact your sleep quality. According to Sleep.org, the ideal sleeping temperature for adults is between 15-19 C (60-67F). When the body tries to rest, metabolism slows and our body temperature drops, a cool room helps our body ease into rest mode. To combat summer night heat, here are some tips to set yourself up for a good night sleep:
1. Choose natural fabrics for your sleepwear and bedding. Breathable fabric helps to keep your skin cool and dry by keeping moisture away.
2. Take a cool shower before bed. A lukewarm shower that is closer to your body temperature helps to cool down the body before bed
3. Keep the air circulating. Stale hot air can feel stifling, even without a fan, keeping a window open makes a big difference.
4. Keep a few lighter blankets around so you can add and reduce layers to help you create a comfortable temperature in bed.
How To Hydrate Well
Our body is about 60% water. In our body, water has the crucial role of supporting detoxification and delivering nutrients to vital organs just to name a few. For examples, our brain consists of 75% water, our liver contains 68% water and our digestive system contains about 75% water. If you are wondering how much water you need based on your size and activity level, you can refer to Good Calculator which is based on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. You also get moisture from the food we eat. Depending on your dietary habits, you can then times the number you get by 0.8. For example, if your result is 3L, then you should be consuming around 2.4 L including any non-caffeinated beverages such as herbal tea, juices and smoothies.
Hydrate Better With Electrolytes
This is the wild card when it comes to hydration, temperature and humidity can impact how much sweat we produce, in other words, the amount of water we lose. The more we sweat, the more water we need to replenish. Our sweat consists of 0.5% minerals, this means we can lose a significant amount of minerals for prolonged (½ hour plus) endurance types of sports such as running, cycling etc. This is why cramps and muscle soreness can occur.
To replenish the water and electrolyte loss, you can consider:
Vegetable based juices: they contain naturally occurring sugar and plenty of electrolytes. You can use up ingredients you don’t usually get to eat such as carrot tops, kale stems, and beet greens. My recipe is a green juice with green leaf lettuce, spinach, kale, cucumber, cilantro, celery and half of an green apple for some sweetness.
Try An Electrolyte Powder
You can enhance your workout by adding my favourite electrolyte powder to your workout routine.
How To Protect Your Skin
Carotenes are a group of antioxidants that ranges from red to purple in colour. Carrots , kale, tomatoes, zucchini, red cabbage, apricots, and sweet potatoes are examples of this family of antioxidants. Plants that are rich in this colour are hardy in the sun because these antioxidants protect the plants against damage during photosynthesis. Enjoy plenty of these skin protecting plants in the summer time to support your skin health. For some, large amounts of carotenoid from foods ( more than 0.45 kg per day) can result in orange pigmentation in the skin.
If you start noticing skin pigmentation changes, the condition is known as carotenodermia, which is generally not serious. Zinc, thyroid hormone, vitamin C and protein are nutrients that support the activation of beta carotene to vitamin A, the bioavailable form. Be sure to talk to a certified nutritionist to access your nutrition balance and provide personalized tips for your health.
Take Care Of Your Digestive Health
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer heat slows your digestive system. Dehydration depletes water which is a main ingredient to produce stomach acid, bile and digestive enzymes leading to flare ups of inflammatory issues in the digestive tract. This is why a lot of us gravitate towards cooler and lighter foods in the summertime. Although it’s so tempting to have a glass of icy beverage with your piping hot BBQ, icy drinks can be detrimental to the digestive system. Large quantities of liquid can dilute your stomach acid, which is needed to kill pathogens in the food and initiate protein digestion. Icy drinks can also restrict blood flow to the digestive system, resulting in cramps, and nutrient absorption difficulties. Summer digestion tips:
Opt for a bitter salad with hydrating vegetables such as celery, cucumber and arugula to pair with your summer BBQ and avoid having large amounts of water you drink during meals. Use the time between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner to hydrate well.
Tahlia Sage (Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Bsc Food, Nutrition & Health) is the founder of Tahlia Sage Wellness (tahliasagewellness.com) and a partner at Healing House Natural Wellness (healinghouseherbal.com), she is also an instructor at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
Her coaching practice helps clients achieve their wellness goals by embracing functional foods and healthy lifestyle changes. Tahlia’s own health challenges and weight issues prompted her to pursue an education in nutritional science and holistic nutrition. Tahlia empowers her clients to regain balance with easy, concrete steps. Connect with Tahlia for a free 15 min discovery session
This article is written for informational purposes only. Please seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for your health concerns.