Who doesn't want to look and feel their best when the sunny days finally appear? So to help, here are three easy things you can do to look after yourself this Summer...
Tired? You're not the only one. Recent surveys show that over a third of the UK population are suffering from insufficient sleep. Problem is that without 7-8 hrs good quality sleep each night our body and minds can't do the essential overnight repair and restoration that it needs to keep us looking and feeling our best. So poor sleep leads to poor mood, poor skin and before long poor health.
What to do: Make getting enough shut-eye a priority this Summer. Work out what's keeping you awake at night and resolve to sort it. Here are some tips to get you started...
- Cut out stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol a few hrs before you want to nod off.
- Unplug your tech. Computer and phone emit blue-light which switches the body in to wake up mode. Have a 9pm curfew on all things screen based to give yourself some pre bed down time.
- Put time aside before bed to get yourself in to sleep mode.
- Soak in a warm scented bath to relax muscles and tune out the world for a while.
- Use calming aromas and some simple meditation techniques to quieten the mind.
- Make sure your bedroom is sleep friendly - consider the practical stuff (Is it quiet enough? Dark enough? Cool enough?) but also the softer things (is it comfortable, does it make you feel safe and happy?)
- Disrupted sleep that continues for a month or more without a clear cause can sometimes be an indication of an underlying medical issue so if problems persist have a chat to your GP.
For more sleep tips check out the Night-time Know-how section on our Bedtime Blog
Protect your skin from the sun
We know that having a tan can make you feel great but our advice is to tan safely. It's well-documented that exposure to the sun is damaging to the skin. Not only will it speed up signs of ageing like nothing else, exposure to harmful UV rays is the man preventable cause of skin cancer. At least 100,000 new cases are now diagnosed each year, and the disease kills over 2,500 people each year in the UK - that's seven people every day.
The British Skin Foundation are on a mission to help raise awareness of skin cancer as an issue and to help people make sure they are enjoying the sunshine safely. They give the following advice to help us be sunshine savvy...
- Clothing Clothing should always be your first line of defence against damage from the sun, with sunscreen being used in addition to clothes, including a hat, t-shirt and UV protective sunglasses.
- Find the right sunscreen Use a sunscreen of SPF30 (SPF stands for ‘Sun Protection Factor’) and refers to the level of protection against UVB radiation, linked to skin cancer. Look for a four or ideally five star UVA rating on the bottle which will help protect from UVA radiation, associated with skin ageing. You may also find that the UVA rating is represented by the letters ‘UVA’ inside a circle. Keep babies and toddlers should be kept out of direct sunlight.
- Get your timing right Skin needs time to absorb sunscreen, so apply generously about 20 to 30 minutes before going out. Reapply frequently at least every two hours, as it can come off when sweating or through rubbing.
- Seek shelter! The sun tends to be strongest in the middle of the day, so find some shade typically between 11am and 3pm, especially if you are very fair skinned. Just 10 minutes of strong sunshine is all it takes to burn pale skin.
Eat your greens (and red, orange and yellows)
All the amazing fruit and vegetables available at this time of the year make it extra easy to load up on all the natural nutrients that our body needs to keep us looking and feeling our best. Our simple guide to making sure you are getting all the minerals and vitamins your body needs to thrive is to make sure every meal is as colourful as you can make it.
The colour from fruit and veg is a good indication of the nutrients they contain - so eating a rainbow everyday is a shorthand way to get the spread of good stuff that we need - including some of those harder to get ones that we might be lacking in. To keep your summer plates of food bright and cheery, check out some of our favourite cooks who know a thing or two about how to create fruit and veg loaded recipes that taste and look amazing: