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Sleep your way to a healthier, slimmer body

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Sleep is a powerful thing. The only way to let your body recover from everyday activity and stress, is by getting enough sleep.

Sleep is beneficial. It’s like food, for both your body and your mind. People who suffer from stress, often also suffer from lack of sleep. And people who feel good, often sleep very well.

The power of sleep

During sleep, numerous recovery processes take place that are important for our health. All through the night, our brain produces big amounts of somatotropine, a growth hormone. This hormone helps with recovery and the replacement of tissue and bones.

When you’re in a lot of stress, you produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, that slows down the production of the growth hormone. Therefore, it’s wise to go to bed as relaxed as possible (so turn off that exciting thriller on the TV). The amount of sleep that statistically corresponds to the longest life expectancy is between five and nine hours a night.

Exercise 1

Shortly before you go to bed, sit down in a quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts. 5 or 10 minutes is enough for this. Imagine this day was a journey that started the moment you woke up. Start with how you felt when you got up. Were you relaxed and well-rested, or did you get up hurried, immediately thinking of all kinds of problems? How did the rest of your day go? What went well, what would you want to do differently next time? Try to look at the less pleasant moments of the day in a constructive way. What did you control and how could you do better next time? Try to accept it the way it is for now, because there is nothing you can change about it any more. Be grateful for everything you have and for what went well today. Remain seated for a moment, while you breathe in slowly and deeply.

Exercise 2

The very relaxed state of being you experience shortly before you fall asleep, is called the alfa awareness. In this state, your brain is very receptive to certain messages. That’s why it’s a good idea to visualize the following thing when you go to sleep.

Imagine yourself as the slimmer version of you that you would like to be. You’re running on the beach, swimming in the sea in your new bikini. Try to imagine everything as detailed as possible. Feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your skin. Hear the waves of the sea and smell your sun block. The more vivid the situation you create in your mind, the more strongly your body will respond to it.

Photo: Amy Treasure