Fall back, spring forward - How to get the best sleep after the clocks go backwards.
BST is almost at an end, which means winter is upon us – Boo!
But we’re getting an extra hour in bed – Yay!
But this can actually have an effect on our health and wellbeing – Boo!
The changing time has an adverse effect on your body clock, which essentially runs off a 24-hour clock and is commanded by natural light. As the days get shorter, our bodies are seeing less and less sunlight, which alters the amount of melatonin our body creates, and knocks our sleep patterns way out of sync.
However, worry not! We’ve come up with a few simple tips which will help you come through this year’s hour gain with your circadian rhythm intact.
1) Embrace the natural light
The change in natural light has a big impact on your quality of sleep as it adjusts the amount of melatonin your body produces. Melatonin is the chemical which regulates your body’s sleep cycle, and a lack of this – which is caused by the shortage of natural sunlight - can make you feel tired and sluggish.
Counter this by going for a brisk walk in the morning. Not only will you get your daily exercise, but you’ll truly feel the benefits when it comes to sleep time.
2) Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
A favourite saying often said by your parents, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Food tells the body the day has begun and provides us with the fuel and energy we need after an overnight fast.
Eating a healthy meal will offer you the correct vitamins and nutrients and help to give you the cognitive functionality to get through the tough morning period unscathed.
3) Don’t overdo the caffeine
If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, resist the urge to drink multiple cups of coffee. You can have a small cup in the morning or up to six hours before sleep, but drinking any more or any later will start to affect your sleeping pattern.
And don’t feel guilty for having a short power nap if it’s needed. Just make sure you don’t spend more than 20 minutes napping, as this has adverse issues with your nightly sleep pattern.
4) Upgrade your sleeping arrangements
If the dark mornings and early nights are beginning to become an issue, it could be time to consider what you’re sleeping on. Research has found that a new mattress can result in up to 42 minutes of extra sleep per night, and can keep you in the deep sleep state for longer. This will improve your circadian rhythm (body clock) and help to ensure you stay energised and focussed for longer.
5) Create a night time regime
Whether it’s showering before bed or spritzing the room with lavender oil, many of us have our unique night time regimes. If you don’t, then it might be time to implement one, as they can help you relax, which in turn reduces the impact of your subconscious while you sleep.
Begin by setting a consistent sleep and wake time, as this aids the body’s circadian rhythm and helps to improve wakefulness in the mornings.
6) Avoid staring at a screen
Many of us have the habit of either checking our emails one last time or finishing off the last episode of the must-see box set before bed, but you shouldn’t.
Whether its televisions, mobile phones or laptops, all screens emit blue light wavelengths, and this inhibits the production of melatonin, which will keep you awake for longer. Ultimately, this decreases the amount of quality sleep and this will disrupt your productivity levels.
7) Think about your environment
Ideally, a bedroom should be just for sleep, so try and implement this philosophy and eliminate anything in your room that could be waking you up. For example, if there’s a crack of light coming through your curtains, get some blackout blinds, or use earplugs if the apartment below like playing loud at night. This will allow you to get a deeper sleep for longer.
For more tips and advice on all matters sleep, check out our blog.