The clocks sprung forward on Sunday 27th March. Though the loss of one hour may seem small, it will have an impact on your sleep quality, particularly if you don’t sleep very well.
Many of us are guilty of poor sleep habits, spending every hour of the day (and then some) in a perpetually connected and active state. By the time the morning alarm starts to beep, many of us will regret how long we stayed up the night before, checking emails or trawling the Net. Expert sleep advisor for Warren Evans bed makers, Dave Gibson BSC says:
“Our short-term memory, our ability to plan and to make decisions and rational judgements are all affected by lack of sleep. So you are much more likely to stick to a new diet, stop smoking, get fit or generally be more organised when your brain and body is well rested from continuous and good quality sleep.”
So it’s not just the fact that we feel a bit groggy with lack of sleep, our core ability to function properly is hijacked! The following advice is designed to help you prepare for losing an hour (or any amount of sleep), as well as recovering after not enough sleep.
Try a New Relaxation Technique
Getting to bed earlier might not necessarily mean you get more sleep if your body is still on the later schedule. Choose a tried and tested relaxation method or try something new, it might give your body the push it needs to know it’s bedtime. Stretching, light activity or meditation can really help.
Eat to Sleep
When it’s near sleep time, our bodies start to produce the hormone melatonin, which causes that sleepy feeling and tells our bodies to start winding down. Certain foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan, a precursor to melatonin, and so can help to send you on your way to the land of nod. Cherries and bananas are good to eat an hour or so before bed.
Take a Nap During the Day
A nap is a good way to top up any lost sleep but be careful to work with your natural sleep patterns. Our bodies are brilliant, when given the chance, at healing a sleep ‘debt’. Just make sure it works with your body’s natural sleep habits, a 90 minute nap should work, giving you one full circuit of your sleep cycle. Try not to take it too late in the day so that you’ll be awake at bedtime. Find somewhere quiet, set an alarm and get snoozing!
Caffeine is a great energy booster after a bad night’s sleep. Drink coffee early to wake up, then ease off it by midday so that your body starts to relax when it’s bedtime. Caffeine can take up to six hours to leave your body. Just be aware that the energy dip when the caffeine leaves your system can be worse when you are sleep deprived, so try to ensure you have a slow, relaxing evening when you’re trying to recover from lack of sleep.
Sunlight is our body’s natural alarm clock, which is why we naturally wake up when it gets brighter in the mornings. Our bodies take the presence of sunlight as a sign to stop producing melatonin, the sleep hormone, which will help you to feel more awake. Open the curtains when you wake up and, if you’re feeling tired in the daytime, try to get outside in the day for a short walk.
For more practical and expert sleep advice please visit: Warren Evans’ Inspire Me