As part of celebrating the beginning of the New Year, many of us will have set (or attempted to set) a New Year’s resolution. Whether it is to give up your favourite unhealthy snack, hitting the gym, or starting a new hobby, the more productive and energetic you are, the more likely you will succeed in maintaining your New Year’s resolution.
We at Sleepy People understand how the dark and dreary winter months can affect your sleeping pattern. The longer and darker evenings can make you feel more tired and lethargic due to a higher amount of Melatonin (the chemical responsible for inducing sleep) being produced in the body. However do not fret about the winter weather dragging you down as we have put together a few tips on how to improve your sleep cycle, helping you to be more productive and energetic during the day!
Choose a routine and stick to it
First of all, you need to determine what your morning routine is when you wake up, and how long you’ll need to get ready for work or your daily activities. Once you have established this, you will then be able to select a suitable time to set your alarm clock for. The recommended amount of sleep we should receive may depend on age, but for adults aged 18 and over, about 7-9 hours has been suggested by HelpGuide in an article about how much sleep we need. One you have chosen a sleep pattern which works for you, try and stick to the routine as this will help your body to recognise when it can wind down at the end of the day and when it needs to wake up in the morning.
It may be easier said than done to implement a new sleep cycle straight away. If you are struggling to initiate a constant pattern, try steadily adjusting your sleep by 15-30 minutes and continue to increase this time until you reach a sleep cycle that works for you.
A last little tip regarding your sleep routine is to avoid hitting the snooze button! Instead set your alarm for the time that you want to get out of bed, and even position your alarm somewhere in the room which will force you to get out of bed. Although departing your cosy chamber in order to make a dive across your room to turn your alarm off may not appeal to you, it well help to wake you up!
Brighten your mornings and darken your evenings
Our circadian rhythms responsible for physical, mental and behavioural changes are influenced by brightness and darkness. In order to help maintain a healthy a sleeping pattern, ensure that when you are going to sleep, all curtains and blinds are shut and that any lights are turned off. Sleepy People, one of the UK’s leading retailers of single memory foam mattress toppers,recently explored how technology may affect your quality of sleep due to the blue light emitting from devices which can increase activity in your brain and promote wakefulness, therefore turn off all devices before bed and avoid looking at them if you wake up during the night.
During the winter season we unfortunately have to endure dark mornings which does not make it very appealing or easy to wake up and get out of bed. As soon as you wake up, turn the light on, as this will trigger your body to wake up and you will be become awake and brighter more quickly. As we head into Spring and the dark mornings decrease, having a quick walk in the morning and getting some fresh air will also help to set you up well for the day.
Eat early, light and stimulant-free meals before bed
Different types of food may affect the quality of your sleep. Some foods such as caffeine, alcohol or high fat foods in particular may disturb your sleep according to Food Network who outline foods to avoid before bed, therefore stay away from these food types before bed. Furthermore, even though a late night indulgent may tempt you, eating too late in general may lead to a disrupted night’s sleep, as being bloated or having indigestion may keep you awake.
To improve your sleeping pattern, avoid eating large meals late in the evening. Fasting roughly about 12 hours from your evening meal until breakfast the next day will help to reset your internal rhythm body clock and will help to strengthen your waking pattern. Having a healthy breakfast when you wake up will set you up for the day and keep you energised.
Try it for yourself!
As the New Year has only just begun, this is the perfect time to try out some of these tips in order to help improve your sleeping pattern and keep you active so that you feel healthy and energised this year.