For some, the change in the season is an exciting time! We reach for cosy knit jumpers, fancy spice lattes and wait for the festivities to begin. For others, this transition means dark mornings, dark evenings and a disrupted sleep pattern.
You don’t need to be told how important it is to get a good night’s sleep, and its role in your mood, energy, skin health, gut health. It’s no wonder that this is the season with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) at its peak. Achieving a good night’s sleep is all about understanding and working with our bodies internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm.
It can be frustrating when you find yourself tossing and turning, unable to get your beauty sleep, which is why we wanted to share our top tips to get the perfect night’s sleep.
Expose yourself to light
Believe it or not, achieving a good night’s sleep starts in the morning. Our circadian rhythm, also known as the body’s internal clock is controlled by the pineal gland – located deep in an area of the brain called the epithalamus. This gland is responsible for receiving information from the environment about light and dark and telling our brain when it is day and night. When the pineal gland is exposed to light, our internal body clock resets and our hormones regulate to know how many hours it’s likely to be before we start to wind down for bed.
Making your room as bright as possible upon waking is a great place to start. Whether that is sleeping with the blinds open and waking to natural light or using a light therapy alarm clock such as a Lumie to mimic this in the darker mornings. Alternatively, why not try getting yourself outside into fresh air for a morning walk to optimise your vitamin D too!
Avoid exercise before bed
Exercising is a great tool for our physical and mental health. However, doing so too close to bedtime can disrupt our sleep and we can often find ourselves tossing and turning all night. Why does this happen? Exercising increases our internal body temperature and cortisol (our stress hormone) in the body which puts us in the opposite state that we want to be in for sleeping! Keep yourself cool for an evening workout with calming exercises such as yoga and try to avoid anything challenging on the body at least three hours before bedtime.
Kick the stimulants
Coffee, alcohol and some fizzy drinks all contain compounds that stimulate our nervous system. An interesting fact about coffee, did you know that one cup of coffee remains in your bloodstream for 6-8 hours? Bringing the time of your last caffeinated drink forward can remove that feeling of being ‘wired and tired’ in the evening and contribute to a good nights sleep. The same happens with alcohol too, whilst you may fall asleep quickly after drinking, it’s also common to wake up in the middle of the night. Adenosine (a sleep-inducing chemical in the brain) is increased after drinking alcohol and can lead to a fast onset of sleep but will disappear just as quickly as it came meaning you’ll probably wake up before you’re really rested too!
Ditch the Blue Light
We spoke about the pineal gland earlier and its role in keeping us awake when exposed to light. Unfortunately, blue light from laptops, phones, TV’s and tablets also stimulate our pineal gland, making our body think it’s time to wake up rather than wind down.
Putting away devices and keeping them out of the bedroom two hours before bed and winding down away from technology with reading, crosswords or just having a chamomile tea with a friend or family member are simple solutions we can put into our daily practice to support our sleep cycle. If you find yourself working late or using devices on the odd occasion, switching your device to Night Shift Mode or downloading apps such as Twilight can help, as well as Blue Light Blocking Glasses and screen covers such as Ocushield.
Find a mattress that is right for you
We’ve all had that horrible night’s sleep on a hotel mattress that kept us tossing and turning all night long. Every individual is different, so it’s important to have an individualised approach to choosing a mattress with options and variations of tension, size and filling. After all, you do spend over 1/3 of our lives in our beds – they are worth the investment and time.
Special Offer of 20% Off any Mattress
Mattressman is Britain’s Biggest Mattress Specialist offering a variety of beds, bed frames as well as mattresses and beautiful bedding so you can create your ultimate restful haven for a perfect night’s sleep. With free next working day delivery you can talk to a sleep expert to find the right one for you & you can also get yourself 20% off any mattress with the code HEALTHY20. Terms and Conditions apply. Offer Valid until December 31st 2021.