We spend a third of our lives sleeping, on average, according to research, and it is a fundamental biological process that helps the body repair and recover overnight.
But the clocks have sprung forward for spring, and like many, you are probably feeling more fatigued today as the simple shift in the clocks can wreak havoc on your body’s routine.
GP DR Roger Henderson, on behalf of Benenox Overnight Recharge, has revealed his top tips for getting a good night’s rest.
Understand your sleep cycle
Despite good quality sleep being essential for cognitive function, general health and wellbeing, a staggering 80 per cent of Brits struggle to get it and on average are waking up three times during the night, explains Dr Henderson.
How to get to sleep: Five ways to fight fatigue after the clocks changed
The clocks have sprung forward for spring, and like many, you are probably feeling more fatigued today as the simple shift in the clocks can wreak havoc on your body’s routine
He said: “If you’ve found that your sleep cycle has been thrown off it’s normal rhythm, I would advise:
- Sticking to a routine, your body will get the cue that it is time to fall asleep. It can take about 24-36 hours for your body to recover from a bad night’s sleep. On the occasions you’ve been unlucky enough to sleep badly, make sure that you look after yourself the following day; stay hydrated, eat well don’t drink too much caffeine and front load your day by making sure that you get all the important things you need to do, done first.
- Make your mornings light, this will tell your body clock when it’s time to wake up.
- Similarly, make sure you keep the nights dark, too much light can make your brain too alert for sleep.
- Reach for the right sleep aid, such as Benenox Overnight Recharge, a mindfuel for those who struggle with disrupted sleep, tiredness, low energy and concentration levels the following day.”
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Light and dark have a primitive impact on our sleep patterns and can affect the quality of sleep that we get each evening.
Dr Henderson said: “We all have a circadian rhythm (our 24 hour internal cycle) which takes cues from external factors. When it is light, signals are sent to our brain that we should be awake during this time, and conversely when it is dark, signals are sent suggesting that we should be asleep.
“This makes it important to get the right lighting in your bedroom. When you are going to sleep, try and minimise the amount of light in the room, small changes can help such as turning down the brightness on your phone so it does not wake you during the night if you receive a message. You could also try wearing a sleep mask to help block out any light. There are also larger factors in the design of your bedroom, such as ensuring your blinds or curtains and sufficiently block out enough light.”
If you struggle waking up in the morning, an alarm clock with a wake-up light may help, as the introduction of light will help support your body wake up.”
How to get to sleep: Invest in good quality bedding
Snooze you lose
Dr Henderson said: “You will feel more tired after snoozing as you are jerking yourself out of a deep sleep and then forcing yourself back into it, which confuses the body clock. In general, our bodies do better when they can get used to a single clear rule so do your best to get out of bed the moment the alarm sounds. Try putting your alarm clock on the other side of the room, so you are forced to get out of bed and turn it off, which will wake you up easier.”
Invest in good quality bedding
Having a good bedding is extremely important to having a good quality night’s sleep, says Dr Henderson – a good mattress is one of the key foundations of having a good night’s sleep.
He added: “Your mattress will need to provide you with both comfort and support. Both factors will help you fall asleep peacefully and help reduce the risk of you waking up during the night due to discomfort, poor posture or back pain.
“Also take into account personal factors, such as allergies. If you suffer from allergies, look for a mattress and bedding which reduce allergens such as dust bits and bacteria.”
How to get to sleep: Try putting your alarm clock on the other side of the room
Too many people aren’t going to bed relaxed, which can create a struggle both in getting to sleep, says Dr Henderson. It may also cause us to wake up during the night, as your mind continues to work overtime.
If you’ve had a particularly busy week and are feeling run down, you may take time for your body to heal itself. Remember to always be kind to yourself and listen to your body.
Dr Henderson said: “This makes it very important to clear your mind before you go to bed and give yourself time to relax and unwind, away from the distractions and bright lights of television, social media or technology (this may leave your mind overactive as you struggle to sleep). There are multiple techniques you can try to help you relax. You could run a hot bath, read a book, practise gentle stretching techniques or even try a short meditation.
“If worries are the main cause of any pre-sleep tension, jot all your concerns down and leave them there until the following day. Do not take them to sleep with you.”
What could be causing your bad night’s sleep?