Sleep is essential to the rhythm of life. As you sleep your body rests and restores leaving you ready to meet the day ahead at your best.
The consequences of poor sleep are more severe than a few bleary-eyed mornings. We become more susceptible to colds and flu and recent findings link insomnia to Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, a lower IQ, and even a shorter life expectancy.
Despite the lack of light in the winter, our circadian rhythm works on a 24-hour basis. Therefore it is important to try and keep as many factors of our life consistent during the winter months.
There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can ‘survive’ on and the amount you need to function well on. Just because you’re able to operate on seven hours of sleep doesn’t mean you wouldn’t feel a lot better and get more done if you spent an extra hour or two in bed. The best way to determine if you’re getting your required amount is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your day. If you’re getting enough sleep, you’ll feel energetic and alert all day long. If you’re not, you will feel very tired by about 4.00pm (your body temperature drops), doing simple things will take double the amount of energy and mood fluctuations will become normal.
Here are a few tips and pointers to ensure you keep sleep a priority:
Nurture – By looking after the mind and body, try operating in fourth instead of fifth gear, like jet lag, your body takes time to adjust, it needs ‘transition’ time from day to night.
Fuel – Eat fresh and healthy meals at regular intervals and keep hydrated. Remember breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should be eaten within 45 minutes of rising to replenish your body for the day ahead.
Sleep – Resist the temptation to go to bed earlier, it is important to keep your bedtime consistent. Between 10.30 and 11.30pm is ideal.
Temperature – Overheating your bedroom will seriously affect your sleeping patterns. A lukewarm shower before bed will also help to keep your body temperature steady throughout the night.
Exercise – It is important to continue your exercise regime all year round. Sleep is brought on by chemicals released in your body. These chemicals are a by-product of your body burning sugar for fuel during the day. The more sugar you burn, the more of these chemicals are released and help promote a better quality of sleep.
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