After a busy week and the relief of a break from the routine at the weekend, it can be all too tempting to sneak a little Sunday morning lie-in!
And as much as we non-morning people hate to admit it, lying-in does disrupt our regular sleeping patterns.
So, to help regulate your sleep patterns DO:
- Get up and go for a walk in fresh air and daylight to help you wake up naturally.
- Avoid caffeine for up to 6 hours before bedtime as any consumed within this time can affect your sleep patterns and keep you awake. Replacing it with caffeine or a non-caffeinated alternative is the best option!
- Keep a pad and pen beside your bed to note down any worries that may be keeping you awake.
- Avoid working on your laptop, checking emails or looking at your tablet in bed. The light from these devices can affect the part of the brain that controls sleep activities and delays the release of the hormone you need for sleep. Make your bedroom an electronic device-free zone.
BUT, did you know that naps have been proved to relieve stress and strengthen the immune system?
We all know that lack of sleep can make us feel more stressed and more prone to illness but a new study has shown that a 30 minute nap can reverse the impact of a night of little sleep on our stress levels and immune system. What better reason is there to have one?
During the study, stress hormones that are responsible for increasing heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar became elevated after a night of poor sleep. But after the same lack of quality sleep and the added bonus of two 30 minute naps during the day, the stress hormones measured were at a normal level.
And in case you still feel a little guilty about having a bit of shut-eye during the day, napping has also been shown to boost mood, productivity and creativity, helping our learning and memory skills. A 2011 study also showed that those who napped for at least 45 minutes had lower blood pressure in response to physiological stress than those who did not nap.