Spring is nearly ‘officially’ here – hurrah! But that also means that it’s getting closer to that time of year when we lose an hour’s sleep. And that can be a bit of a shock to the system!
Although that transition into spring feels great with increased daylight and a sense of positivity, the loss of a precious hour’s sleep can affect us. Not least of all on the first Sunday morning of the new season where it just feels too early to be getting up so we give into temptation and have a lie-in instead!
And although we might 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. Try walking to work or going outside for some fresh air during your lunch break.
- 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 Camomile or a non-caffeinated alternative is the best option. It may be an acquired taste but it does work!
- Try keeping a pad and pen beside your bed to note down any worries that may be keeping you awake. Simply getting those thoughts out of your bed and getting them down on paper can help calm an overactive mind
- Avoid working on your laptop, checking emails or looking at your tablet or phone in bed. I fully understand how quick and easy this is to do, just to tick a couple more things off your ‘to-do’ list before you settle down for the night, but the light from these devices can affect the part of your brain that controls sleep activities and delays the release of the hormone that you need for sleep. Making your bedroom an electronic-free zone can really aid a calmer mind and a deeper sleep.
BUT, did you know that naps have been proved to relieve stress and strengthen the immune system?
We all know that a lack of sleep can make us feel more stressed and more prone to illness but a 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 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 further study also showed that those who napped for at least 45 minutes had lower blood pressure in response to psychological stress than those who did not nap.
So if you want to help yourself and recover more quickly from the loss of an hours sleep this month, there is no better way of doing that then having a guilt-free nap!