Welcome to Week 3 of the 4 week Health Improvement Challenge! Today we will be talking about:
Sleep is a fragile thing. There are hundreds of factors that can influence the quality and length of your sleep. Obvious factors like making sure you’re feeling comfortable and that the room is quiet are just the beginning. Everything from your diet and exercise levels, to your mental health, can impact how refreshed you feel when you wake up in the morning.
Most of us head to bed when we’re a bit sleepy, snooze through the night, are woken by a noisy alarm and cling to bed until the very last possible minute to get up. Most of us, because of this, slump around for the first few hours of the morning feeling like we’ve pulled an all-nighter. There are ways around this, and one of the key points is keeping regular sleep hours. Here are our 5 rules for regular sleep.
1) Going to bed at the same time every night isn’t just for kids. Sleep is essentially a habit and when we get used to doing something at the same time every night it soon becomes second nature to us. Readjust your body clock by going to bed when you normally feel tired.
2) For the same reason that your brain loves predictability, wake up at the same time each day too. Once you’ve fallen into a pattern of regular sleep hours you’ll stop waking up feeling like you haven’t had enough sleep. If, once you’re in your new routine, you’re still finding it difficult to wake up in the morning, go to bed slightly earlier until you’ve found a pattern that suits you.
3) Leave enough time to get your full 7 or 8 hours. Don’t try to work or play into the early hours of the morning in order to get more done. You’ll just end up suffering from tiredness the next day which in itself will mean you get less done tomorrow!
4) If you’re feeling drowsy in the evening don’t give up and head in for an early night. This kind of irregularity can upset this natural rhythm, meaning you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
5) Don’t fall victim to lie-ins either. It’s also important not to break the new routine at weekends or on holidays when it’s tempting to stay up late, or keep sleeping through your alarm. Doing so will only jolt your body off this natural rhythm.
Following these steps will ensure that you get the most out of the hours you sleep, and you’ll soon be waking up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. Remember: keep regular sleep hours, sleep as long as you need, don’t fall for early nights or lie-ins, and watch out for weekends!