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Time's a changin...How to get better sleep!

The winter time change is always more welcome than the summer robbing us of a precious hour, but what impact does this really have on our sleep?

We already feel a lot more tired as the sun drains out of the sky earlier and earlier, and it can be hard to find the motivation to do anything!

This is something I have been struggling with, especially as I have come from living in the Caribbean where there is, sorry to say this

'nothing but sunshine and blue skies'

Some of you will have seen on social media that I have been using my FitBitto track my sleep recently, trying to get in 8 hours of quality shut eye.

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Here are my 5 tips to quality sleep!

📷 #1 Stick to one Sleep Schedule

Get to sleep and wake up at the same even on the weekend. It turns out that the body craves sleep consistency and so the more consistent you are with your sleep schedule, the easier it is to fall asleep and the easier it is to stay asleep.

📷 #2 Sleep in the dark

Darkness is key to keeping our bodies on the right wake/sleep schedule. Darkness signals a melatonin release – the brain chemical that makes us sleepy. All of this light at night can throw off the whole system and lead to sleep loss and chronic health problems. It’s important to gradually reduce the amount of light around you as you approach bedtime and to keep it dark when you’re sleeping.

This leads to the biggest cause of sleep problems today… 📷

71% of people sleep either holding their smartphone, having it in bed with them, or having it on their nightstand.

Many people use their smartphones as their alarm clocks, it makes sense that many would want their phones within an arm’s reach. But when your cell is that close to you, the temptation to check social media sites, work email, and/or the news headlines is often too strong to resist—even if it’s 11:00pm. As a result, you might feel energised from interacting with others or stressed out by something that you read when you should actually be relaxing.

That’s not the only reason, though. Smartphones—like laptops, tablets, and televisions—emit something called blue light, which is a type of light that the brain interprets as daylight. The blue light actually suppresses melatonin (a hormone that affects circadian rhythm and should increase when you are preparing for bedtime). The result: Your brain feels stimulated. This is fine if you’re looking at your smartphone’s screen at noon, but if you’re looking at the screen at midnight, your brain is going to get confused and think that the sun is out—making it even tougher to fall asleep.

📷 #3 Stop Caffeine by 2pm

The third thing is to stop caffeine by 2pm, most people don’t know but caffeine has a half life of between 8 and 10 hours. Stopping by 2pm will allow yourself to fall to sleep by 10 – 10:30pm without a whole lot of difficulty.

📷 #4 Stop alcohol 3 hours before bed

Now this is one of my bug bears! Alcohol may actually make you feel sleepy it actually keeps you out of the deeper stages of sleep. It takes the human body about one hour per every alcoholic beverage so stopping 3 hours before bed you have enough time to get the alcohol out of your system.

📷 #5 Exercise Daily

The best way to improve your sleep quality is to exercise daily. But people have to be careful because often times this can rev you up and we want to be able to fall asleep naturally without this energised feeling.

Finally...always, and I mean it, always embrace the nap!

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Even the shortest snooze causes significant improvements in people’s mood, reaction time, and alertness! And you always wake up feeling yummy!  

What other strategies have worked for you –

To get yourself to turn off the light?

Or once in bed, to get more restful sleep?

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​© 2019 Emma Louise NatureDoc

Chester, Cheshire