From ten-minute naps to ditching your phone, here’s six tips on how to get a good night’s sleep as temperatures plummet – The Sun11/07/2019
WINTER can play havoc with our sleeping patterns.
Research shows longer nights affect our circadian rhythms, making it more difficult to wake up and causing sluggishness. Here, nutritionist Rob Hobson tells NATASHA HARDING how to maximise your slumber in the colder months.
Say bye to blue
LONGER nights can lead to more time spent inside using electronic devices that emit blue light. This has been shown to disrupt melatonin – the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle.
Turn off phones and laptops an hour before bed. This is not just to get a good kip – studies show a connection between overuse of phones and depression and anxiety.
LOW energy levels can make it difficult to find the motivation to keep active and eat healthily. But skipping meals or bingeing on comfort foods, especially in the evening, causes nutrient insufficiencies which can keep you awake at night.
And it is a vicious cycle because the more tired you are, the more likely you are to make bad food choices.
See the light
OUR sleep/wake cycle is governed by light. Darkness triggers the release of melatonin, while light produces cortisol – the stress hormone that helps us to wake up.
Get as much light as you can during the day. If you can’t get outside, consider a light box, which mimics natural sunlight and is used to treat people with seasonal affective disorder.
AS temperatures drop outdoors, we tend to turn up the heat inside – but this can disrupt sleep. This is because central heating systems dry out the mucous membranes, making you more thirsty during the night.
Turn the heating off in your bedroom and instead use duvets, blankets and breathable bed linen to help regulate your body temperature.
Vits a hit
COLDS and flu affect our ability to breathe, which inevitably disrupts sleep.
Make sure you are eating a balanced diet containing plenty of plant-based foods rich in vitamins A, C, zinc and selenium that support your immune system. In the winter, most adults lack vitamin D, which is linked to immunity, so it is worth investing in a supplement.
No quick fixes
IF you are feeling sluggish, it can be tempting to reach for a caffeinated drink or sugary snack, but both can disrupt sleep.
They may boost energy levels but it is usually short-lived and often followed by a craving for more of the same, creating a vicious cycle of highs and lows. If you are tired, take a quick nap of between ten and 30 minutes.
- The Art Of Sleeping, by Rob Hobson (HQ, £9.99) is out on Thursday.
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