Winter is a tricky time of year when it comes to getting the right amount of sleep. This is because a lack of sunlight can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm, and make it difficult to instinctively know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Sunlight exposure increases your brain’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate your sleep.
So, having identified the problem, we’re left with the task of determining what to do about it. Fortunately, we can distil the advice into a reliably sleep-conducive routine.
Don’t look at your phone
For around an hour before bed, you should put away any devices that generate unnaturally bright light. This includes your smartphone. You might get around this slightly with the help of the ‘dark mode’ now being included with a range of apps. But this doesn’t change the fact that most of what we do our smartphones is designed to excite us, which is the opposite of what we want before bed.
Brush your teeth early
We’ve mentioned that bright lights disrupt our natural sleep cycle. It’s partly for this reason that your bathroom activities should take place earlier in the evening, so that your body has around an hour to gradually prepare itself for bed.
There’s some disagreement among nutritionists about when we should be eating, and how frequently. But just about everyone agrees that eating more fruit and vegetables is near to impossible, so be sure that you load those winter casseroles with seasonal root vegetables and pulses.
To get the best possible comfort in your bed, you’ll want to clothe yourself suitably. That means a quilt of the appropriate thickness, and nightwear from a reputable brand like Damart.
Avoid Exercise before Bed
Exercise is one of the single best things you can do, not only to lose weight, but to improve your health in general. And most of us aren’t doing anywhere near enough of it. But there’s a right time of day to do your exercise, and for most people that’s early on. If you find that you’re hitting the gym immediately before bed, you probably won’t have the time to adequately unwind after you’ve got home. With that said, that’s not a reason to skip the evening workout entirely, especially if the evening is the only window available.
Let’s switch our focus to the alarm clock. Many of us elect to set an early alarm, and then press the snooze button repeatedly, with a view to gradually waking up. If you set your alarm for 7am, and then wake up every ten minutes for the following half-hour to press the snooze button, it’s a sign that you’re not going to bed early enough. The quality of sleep you get when you’re being constantly roused will be extremely poor; so shift your alarm a little bit later.