Spring Forward With 11 Sleep Tips
New research from Alive!, the evidence backed supplement for all life stages, found that one in five (20%) of us sleeps less than six hours per night on average, even though most healthy adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, coronary heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy. Further real-world data from Alive! also found that: Whilst most of us look forward to the start of British Summer Time (BST) many of us struggle with adjusting their sleep patterns to accommodate the loss of an hour’s sleep and some feel the effect for a few days, or even weeks, afterwards. Remember, sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up.
Suzie Sawyer, clinical nutritionist for Alive! – the brains behind a range of supplements to help with all health and wellness needs including sleep - shares her 11 top tips to help you spring forward easily and sleep better all year round.
#1 Ease into Spring To minimise the impact of the switch to BST, make gradual adjustments. Go to bed (and if you have children, put them to bed) 15 minutes early, starting several days before the change. Make an extra effort to be well-rested the week before the time change.
#2 Seek a little sunshine Once the clocks spring forward on Sunday morning, step outside and catch some rays after you wake up. The sunlight will help set your body’s internal clock, which controls your sleep-wake cycle and boosts your vitamin D intake.
Public Health England (PHE) recommends we should all be taking 10 mcg/day vitamin D as a supplement, to keep our bones and muscles healthy as it is so difficult to obtain this amount through diet alone. Try Alive! Vitamin D3 Gummies which contain 50 μg of vitamin D3 per dose as well as calcium and phosphorus www.feelaliveuk.com or Nature’s Way Vitamin D3 High Strength 50µg Chocolate Chewable one-a-day tablets www.natures-way.com
#3 Take a nap If you feel sleepy after the change to BST, take a short nap in the afternoon if you can, but not too close to bedtime. You can then see how a nap affects your sleep quality. For some, napping can make night-time sleeping harder; but for others, a short nap (20 minutes) can be revitalising without ruining their night's sleep. However, avoid sleeping in an hour longer in the mornings, as your internal clock will adjust on its own in a few days.
#4 Keep regular sleep hours Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This helps your body regulate its sleep pattern and get the most out of the hours you sleep. If possible, wake up at the same time on the weekends too, which makes Monday mornings easier to bear.
#5 Get moving
Even moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, can help you sleep better. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week or more. However, if you often don't sleep well, try not to exercise too close to bedtime.
#6 Avoid stimulants Alcohol can interfere with sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid alcohol for 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Smokers should also avoid tobacco, another stimulant, too close to bedtime.
#7 Eat light at night Indigestion from spicy or fatty food or having too much food in your stomach can cause insomnia. For a better night's sleep, eat light, simple foods several hours before bed. Try this all-in-one chicken, squash and new potato casserole that's packed with goodness and will also set you on the way to lower your cholesterol https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/all-one-chicken-squash-new-potato-casserole
#8 Chill before bedtime Stress and overstimulation can make it hard to fall asleep. Try to avoid intense television programmes or films before bed. Relax with a soothing, warm bath and curl up with a book instead. Worry boosts production of the stress hormone cortisol, which makes you more alert. If anxiety keeps you awake, write out your to-do list for the following day before going to bed. A group of herbs known as adaptogens, can also help. As the term suggests, adaptogens literally understand what the body needs and provide much-needed support, primarily by reducing cortisol levels. The herb Rhodiola rosea helps target stress-related symptoms, Red ginseng helps stabilise the sympathetic nervous system and is great taken as a tea, and Ashwagandha has been specifically found to aid sleep. Rhodiola can be found in the Vitano Rhodiola Tablets – www.vitano.co.uk or try Nature’s Way Premium Extract Ashwagandha capsules – www.natures-way.com
#9 Create a sleep-friendly sanctuary Keep your bedroom as dark as possible by putting up blackout curtains or blinds. Temperature helps, too: an ideal bedroom temperature is around 16-18°C (60-65°F). Hot, cold, or draughty rooms can seriously impact on your sleep, in particular REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. If you have restless or snoring pets, keep them out of your room, along with all electronics. Save your bedroom for sleep, sex, and relaxing.
#10 Be nutrient savvy There are several essential nutrients which are known to help with sleep, in particular magnesium. Studies show that magnesium’s relaxing effect may be partly due to its ability to regulate the production of melatonin. Bananas, avocados, nuts, seeds, and legumes all contain beneficial levels of magnesium. Taking an evidence-backed multivitamin and multimineral supplement with good levels of magnesium daily, such as Alive! is recommended as it helps to bridge any dietary gaps and is essential to our health and wellness, especially as many of us struggle to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. The Alive! range of multivitamins and minerals is suitable for vegetarians and provides a perfectly balanced, complete formulations for the whole family. With prices from just 27p per day, the Alive! range is available in Boots, Holland & Barrett and online at www.natures-way.com
#11 Nature’s helping hand We know that nature has a wonderful treasure chest of efficacious herbal remedies. And one of the most effective herbs for sleep is passionflower (Passiflora incarnata L.) mainly down its ability to bring deep relaxation to the body. Passionflower works on the calming neurotransmitter GABA, aiding rest.
If passionflower brings relaxation, then another one of nature’s miracles, the herb valerian, helps the body to actually get to sleep. Indeed, it’s often been referred to as ‘nature’s Valium’. Valerian is one of the best nightcaps you can wish for with a recent review and meta-analysis confirming its positive outcomes for sleep . The review also highlighted the need for quality herbs, hence it’s important to look for a product that is licensed as a traditional herbal remedy (THR) such as Bonuit Sleep Aid – www.bonuit.co.uk which uniquely includes both passionflower and valerian.