Beat the Clock-Change Tiredness
Sunday 27th October officially marks the end of British Summer Time and that means one thing - winter is coming and it’s bringing with it some dark mornings and short days! Although the clocks don’t officially change until 2am, make sure to turn your clocks back before going to bed to avoid that early Monday morning confusion.
Daylight is essential to regulate our bodies internal clocks, we need natural light each morning in order to stimulate our bodies and signal it is time to wake up. While in the evenings too much artificial light can cause problems for our sleep.
It can therefore be difficult as the darker night’s draw in to adjust our body clocks and ensure we’re getting enough natural light during the daytime. Follow our top tips to ensure you are as prepared as possible for the winter months.
1. Let’s look at the positives.
When the clocks change, it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives - winter is just around the corner, it’s darker outside, and my bodyclock is about to go out of sync.
This year, try focusing on the positives. You get a whole extra hour of sleep! (Or partying, depending on what you choose to do with your Sunday night.)
Autumn also means pumpkin spice lattes and big fluffy coats are back in season. You have an excuse to chuck an extra throw on your bed, bust out the fluffy slippers and get cosy!
2. Don’t let the (lack of) daylight get you down.
During the shorter winter days, many of us will leave home in the dark and spend all day in work with limited natural daylight exposure. This lack of daylight can affect our melatonin levels and make it harder to fall asleep at night, leaving us feeling tired and rundown due to low vitamin D levels.
Not only is Vitamin D important for maintaining your immune system and supporting strong bones, but there’s also evidence to suggest that a lack of sunlight can result in a case of the “winter blues.” Many report feeling more down or depressed during the winter months.
Scientific evidence has shown that people who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) are severely affected by the lack of exposure to natural daylight, as the darkness triggers our bodies to produce more of the hormone melatonin which can cause fatigue and depression.
A sure way to counteract these changes is to get outside as much as possible. Whether it be a quick walk when the sun has risen or taking your lunch break outside while you’re at work, taking in as much natural daylight as possible will help you sleep much better.
However due to the lack of sunlight in the UK in winter months, our bodies still often need a top up of vitamin D from other sources. Vitamin D dietary supplements can help to compensate for the lack of daylight exposure, as well as specific foods like oily fish, eggs and red meat.
3. Start early to avoid the slump.
Preparation is key! Don't expect your body to adjust overnight, slowly adjusting your bedtime for a week in the run up to the clocks changing is the key to stay in sync.
Delaying your bedtime by just 10-15 minutes each night for a week before the clocks go back will mean that by the time the clocks change your body will have had plenty of time to adjust.
It is also important to maintain a regular sleep pattern (minus 10-15 minutes!) throughout October. Too many late nights or long lie-ins will cause your body clock to become unsettled and it will take you longer to adjust to the seasonal change. If you struggle to get to sleep, try sticking to a calming bedtime routine (don’t forget to take your Benenox!) to give your body time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
4. Get moving.
We’re much more likely to feel like working out on long summer days, but exercising in the winter months can not only increase your energy during the day but will make it easier to drift off at night too.
Exercise increases our body temperature and 30-90 minutes post workout the fall in temperature tends to make us feel sleepy. Exercise has also been proven to promote better sleep quality, with more time spent in deep sleep.
Did you know the time of day you choose to exercise can also impact on your sleep? Aerobic exercise, particularly in the afternoon, has been proven to improve your sleep quality and help you to fall asleep faster. However, timing is key, cardio exercise too close to bed-time can stimulate us due to the release of endorphins from this type of workout. If you are more of a night owl when it comes to exercise, try swapping your usual aerobic workout for yoga before bed to help you relax.
5. Revitalise your morning routine
We know forcing yourself out of bed on dark, cold mornings can be tough. However simple steps such as turning on bright lights or flinging open the curtains when you first wake up can help trigger your body to produce less melatonin and make you feel more awake.
You can also try splashing your face with cold water, or if you can bear it, have a cold shower! This will be sure to signal to your body it’s time to wake up and make you feel more alert.
Taking Benenox before going to sleep will also reduce that morning tiredness and fatigue, allowing you to wake up feeling recharged and ready to face the day ahead.
Follow these top tips and feel less sleep-all-day and more seize-the-day this winter!
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