As it is coming up to the time of year for hibernation, it seems appropriate to start a series of weekly blogs on sleep. I definitely go into hibernation mode over the winter, wanting to go to bed earlier and get up later, and not feeling as energised as I do in the summer. That is a natural response to the reduced daylight, which stimulates the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy.
To help counteract that urge to hibernate and to feel more energised:
- Spend as much time as possible outside every day, even if it is just a 20-minute stroll at lunchtime
- Exercise regularly, but avoid training too hard less than 2 hours before bedtime or it may keep you awake
- Try regular massage and/or shiatsu as it can be energising as well as relaxing
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg, as it will make you feel fresh, whereas comfort food will make you feel sluggish
- Ensure that you have adequate vitamin D in your diet (there are plenty of non-animal sources of this if you are vegan, as it is added to a lot of plant milks and margarines, etc.)
- Establish a healthy sleep routine, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day
- Give yourself time for 8 hours' sleep each night (you are likely to need more than that if you have an active lifestyle).
Watch this space for information on how get a better night's sleep!