How To Naturally Keep Your Energy And Productivity In Action During The Darker Months Of November To February
11th Dec 2018
We’ve experienced the annual change of turning our clock back one hour in October to accommodate the Northern Hemisphere’s daylight saving. And these changes can throw off your sleep and your decisions. A good night’s sleep is exactly what the doctor ordered. It helps to form new pathways in the brain so we can retain more information. It’s essential for physical repair and healing and it makes us feel more productive.
Here’s how to accommodate the change for the sake of your circadian rhythms. Your rhythm is how your body regulates your 24-hour body clock and it’s dictated by light. As light levels rise, so too do hormone levels of cortisol to wake you up. As light levels fall the hormone melatonin is produced to induce sleep….. this is when you may feel more tired at 4 pm when it’s dark in the Northern Hemisphere.
Tips to take care of yourself
1. Go to bed at your usual time after the time change
Our autonomic nervous system loves a routine it can trust. Sleep is the time when our body and mind does its repairs and healing from the day’s activity.
2. Get up at your usual time regularly
If waking up in the dark and leaving work in the dark are getting you down, you might find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. One in three people in the UK suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms may include anxiety, feeling tearful. a persistent low mood, loss of interest in normal activities and low sex drive. According to a study, women are 40 per cent more likely to experience the symptoms than men.
3. Avoid bright artificial light in the evening
Put your smart technology to night settings so that your body is not tricked into thinking it’s still daylight.
Don’t nap within a few hours of your regular bedtime.
You don’t need to aim for 8 hours. Anywhere between four and 11 hours is normal – if you only need five hours, you’ll be refreshed after five hours. You will know if you’ve had enough by how you feel at 11 am. At 11 am you are on the rising phase of your circadian rhythm. If you are getting enough sleep you will feel wide awake and alert.
4. Reduce your intake of sugar wine gluten and dairy.
These cause hormonal inflammation which can lead to poor sleep.
5. Take supplements Vitamin D C B Complex and magnesium
They are a great way to support hormonal balance. Poor gut health is linked to tiredness, so a good probiotic is a good place to start.
6. Eat Fat
Lot fat diets are not great for sleep. Hormones are made from fat and if we don’t get enough good fat in our diet certain hormones become imbalanced which can contribute to tiredness.
Include avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds in your diet.
7. Have a moment each day for self-reflection and You time
It may just be 20 minutes when you catch up with the latest chapter of the book you are reading, or you have a hot drink and watch the birds through the window. But by giving yourself permission to have a moment of time to yourself allows the body and brain to decompress, change gears and let you breathe more deeply. This signals to the autonomic nervous system side of the body that there is no stress and it can relax its state of ‘survival alertness’.
Source of reference: Dr N Talib, The Sleep Foundation; Dr S Roked, The Tiredness Cure; YouGov 2014
This is a guest post by Michelle Galbraith
Michelle is a Reflexologist in private practice at Brighter Spaces Guildford.