How to fix your sleeping pattern after the festive period

Over Christmas and new year, our sleeping patterns tend to get all out of whack.

Most of us had at least some time off work, and as a result we were staying up later and lying-in longer.

So, the thought of returning to our normal routines – waking up at 7am (or earlier) for work – is daunting.

It also isn’t only the late nights that will have been messing with our sleep these last few weeks, it’s also the increased booze and rich food that often come with festive socialising.

Drinking alcohol lessens the quality of our sleep, rich food can make it harder to sleep – so if you’ve been feeling particularly groggy, this might be why.

So, how can we break the cycle and get back to the healthy sleep patterns we need to get us through the working week?

The personal training experts at Protectivity teamed up with sleep expert Dr Lindsay Browning to ask why it is so important to get a good night’s sleep – and how to get our routines back in sync.

‘Sleep is absolutely critical to our overall health and wellbeing, says Dr Lindsay.

‘Getting the right amount of sleep for our age is associated with a reduced risk of depression, anxiety, certain types of cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke and dementia, as well as a boosted immune system.

‘For so long people have neglected sleep, thinking of it as an inconvenience, but only in recent years has science shown how incredibly important sleep is.’

Dr Lindsay says we always sleep better when we have a regular routine, which is why it’s likely to get messed up over Christmas.

‘Also, increased amounts of alcohol disrupt sleep quality. Plus, we may struggle to sleep after eating large quantities of rich food, or caffeine-laden chocolates,’ she says.

‘Rather than worrying about it all too much over the festive period, I would recommend that you start moving your bedtime and wake time more towards normality in the days before you go back to work.

‘Also, I would suggest having some alcohol-free days, and making sure that your festive diet includes some fruit and vegetables.’

Another top tip from Dr Lindsay is to make sure you are moving your body enough. Days where we don’t move from the sofa can make it harder to drift off.

‘When we increase our exercise levels, we increase the amount of deep sleep that we have,’ she adds.

‘Deep sleep is the part of sleep where our bodies physically repair. If we have had lots of deep sleep during the night we tend to wake up reporting that we feel much more refreshed too.’

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