Newsletter Sept/Oct 2020
As we move into Autumn and society slowly begins to return to some kind of normality (fingers crossed) it’s as important now as it ever was to look after our health and keep our immune systems function as well as we can.
One of the key areas in which we can do this, and something that I know many people struggle with, is to get a good night’s sleep. Sometimes falling asleep isn’t easy. The odd tough night is no big deal, but if you find yourself staring at the ceiling for hours as you wait for slumber to come, there are some simple things you can do to help.
Lose The Caffeine
Everyone knows that caffeine is a stimulant. If you’re struggling to fall asleep or even stay asleep, then caffeine could be the problem. Research shows that drinking caffeine at any time of the day can interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep. Consider switching it out for decaff. You can go cold turkey (which can be a rough ride for a few days) or gradually wean yourself off over time to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.
Get Sunlight On Your Eyes
In The Morning getting some sunlight on your eyes in the morning can help tell your body that it’s time to wake up and start the day. Just 10 minutes in the sunlight will set your circadian rhythm off on the right track, making it easier to fall asleep when the evening comes.
Avoid Screens In The Evening
If you’re struggling to fall asleep it could be the TV that’s to blame. Most screens emit blue light. This has been shown to have a stimulating effect on the brain which can interfere with your ability to sleep. Ideally, turn the TV off a few hours before bedtime and don’t look at your phone or other screens.
Don’t Snack After 9pm
Eating in the evening can give your body the wrong message and prevent you from falling easily into a silent slumber. Avoid snacking after dinner, but if you must, then avoid sugary
or carby foods and make sure you’ve finished eating by 9pm to give your body time to digest your food before you go to bed. You may have found other techniques that have helped you sleep such as meditation, a gentle stretching routine or breathing exercises to de-stress for example. Or sometimes a new mattress or change of pillow can help get your body in a better position for a good night’s slumber. I hope you’ve found what works for you. Wishing you health and happiness – and a good night’s sleep,
Dr. Sian Sayward
BACK TO SCHOOL, BACK TO WORK,
BACK TO NORMAL???
If all goes to plan, it won’t be long before the kids return to school and adults return to work after what must be the longest “summer holiday” on record.
But after 6 months out of our normal routine, how easy will it be to return to some kind of normal?
Some of you will slip back into your old routine with ease, enjoying the change and embracing the little bit of normality this old structure brings.
Some of you may struggle. After 6 months of having complete control of your schedule and time in abundance, it may be hard to get up early and motivate yourself to get back into routine.
Your body clock may have adjusted to a different cycle, your mindset has most likely changed and
your focus may be hard to bring back to the fore.
So what can you do to make this transition a little easier?
How can you help your kids or yourself adjust to the new routine and prepare physically and mentally for returning to work or school?
You need to go back to basics.
1: GET YOUR SLEEP CYCLE BACK ON TRACK
While late nights and lazy mornings may have been a luxury to enjoy through the lockdown and summer holiday, a sleep schedule that’s off-kilter is going to be your worst nightmare once school or work begins. Start adjusting your circadian rhythm now by moving your wake up time forwards by 15 minutes each morning, and your bedtime forward by 15 minutes each night until you get back to your optimum schedule.
2: EAT CLEAN FOR MORE ENERGY
Many people have found their diets slip through the lockdown – a little extra wine here, a little takeout treat there. While finding ways to treat yourself and make these last few months more enjoyable is great, if your diet isn’t clean and healthy, you’ll feel it in your mood, your body and your energy when you go back to work. Start eating consciously again – reduce your alcohol intake (or cut it out!), limit any refined foods or sugars and pack in plenty of lean proteins, fresh fruit and veg for a nutrient boost.
3: GET MOVING TO IMPROVE YOUR FOCUS
Re-learning how to sit still and focus is going to be tough for kids this September – and adults too! Returning to sitting at a desk and asking your brain to focus on challenging or mundane tasks is going to be tough. But exercise can help!
As little as 15 minutes of movement in the morning can not only improve your fitness, boost your immune system and make you feel healthier, but it can help you to focus through the day too.
4: HAVE A REALISTIC & POSITIVE MINDSET
Getting back to normal is likely to have some challenges. If you start this journey expecting that there might be some tough times and difficult adjustments then you’ll be much more prepared to handle them when they pop up. Talk to your kids about the changes to come, problem-solve together and be kind to each other – and yourself as you learn to adjust once again to this new normal. Most importantly – stay positive. Even if the adjustment is hard, remember that this too shall pass and you’ll soon be enjoying your more-structured life once again.