As the dark evenings approach earlier, it seems like people’s energy is changing. Some are getting less energetic, some prefer to spend their weekends inside and some really struggle mentally with less sunshine and warmth. I remember my school years, where I found myself being very productive at school during autumn and early winter simply because there was nothing going outside, it felt extra nice and cosy being inside and winter coats in Eastern Europe are toooo heavy to carry around for too long. I think of the darker months as a recharge time. We are slowly building up to a new year, making it easier on ourselves and our bodies and there is that Christmas/New Year magical atmosphere (unless you shop Black Friday deals with all the masses of overly excited people around).
One thing I tend to do more during wintertime is sleep and I know a lot of you would agree. Sunshine/daylight controls your body’s internal clock- circadian rhythm. When it’s dark, your body makes melatonin, when the sun is out, it doesn’t. This means being in darker months, our body naturally gets more sleepy, a reason so important to make the best out of the daylight as much as possible.
Nowadays, people have been struggling with sleep more than ever. It’s the high amounts of stress, unhealthy diet choices, hormonal imbalances, sedentary lifestyles and spending many hours a day staring at the screen without any breaks (which affects the melatonin production also). People experience insomnia, disturbed sleep with waking up multiple times a night and not feeling recovered and energised the time they wake up. It will keep you going for a couple of nights, but the issues start when it is an almost every night occurrence. Your body’s stress hormones go up, not allowing your cells to regenerate optimally and disturbing the rest of the system. Concentration ability gets affected, mood changes- angry people quite often simply need a nap- and negative thoughts come more frequently.
There are multiple things that can help you sleep better, but it is not an easy journey towards improving it:
- Make sure you work towards eating better/healthier. Junk food, caffeine, fizzy drinks, unhealthy cooking oils, sugary snacks are not great recipes for an amazing night’s sleep, unfortunately.
- Have a wind downtime an hour before going to bed without screens, overeating and stressing about tomorrow’s project. It will help your body calm down before going to bed. Some people use baths, CBD or essential oils, relaxing music, mediation etc.
- Try to stick to a more consistent schedule unless it is impossible especially with various shifts at work.
- If you are in pain, your body will be more likely to wake up at night especially when inflammation levels are the highest. Make sure you understand what the pain is and deal with it.
- Sometimes naps are necessary and especially when stress is high in your life, they are a must. However, it tends to be harder to fall asleep if you have had a nap during the day for some people.
- No alcohol in the evening. Movies tend to show you a very attractive way of relaxing in the evening with a glass of wine. It will also affect your melatonin production and lead to disturbed sleep and gut issues long term.
- Make sure it is not too hot in your bedroom.
- Your bedroom should be a calming space with no monitors, electrical devices, food and games. No distractions and associating the bedroom with peace will help your brain to calm down quickly after a long day.
Manual therapies have also been proved to help with sleep and relaxation and many clients have reported more restful sleep after their session.
If you are struggling and think we can help, give us a call.