Need a coffee? Here's how to fix your sleeping pattern after the festive period

Virgin Radio

4 Jan 2022, 12:31

Pic: Getty

With all of that festive telly and New Year's Eve partying, sleep has probably been the last thing on your mind.

It can be a shock to the system when you return to a schedule, either at your work desk or getting the kids ready for school.

Time off often means late nights and lie-ins, which can mean our usual early alarms have become painful.

The rich food and increased booze intake can also mess up your sleep, with alcohol impacting the quality of your snooze, while rich food can make it harder to drift off.

If you're trying to figure out how to get your sleep pattern back on track, here are some tips to get you back to the land of nod in no time.

The personal training experts at Protectivity teamed up with sleep expert Dr Lindsay Browning and told Metro how we can sort our sleep. 

"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.’

The Christmas season has definitely messed up our routine, says Dr Browning.

"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.

She added: "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.

It's bad news for the chocolate and crisp fans: "Also, I would suggest having some alcohol-free days, and making sure that your festive diet includes some fruit and vegetables.’

We should also be moving more, say experts.

"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.’

Here are the top tips to make sleep easier.

Take the time to unwind

Try to relax and give yourself the best chance possible of dozing off by listening to calm music or taking a long bubble bath. Showers do the opposite though and will wake you up again.

Eat healthy meals regularly

It's a fine balance - you don't want to go to bed with a rumbling stomach and hunger keeping you awake, but you don't want to feel sick after a large meal either. When planning your evening meal try paying attention to what and how much you eat, to ensure you are satisfied.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine at night

Try to avoid caffeine at least six hours before you go to bed. Caffeine causes hyperactivity and wakefulness, which isn't what you need when trying to drift off.

Do not watch television in bed

This may also increase alertness. The brain could decide that bedtime is for watching television and refuse to sleep.

Exercise regularly

Exercising during the day will sufficiently tire you out.

Limit screen time

No doomscrolling please! It can feel like we're glued to our devices, however, experts say to step away from all screens for an hour leading up to going to bed. Reading a book or writing a journal will help to avoid the stimulation from the light.

Never oversleep

When you're tired it can be tempted to lie in the next morning, but it can set your body clock to a different cycle.