The clocks go back this weekend. Good news you’d think, in that we get an extra hour in bed. That might be great news on Monday morning when you effectively get a lovely hour lie in, but the tricky bit starts that evening when you may not feel sleepy at your usual bedtime. By the middle of the week our natural rhythms are likely to be knocked a little out of synch and getting up on time becomes harder to do. It’s a bit like giving ourselves a mini dose of jet lag.
Here are our tips on how to handle the time change without it messing with your sleep patterns:
1. Don’t leave it until Sunday
The gentler you can ease yourself in to the time shift, the easier it will be for your natural sleep rhythms to adapt. It’s much easier to make the change over a few days rather than leaving it all down to Sunday night. From Friday, start your nightly wind down routine 20mins earlier (and then another 20mins earlier again on Saturday) so you stagger the effect. Make sure your bedtime routine is a nice relaxing one – we’re thinking, gentle music, low lighting and a nice relaxing soak in the bath. Add some soothing essential oils to help you de-stress and relax muscles. (Our DREAM After Dark Bath Oil is perfect for this – it contains a natural sleep-inducing cocktail of sleep-inducing lavender oil, mood brightening bergamot, cedarwood to relax your muscles and skin and soul-soothing chamomile.)
2. Prep for the day ahead
Worry is a real sleep stopper. There’s nothing worse than lying in bed unable to sleep and getting more and more stressed about all the things you have to do the next day. Doing some little things the night before that help you have a speedy start in the morning can help you buy a bit of time and take a weight off your mind. So spend ten minutes on an evening making the pack lunches and getting an outfit ready for the next day. Then you can turn in for the night knowing those bits are done and waiting for you when you wake.
3. Get light smart
Light regulates sleepiness levels. Clocks going back mean lighter mornings (for a while anyway). Good news as waking up should be easier so throw open those curtains on waking to take advantage and walk or cycle to work to dose up on daylight.
The flip side is darker afternoons and evenings of course. That means through the winter we’re reliant on artificial light. The blue light that screens and bulbs emit help to keep us awake through the afternoon as light levels fall, but they also confuse the brain into thinking it’s perpetually daytime. The trick is knowing when to switch them off. Lower the wattage at night to help you get sleepy and stay away from backlit screens (computers, phones and TVs for example) for at least an hour before you want to go to sleep.
4. Have a Plan B to hand
For nights when you struggle to drop off, or get woken midway through the night and may struggled to get back to sleep, have something by your bedside to help you. Our After Dark Balms work a treat for this – soothing essential oils mixed with a lovely to the touch blend of shea butter and sea buckthorn oil. Just apply to wrists and temples before bed or through the night to help you drop off. If your mind is whirring and keeping you awake, choose our After Dark CALM Balm – the mix of jasmine, chamomile, ylang ylang and sandalwood are perfect to quieten overactive minds at bedtime.
5. Eat and drink clever
Disrupted sleep can also mess with our appetite. When we don’t get enough rest our body produces more of the hunger hormone, grehlin. So watch out for night-time munchies and a craving for sugary breakfasts.
If you do feel peckish before bed, choose things that can help you feel sleepy – oats, dairy, nuts, bananas, cherries, turkey in small enough bites that they’ll fill a hole before bedtime without making you feeling heavy are all good options.
Avoid stimulants including anything with caffeine in it (not just coffee and soft drinks) watch out for it in tea and chocolate too.
6. Stay positive
Darker days can be a downer. So put some time aside each night to help you end the day feeling positive as the evenings get inkier. A natter on the phone with a friend, listening to some music you love, reading an uplifting book – can all help you go to sleep feeling happier and more content.
Our sense of smell has an amazing power to change our mood so if you are feeling a bit blue as the winter draws in, try our GLOW After Dark Face Oil. It contains a mood-brightening mix of warm orange, geranium, myrrh and litsea oil – (litsea has been used in Chinese medicine for generation to calm the mind and nudge away negative thoughts). Apply before bed as part of your night-time skincare routine to nourish skin through the colder months and to lift your spirit as you drop off to sleep.
7. Kids too
Even if your sleep patterns are sorted it won’t count for much unless the rest of the household’s sleep routines are working too. The last thing you need are fights about going to bed because they are not tired and then little heads popping round your bedroom door at 5am because they are wide awake. Adapt and apply these tips to the kids bedtime routines to help ensure the whole household has a lovely long week of sweet dreams.