We’re in the midst of autumn, with shorter days and darker mornings gathering pace as we head towards the winter months. And while those crisp autumn mornings bring beautiful shades of burnt orange and red as the leaves change, they can also have an effect on how well we sleep and how rested we feel. The lack of light causes the body to produce more melatonin, resulting in the body feeling tired or sluggish, which is why the need to manage this change is so important.
Ahead of turning the clocks back on Sunday 29th October, Hypnos is offering tips and advice on how to achieve the perfect sleeping environment and turn your bedroom into a sanctuary of calm, regardless of the time or season.
Avoid a lie-in
Darker mornings mean it’s tempting to sneak a lie-in, especially at weekends. However, the more your weekend/weekday sleep patterns differ, the worse the jet lag-like symptoms you’ll experience. If you need to make up for a late night, try a short daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm.
Lose the hour in advance
Help your body acclimatise slowly by pushing bedtime back by twenty minutes, gradually building up to thirty, forty, fifty and sixty during the week prior to the time change. This will enable you to lose the hour early and should make the transition easy.
Choose the right duvet
Choosing the right tog level of duvet to suit the changing climate is essential for helping our bodies maintain the right temperature for a restful night’s sleep. During the colder seasons, choose a 13.5 tog duvet and add lots of layers of beautiful bedding to increase the flow of heat. If you really feel the chill, a 16.5 tog duvet will keep you toasty warm when it’s freezing outside.
Set the heating
Nobody wants to step out of a cosy warm bed into a cold room; the thought is enough to send anyone burrowing back under the duvet. Before you go to bed, make sure your bedroom’s temperature is around 18 degrees to ensure you get the best night’s sleep. What’s more, don’t waste money and leave the heating on all night. Instead set the thermostat for half an hour before you’re due to get up so you’re waking to a lovely warm bedroom. Be sure not to set it to come on too early though as the boiler firing up and radiators turning on could disturb your sleep and make you overly hot.
During the autumn and winter months the mornings are darker and so are the nights, so it’s important that we expose ourselves to as much natural daylight as possible. When you get up, throw open the curtains and blinds and embrace the day. Try and get outside early on, even if it’s only for 10 minutes – the light will help to stimulate your brain, releasing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin which elevate your mood. If you’re an early riser, invest in a light emitting alarm clock which works by mimicking a sunrise to gently wake you up ‘naturally’ with light.
We all lead busy lives, so waking up revitalised and raring to go in the morning is vital and getting comfortable is key to this. Try using a soft wool mattress protector underneath your bed sheet to allow for an extra layer of cushioning. The natural wool fibres will keep you warm whilst also allowing your skin to breathe, helping to regulate your body temperature. Likewise, investing in plump, cushioned pillows made from natural or alpaca wool give your head and neck the support they need, as well as keeping them warm during the chilly autumnal nights. Finally, the most important element in getting a restful night’s sleep is the mattress. Opt for one made from natural, sustainable fibres such as wool, cashmere or silk, with pocket springs for additional comfort. This ensures the mattress is breathable – promoting healthy air flow, helping to regulate body temperature and reduce body moisture, while repelling allergens and enhancing the sleeping experience.