Steps to feel less tired in the morning - caffeine cut-off time and warm bath

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Are you feeling tired this new year amid post-Christmas blues? (Image: Getty Images/Tetra images RF)
Are you feeling tired this new year amid post-Christmas blues? (Image: Getty Images/Tetra images RF)

If you've woken up feeling groggy this morning, then you're not alone. Returning to work after the festive break is daunting - you've spent the last two weeks staying up late, eating more food than you usually would and for some people, drinking alcohol in excess.

Just the thought of your alarm going off would probably be enough for your stomach to turn as the realisation kicks in that we are on the other side of winter. During time off work, you probably got out of sync with a good sleep routine.

But not getting enough shut-eye can have damaging effects on your health. Thankfully, there are easy steps you can follow to get into good habits at nighttime and during the day for a good night's kip.

Sleep expert at , Dr Lindsay Browning, has shared her six tips to get your sleeping pattern back on track:

Steps to feel less tired in the morning - caffeine cut-off time and warm bath rriqudiuriqkkinvThere are a number of steps to follow for a better night's sleep (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Get into the habit of having a routine

Keeping a regular wake and bedtime seven days per week will help you sleep better.

'My neighbour's screaming baby keeps me up all night - I'm sick of it''My neighbour's screaming baby keeps me up all night - I'm sick of it'

When you keep a regular sleep schedule your body develops a robust circadian rhythm, which helps you to sleep at the right time at night.

If you go to bed early and wake up early on weekdays, but stay up late and have a lie-in on the weekend, you are giving yourself weekend 'jet-lag' – making it much harder to go to sleep early on a Sunday night ready for another early start on Monday morning.

This applies to meal times too. It is true that sunshine exposure is the main regulator of our circadian rhythm but we also get cues from when we are physically active and when we eat.

If you skip breakfast, for example, then your circadian rhythm won't know that it is actually morning yet. Also, if you eat food in the middle of the night then your circadian rhythm can think it is already morning and start to wake you up too early.

Stop your caffeine intake at 2pm

Caffeine has an average half-life of 5-7 hours. That means that 5-7 hours after your cup of coffee, half of the caffeine is still in your system.

Caffeine is not only found in tea and coffee, but also in chocolate and in soft drinks such as cola and energy drinks, including the sugar-free variety.

If you have trouble sleeping then it is recommended that you have your last cup of caffeine of the day at around 2pm.

Night-time digital detox

Steps to feel less tired in the morning - caffeine cut-off time and warm bathSmartphones emit blue light which is the same as daylight. (Getty Images/EyeEm)

Make sure that you switch off your electronic devices an hour before bed, in particular, your phone.

Smartphones emit blue light which is the same as daylight. Electronic devices like your phone or laptop emit a bright blue frequency of light which our brains interpret as bright daytime sunshine.

If you are looking at screens late in the evening then your eyes will be exposed to this blue light and your circadian rhythm will think that it is much earlier in the day and try to stop producing melatonin, disrupting sleep. Try reading a book or meditating before you sleep instead.

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Phone usage before bed is also more likely to increase anxiety, seeing an email from work, an upsetting news story or something on social media you don't like will stick in your mind and stop you from being able to drop off.

Have a warm bath before bed

Having a relaxing warm bath before bed will not only help you to wind down after a busy day, but also the temperature of the bath will help you sleep. When you go to sleep, your body temperature naturally decreases.

If you have a warm bath, then you artificially raise your body temperature and when you come out of the warm bath, your body temperature will naturally start to drop, mimicking the drop in temperature that happens as you fall asleep, making you feel sleepier.

Add lavender-scented oils or bubble bath for an even more relaxing experience.

Don't lie in if you can't sleep

Steps to feel less tired in the morning - caffeine cut-off time and warm bathDon't force yourself back to sleep if you've woken up early (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If you can't sleep, then lying still in bed trying to sleep is one of the worst things you can do. The longer you lie in bed trying to sleep and clock-watching, paradoxically the more anxious you are likely to get about not sleeping.

Those struggling to sleep should try and stay awake instead of trying to get to sleep.

The more you dwell on trying to go to sleep the more anxiety this will cause and the more awake you will feel. When laying in bed try and challenge yourself to stay awake instead.

Saffron Otter

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation