The Clocks Are Going Back But Your Health Doesn't Have To
This Sunday, it's time to wind your
clocks back and indulge yourself with an extra hour of blissful
sleep. As the days grow shorter, hibernation temptation is
beginning to set in… so how can you get out of bed on the right
side after the clocks go back this Sunday?
Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina, explains how:
During the colder months people are
proven to be less likely to want to engage in social activities,
instead opting to remain curled up in the warmth of their homes.
Daily Express reported on a survey
GoCompare.com, which revealed that six
in ten respondents said that they preferred to stay at home on the
sofa with food and drink rather than go out, with 24% admitting
they are altogether less social.
Don't let the darkness get the
better of your mood. In the working week, the average adult can
expect to see just three and a half hours of natural light per day.
Exposure to sunlight increases the brain's release of the happy
hormone, serotonin. In the winter months, your serotonin levels can
dip, so try to get outside as much as possible. Even just half an
hour on your lunch break will make a huge difference.
You can boost your falling serotonin levels with your
favourite chocolate! Dark chocolate contains tryptophan, which is a
precursor to serotonin. The lack of sun exposure may leave your
body craving tryptophan… so don't be too hard on yourself for
having a square or two of the good stuff!
A recent study conducted by Harvard
Medical School showed adults sleep for 2.7 hours longer per day
during the winter - yet they still long for more. Once again, the
lack of sunlight is partly to blame. The darker days cause your
brain to produce more of the hormone melatonin, which promotes
fatigue and therefore makes you sleepy. On top of this, the shorter
days disrupt your sleep cycle, which means that the hours we do
manage to grab are less effective. Create your own perfect sleeping
environment by adding layers to your bedding and placing a hot water bottle at
your feet, thereby promoting a better quality of sleep.
Exercise releases stress relieving
hormones and gives you a clearer, more positive outlook on your day
ahead. In the same Harvard study, one in five adults revealed that
they cut down on exercise in the winter, whilst 18 per cent were
more likely to pick up the snacks, both of which contribute to
weight gain, with an obvious effect on self confidence. The
seasonal change causes many to start craving carbohydrates and
while these are a vital part of any diet, it's important to strike
a balance. If you need a snack, fill up on foods like walnuts,
bananas and tomatoes: they all help your body to produce serotonin
and will lift your mood.