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Getting Enough Sleep

30 Mar 2020

Improve your resistance to stress through focusing on sleep. Consistent, quality rest is the cornerstone of good physical and mental health.

We hope you’re all coping ok with your new normal. It’s a global crisis but every person is having a unique experience of it. The one thing we all have in common at the moment is stress. We’re all worried about our families and ourselves – staying healthy outside the house and staying sane inside the house.

Every Monday through lockdown we’ve been posting some ideas on how you can improve your resilience. Today’s top tip is to focus on sleep. Consistent, quality rest is the cornerstone of good physical and mental health.

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural sleep / wake cycle. Making a change to this rhythm can significantly affect how you feel and how your body operates. Through the lockdown period it may suit you to stay up a little later and sleep in a little later. This is fine as long as you stay consistent with your new normal. When you decide on your bedtime be mindful that daylight savings is about to end, which will create further disruption to your circadian rhythm. If you have children at home keep in mind that they will cope better if their circadian rhythm suffers minimal disruption. After Easter they will be expected to keep school hours so it’s ideal not to let them stray too far from normal routine.

A settled circadian rhythm requires the appropriate release of sleep hormones. Artificial light can suppress the release of melatonin so be mindful of how your late-night scrolling and Netflix-ing is affecting your ability to sleep restfully. Another easy way to keep your rhythm stable to expose your eyes to natural light as soon as you wake up in the morning. Studies have shown that morning daylight exposure is a predictor of a good night of sleep. Exercise and fresh air also help support a healthy sleep/wake cycle.

If you need any extra help with sleeping through this difficult period please don’t hesitate to message us for advice.

Author

Claire Bellingham

Claire Bellingham is Life Pharmacy Takapuna's very own health columnist.  Claire has been a personal trainer at Les Mills Takapuna for 15 years and writes a monthly health column in Channel Magazine.

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