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Autumn sleep tips for you and your family

by HEALTH talk

Nights drawing in and days turning cooler is a sure sign that Autumn is on its way.  And with Autumn comes the end of British Summertime which brings its own set of sleep challenges for those who struggle to snooze. Here’s The Sleep Council’s advice to make sure Autumn doesn’t leave you fatigued and frustrated.

According to The Sleep Council, while the end of long, light nights and hot stuffy bedrooms ends one set of problems, it can mean the start of others for some people.

Shorter days can mean less exposure to sunlight.

This means lower levels of vitamin D and increased feelings of fatigue – and also disruption of the circadian rhythm, which regulates feelings of wakefulness and sleepiness.

Getting plenty of sun on your face in the morning can help, so be sure to open the curtains as soon as you wake up and, if possible, go for a morning walk.

After sunset, do the opposite and dim indoor lights to get your body back on track.

Keep it cool

While crisp, chill air can make it tempting to light the fire and crank up the heating, it’s actually best to keep the home – or at least the bedroom –between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. Letting the bedroom get too warm can mess with your sleep.

Too hot and the body struggles to bring its temperature back down, causing wakefulness.

Too cold and the body will eventually wake you up – demanding extra layers of warmth and insulation!

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Is a type of depression that can set in when daylight hours grow shorter.

It is thought to affect one in 15 people between the months of September and April in the UK each year.

While the cause of SAD is still unknown, the disorder can alter melatonin levels, which play a role in the sleep/wake cycle and cause daytime sleepiness and oversleeping. 

Normal sleep schedule

To re-establish a normal sleep schedule, exercise regularly, ensure the bedroom is conducive to sleep (strictly no gadgets and gizmos) and keep bedtime/waking times consistent – even at weekends.

Getting as much natural daylight as possible is key too, as it suppresses melatonin levels and boosts serotonin production.

Overload the tum at your peril!

Colder weather can also tempt us to eat more than we should.

While it’s easy to stick to salads and lighter foods during warm Summer months, avoid the temptation to ‘comfort eat’ heavier meals as the temperatures drop – particularly close to bedtime.

Too much food, too close to bedtime is a sure-fire recipe for wake-up level heartburn and indigestion.

Make sure your bed is comfortable and still supportive.

Indoor furniture can be forgotten about during the lazy, hazy, outdoor furniture days of summer.

With the focus firmly back indoors, it might be time to re-appraise the piece of furniture that you use more than any other in the home.

If your bed is seven years old or more, then a new one could definitely be on the cards.

More from The Sleep Council here

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Since 2005 Smalltalk Magazine is a printed A4 information magazine aimed at parents, distributed throughout the Yorkshire region. Printed 6 times a year it is distributed free to over 300 parent-friendly locations in the area. Full of useful and informative articles about family life.

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