Three-day guide to reset your body clock this weekend after the festive period
During Christmas and New Year, lots of us end up with chaotic sleeping patterns – so if you’ve struggled to wake up before heading to work, don’t worry, it’s easy to change
Good news, if you’re back at work and struggling to keep an eye open, this sleep-reset guide will sort you out.
Backed by science, it’ll ensure you are jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn in just three days.
As you know, we’re still in the winter months, where it feels like you wake up to darkness, and return home in the dark.
But things are steadily improving – and by the end of the month, we’ll have a whole hour of more daylight every day.
Many of us spent our Christmas holiday’s sleeping in and staying up far too late – aided by booze and sweet treats.
But now, we’re facing the harsh reality of returning to work – and we need to improve our sleeping patterns.
This plan will help reset your schedule in just three days – which means you can start this weekend.
Day one: Saturday
Today’s wake-up time: 10am
Today’s bedtime: 11pm
Complete a 30-minute workout in the morning – this could be a walk or yoga video to keep it simple
Exercising is shown to improve your sleep quality and duration of sleep, whilst a healthy sleep cycle ensures more strength and endurance when working out.
Drink at least 2 litres of water today for an energy boost – you’ll quickly notice an improvement
Not only does keeping hydrated boost your energy but your metabolism too. Even mild dehydration can leave you feeling sleepy and tired, whilst negatively disrupting your mood.
Use lighting (or lack of it) to notify your brain of the different points in the day – meaning no phone scrolling in bed
Light is the most important external factor affecting sleep as it plays a central role in regulating our body’s internal clock, otherwise known as our circadian rhythm. This signals when to be alert and when to rest, so you should expose yourself to natural sunlight throughout the day. Then when the sun starts to wind down on an afternoon, start dimming your lights so that by the time you get to bed, your bedroom is pitch black.
If you’re struggling to sleep, try this five-minute hack – which should see you drift off in no time
Known as the Cognitive Shuffle, you should list random items in your head that are easy to visualise, non-threatening and not directly related i.e. potatoes, Tarzan, a violin. This will tire your brain out and help keep your mind off issues preventing you from sleeping.
Day two: Sunday
Today’s wake-up time: 8am
Today’s bedtime: 11pm
As soon as you wake up, open your curtains – and let the early morning light flood in
Being exposed to the bright light signals your brain to stop producing the sleep hormone, melatonin, which makes you feel drowsy.
Go for a walk to increase your vitamin D – getting outside boosts your wellbeing
Even just 10 minutes spent in the sun can boost your serotonin and stop you from feeling sleepy and sad. However, try and go for a walk that lasts as long as possible as the more you tire yourself out, the easier you’ll find sleeping that night.
If you do need to nap, do it the right way – there’s no shame in snoozing on the sofa, especially after a roast dinner
You should only sleep for between 10-20 minutes as anything longer than 30 minutes can risk feeling groggy as your body will have entered a deep sleep cycle. Also, make sure to time your nap right. As your alertness naturally dips in the afternoon, you should pay attention to when you start to feel drowsy and nap straight away (if possible). Make sure this is more than 8 hours before your bedtime though, as it could impact your sleep if not.
Refrain from drinking any alcohol – you don’t have to be doing Dry January in order to drink mindfully
If you have the Sunday sads about going back to work, you may be tempted to have a drink tonight, however, you should refrain from doing this. Whilst alcohol can make you feel sleepy due to its sedative properties and, it lowers your sleep quality. Research shows that people who drink before bed are likely to experience disruptions later in their sleep cycle and can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness the following date.
Day three: Monday
Today’s wake-up time: 6/7am. (depending on what time you normally get up for work)
Today’s bedtime: 10pm
Eat breakfast to give yourself an energy boost – prepare it the night before to help future you out
Research repeatedly shows that your diet and sleep quality are linked, so you should never skip breakfast as it plays an important role in your wakefulness. Try to stick to a balanced breakfast that is adequate in protein and healthy fats for an energy boost. i.e. eggs, plain, lean meat, avocado.
Never drink coffee five hours before bed and stick to two coffees max – and try not to drink it past 2pm
Whilst caffeine can provide a short-term energy boost, it takes an average of five hours to eliminate half the amount of consumed caffeine – so keep this in mind.
Create a winding down routine to reduce your stress hormone – which keeps you awake
This could include yoga, stretching, meditation, deep breathing, or a hot bath – as all are proven to help you relax.
Play rain sounds or white noise to help you sleep more soundly – check out YouTube or Spotify for options
Steady rainfall noises help lure the brain into falling asleep as they are predictable, calming, stable, non-threatening and can block outside noises – making them the perfect sound to fall asleep to.