Health & Well-Being

Ask HV Holistic: My sleeping pattern isn’t consistent, why is this?

Question

Now summer is over, my sleeping pattern isn’t consistent. I sometimes sleep for 5 hours, and other days it’s 10 hours. I never feel rested, even on the days I get 10 hours sleep, why is this?


Andrea answers:

Your body is designed to follow natural rhythms, even a 90 minute change in your sleeping pattern, can cause your body’s rhythm to become disrupted. Sometimes, an increase in tiredness can highlight a vitamin or mineral deficiency within the body. It’s worth getting blood tests run, to see if there is an underlying issue if you’re having chronic issues.

Your doze-dosage

The amount of sleep you need depends on your age, activity levels and lifestyle. On average, adults need 7-9 hours, teenagers need 8-10 hours and younger children need 9-11 hours. Every 24-hour day is driven by our biological clocks, they link with the movements of the sun, the moon and the earth. A change to your sleep can cause physical, mental and behavioral changes, including feeling tired even though you have just woken up. A lack of rest can also increase your risk of gaining weight, an increase in blood pressure, and trouble thinking or concentrating.

Try to go to bed, and wake up at the same time everyday, including weekends. Ideally you should be in bed by 10pm so your body can repair and restore effectively. Sleeping after 10pm means you could miss the physical repair phase. This is when your organs, bones, joints and muscles repair. If your regularly sleep after 2am, you will miss the psychological repair phase, this phase takes care of your nervous and hormonal systems.

Having a deficiency in Vitamin D, Melatonin or Magnesium can affect your sleep. You can increase Magnesium levels by consuming foods such as, vegetables, dark leafy greens, figs, bananas and avocado, and melatonin supplementation can be advantageous in some circumstances.

Different types of rest

Sleep is not the only form of rest our bodies need. We also need total, active and passive rest. Total rest can be taking a day off work, and other forms of stressors in your life. It’s the foundation of your repair and recovery cycle. Active rest is a reduction in workload, you can still be working towards your goals just not as intensely. Simply set fewer goals for the day, or catch up on some much needed paperwork or reorganization. Finally, passive rest is a short-term break from a project or task. This can be a walk, meditation or listening to music for no longer than 10 minutes. Passive rest helps to completely distract your mind from your work load, so you can re-energise and refocus.

Top Tips

Avoid caffeinated drinks after 4pm

Get into a bedtime routine – but don’t stress about it

Reduce bright lighting 2 hours before you go to bed

Try meditation

Avoid using your phone when you’re in bed

Find time to do things that you enjoy

 

If a routine isn’t working, try something new. Some people fall asleep to Netflix, while others prefer to read, there isn’t one idea that suits everyone. What’s important is that you make adjustments until there is improvement.

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