You know the feeling. That wave of calm that washes over you on the Friday night before a long weekend, because you know you’ve got three whole days to do exactly what you want. More often than not, a hefty lie-in is probably at the top of the list.
Busy working weeks take their toll on our sleeping patterns, and it’s tough to pack all our off-the-clock activities into the hours away from the office. The outcome? We end up sleep-deprived, sluggish and constantly dreaming of the next weekend. A bank holiday is a great opportunity to get your sleep back on track. But it can be a tall order, and before you know it you’ve been out on the town, bingeing on Netflix, or dealing with kids fuelled by holiday hype for three nights in a row.
So, we’ve rounded up our top five ways you can make this bank holiday your most sleep-friendly yet:
Switch off, literally.
Swap a boxset marathon for a good old-fashioned page turner. The blue light emitted from your TV and other devices is really detrimental to your sleeping pattern. Our body clocks tick in line with the day-to-night cycle, and need the transition from light to dark to tell them when we should be getting sleepy. By eliminating blue light from your evening routine, and picking up the new bestseller instead, you should find yourself dropping off more easily.
Tuck in to a Sunday roast.
Turkey’s packed with tryptophan, an amino acid that contributes to the production of melatonin - the sleep hormone. We’re not saying that it’ll have you out for the count, but it’ll put you on the right track. And it’s an excuse to wolf down a Yorkshire pud or five.
A bank holiday weekend is the perfect time to get out and about, especially if the weather’s playing ball. Cycling’s a great family activity and, as an aerobic exercise, it’s great for helping you sleep. This isn’t just because of the obvious reason - that you’ll be more tired at the end of the day - but also because exercise is known to relieve stress, and stress is major roadblock on the journey to good quality slumber. In fact, just five minutes of exercise can prompt the body’s anti-anxiety responses.
Ban the booze.
We don’t want to spoil the party, but the bottom line is that alcohol and a good night’s sleep just don’t mix. A snifter before bed can help you doze off, it’s true, but although you may fall asleep faster, the quality of your slumber will be hugely affected. Alcohol disrupts your REM sleep - the stage where we dream, and our brains get a boost of energy - meaning drowsiness and a lack of concentration could be on the cards the next day.
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