14th December, 2022

Festive Sleep Recoveries

By Max Kirsten
Festive Sleep Recoveries

“It’s beginning to look a lot like…”  

Tis the Festive Season of endless social events and invitations overload!”    

Which of course means lots of clinking drinks, red noses, cold journeys, rosy cheeks, late nights, hangovers (at least for some), and far, far too many scoffed mince pies.   

Still, it just would not really be Christmas and New Year without it.  

So, if you are going to make the most of every social moment during our winter festive season, then it is essential to stay healthy, and to get plenty of ‘social recovery’ sleep on the nights when you are staying at home. 

Now that we’re all getting used to the global clocks falling back on the last Sunday in October, causing darker mornings and darker nights, it’s important to understand less light will make us feel sleepier, hence more like hibernating. So, unless we find ways to compensate, we will be noticing lower mood from less serotonin, the good mood hormone that has us leaping out of bed on those brighter summer mornings.  

Get morning light 

The secret to staying upbeat is getting more morning daylight during winter, no matter what the weather outside. Unless we do this our natural circadian rhythm becomes thrown out of order causing lower mood and disrupted sleep. 

However, they are also avoidable with a few tweaks. A large dash of bright light each morning can evaporate seasonal low mood caused by seasonal affective disorder, SAD.  

Extra morning light plus 

Bright LED timed light exposure with devices such as the Beurer TL50, or blue light LED glasses with a timed 20–30-minute morning controlled exposures by or have been proven to make a dramatic difference in symptoms of low mood and tiredness. 

Normal light from electric lightbulbs cannot replicate the vast LUX power of the sun. 

So, if you find yourself sinking into that cliche winter low, lifestyle choices can also take their toll. Under-sleeping late nights and over-indulging can all zap away at our mojo. Read on for some tried and tested Winter Sleep Tips to help keep your sparkle.  

Winter Sleep Tips  

First up remember the quality of your sleep is more important than the amount of sleep you get. During the social season, you want to try and make sure it is as restorative as possible. These winter gems will keep you fighting fit and ready for the parties.  

Love your bed  

Learn to love your bed, and for those nodding saying I do. Could you love your bed even more?  

We spend a third of our entire lives in our bed, so I’d say because of this fact, your bed deserves some attention. We should never compromise or settle for less than the most optimum, comfortable, ‘deep sleep’ inducing, supportive mattress surface ever. 

The best bedtime romances start with a comfortable, yet supportive and breathable mattress. The perfect bed is obviously very subjective when it comes to ‘comfort’ with some sleepers, preferring a firmer surface, and others wanting to dive into cloud-like softness. 

I recommend that you look no further than a hybrid mattress like the NEW Panda London Hybrid Bamboo mattress which genuinely provides the ideal balance of both. Ticking all the boxes of eco-and sustainability, more importantly, it is a combination of bamboo-infused BioCell Foam™ for maximum breathability, orthopedically approved OrthoAlign Foam™ and seven zones of premium pocket springs.   

“Ta-da” 6-layers of 21st-century sleep perfection. This eco-friendly brand offers a 100-night bedtime trial on their state-of-the-art dreamy sleep machine. Not only is it perfect for snuggling down through winter, but the breathable foam and their bamboo cover is also thermoregulating, thus keeping you cool on those summer nights. 

This is the third time I’ve been astounded by the Panda London brand.   

I first discovered their delicious Hydro-Foam™ mattress topper. Then there is their NEW Hybrid Panda Pillow with Charco-Cell Foam™- ideal for back, front and side sleepers. I’ve tried many pillows, but never looked forward as much to putting my head nightly on their Hybrid Bamboo Panda Pillow.  

I realize that as a sleep coach, with a desire to remain independent and unbiased, it’s naughty and suspicious to have a brand favorite. 

However, as I am now as old as Jeremy Clarkson (who loves certain cars more than others), then I feel entitled to express my love of certain pillows and mattresses more than others.   

Learning the art of ‘sleep friendly’ drinking.   

With it, being the most social season of the year, it can be tempting to overindulge, with heavy food and alcohol. Whilst a nightcap before bed is considered the ideal solution to fall asleep quickly, the truth is, you may fall asleep, but the quality of your sleep will suffer.  

Alcohol dehydrates and damages your sleep architecture, and decreases melatonin, (which is your body’s sleep signal), this can lead to a disrupted night of sleep. Also, it’s a diuretic, so can cause unwanted frequent trips in the night to the bathroom.  

Switching to sleep, friendly drinks, such as a warm cup of cocoa,hot milk or even herbal teas are more likely to set you up for a better sleep. The milk contains tryptophan, a substance that triggers the natural release of melatonin. Chamomile is also great for helping to ease any seasonal anxiety, which sets you up for a deeper, longer more satisfying rest.  

Less booze 

While you don’t have to avoid a tipple at every party, take a smarter, more strategic, balanced approach. I recommend that you always eat a meal first, rather than start drinking on an empty stomach. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption each night. This will set you up for a far healthier season, less hangovers, and much better quality, more restorative sleep.  

Keep active!  

Although it’s getting colder outside, wrapping up with layers and going out for plenty of walks is a wonderful way to keep your spirits high and sleep healthy throughout winter. Keeping a healthy weight helps prevent the worsening of sleep problems, such as sleep, apnea, snoring and insomnia. Staying active will help you make sure that you are ready to jump into your PJs at bedtime, setting you up for a deeper and more restorative rest. Try to avoid any vigorous workouts before bed, other than that sex as this can stimulate adrenaline and make it harder to drift off. Yoga and gentle stretching are great ways to enjoy some light movement later in the day.  

Prioritizing your sleep will give your sense of well-being a much-needed boost, plus it will boost your immune system which with more viruses flying around than usual is vital.  

Leave earlier… 

Finally, don’t be afraid to leave any event or party early. Even Cinderella left the ball at midnight! Leaving early and getting into bed with more time for sleep will make those bright and positive mornings more wonderful for you.  

Remember, regardless of how much sleep you get, rest is best taken in a cool bedroom with a deliciously warm bed, fresh, clean sheets, and a scrumptious pillow. 

I wish you a great night’s sleep, + optimal health and success for 2023.  

Max Kirsten 
The Sleep Coach   

P.S. Always, always keep a glass of water beside your bed after a big night.