HOW TO SURVIVE MONDAY AFTER A SLEEPLESS SUNDAY NIGHT
For most of us, catching enough shut-eye to tackle tomorrow's tumultuous schedule can be a trivial task. So, while most of us can't afford a sleep coach (that luxury is reserved for the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo), it leaves us tossing and turning into the long hours.
But, when we can sleep, new research shows that our posture can correlate to our personality, especially with the 41% of people that sleep in the (allegedly) bear-proof foetal position. Apparently, these are the 'avoiders' of society, who tend to curl away from the problems in the world and crave elements of sympathy.
So there's another thing to tempt you from slumber, but if you're physically out for the count but your brain just won’t quit, blame your circadian rhythm. Here, MH flicks the switch on what happens to your body when you have a bad night's sleep.
1. LIGHTS OUT
Too much blue light (from a smartphone screen, say) floods your system with serotonin rather than melatonin, keeping you awake. “The only thing that will turn that round is darkness,” says Nick Littlehales, sleep coach to athletes including Cristiano Ronaldo. Turn off screens and wind down for 60-90 minutes before hitting the hay.
02. DON'T JUST LIE THERE
Staring at the ceiling while your mind runs rampant achieves nothing. “If your brain won’t let you sleep, you can’t force it to,” says Littlehales. Instead, get up and do something else. “Don’t turn on your laptop or phone. Read a book, stretch, or even tidy around the house.” It’s not sleep, but it’s still a form of rest.
3. CYCLE TO SLEEP
Eight hours a night – it’s a universal benchmark, right? Actually, no, it isn’t. “The way to measure sleep is in 90-minute cycles,” says Littlehales. “In a week, aim for 35 cycles, which averages out to 7.5 hours a night.” If you only get 25-30 cycles over a seven-day period, you’ll feel rough, but keep your eye on the big picture. If you manage just four cycles (six hours) one night, try aiming for six (nine hours) the next one.
4. STRIKE A POSE
Even if you live on a nice road in safest suburbia, your body can stop you sleeping soundly if your posture is wrong. “During deep sleep you’re very vulnerable – if your brain doesn’t feel that your heart and genitals are protected, it won’t let you enter deep sleep,” explains Littlehales. Lie in the foetal position, on your non-dominant side so you can protect yourself if a sabretooth tiger attacks. Or your partner nicks the duvet.
5. RISE AND SHINE
Don’t hit the snooze button. Handle groggy mornings by getting up and at ’em. “Get daylight into your system quickly to trigger the hormonal shift from night to day,” says Littlehales. Add water to defeat dehydration and food to fuel your brain, and you’ll benefit from more energy than an extra 20 minutes kip could give you.
Video: What If You Stopped Sleeping for a Week?
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