Wexford People

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Give yourself the gift of quality sleep and rest this Christmas

I have done a number of workplace wellbeing and meditation workshops over the last few weeks .. with many different groups including corporates, Government employees and social workers as well as with teachers and parents of school children.

The one thing that has really struck me is how tired people are.

It should be no great surprise. The shorter days mean we have less vitality. The longer nights make us sleepy more of the time. When the brain receives little light, such as in the evening or early morning in winter, it responds by sending a signal to the body to produce melatonin, the 'sleep hormone', which gets your body tired and ready for bed. The limited light exposure partially explains why we may feel like we are more tired and need more sleep.

Further, with most of us rushing to get things over the line before the end of the year - and to prepare for the festive season, we tend to place more pressure on ourselves than at other times of year - seeking to do everything we always do and more. And this is all on top of processing the successes and disappointments of 2019 and looking at where my life is now - which is happening under the bonnet of our mind as internally we start to prepare for 2020. Reducing stress was the subject of my last week's article if you are looking for tips.

Tiredness, alertness and quality sleep

When people slow down and relax, they often realise just how tired they are. If you want to feel more energized, work on sleeping well. Get out in the sun light more. Bring daylight into your home and work place. More daylight brings alertness during the day which sustains the natural cycle of alertness during the day and sleep at night. Artificial light does not have the same intensity as natural light.

Getting more Vitamin D into your diet is another great way to combat tiredness. Oily fish, eggs and meat are all good sources of Vitamin D. Less light is also linked to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) a form of mild-to moderate that arises at this time of year when there is less light. Those affected experience low mood and lower energy levels as well as sleep problems.

Light and temperature have a massive influence on sleep quality in winter. If you want to avoid feeling sleepy during the day, working on both can make a big difference. A dark, cool and quiet bedroom is ideal. Avoid screens with artificial light. While drinking alcohol may initially relax you, it disrupts sleep quality. Going to bed at irregular times makes it worse often leaving us a bit less productive and alert and more irritable.

If you are already tired, take note. While it may seem 'important' to get it all done, it is more important to take care you don't set yourself up to be irritated, (through lack of rest), as this can lead to further unnecessary tension particularly when people have other underlying worries.

Recharge your batteries

As well as working on your sleep, don't take on too much. Enjoy quality relaxation time for yourself over the festive season. Doing things you love to do and spending time with loved ones are both important.

Taking time to chill - enjoying life without any pressures, burdens or worries is also vital to recharging your batteries. The biggest gift we can give others is our presence. To be fully present and at our best, we have to have quality rest and sleep.

Calodagh McCumiskey designs and delivers bespoke wellbeing at work programmes to grow people and companies. She also offers regular meditation classes, personal development workshops and wellbeing consultations to help people thrive. Ph 053 9140655 | Email info@spiritualearth.com | Visit www.spiritualearth.com

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