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Struggling with sleep this winter? Expert tips for a January reset


(Source: https://www.rte.ie/ ) On these oh-so gloomy short days, with not much respite from dark mornings and dark nights, you’d think it would be easier to get a decent night’s sleep.

But factor in a winter of discontent, the rising cost of living and January blues, and chances are you’re tossing and turning – and feeling generally out of sorts as a result.

Plus, the fact there’s so much less daylight at this time of year can impact our sleep-wake cycles and energy levels.

"One of the most difficult issues we face in January is the tiredness we feel upon waking," says Dr Maja Schaedel, clinical psychologist with a specialism in insomnia, sleep difficulties and trauma, and co-founder of the Good Sleep Clinic – explaining that this is linked to our circadian rhythms. "These are our internal body clocks, which help us to know when it’s daytime, and when it’s time to sleep – and they are massively affected by light," she explains.

When we’re exposed to daylight, our body inhibits the production of melatonin, says Schaedel – the hormone that helps ‘signal’ to our bodies that it’s time for sleep. In contrast, when daylight starts to dwindle, our body clocks begin to produce more melatonin to help us drift off.

"The production and inhibition of melatonin helps our bodies recognise when it’s day and night – and this is partly why it can be so difficult to feel alert and energised upon waking when it’s still dark outside," highlights Schaedel.

Sleep plays a vital role in the maintenance of our mental health and general wellbeing. "It helps regulate our moods, process emotional information, and convert our experiences into memory," says Angel Enrique, senior digital health scientist at SilverCloud Health.

Read the full article on https://www.rte.ie/lifestyle/living/2023/0119/1349588-struggling-with-sleep-this-winter-expert-tips-for-a-reset/ 


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