Reset your body clock this autumn

When British Summer Time ends later this month, seize the chance to cure bad bedtime habits.

Autumn is the season for regaining your balance, however, your sleep patterns may be thrown by the clock change on October 26. One in five of us sleeps poorly, grabbing a few hours each night but waking early, unrefreshed, irritable and tired before the day even begins. Experts have coined a term to describe this unsatisfactory state – “junk sleep”.

Like junk food, junk sleep mimics the real thing but doesn’t supply long-lasting sustenance. According to a recent survey, 46 per cent of people said they got six hours or less each night, while 20 per cent survived on less than five. Seven and a half hours is seen by experts as the minimum, and the latest research is nudging towards nine hours a night as the optimum.

Without enough good-quality sleep, it’s impossible for us to be productive at work, or stay on an emotional even-keel. Sleeplessness might even be making us fat, as doctors report that those who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to be overweight. What is certain is that without sleep we age faster. One study found that when sleep was restricted to four to six hours, there were changes in hormone function which mimicked those that come with ageing.

But we’re not born with good sleeping habits. Babies have to be taught to go to sleep, and it is a lesson that some of us need to keep learning throughout our lives. This bedtime ritual, developed by experts at Champneys health resorts, may help. Follow it religiously for a week.

Source - Telegraph

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