These changes can seriously help you combate the fatigue...
Winter blues got you feeling more roadkill than Duracell bunny? Well, we’ve spoken to the experts to find out how you can have the most refreshing forty winks, time and time again because we’re sick of yawning, and as women, there are several reasons we end up more tired than men.
‘If you find there are some days when you don’t sleep very well, try keeping a diary to track your restless nights and what was different about your day. This will help you identify possible causes. You might have had a bad day at work, for instance, or had a cup of coffee in the evening.’
5. ‘Try to have a regular bedtime and wake up time, but go to bed only when you are sleepy,’ says Crampex sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley. ‘This means listening to your body rather than turning in because the TV programme you’re watching has finished, or because your partner wants to.’
6. ‘If you haven’t fallen asleep after approximately 30 minutes get up and go back to bed only once you feel sleepy. Do the same if you wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to drift off again after 20 minutes,’ he adds.
7. ‘Try not to worry about your sleep and don’t “try” to go to sleep. The harder you “try” to fall asleep, the less likely you are to succeed.’
‘Remember that warm skimmed milk and bananas aid sleep,’ says GP Dr Sohère Roked
. ‘They help release chemicals to relax the body and help you drift off.’
9. ‘Avoid caffeine and sugar for at least six hours before your bedtime, as consuming them later in the day has been proven to lead to restless sleep. Likewise, you should avoid alcohol. Some think that alcohol helps them sleep but it actually leads to a less regenerative slumber, meaning that the body doesn’t rest as well and you feel tired the next day,’ she adds.
10. ‘Lavender can also help you sleep. Try putting a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow, as it will help you relax. Use it with caution, however, as more than a few drops will be stimulating instead.’
11. ‘Make sure that your room is as dark and quiet as possible – and consider investing in an eye mask and ear plugs, if needed. You should also switch off digital clocks and your phone, as both release electromagnetic waves that can interrupt sleep.’
‘Avoid processed foods that are full of additives, as these can interfere with the body’s natural sleep and wake cycles. Natural foods, including fruit and vegetables, can aid these cycles so include plenty in your diet.’
And if you still find yourself still yawning – don’t worry too much because women are more likely to yawn than men. Science says women are collective yawners because they’re more empathetic. Who knew?
The minerals to take:
‘It’s estimated that 9 out of 10 women miss their daily quota of iron. It’s a vital fatigue-fighting mineral but, if you are not eating red meat 4 to 5 times a week then your iron levels may be low, which can lead to tiredness, as iron helps our blood cells cary oxygen and nutrients around the body,’ says Nature Best
health expert Dr Sam Christie.
‘This invaluable nutrient gets depleted from our bodies during stress, or if you drink too much alcohol. Symptoms of deficiency include tiredness, headaches, tension in the neck and shoulders, and sweet cravings. Wholegrain foods are a great source of magnesium, but 7 out 10 women fail to include enough in their diet,’ she adds.
‘Both these minerals are vital for the thyroid to function properly. Sluggish thyroid function can lead to tiredness, weight gain and low spirits, so offset any dietary insufficiencies with a multi vitamin tablet.’
The moves to make:
Yoga expert Danielle Collins
recommends these exercises from her “10 Minute Natural Body Lift” DVD to help you sleep and energise you in the mornings.
1. Double Leg inversion
‘Lying on your back, squeeze your legs together, and raise both legs up into a Double Leg inversion. Take hold of the back of the legs to give you more support. This yoga pose is excellent for getting blood and oxygen to the heart and head, helping you to feel more relaxed and calm. Take 5 deep breaths in and out through your nose. The combination of the breath and leg position will help you feel peaceful and sleepy.’
2. Sitting Spinal Twist
‘Sitting in a cross-legged position, bring your hands to the side of your hips as you lengthen your spine. Move one hand across to the opposite knee, rotate your spine, and then look over your shoulder into a Sitting Spinal Twist. Inhale, and then exhale back to the centre, before repeating on the other side. Repeat this sequence twice more. This is a “detox” pose, which should help rid your body of stale toxins from the day. It also releases tension in the back and shoulders, and should help your body and mind feel calmer.’
3. Downward Dog
‘Starting on your hands and knees, tuck your toes under and raise up your knees and bottom to move into Downward Dog. Ensuring the legs are hip-width apart, press down through the hands and feet, and look towards your knees. If the back of your legs feel tight, you can lift up one heel followed by the other. Hold for five deep breaths. This pose will release any tightness from the night, energise your mind and revitalise your body.’