Strategies to help you overcome the impact of shorter nights
As the seasons shift and the sun starts to set earlier, many of us find ourselves grappling with the challenges of shorter nights. The decreased amount of darkness can have various effects on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, however by adopting certain strategies, we can navigate through this transition with positivity, maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Before we look at potential coping mechanisms, it’s important to understand the potential effects of shorter nights on our bodies. We are naturally attuned to the rhythms of day and night, thanks to our circadian rhythm, often referred to as our internal body clock. So when the nights become shorter, our bodies might struggle to adapt, leading to issues such as disrupted sleep, mood changes, and decreased energy levels, affecting our overall health.
Effective ways to overcome the impact of shorter nights and make the most of the time we have.
1. Prioritising sleep hygiene
With reduced hours of darkness, it’s crucial to make the most of the sleep you do get. Establish a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Create a relaxing pre-sleep routine that includes activities like reading, gentle stretching, or practicing mindfulness and keep your sleep environment conducive to rest by ensuring a comfortable mattress, minimal light exposure, and a slightly cooler room temperature.
2. Maximising natural light exposure
While the nights may be shorter, daylight is still abundant during the daytime, so expose yourself to natural light as soon as you wake up. This helps regulate your circadian rhythm and can improve mood and energy levels. Spend time outdoors during breaks, take walks in well-lit areas, and keep your workspace near windows if possible.
3. Understanding mindful time management
With fewer hours of darkness, effective time management becomes essential so try prioritising your tasks and commitments, focusing on what truly matters. Avoid overloading your schedule and allow yourself to rest and recharge when needed. Efficient time management can reduce stress and ensure you make the most of your waking hours.
4. Stay active to boost your mood
It has been well documented that engaging in regular physical activity can significantly impact your overall wellbeing and the Mann Broadbent Team are passionate about promoting the benefits. Engaging in exercise during the daytime can boost your energy levels, enhance mood, and improve sleep quality. Whether it’s a morning jog, yoga session, or a workout at the gym, staying active contributes to a healthier lifestyle, even during shorter nights.
5. Embrace relaxation techniques
Combat the potential stress and anxiety that can arise from the changing season with relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation to ease tension and promote a sense of calm. Engaging in these practices before bedtime can also facilitate a peaceful transition into sleep.
6. Manage artificial light exposure
While natural light is beneficial, excessive exposure to artificial light, especially blue light emitted by electronic devices, can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Limit screen time at least an hour before bedtime and consider using blue light filters on your devices. Always leave your mobile phone downstairs as part of your bedtime routine and grab a book to help your brain to discharge. Additionally, dimming lights in the evening signals to your body that it’s time to wind down.
7. Nourish and care for your body
Your diet plays a crucial role in maintaining your energy levels and overall health during the day so opt for nutrient-dense foods that provide sustained energy, such as whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid heavy, greasy meals close to bedtime, as they can disrupt your sleep and cause you to wake or feel sluggish in the morning.
As the days become shorter and the nights longer, it’s important to approach this seasonal shift with a proactive mindset. By prioritising sleep, optimising your daily routine, staying active, and managing light exposure, you can navigate the effects of shorter nights with ease. Embrace the beauty of the changing seasons and make the most of each day, regardless of the darkness that comes earlier. Remember, your wellbeing is within your control, and these strategies can empower you to thrive even during these transitional times.