Banishing Winter Sleepiness

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You know that feeling of unproductivity that sets in as soon as it starts getting dark outside? With the return to standard time last weekend the start of this feeling was brought forward to 5pm for me. I can actually feel myself getting tired and exhausted around that time of day now and that's really unacceptable because I'm wasting so much time every day. Instead of spending all my time bingeing Netflix I've now decided to banish this winter sleepiness with the following tips and tricks.

There are basically two aspects to banishing sleepiness in the day. First, it´s about adjusting your biorhythm to your daily routine. It´s important to know when you need to be productive and when you can actually sleep well. This might be hard at first and might make you sleepier, but it´s worth it. Second (& more obvious), it´s about reducing any insomnia and getting a good nights sleep. This is highly dependent on a good sleep hygiene!

Find your sleep cycle

This is the most important step to adjust your biorhythm. Do you need to stay up late every night? Do you need to get up early? Find out what set times you have during the day and where you can best fit in 8-9 hours of sleep. Then make yourself stick to those times. It might be hard at first but it´s the best way for your body to adjust. After a while you'll naturally feel refreshed when you wake up and sleepy when its time to go to bed.

Get up immediately

A big part of sleep hygiene is the usage of your bed. Your bed (or even better: your whole bedroom) should be used for sleeping only. Our brains learn associations super easily so only spending time there sleeping makes it associate the bedroom with sleep. Spending time lying on your bed while you're wide awake will have the opposite effect.

Exercise

We all know that exercise is healthy and releases endorphins that make us happy. It also works your muscles and tires your whole body out which will help you relax in the evening! So I'm making an effort to start exercising again.

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Don't forget the good food

I know winter is the time when its allowed to stuff your face with all the good stuff because nobody will see your body anyway. However, don't forget about fruits and vegetables because a healthy and balanced diet helps your body to work properly. High-fat and high-carb foods take a lot more energy and time to process which means you'll feel sleepy after eating those as your whole body focuses to process your food.

Reduce your caffeine intake

Yes, caffeine is a wonderful thing to make you feel awake. However, it has been shown that high caffeine intake reduces the amout of melatonin (aka the sleep hormone) your body naturally produces. So if you desperately need caffeine, try to at least reduce your overall intake and keep it to mornings only. That way your body has a chance to produce melatonin in the evening so that you feel tired.

Go outside

Obviously, you won't really get a good nights sleep if you spend all day with closed blinds in front of Netflix (no matter how much fun that might be!). Going outside and exposing your body to direct sunlight actually helps with your melatonin balance too. The bright sunlight will stop the melatonin production during the day so that you won't feel sleepy all day and instead will feel sleepy only in the evening.

Find time to clear your head and relax

For me, the hardest part of going to sleep are the thoughts racing through my mind. The only way I can block them out right now is listening to podcasts and that's not really healthy. Instead I've made it my mission to find some time during the day to clear my head and relax for 10-30 minutes and it really helps me. That way I already have run though my thoughts and don't have to overthink them again.

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Find your nighttime routine

I've talked time and time again about how humans are creatures of habits. Finding your nighttime routine and sticking to it will make your body feel sleepy when you start because it'll have learned that this routine leads to sleep. Trust me, its ridiculously easy to trick your own body!

But banish any electronics at night

The one thing you should never involve in your nighttime routine are electronics though. While it might be nice to have one last scroll through Twitter before sleeping the blue light of your screen will actually stop the melatonin production. That means you're going to feel awake again. Try to use your phone as little as possible at least half an hour before going to bed. If you do need to use your phone set the screen to nighttime mode which will ensure a more yellow light and switch off all sounds and vibrations.

Use Scents

Our brains are not only easily tricked but also super susceptible to scents. One scent that has always been discussed with sleep is lavender. Its soothing, calming, and in some sources sedative effects will help you feel relaxed and fall asleep. You could either use a ready-to-go lavender infusion like the This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray or make a solution yourself. Personally, I don't really enjoy the smell of lavender so I dissolve a few drops of lavender essential oil in water and just spritz a tiny bit on my pillow before going to sleep. That way I get the effect but the scent isn't too overpowering.


I find that banishing the winter sleepiness has become more and more important in my life. While I was able to get away with doing nothing after 5pm when I was in school, I now feel like I'm just wasting so much time. There's so much stuff I could be doing in those hours - just imagine all the blogposts I could write or the uni work that´s been piling up. I've been adjusting my sleep cycle for three weeks now and its slowly getting easier. I absolutely feel like its worth the struggle though as I've been finally feeling productive again.

1 comment

  1. Love these tips! It's so hard sometimes to get motivated and feel less tired haha. G xx

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