7 Ways To Catch Up On Sleep — That Actually Work

You may have promised yourself that you'll catch-up on sleep... and then failed to deliver on that promise.

In any case, the occasional act of redress isn’t going to help you a great deal. As always, with any health issue the best port of call is your GP — who will be able to advise a correct treatment plan — but for now, here’s what you can do to sleep better, restore balance and survive those moments of utter fatigue.

(And no, it's not another coffee.)

Get up early on the weekend

It sounds a little counterintuitive but bear with us. You might've thought that a good sleep in on Sundays will resolve all of your problems but, in short, it'll only exacerbate it. The sudden change in your sleep pattern will throw your body into a state of confusion, and make it harder to wake up at the right time during the week. The extra hours of sleeping on the weekend could also mean that you aren’t tired in the evening at the time you should be falling asleep, which will set you up for another week of playing catch-up.

Go to bed a little earlier

Easier said than done, we know, but you're better off going to bed earlier than trying to sleep in. Organise your life so that you can retire earlier... and try to resist watching that extra episode of your favourite show before you head off to bed. (It's a big ask, we know.) A regular sleep routine will train your body to sleep at the right time and for the number of hours you need.

Nap!

Napping can be beneficial as long as you enjoy a little shuteye at the right time. Nap before 2pm, otherwise you risk not being tired enough at night. You should restrict your rest to 30 minutes, and, while tempting, longer naps do more harm than good, leaving you feeling groggy when you wake.

Stay away from your phone

It’s okay for your phone to be welded to your hip when you're awake but not when you need to sleep. To avoid distraction (and light pollution) keep your phone out of your bedroom and invest in an alarm clock to wake you up. We recommend switching off at least half an hour before bed... and although the lure of the scroll is strong, trust us when we say it'll still be there in the morning.

Savour the sunshine

Vitamin D promotes restful sleep and you get most of what you need from the sun. Time outdoors will recharge your batteries and help to regulate your body via the production of melatonin, a hormone which induces quicker, longer and deeper sleep. Just 20 minutes on your lunch break is good enough.

Cut the caffeine

Confine caffeinated drinks to the morning hours and you will sleep better at night. Guaranteed. Caffeine is a stimulant which keeps you buzzing and for several hours after you have consumed it, so if water won't suffice, opt for herbal teas later in the day instead.

Keep cool

A cool bedroom is essential for restful sleep. Your body temperature naturally dips when you sleep and it can’t do that if your room is too warm. Keep the ambient temperature below 20 degrees and you won’t be fighting a running battle with your covers through the night.

The bottom line? Your body craves regular sleep rather than a catch-up. Interruptions to your routine are inevitable, but if you stick to the program whenever possible, you should get the quality zzzs you need.

Now that we’re on the topic, here are 10 simple ways to enhance the quality of your sleep – starting from tonight! 

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