Many people are saying that they are feeling tired at the moment and can’t understand why.
Here are is one of the key factors that is playing a part in that tiredness and what you can do about it.
The invention of electricity about 250 years ago has left us with the ability to do things much more easily when there is no more daylight. This however, does not over-ride the millions of years of evolution whereby when the sun went down, our ancestors would go to sleep as soon as it got dark.
This primitive programme still runs in us having had nothing more than the equivalent of a blink of the eye in evolutionary terms to adjust to the new lifestyles supported through electric light bulbs.
Fundamentally, we are still cavemen – just a little less hairy now that we have brick walls and radiators to stave off the cold!
And so at the moment, as the nights rapidly draw in, that programme is telling us that we should be going to sleep earlier and having more hours sleep each day – and we are not listening!!!!
On top of our inner caveman telling us to sleep, Autumn is also a period of time in nature that things start to slow down – harvesting the productivity of the summer.
Whilst most of nature buys into this period in the annual cycle, us humans think we know better and carry on trying to be as highly productive as we were in summer.
This again, comes at a cost to us as we are fighting the normal cycle of nature.
Quite simply, aim to get more sleep and slow down!!
Now I appreciate that this is easy to say…..and for many, knowing that there is a biological reason can ease the worries that there is something more sinister going on.
However, here are some things that with small adjustments, can help you work with those programmes rather than against them.
1. Get more daylight earlier in the day
The inner programme that runs our sleep cycles is called the circadian rhythm. We can help this settle into the new reducing daylight hours by spending time outdoors in natural light in the earlier part of the day.
A walk is ideal, however if that is not practical, putting on something warm and sitting outside to have your first morning coffee can help. Whilst the researchers are still arguing how long you need to be outside to benefit, the suggestion is 20 mins will help you to sleep better at night.
2. Aim to get to bed 30 mins earlier
It may be obvious but….it will help!
Going to bed that little bit earlier will be helping you to work with that inner programme and thus feel more energised during the day.
People often say that they cannot get to bed any earlier but consider this…if you are tired all day, how productive are you being? Whereas if you were more awake and alert through having had more sleep, is it possible you will get more done anyway….???
3. Make some subtle changes in your diet
Our cavemen dwelling ancestors could only eat what was seasonal at the time. And guess what – our bodies are designed to accommodate those changes too!
Aim to eat the things that are seasonal – ie not flown in from South America!! The vitamins and minerals in these seasonal foods will also support the adaptation to the environmental changes, giving your body what it needs to perform to it’s best.
By being a bit more caveman like, you will be working with these evolutionary programmes and helping your body make the adjustments that will leave you feeling more mentally alert.