Are you a Night Owl? No matter how hard you try your body clock just won’t let you go to sleep on a night? Well, according to scientists in the UK and Australia, a few tweaks here and there to your sleeping habits could be of a huge benefit.

The researchers focused on people who found that they couldn’t get to sleep until the early hours of the morning and found that simple things such as not having caffeine, sticking to a consistent bedtime and getting plenty of sunshine really helped.

Our body clock usually follows the rising and setting of the sun, hence why we are active during the day and sleep during the night. However, this unfortunately isn’t the case for everyone. Some people find themselves unable to sleep with the setting of the sun, and instead don’t doze off until 2 or 3am. For these people, keeping a nine to five job can be a struggle, as with just a few hours’ sleep, it’s hard for them to focus and be productive at work.

People who we refer to as ‘Nights Owls’ unfortunately often suffer from poorer health as a result of not getting enough rest. However, researchers have advised that people can successfully change their body clocks with just a little persistence and patience. The research focused a lot on those people who would be awake till after 2am, but would then sleep till after 10am, and one of the biggest successful tweaks was for these people to force themselves to get up around 2/3 hours earlier than they usually would and to go to bed 2/3 hours earlier too. Difficult at first, but this was proven totally doable, and after just a few weeks their body clocks had started to change.

Other aspects of the research included no caffeine at all after 3pm and strictly no napping after 4pm! Eating breakfast as soon as possible, only exercising in the morning and trying not to eat anything after 7pm, as this can lay heavy on the stomach, preventing sleep.

Not getting enough rest can lead to stress and depression, which in turn can affect a person’s mental health. So, it really is important to get your body clock into a consistent routine; go to bed at the same time each night, wake around the same time each morning and try to get at least 7 hours sleep if possible.

If you find you struggle to sleep on a night, there are numerous things you can do to try and help yourself. The tips above are a great start, but you should also focus on your sleeping environment; is there too much light? Too much noise? Is the temperature comfortable? Is your mattress comfortable? A few simple adjustments really can make a huge difference to your sleep pattern, and therefore, your wellbeing.

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