Sleep expert reveals how to retune body after lockdown

For early birds and night owls, there's hope
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  • As we work towards our old routines – albeit as the ‘new normal’ – one concern many of us may be having is how we’ll adjust to the 9-5 lifestyle again after months in which we’ve been plodding along in harmony with our internal rhythm.

    Although flexi-hours and working from home will benefit lots of employees, early birds or night owls may struggle to adapt to the former structure of their lives.

    Fortunately, psychologist and SIMBA’s resident sleep expert, Hope Bastine, has compiled some of her expertise into handy tips on how to adjust our sleep pattern in a way that won’t be too disruptive.

    “Let’s be honest, since lockdown many of us have been falling asleep later and waking up later, too,” says Hope.

    “Waking up at 9am when lockdown loosens might not fly immediately, so micro-adjust your schedule incrementally toward your goal time. Give yourself two weeks and start with waking up 15 minutes earlier a day.”

    lockdown sleep

    Credit: Getty

    Hope also suggests that a good night’s sleep can’t be had on an uncomfortable bed so give yourself the best chance of slumber by making sure “you have a mattress that properly supports your spine and keeps you cool, such as a Simba Hybrid Pro.

    If you’re really struggling, I’d also recommend The Orbit weighted blanket, which is designed to help tackle sleepless nights caused by stress by harnessing the science of ‘deep pressure therapy’.”

    Here’s what Hope recommends for early birds and night owls…

    How to reset your body after lockdown

    Tips for early birds:

    Early birds, delay bedtime

    “Early birds are naturally going to feel tired in the evening, but in order to adjust to the 9-5, push back bedtime by one hour so that you wake up an hour later.

    Early birds, keep your bedroom totally dark

    “Early birds need to control the light and noise in their sleep environment more conscientiously, especially in the summer when the sun rises and the birds chirp earlier.

    Invest in blackout blinds or earplugs to manage your sleep.

    Tips for night owls:

    Night owls, pick a mood-enhancing alarm

    “Our mood generally improves throughout the day – and a happy employee generally means a more productive one.

    If you’re a night owl, however, getting up early can offset your mood and waking up with a jolt can trigger your stress-alter system and set you off on a grumpy start.

    Set your alarm to your favourite reset song or a tone that gradually increases in decibels and pace that eases you more gently into the day.

    Night owls, prioritise complex work for the end of the day

    “For night owls, evening time is your optimal performance level so leave your higher functioning work until the end of the day.

    Night owls, bore to snore

    “Night owls need to trick their body into thinking the evening is boring in order to feel sleepy, so reduce the activity level and sensory stimulation in the evening earlier than usual by having the lights and volume low and engaging in more off-screen relaxing activities at least an hour before bedtime.”

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