Five ways sleep can help Brits beat January blues

Three in ten Brits (30%) are generally unhappier in January than the rest of the year, new national research published has revealed.

The study, commissioned by the sleep brand, Silentnight, was conducted ahead of Blue Monday, today, (16th January) touted as one of the saddest days of the year.

The research found one in five (20%) UK adults suffer from Blue Monday symptoms, including tiredness, lethargy, lack of motivation, and feeling sad.

To help Brits battle the blues, Silentnight’s sleep experts have revealed five top tips to offset new year negativity through the power of sleep, from boosting brain power to improving your immune system.

According to the data, the dark mornings and nights are largely responsible for this shift in mood, (14%), as well as cold weather (14%), and post-Christmas and new year blues (11%).

To combat low mood at the start of the year, many people are resorting to spending more time outside and doing exercise, as well as spending time with family and friends.

Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert at Silentnight said, “a good night’s sleep has a restorative power, helping to lift your mood and leave you less susceptible to the impact of Blue Monday.

“Sleep affects us both physically and mentally, so when we have insufficient, poor-quality sleep – less than the recommended 7-9 hours for adults – we will really feel the consequences.”

Anyone with ongoing concerns, whether prolonged periods of unhappiness or persisting sleep problems, should seek professional help from their GP or a helpline such as CALM.

Hannah’s top 5 tips

  1. Give your brain a boost of power - deep sleep, or slow wave sleep, results in our bodies releasing growth and repair hormones, helping restore the brain. Lighter sleep, like REM, allows the brain to recover. This is how memory consolidation, learning, and emotional processing are achieved.
  2. Don’t let negative emotions take control - your brain needs sleep to process emotions, so you can feel more balanced and react positively. When running on little sleep, you’re more likely to feel grumpy and irritable, which can result in overreactions. Calm down before bedtime with a reliable routine, meditation, or calming music.
  3. Take care of your immune system - good sleep provides essential support to the immune system, helping you fight off illnesses and protecting your body from future health problems.
  4. Feel fitter and maintain your strength - deep sleep manages growth and repair hormones that are used by the body to rebuild muscle tissue, enabling you to recover quicker from exercise.
  5. Maintain a healthy diet - a lack of sleep can result in us not having enough energy to get through the day, let alone maintain a new year resolution to eat healthily. This lethargy can lead to us reaching for high-energy food to get a quick fix.
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