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Keep well and sleep well this winter with Sealy Posturepedic

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it’s time to turn attention to our winter health and well-being. To help us along the way, we joined forces with nutritionist Libby Matthews and sleep expert Dr Karyn O'Keeffe to share their tips on keeping well and sleeping well this winter.

Sleep tips from expert Dr Karyn O’Keeffe

Getting enough good quality sleep in the winter months is especially important, as missing out on sleep can make you more susceptible to colds, flus and other illnesses.

  • Keeping warm, but not hot, is important for getting a good night’s sleep during winter. Try to keep the room at a comfortable, ambient temperature.
  • Try to sleep in warm, comfortable clothing and use multiple layers of bedding (sheets, duvets, blankets) which will help to keep you cosy by trapping in warm air.
  • Have a warm bath or shower before bed. This will help you unwind, as well as help to make you feel sleepy.
  • Do your best to create an ideal sleep environment.  We sleep best in a dark, quiet, cool room.  Remove any distractions from the bedroom, including televisions, computers and mobile phones.
  • Keeping a regular sleep routine is important.  One way to promote a healthy routine is to keep a regular wake up time.  Try to get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
  • Avoid bright light in the evening as this can affect your internal body clock and make it difficult to fall asleep when you want and to get up in the morning.  Dim screens in the evening and if possible avoid using devices with bright screens in the 2 hours before bed.
  • Caffeine and alcohol change the structure of your sleep and may make you miss out on vital sleep stages.  Caffeine can be found in coffee, black and green leaf tea, energy drinks and chocolate.  It is best to try and avoid caffeine in the 5-8 hours and alcohol in the 2-3 hours before bed.
  • If you suffer from sleep problems on a regular basis, such as trouble getting off to sleep, waking often overnight, or excessive daytime sleepiness, have a chat with your GP.  Many sleep difficulties and disorders can be treated and it may also be helpful to have a consultation with a sleep professional.

Health and well-being tips with nutritionist Libby Matthews

Increase the amount of greens in your diet
We should be aiming to eat 5+ servings of fruit and/or vegetables a day. I try to eat a large amount of leafy green vegetables throughout the day - ideally we should be eating a serving of leafy green vegetables with every meal. If you usually have eggs for breakfast, add some spinach and onion to your eggs and make it into an omelette. If you have toast for breakfast, have an avocado as a spread instead of butter and jam. Smoothies are an awesome way to incorporate more greens into your diet. I like to add berries and kale. This is also a great way to get children to eat their greens (because you cannot taste them when added to a smoothie!).

Increase the amount of good quality fat in your diet
Our brains contain 60% fat, so it makes complete sense to feed your brain with good quality fats. A lot of people have a misconception about eating fat, so eating the right type and enough of it is vital. Fat is essential to our health and brain function. It has many special roles from providing superior long-lasting energy, to supporting the development of hormones and contributing to the health of skin, eyes, nails and hair.

Some fats are much better than others; healthy fats can be found in:

  • Nuts such as: walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamias, pistachios, almonds
  • Nut butters
  • Avocados
  • Fish
  • Seeds such as: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia
  • Eggs

All of these are high in protein and will keep you feeling full for longer.  These fats are good for you so don’t be afraid to eat them.  Our hormones are made from fat so it is really important that we are getting enough in our diets.  The right nutrition will help you stay healthy this winter!