By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 26 June 2020
With the clocks going back next Sunday (27th October) you may be looking forward to that extra hour in bed, but this small change could actually significantly impact your health, so we’ve asked our experts for their top tips in staying well rested and energised during the shorter winter days.
1. Winter munchies
Do you feel more tempted to raid the biscuit tin in the winter months? This may not be a coincidence, according to research. The study from the University of Exeter suggests that people face subconscious urges to over-eat at this time of year due to the fact that in our past, being overweight has not posed a significant threat to survival compared to the dangers of being underweight and we have an urge to maintain body fat more in winter when food in the natural world is scarce.
Dr. Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin Diabetes supplement (www.curalife.co) adds, “Our lifestyle is very different to that of people just two generations ago. The modern way of life involves eating excess calories from super-sized meals, processed high-GI foods and snacking between meals. We tend to burn fewer calories than we consume, leading to being overweight and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.”
“Don’t reduce your level of exercise when it’s cold – still go out for a daily walk but wrap up warm. Exercise helps to prevent blood glucose levels from creeping up,” advises Sarah Brewer.
2. Be sleep savvy
The clocks going back may be a little disorientating at first as our bodies need some time to adjust to the new sleep schedule. To help you feel more rested and ready to hit the sheets, Nutritionist Cassandra Barns recommends taking magnesium. “Magnesium is also known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ so try where possible, to add magnesium rich foods to your diet. These include buckwheat, sunflower seeds, fish and leafy green vegetables. I’d also recommend taking KalmAssure Magnesium Powder, by Natures Plus (£24.50, www.naturesplus.co.uk). This is a naturally chelated magnesium which is very easy to absorb and easily delivered to the tissues.”
3. Step away from the sugar
“We are born with a sweet tooth so we are naturally drawn to sweet food. Breast milk is very sweet and it is thought that this natural attraction to sweetness has evolutionary advantages. Sweetness indicates that a food has more calories and, hence, is energy dense: energy-rich foods would have been vital for our survival in the past. Also sweet tastes tend to be a good indicator that a food is safe to eat – bitter tasting foods are more likely to be toxic and would be avoided. However this natural tendency towards sweeter foods means that sugar is often added to a huge variety of different foods in order to make them taste more appealing so we eat more of them.
“Once you cut out sugar, your blood sugar levels will stabilise, you will have more energy and you will undoubtedly sleep better. You will also notice a huge array of cosmetic effects – losing sugar will gain you a slimmer body and a clearer, brighter complexion,” explains the UK’s Leading Nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar, Dr. Marilyn Glenville, (www.marilynglenville.com).
4. Support your energy
With the darker days drawing in it can be ever more tempting to wrap yourself up in a blanket to watch some Netflix, however you can boost your energy levels by feeding your body with essential nutrients. Natures Plus Source of Life Gold Liquid is the gold standard for whole-food based multivitamin supplementation. The all-natural ingredients provide energising, antioxidants and anti-ageing power which is sure to put a spring in your step and mood. With an irresistible delicious tropical flavour, Natures Plus Source of Life Gold Liquid provides a complete daily vitamin profile of 13 vitamins and 8 minerals and all it takes is one 30ml dose per day. Natures Plus Source of Life Gold Liquid is gluten free and now Vegan Certified! (RRP £44.95, www.revital.co.uk)
5. Don’t forget to hydrate
“Dehydration can result in low energy, headaches, poor mood and lack of concentration. Research has also shown that even mild dehydration (1-2% loss of body weight), can reduce short-term memory and impact cognition test scores. If you want to stay on your best form as the clocks go back then staying hydrated can really set you up for success,” explains Leading London Nutritionist, Lily Soutter (www.lilysoutternutrition.com)
6. Support your energy levels through your gut
“Scientists call the gut the ‘second brain’ because it is filled with neurotransmitters we usually associate with being in the brain. It has its own complex nervous system and also, just like your brain, produces serotonin, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter. Our brain and gut are therefore intimately connected and that’s why they can affect each other so much,” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville. Marilyn recommends NHP’s Advanced Probiotic Support capsules (31.78, www.naturalhealthpractice.com).
These capsules increase the levels of beneficial bacteria available in the gut, in-turn helping to increase the amount of serotonin being released- keeping you happy from head to gut.