As fun as the Euros may be, they’re not the best for our poor old sleeping routines.
As we approach the final (is it coming home? We reckon so), we’ll only continue to feel the negative effects football has had on our health these past few weeks.
It’s not just about the pints – although those do play a part.
All the tension, the pre-match anxiety, the late nights, and the big screens can have a seriously detrimental impact on our wellbeing.
Alex Dimitriu, a sleep expert and MD of Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine who’s working with Otty, breaks down all the effects of the Euro final ahead, along with some tips on how on earth we’re supposed to cope.
Alcohol’s effect on sleep
Shocker: downing pints really isn’t good for your health.
And even a few beers can spell disaster for your sleep.
Alex says: ‘Sleep on alcohol is both fragmented with numerous awakenings (when the alcohol wears off), and overall lacking in deep sleep and REM sleep, both essential to the brain feeling recharged the next day.’
The best way to prevent feeling rubbish after the Euro 2020 final is, of course, to just not drink too much. That way you’ll be more able to get high quality sleep and feel loads better on Monday.
But if that doesn’t sound particularly appealing, at least follow Alex’s advice to drink plenty of water alongside your other beverages.
Follow every pint with a glass water, or glug some down before bed to help flush out alcohol.
The power of match anxiety
You’re probably pretty emotionally invested in the outcome of the Euro final.
This can lead to anxiety, especially the night before an important game.
‘Match anxiety is like most other forms of anticipatory anxiety – like before a big test, interview, or presentation at work,’ Alex explained. ‘Insomnia can certainly be a part of this, but the next day is often much more enjoyable if you can get some sleep.
‘Exercising the day prior to a game can help, as well as shutting off all forms of work and media about three or four hours before bedtime to cool off.
‘Also, reading books when you cannot sleep, rather than reading from your mobile phone, has been hugely helpful to many people.
‘Try drinking some chamomile tea or spraying lavender in your room before heading to bed. This will help soothe anxious thoughts and help you drift off.’
Screens and sleep
It doesn’t matter if you watch it on a big screen at the pub, on your laptop, or on your phone. All those bright lights and excess screentime isn’t good news for your sleep.
Alex said: ‘TV, smartphones, and blue screens of any sort, in general, produce a bluish light that confuses the body’s circadian system into thinking this is the blue of the sky on a sunny day.
‘The body interprets blue light by lowering melatonin production, which is intended to help us fall asleep at night.
‘So, blue light from any screen equals less melatonin, contributing to insomnia and worse quality sleep all night long.
‘Another issue with any interactive device – such as an iPad – is that the interaction process is quite mentally stimulating and gets the brain going when it should be winding down. This can cause insomnia as well as diminished sleep quality for the entire night.’
Alex’s tip to tackle this is taking regular breaks in between football matches, to give yourself a break from the screen.
It’s also worth doing a wind-down routine between the end of a match and trying to go to sleep – without a pause in between, all the excitement will make it nigh on impossible to drift off.
Ramped up celebrations
All that cheering, jumping around, singing – that’s all very stimulating, and not conducive to sticking to a bedtime.
If you can, make sure you have some downtime after the match, rather than continuing the celebrations all the way home.
‘The key is to give your mind and eyes the necessary break needed before going to sleep,’ say the SleepSeeker experts. ‘The drama and excitement could disrupt your sleep, so it is important to have a little bit of time to relax and unwind before going to bed.’
‘You could try reading a book or some breathing exercises to help you unwind.
‘It doesn’t have to be long, 20/30 minutes should be enough to help you sleep.’
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