In Focus

World Sleep Day 2024: We need deep rest not sleep – and here’s how to get it

If low energy is getting you down, don’t panic, says Anna Magee, your body is behaving exactly as it should do in winter. But if you are also finding it hard to sleep, it may be because you have lost the ability to rest. The trick? Learn to embrace tiredness and wait for spring to arrive...

Friday 15 March 2024 14:40 GMT
What’s better than a good night’s sleep? Deep rest, apparently
What’s better than a good night’s sleep? Deep rest, apparently (Getty)

There is plenty advice out there about how to jump out of bed at 6am, boost energy, and instigate changes which feel a struggle when it’s rainy, cold and grey out there. But in these conditions, it’s not your imagination – you really do feel more tired when you wake up, even when you get a lot of sleep. One in eight of us exists in a state of total exhaustion during the winter, and studies have also shown that we’re less productive in those months.

But it’s not the perfect night’s sleep you need – it’s rest. Deep, blissful and refreshing rest. Hibernation might feel tempting, but human biological rhythms are more nuanced than that.

“We’re a diurnal species, which means we don’t hibernate,” says Dr Sophie Bostock, a health psychologist and an expert in sleep and circadian neuroscience ( “But we are affected by the light-dark cycle of the sun. Sunlight is the key cue that tells us to be active, so in any environment where we are not getting sufficient bright light, we tend to feel more fatigued.”

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