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Health & Fitness: How to sleep: Did you know there is an 'eating-window'? Expert reveals top times

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Indeed, experts suggest that there may be times which are best to eat, and times to avoid food. The NHS says how we sleep and how much sleep we need is different for all of us and changes as we get older. If poor sleep is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, you can talk to your GP.

Dr Cristina Ruscitto, Senior Researcher at Baines Simmons, said: "Organs, such as the liver and the gut, are influenced by the body clock in the brain and they also have their own peripheral clocks.

"While the body clock responds to light and dark, the peripheral clocks respond to mealtimes.

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"Darkness and fasting tell the body it's time to sleep, and light and eating tell the body it is time to be active.

"After the period of fasting that occurs at night when we are asleep, the timing of both the first ray of sunlight and the first bite are just as important in setting the timing of the peripheral clocks."

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sleep © GETTY sleep

The sleep expert said: "To keep all of your clocks in sync, try to keep your mealtimes regular and limit your eating window to 12 hours. If you have your first cup of tea or breakfast at 7am, try not to eat after 7pm. "

The expert suggests for your final meal of the day, try to include protein and complex carbohydrates to help you to feel full and promote sleep.

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She suggested trying to leave three to four hours between your last bite and going to bed for better digestion and sleep.

She added: "As well as getting enough sleep, we need to think about the quality of that sleep."

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The expert notes that a good quality sleep provides the opportunity for us to benefit from all the stages of sleep, "providing both mental and physical restoration".

She said: "Following a good night's rest, we can feel more energised, positive and ready for the day's challenges.

"Adults with good sleep quality spend at least 85 percent of the time they are in bed, sleeping.

"In other words, if you spend 8.5h in bed each night, ideally at least 7.25h of that would be spent asleep, with the time taken to fall asleep and any awakenings during the night lasting less than 1.25h in total."

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WOMAN SLEEPING © GETTY WOMAN SLEEPING

There are also some other sleep tips which the expert recommends people follow. She said: "Outdoor exercise has the dual benefit of giving you your daily 'dose' of bright light outdoors and the benefits of physical activity.

"Exercise helps people fall asleep more quickly, improves sleep quality and reduces levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms."

She also advises: "Keep to a consistent wake-up time and get up when your alarm goes off; the snooze button is not your friend.

"Your regular routine should be on both working and non-working days - a weekend lie-in can be tempting, but will not help your sleep in the long run. If you are relying on a lie-in at the weekend to catch up on sleep, this is a sign you are not getting enough sleep during the week, addressing this will be more effective in the long-run," she explained.

FACTSHEET © GETTY FACTSHEET

The NHS says everyone needs different amounts of sleep.

On average adults need seven to nine hours, while children need nine to 13 hours. Toddlers and babies need 12 to 17 hours of sleep, every day.

People with insomnia will regularly find it hard to go to sleep, and can wake up several times during the night and lie awake at night.

If you have insomnia for less than three months, it is called short-term insomnia. Insomnia that lasts three months or longer is called long-term insomnia.

6 rules of great sleep hygiene, according to an expert .
Increase your chances of a restful night with these essential sleep hygiene tipsChristina Graham, nurse practitioner and sleep specialist for Noom, believes that good sleep hygiene can go a long way in solving most of our sleep issues, long before they become diagnosed as insomnia. "Sleep is the most important pillar of health," she says. "But often, those experiencing difficulties sleeping fail to pay attention to their sleep hygiene.

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