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During holiday eating ice cream has replaced lunches and staying up late has become a routine. How do you return to normality after such turmoil?The bright summer nights have mixed up the daily routines of many holidaymakers, and meal times are also in disarray. After endless barbeques and late nights, it is advisable to ease oneself gradually back onto the rails.

1. Sleeping and eating patterns are good to get under control simultaneously as they support each other. Avoiding heavy meals, coffee and alcohol in the evening makes falling asleep easier, and research shows that a good night's sleep curbs the desire to binge eat.

2. While on holiday, breakfast might stretch into lunchtime. When the machinery should suddenly be ready to run at seven in the morning, breakfast might not go down so well. Nutritional therapist Raija Partanen recommends a soft landing: eat in the morning something light and small that is easy to swallow but also have lunch earlier.

3. If the meals on holiday have mainly consisted of ice cream and strawberry cake, the body is still craving sugar. According to Partanen, sweet cravings will wane naturally when you start eating regularly again. When hunger has been satisfied with a nutritious meal, it is completely acceptable to have a small sweet for desert.

4. The reparative measures of mixed up sleeping patterns can start already before returning to work. Regular waking in the morning adjusts one's inner clock within a couple of weeks so that sleep comes earlier in the evening. If the pattern is changed radically at once, the foggy feeling may accompany you for days. According to a research from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, already one night short of sleep may dampen performance the following day, and one well slept night after is not enough for the body to recover. Returning to work in the middle of the week may also make things a bit easier.

Laura Grönqvist – HS
Mari Storpellinen – HT
© HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Image: Kimmo Taskinen / HS

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