You would think the winter months would create the optimum sleeping environment – warm fires, cozy nights, and layers of blankets should be promoting a good night’s sleep. However, for a lot of people, just the opposite is true.
If you seem to be facing more sleep challenges when the temperature drops outside, here are a few tips to help you snooze better this winter
Your sleep and wake cycles, also known as your circadian rhythm, use sunlight to know when it is time to go to sleep and when it is time to wake up. During the winter months, when sunlight is limited, you should try to get outdoors and into the sun whenever you can. Try going for a walk at lunchtime or enjoying your morning coffee outside – if it’s not too cold, of course – to help you sleep better at night.
If getting outdoors really isn’t an option in your neck of the woods, basking by a sunny window or taking a high-quality, ultra-pure melatonin supplement, like REMfresh®, to regulate your sleep and wake cycles could help promote a better night’s sleep this winter.
When temperatures drop outside, people start cranking up the heat inside. While a warm house and layers of clothes and blankets can help reduce your chill before bed, too much warmth will make it harder to sleep. It has been found that people sleep better and have fewer sleep disturbances when their bedroom temperatures are cooler. If you’re noticing an increase in your sleeplessness during the winter months, try to shed some of your layers and drop the temperature a little.
If you turn on your heat during the colder months of the year, make sure you’re keeping your nasal passages moist to prevent sleep disturbances caused by the dry air. You can do this by staying hydrated throughout the day or using a humidifier while you’re sleeping to help you sleep better.
There is nothing worse than trying to sleep with a cold or the flu. It seems that as soon as you find a comfortable sleeping position that allows you to breathe through the congestion, you end up in a coughing or sneezing fit that prevents you from getting the rest your body really needs to recover. Be sure you’re taking a few extra precautions throughout the winter months to keep illnesses that steal your sleep at bay. Wash your hands frequently, take your vitamins, and try not to share drinks or utensils.
Nothing says winter like a big warm bowl of your favorite comfort food. However, a heavy meal, especially one too close to your bedtime, can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Furthermore, the weight gain from these more caloric meals can also impact your sleep quality. Instead, try a healthier version of your favorite comfort foods so you still get the warm, cozy feelings without impacting your sleep quality.
During the winter months, people across the United States are getting less and less daylight during the day. Northerners may be getting as few as eight hours of daylight around the time of the winter solstice, and our neighbors even further north in Alaska may be getting as few as six. Your circadian rhythm relies on sunlight to help regulate your sleep and wake cycles so your body knows when it is time to start producing the melatonin to make you feel sleepy and ready for bed.
As easy and cozy as it sounds to just crawl into bed earlier when feelings of sleepiness begin to wash over, you should try to stay up until your normal bedtime. Your sleep and overall health tend to be at their prime when you stick to your consistent sleep schedule.
During the winter months, try not to adjust your sleep schedule by more than 30 minutes and, as we mentioned before, seek some sunlight to get your day going.
Exercise can help improve your sleep quality year-round, but it can be hard to stay motivated during the colder months of the year. Try moving your exercise routine indoors or joining a group fitness class to get your physical activity in.
Just because sleep issues during the winter months tend to be temporary doesn’t mean you should suffer in silence. Give these seven tips a try to combat your occasional sleeplessness caused by the lower temperatures so you can start sleeping and living better!