With winter now upon us, it’s a good time to think about sleep quality on cooler nights.
A lot of people say they sleep better in winter because of the longer nights, later sunrise and being able to snuggle up with warm blankets, PJs and hot chocolate. But not everyone feels the same way. Some people find that winter messes up their sleep patterns! If that’s you, we have some tips.
Avoid sleeping in
Yep, we know. Bed is so cosy in winter! While it can be tempting to stay in bed when it’s still dark outside, it’s important to get up at your usual time to avoid disrupting your normal sleep pattern. Set your alarm, hop out of bed and instead, relish the quiet. By sticking to your routine, you also won’t be madly rushing around to get ready for your day, whether it’s heading off to work, attending appointments or getting the kids off to school.
Open your curtains or blinds in the morning
Once you’re up, go around and let some light in. The sleep hormone melatonin that is needed to get quality sleep at night is secreted by our bodies around 90 minutes to two hours before we hit the hay and is closely intertwined with our circadian rhythm. In the day time, we need to suppress it and in winter, there are fewer hours of sunshine. To keep your melatonin secretion on point, aim to take a walk outdoors once the sun is up or at least soak up some rays by having breakfast near an east-facing window. Later in the day, avoid bright lights after dinner so your body gets the message that you’ll be needing that squirt of melatonin soon.
Don’t nap more just because it’s cold
Try to avoid napping more frequently or for longer. The extra sleep may feel good at the time but at night, it’s going to be harder to get quality shut eye. Relax with a good book, watch a movie, cuddle and talk to your fur baby on your lap or simply lie – awake – and listen to your favourite music.
With the sun going down in the afternoon, you’re likely to be leaving work when it’s dark. A lunch time walk to get some sun exposure is just what the doctor ordered and can help you sleep better at night. Rug up and do a lap around the block, go and pick up a coffee or find a lovely sunny spot to make like a lizard and recharge with some sunshine. Even ten minutes of your lunch hour can be beneficial.
Start practicing the above tips and don't forget to read part 2.