How to Beat The Winter Sleeping Blues
So, it’s official. The clocks have gone back, and winter is now here. The weather has turned, and we’re braced for the long, cold, dark days. During the winter months, we always seem to need to sleep more, but this hibernation style sleeping never quite seems to be enough, no matter how comfortable your mattress is. So, just why is this, and how can we improve the quality of our winter 40 winks?
Lack of Light
As the days get shorter, and we spend more time in darkness, our bodies have a automatic reaction, which is to sleep more. Our levels of melatonin are hit in the winter by the lack of natural light, and so we mentally get ready for bed at an earlier hour. It’s all down to the early sunset, and explains why Inuits during the long artic winter traditionally sleep for 14 hours a day, rather than their regular six hours during the lighter months.
The best (and easiest) way to break the mould and to gain some more priceless melatonin is by taking advantage of any daylight that you can. Get some fresh air at lunchtime, soak up the (occasional) sunlight at the weekend, or even just grab a minute in between meetings if possible.
Feeding Your Problems
The winter months seem to go hand in hand with comfort eating, and as the temperatures drop, our diets seem to go out the window. Warm, heavier meals become common place, calorie consumption rises, and meal times seem to become harder to keep to with the inevitable stream of parties during the festive season. Eating high fat, calorific foods can affect the body’s hormone levels, with leptin particularly influenced by these foods. A change to this hormone can impact on the sleep cycle, and encourages your body to crave these foods more – it’s a slippery slope!
Try to go easy on the alcohol and snacks, and remember that although it’s cold, calories consumed can still make an impact on your body, you might sleep better if you go easy.
During winter we combat such a range of temperatures, dipping in and out of the comforts of inside, and then battling the freezing world. This variation can have a major effect on us, though. As it comes to time for settling down at night we like to be as snug as possible, which can work to our detriment. Tampering with the thermostat can take its toll on a natural sleeping process, being too hot, can truly be as bad as being cold. If we come into contact with air that is too warm or dry, the body’s mucus membranes will be dried out, and the chance of catching a cold or the flu increase.
One of the ways to fend off this problem is to make sure you’ve got a steady temperature at home, and then to keep your immune system in check by stocking up on a healthy diet.
Alongside the winter months comes the inevitable stress about the festivities, which can easily build through the year, coming to the surface when you’ve not been able to find the perfect presents for everyone! This can soon lead to repeated sleepless nights, worrying about getting it right. We always try to catch up on this lack of sleep by having more kip at the weekend, but it doesn’t fix the issue, and can lead to further health concerns.
The best way to make sure that you’re able to sleep soundly is to set a regular bed time and to keep to it, even at the weekend. This routine will allow your body the chance to automatically switch off, helping to create a regular sleeping pattern. It might sound a little rigid, but you’ll wake up feeling fresh in the morning, trust us!
With all of these points to ponder and ways to tweak your winter habits, hopefully you’ll be sleeping better over the next couple of months. It’s a tough ask to battle against the Christmas comforts, but could be worthwhile if you want to be at your best, especially if you’re sleeping soundly in a Sueno bed