01 Feb 7 Ways to Sleep Better this Winter
Do you have more difficulty sleeping at certain times of the year? Changes in the seasons can disrupt your circadian rhythm, your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle that helps you maintain a healthy sleep pattern. If you’ve started having more trouble falling asleep or staying asleep the past few weeks, make sure you’re following these wellness habits for better sleep until spring.
Stick to your sleep routine. Because it gets dark out earlier, you may feel tired and want to get to bed earlier. Avoid this temptation and maintain your normal sleep and wake times throughout the year. It’s natural to sleep a little more during winter but too much sleep will ultimately leave you feeling tired and sluggish.
Seek out sunlight. Shorter days also mean less exposure to the sun, which can cause your Vitamin D levels to drop. Vitamin D is crucial for your circadian rhythm and too little can lead to other problems like low energy and depression. Try to get as much sunlight throughout the day as you can, especially in the morning, and consider a Vitamin D supplement if necessary.
Don’t overheat your home. It’s nice to feel warm and cozy at the end of the day but if your house is too hot, it can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. The optimal temperature for human sleep is 65 degrees so lower your thermostat before bed and wear comfortable, breathable clothing.
Avoid late night snacking. Lower activity levels and more time spent indoors often lead to excess snacking, which can disrupt your natural sleep pattern. It’s ok to have a light snack in the evening but stick with healthy options like popcorn, yogurt or a cup of hot tea.
Get regular exercise. It’s easy to neglect your fitness routine when it’s cold and snowing outside. Consider exercising first thing in the morning, which will jump start your day and get your body’s wake cycle started early.
Use a humidifier. Heating systems can really dry out the air in your home, making the environment uncomfortable and less conducive to sleep. Maintain a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent, using a room humidifier if necessary.
Seek professional help if you need it. Even when you do your best to maintain a healthy sleep routine, sometimes it’s not enough. If you’re having difficulty sleeping three or more days a week at any time of the year, you should speak with your doctor about these concerns.
Kevin Arnold writes about health, wellness and travel. For more tips and information, check out all of his posts at www.pureroom.com/blog.