When it’s freezing outside it makes for great “bed weather”. You’d think that getting some shut-eye wouldn’t be a problem. However, for some, winter can really mess with the quality of their sleep.
If that’s you, you’ll be glad to know we’ve got a host of tips on how to improve your pillow time. A must because good quality sleep is the foundation of good health.
Be conscious of light
As it turns out, getting fewer daylight hours affects your circadian rhythm. Thanks to its interaction with the melatonin, the hormone that helps to prep your body for bed. Melatonin is triggered by darkness and secreted about an hour and a half to two hours before we go to sleep. It’s then suppressed by sunlight that helps us to wake up. In winter, the sun sets earlier, so melatonin starts rising by as early as late afternoon. Then, due to gloomy morning light, it’s not as well suppressed as it would be in summer. The result? A sluggish winter-induced fog.
To help mitigate the chilly season’s effects on your melatonin levels, pop your body in a sun spot as soon as you wake up – assuming there is one – or get your lights blazing. You should then dim them two hours before bed and ban electronic screens that can also affect your melatonin production from the bedroom.
Pop some vitamin D
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin as exposure to sunlight helps our body’s production of it. The thing is, many people are surprised to learn that they’re deficient in vitamin D due to wearing sunscreen or having darker skin that’s naturally more resistant to UV radiation. Also, there are multiple health conditions that make it difficult for sufferers to produce enough vitamin D, regardless of their exposure to the sun. Naturally, winter worsens all this and that’s bad news for budding hibernators because vitamin D deficiency can lead to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
To ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D, consider a high-quality supplement such as Lamelle Ovelle D3. It’s not always possible to meet your vitamin D requirements from diet alone. After all, the Mayo Clinic reckons adults should get at least 600 IU per day, and you’ll only find 44 IU in a large boiled egg!
Get cosy but don’t overheat
It’s definitely the season for double comforters, hot water bottles and electric blankets. Still, don’t forget that colder temperatures are more conducive to sleep. Sure, you’re not going to sleep soundly if you’re chattering your teeth thanks to icy sockless feet. But don’t overdo it in the heat department. The idea is to make yourself cosy enough that you’re comfortable. Not turn your bedroom into a hothouse. If you find yourself tossing and turning, consider shedding a layer or switching off your electric blanket once it’s warmed up your sheets. You want to sleep, not bake like a batch of your favourite granny’s rusks!
Manage your stress
We’re amid a pandemic, so it’s only natural to feel anxious. Still, we must do our best to manage it. Stress, if left unchecked, can negatively affect our immune system, manifest in an array of health conditions and most certainly hinders our sleep. Ironically, getting a good night’s sleep can do wonders to improve our stress levels.
To help you keep calm and carry on, don’t let colder weather put a damper on exercise. It’s one of the best natural de-stressors and anti-depressants around. Also, be conscious of using overindulgence in food and alcohol as coping mechanisms. Many studies have shown that poor sleep quality is linked to overeating, eating badly as well as eating too late at night. As far as alcohol goes, know that while a nightcap can help make you feel drowsy for bedtime, you’ll be more likely to wake up in the middle of the night by your body as it processes the alcohol. You’ll also spend less time in the deep sleep phase that’s essential if you’re to wake up feeling refreshed.
Treat any disorders
“It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring!” While it might be a silly song for some, it can be the bane of existence for others. A sleep disorder, such as snoring or sleep apnea doesn’t just negatively affect the sufferer, but the person lying next to them too.
If you’ve been struggling with a sleep disorder, don’t ignore it. There’s a lot you can do to improve your sleep and the first step starts with getting a proper diagnosis. Thus, our best advice is to make an appointment to chat with one of our highly-skilled doctors at Sleep Renewal. They can help you diagnose the condition as well as any others that could be contributing towards it. They’ll also be able to create a custom treatment plan that’ll put you on the path to sound quality, deeply restorative sleep – regardless of the season.