4 Ways the winter season affects your sleep
Winter is a sleepier time of year, when it's often too cold or wet to go outside, the nights are long and the mornings are dark. However, despite this, winter can be bad for our sleep cycles, and many people report having worse nights' sleep during the season. At Time2Sleep, we've looked into the reasons why - and what to avoid to help you sleep better.
Seeing the light
Believe it or not, a lack of light during the day can make it harder to sleep. The body's circadian rhythm is what controls our sleep/wake cycles, and it partially responds to light to tell us when we should be asleep. If it never gets very light, our bodies never fully wake up, and so we don't enter a natural sleep phase at night, either. We also use more artificial light in the winter, which tells the body it's time to wake up even late at night, adding to the confusion.
People often get colds in the winter but, ironically, it can be because we're too hot. Cold, dry air and the drying effect of indoor heating can dry out the skin and the nose in particular, making the mucus membranes that protect us from bacteria less effective. As a result of this, we can have disturbed sleep without knowing we're ill, as the body fights the sudden bacterial onslaught.
Winter is a time for comfort food, with rich meals full of carbs the order of the day to warm us up and give us energy - especially at Christmas time. However, this sudden rush of sugary, heavy food causes us to overproduce the hormone leptin, which regulates our metabolism as the body goes into digestive overdrive. This sudden hormone change is upsetting to the body and can prevent you sleeping well.
The conventional wisdom is that you sleep better when it's cold in the room, and people find it hard to sleep when it's too hot. But opening a window could be the worst thing you can do. The human body naturally cools throughout the night, before warming up in time for morning. If you're too cold when you go to bed, your body fights the urge to cool and tries to stay warm all night, disturbing your normal sleep pattern. The best thing to do is to have a warm bath before bed, giving your body a head start on the cooling process [https://www.healthcentral.com/article/too-hot-to-sleep-your-air-conditioner-may-be-making-things-worse].
If you need more tips on how to get a better night's sleep, <a href="https://time2sleep.co.uk/pages/contact-us">get in touch</a> with us at Time2Sleep today.