According to the Met Office meteorological winter starts on the 1st of December and runs through until the 28th (or 29th in a leap year) of February. However, the nights and mornings are already getting darker and it won't be long before the wintry weather is upon us.
When we think of winter we often think of it as being a cosy time of the year as we stay wrapped up warm indoors, and early nights as the days get shorter. But winter can be a really tough time on our sleep cycle due to the changes from the brighter and warmer Summer and Autumn months that we have to quickly adapt to.
If you are having trouble drifting off then follow our 5 tips for better sleep this winter
1) Get sufficient light in the morning
Having fewer hours of daylight during winter can have a huge impact on our sleeping pattern because of something called melatonin, which is a hormone that prepares our body for sleep. Our melatonin levels are usually at their highest a couple of hours before we go to bed, which is great because it can help to make us sleepy. Sunlight suppresses melatonin levels which helps us to wake up and feel more active. So waking up on dark winter mornings means there is less suppression causing us to feel more sluggish and fatigued.
To combat this try and get outside as soon as there is some sunlight, or if that is not possible, try enjoying your morning tea or coffee next to a window with lots of bright light coming through.
2) Get plenty of fresh air at night
Another problem we often create for ourselves during winter bed times is closing the windows. As the nights get colder we want to keep as warm as possible and close the bedroom windows. When we sleep in unventilated rooms the carbon dioxide levels increase through the night. Studies have shown that this can have an impact on your sleep quality, and well ventilated rooms have much lower carbon dioxide levels, leading to a better quality of sleep and waking up less through the night.
If you are feeling cold with the windows slightly open try warmer pyjamas or a thicker duvet
We all know that exercise can improve our sleep quality. We all also know that it is harder to motivate yourself to exercise during the winter months. We don't want to exercise outdoors in the dark or it's too cold to get out of our cosy winter clothes and into our gym gear. But just 30 minutes light exercise every day can have a massive impact on our sleep by expending any extra energy.
Try and plan an exercise schedule for winter that you know you can stick to. Remember only 30 minutes a day of light exercise can improve your sleep dramatically.
4) Get outside at lunchtime
During the winter months many of us will go to work when it is dark and come home when it is dark, meaning we miss out on all sunlight. Getting outdoors for even just a few minutes and soaking up some of the natural sunlight can really help us sleep better.
Try and take a short walk or even have your lunch / coffee outside during the daytime.
5) Resist the urge to nap
After a long day at work there really isn't much better than coming home, putting comfy clothes on and having cosy nap in a warm house. However, this can have a negative impact on your sleeping pattern. During the winter it may feel like we we need more sleep but there is no biological need for it. We need the same amount of sleep all through the year. Napping during the day or early evening can seriously affect your ability to drift off to sleep at night and the quality of it when you finally do.
To avoid naps find things to do when you are feeling a little sleepy, such as talking a walk, some exercise, household chores or a hobby.
If you are struggling to fall asleep at night or your quality of sleep is low try using a sleep improving pillow spray, such as the range by Natural Essentoils.
Our Good Night Pillow Spray, Unicorn Dream Mist and No More Bad Dreams Pillow Spray all contain lavender essential oil which has been proven to help you relax and feel calm.
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