How to Sleep Better During Winter Months

October 14, 2019

How to Sleep Better During Winter Months

Doesn’t everyone naturally sleep longer and better in winter? Unfortunately, not.

Bears have the right idea. Cooler temperatures signal winter’s ahead and they start preparing for deep, restful sleep, cozied up in a snuggly, dry cave.

But, people, on the other hand don’t have it quite so calculated. Even the thoughts of longer nights, cozy blankets, and warming up by the fireplace with a warm drink don’t magically transport everyone into better sleep.

As unlikely as it might seem, many people have difficulty sleeping well during the winter months. But not to worry, if you’re one of them, as we have some ideas to share that will help you get the good night’s rest you need, not just in winter, but all year round.

Spend time in the morning light

Winter months can mean fewer daylight hours and daylight can have a big effect on your sleep-wake cycle. Sunlight triggers the suppression of melatonin, the hormone that helps your body prepare for sleep.

Better sleep comes when melatonin is secreted and that’s usually about an hour or two before you go to sleep. During winter, however, morning light may not be as bright, so daytime melatonin production is less than in the summer.

Getting outdoors in the morning soon after the sun comes up or sitting by a window during the first few hours of daylight will help keep your melatonin levels up.

Go for a walk at lunch

If you’re like a lot of working people, getting morning light may not be that easy. Leaving early for work and getting home after dark doesn’t help. If that’s the case, get outside during your lunchtime and take a stroll or even sit on a park bench in the sun while you have a sandwich.

Avoid naps in the winter

There is no biological need for more sleep during the winter months, but it’s easy to get lulled into a nap during the day. Try to avoid napping as it will interfere with your sleep at night.

Stay active

Exercise improves how you sleep. That’s a given. But it’s easier in the warmer months to take a bike ride or go for a jog. Go to the gym or get on that exercycle that doesn’t get used much. Just 30 minutes of exercise each day makes a major difference.

Watch out for the comfort foods

The holidays and colder weather bring on cravings for comfort foods, but beware the foodie monsters. Yes, a large meal will put you to sleep but it will also add calories you don’t need. Eating close to bedtime can cause heartburn and stomach upsets, too, which will definitely interrupt your sleep.

Moderate your indoor temperature and humidity

Colder temperatures are much better for sleeping, since the body’s internal temperature drops as it prepares for sleep. If your bedroom is on an upper floor, you can really get too warm since heat rises. Stay cool and you’ll sleep better -- year round. Also a humidifier is a great addition for the winter months and one with an aromatherapy diffuser is a real plus.

Less alcohol means better sleep

In colder months, warming alcoholic drinks have plenty of appeal. But consider that alcohol acts as a sedative, but as it leaves your body it has the opposite effect and acts as a stimulant. You may fall asleep easily, but wake up a few hours later and not be able to get back to sleep.

Lower your stress levels

With winter come the holidays and all the revelry and celebrating that goes with it. Unfortunately all the stress of work, travel, shopping, vacations, parties, and visiting relatives can create stress that interferes with your sleep. Make time to lower your stress: yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or short workouts will help.


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