Spring is just around the corner, but for most Americans, there are still a few more weeks of winter weather on the horizon. And when it comes to this cold and blustery season, many people experience drastic changes in their nightly sleep schedule. It gets dark earlier, the temperatures drop, and it’s easy for the shortened days and winter weather to affect your mood, your energy levels, and your rest.
So get a jumpstart on an energized springtime by adhering to these tips, which will help you sleep well until the warm weather arrives.
With the sun going down early in the evening, it’s easy to unintentionally adjust to the cues of the day, and to start retreating indoors and to the couch or bedroom hours before bedtime.
But too much time staying stationary and in the dark can affect your melatonin levels, and in turn, your ability to sleep well.
So keep the home nice and bright until an hour or so before bed, and get out of the house in the evenings to keep your energy and your melatonin production up. A sun lamp may also come in handy, especially for folks impacted by seasonal affective disorder.
Keeping up with an exercise routine is arguably the hardest in the wintertime, but staying active can help your mood and the quality of your sleep.
If it’s too cold or dark to head outside, take up a fitness class or join a gym, and ensure that you stay healthy and fit in the remaining weeks of winter.
Not only is Vitamin D great for helping you sleep soundly, but it also helps your mood, and your immune system – two attributes that can certainly be affected by the long days of winter!
Because Vitamin D is abundant in sunlight, it’s natural to experience a shortage of this essential vitamin during the cold weather season.
So take a Vitamin D supplement as needed, or load up on healthy foods that are packed with this nutrient, such as milk, seafood, orange juice, and whole grain cereals.
It’s natural to want to snuggle up under a pile of blankets during the cold weather, but too much heat can actually make it impossible to fall asleep!
This is because your body temperature needs to naturally drop in the moments before bedtime to reach a sleepy state of mind. So keep your sleeping environment a little cooler to have a seamless transition to bedtime.
Most people experience a slight uptick in their weight in the winter, and a surprisingly big but somewhat hidden cause of this weight gain is an increase in nighttime snacking.
Too much sugar, refined carbs, and other unhealthy snacks can keep you wide awake when it’s time to head to bed, so curb your after-hours snacks when you can, and if you have to indulge, reach for whole grain snacks and veggies instead.
Winter is almost over, but it’s still essential to get the rest you need before the spring arrives! Pay attention to eating habits, exercise, and your exposure to light, and you’ll rest well until the temperatures start to rise again.
If you wake up and remain groggy each day no matter what you do, it could be sleep apnea. Not sure where to start for testing and treatment? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you sleep and feel better fast.