Seasonal Changes: Do They Affect Your Sleep?
Do you ever feel like you need more sleep during the winter? And in the summer, do you stay up later and feel great after a shorter sleep? It turns out the seasonal changes can impact our sleeping patterns and habits. Keep reading to discover how to get the most out of your slump during every season!
Seasons and sleep
A recent study from Nature looked at the relationship between seasons and sleep. Researchers found that the longer the day length, the less sleep we tend to get. This means our sleep times are generally longer in winter and shorter during the summer.
What explains this? You’ve probably heard of the circadian rhythm. It controls our body’s sleep-wake cycle, and depends on cues from the environment (sunlight) to figure out sleep and wake times. It’s also affected by the body’s natural sleep hormone, melatonin. Darkness stimulates the production of melatonin, while light slows it. So, during winter, lower levels of light means our bodies make more melatonin. The reverse is true in summer. More light exposure means our bodies make less melatonin, causing us to feel less sleepy.
Now that you know how your body responds to the seasons, keep reading to get the most out of your slumber throughout the year!
During winter, you don’t always need more sleep. But you might feel more sluggish and sleep with all that extra melatonin flowing through your body. Here’s how to support your winter snoozes:
– Exercise! While it can be a struggle with shortened days, just 30 minutes of activity a day can make a big difference. If you can, get outside while there’s still daylight. This exposure to natural light will help you sleep better later.
– Eat foods rich in vitamin D (oily fish, eggs, red meat) to make up for less sunlight. While it may be tempting, try not to overeat, as heavier meals can disrupt sleep.
– Don’t overheat your home. Cold temperatures will help you sleep better.
– Limit alcohol consumption before bed.
During spring, we tend to go to bed later and wake up earlier. On top of this we lose an hour of sleep due to the time change. Here’s how to ensure a solid and restful sleep:
– Establish a bedtime routine. Take a warm bath. Read a book. Or do a relaxation exercise. Whatever you do, reserve the last hour before bed for unwinding and preparing for sleep.
– Try to stick with a consistent sleep schedule. Wake up and go to bed around the same time every day, and try not to hit that snooze button more than once!
– Avoid stimulating light from bright screens and the tv. These can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
With summer’s warmer temperatures, we tend to go to bed later and sleep 10-15 minutes less than winter. To get the most out of your summer snoozes, follow these tips:
– Block out the sun in your bedroom with thick blinds or curtains.
– Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
– Keep your bedroom cool. The ideal temperature for sleep is 18°C (65°F).
– Consider a mattress with cooling technology. Our technogel mattresses can help reduce your temperature while you sleep.
During fall, as the days begin to shorten we are exposed to less sunlight. This means our bodies are getting less vitamin D and may feel extra fatigued. Support your sleep routine with these steps:
– Include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Be sure to eat foods rich in Vitamin B such as eggs, dairy, and leafy greens. This will aid the body in producing melatonin.
– Be proactive to support your mental health. Protect yourself from depression like symptoms of Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Spend time in nature, wear bright colours, and find ways to experience joy.
– Get as much sunlight as possible. If you can, get outside early for a morning walk.
Follow these tips to get the most out of your sleep during every season!