5 Ways to Adapt for Sleeping in Winter
Sleeping in winter has its challenges — here are some ways to cope
In some cases, sleeping in winter can be challenging. For one, the days tend to be a bit shorter—and in some continents, this brings with it a decrease in the amount of sunlight being experienced. It can also be more difficult to wake up in the wintertime. This can lead to some people needing more than the standard seven to eight hours of sleep.
In fact, historians believe that in some cultures, in some parts of the world, it was not uncommon for people to spread their nightly eight hours of sleep over a 12-or-so-hour period during the darker winter months, waiting for the sun to rise after the longer-than-usual periods of darkness before they actually went about their daily activities.
It is believed that our ancestors probably slept for a few hours, woke up, prayed, meditated, ate, etc… and that they then went back to sleep for a few more hours before sunrise.
Of course, nowadays, keeping such a schedule might not be possible. But there are still a lot of things that we can do to adapt to sleeping in the winter months.
Here are a few tips.
1. Maintain a Regular Sleeping Routine
As difficult as it might be, try to go to bed and get up at consistent times every day. This will give you innumerable benefits, and will help your body to keep up a natural rhythm that will promote a better night’s sleep.
2. Don’t Eat Too Close to Bedtime
Eating right before you go to bed will strain your stomach and put you at an increased risk for acid reflux. This can keep you awake. But even if it doesn’t, it can still disturb your sleep.
Try to eat your last meal two to three hours before you go to bed. This will ensure that your food is completely digested before you try to sleep, which will help you to rest a lot better when you do finally lay down and close your eyes.
3. Open Up Your Curtains When You Wake Up
One problem with winter is that when the days grow shorter, our natural circadian rhythms get disrupted. This ends up making humans sleepier overall during the winter months than the summer months—and part of this has to do with reduced exposure to natural sunlight.
(Night shift workers experience the same thing.)
So opening up your curtains first thing in the morning, to let as much natural sunlight into the room as possible, is one method that you can use to try to balance this out and get your natural circadian rhythm back on track.
4. Keep the Air Cooler… Even in the Winter
When it gets cold outside, our natural reaction can sometimes be to crank up the heat. But this isn’t necessarily the best idea if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
Researchers have shown that colder temperatures help us to sleep better… though you don’t want the temperatures to be too cold, as this could also disrupt the quality of your sleep (have you ever woken up with frozen feet, shivering from the cold?).
5. Try to Keep Your Stress Under Control
With colder weather and shorter days, humans can sometimes tend to experience more stress than usual. And stress, believe it or not, can actually do quite a number on your ability to sleep well.
With that being said, it is important to find ways to stay relaxed and de-stressed during the winter months. Taking up activities like yoga, meditation, jogging, lifting weights, etc… can all benefit you—as can attempting to avoid stressful situations in your life.
You can also take up hobbies that help to relieve stress and keep you happier.
Keeping the quality of your rest as high as possible during every season is important—and winter is certainly no exception to this rule.