With cold temperatures and longer nights, winter and sleep often seem made for each other. Often, many will even find themselves struggling to get out of bed during the winter.
Unfortunately for some, it can lead to struggles with falling asleep and, in severe cases, it can cause insomnia as well.
As days get shorter, your body becomes confused and automatically starts preparing itself for rest. This is why we become tired earlier in the day and become more sluggish.
But if you've ever wondered why find yourself struggling to fall asleep once you actually get into bed or find yourself waking up throughout the night- here's the reason.
Why do we find it hard to fall asleep in cold weather?
Winter comes with dry weather which can impact your skin, eyes and the delicate mucous membranes in your air passages.
Dry skin can become raw and chapped lips can burn making things very uncomfortable for you, so it's far less likely you'll drift off to sleep with ease.
Heating getting turned up
If the temperature outside drops and the temperature inside rises due to heating, this can make it hard to fall asleep.
This is because your body temperature drops during sleep and rises during wakeful activity. And, though being warm in bed feels comfortable, you actually fall asleep more easily in cooler environments.
Cold and flu season
Our immune systems are often impacted by the winter, with respiratory infections and flu symptoms becoming common.
The coughing fits, congestion, and aches that come with colds and flu often prevent people who are ill from having a restful night's sleep.
While our body clocks are forced to adjust as winter sets in, the darker days and colder weather can also have a negative effect on our moods.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may cause you to feel more drained and tired throughout the day. People sometimes try to combat this with naps or scrolling as a distraction.
Unfortunately, this can make it extremely difficult to to nod off at night, with thoughts whirring and excessive screen time causing havoc with your ability to sleep.
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How to sleep better in the winter
It can be hard to keep hydrated in the winter, but it's important to stay hydrated to avoid a dry throat and sinus issues.
Try to drink at least two litres of water daily, by keeping a water bottle by your side.
To keep your skin hydrated, while avoiding flaking or conditions like eczema from flaring up, use a moisturiser and eyes drops for the eyes and you should feel far more comfortable come bedtime.
Turn down the heat
As tempting as it is to keep the heat up during the winter, try to prevent your house from becoming too warm.
Instead, turn up the humidifier to keep the air circulating fresh. You can also keep cool while sleeping by wearing fewer layers of clothes and even keeping the window open a crack to improve airflow.
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Expose yourself to light
Finding sunlight in the winter isn't always easy on those gloomy grey days, so invest in natural lighting for your homes.
Try light bulbs that mimic the rays of the sun or use an alarm clock with light and noise to wake you and trick your body rhythms into staying on track.
You can also invest in one of the many lamps on offer from retailers that focus specifically on reversing the affects of SAD.
Rest when unwell
If you’re under the weather, take enough rest rather than push through it.
You should also try to maintain a set schedule for sleep, by waking up and going to sleep at roughly the same time every day. To make this easier, start winding down and avoiding any screens at least one hour before your planned bedtime.
While it can be tempting to binge on comfort foods, it's vital to take care of your health by sticking to good eating habits in winter — and all year long. This also helps to boost your immunity.
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