The temperature is steadily dropping and the snow has started to fall. It’s almost that winter wonderland time of year where the food gets heartier and your eyelids get heavier.
Here are a few reasons why you might find yourself hitting that snooze button one too many times lately:
Light plays an important part in your body’s cycles, especially your sleep cycles. November and December experience the earliest sunset times all year long. When there is less light, your body makes more melatonin (this normalizes your body’s sleep wake cycles), so that when there is less light, you feel sleepier. Light is your natural alarm clock and bedtime indicator, therefore when the days’ get darker, you naturally get groggier.
Hearty Holiday Food
Between Thanksgiving, Halloween and then Christmas in December, the colder climate seasons have no shortage of sweets and treats. Did you know that heavier food is harder to digest and can keep you awake? Aim to eat 4-5 hours before your bedtime in order to properly digest all your food.
No Pain, No Gain
If you have an even harder time than usual dragging yourself to the gym this time of year, you’re not the only one. We tend to exercise less during the winter months, due to bad weather, lack of energy and many other reasons. Sweat is sleep’s best friend, when you do find the motivation to hit the weights instead of hibernating, your body and your sleep will thank you for it. If getting to the gym really isn’t an option, try to incorporate more movement in your day-to-day schedule. This could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing some squats at home or trying something like hot yoga to keep you toasty.
Winter air is a lot dryer than its warmer weather counterpart. What does this mean for your slumber? Well, it really plays a hand it taking the moisture out of your nose, leaving it dry and sleeping with your mouth open. This can lead to snoring and other bad sleeping habits. A quick fix to this would be to add moisture back into your bedroom air, with the aid of a humidifier or perhaps a miniature waterfall. (Added bonus: these both could double as white noise for you light sleepers.)
The Vicious Cycle of Flu Season
Germs spread like wildfire in these colder months and that means you will be getting sicker, more often. The flu or other illnesses often leave you physically exhausted to begin with, but on top of that, they hinder your sleep and don’t allow your body the opportunity to heal. Our bodies heal through sleep, but when you are stuffed up your sleep probably won’t be very deep or beneficial. Colds have the same effect as dry air on your sleep, they leave you with a dry nose and sleeping with your mouth open. This leads to snoring and probably not much REM sleep. It’s more crucial then ever to keep healthy (maintain a balanced diet and exercise regularly) during the winter season to avoid this dreaded cycle of flu season.
It is always important to get adequate sleep, but especially so in the colder winter months. By understanding the effect the changing temperatures have on your body and slumber cycles, you can better prepare for it. If you follow these tips and tricks, you can ensure you’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed for all those holiday parties!