Thanks to technology, winter isn’t a game of Survivor any more like it was in the 18th and 19th centuries. But even with heating and enormous puffy jackets, winter comes with its own challenges—specifically to sleeping. Reduced daylight and the social isolation accompanied by the blithering weather can throw off sleep patterns.
No Sun, No Sleep
In the winter, the days are short and the nights are long. With your circadian clock off-kilter, melatonin isn’t being suppressed as long and the lack of exposure to light can affect your energy levels, mood, and even drive for sleep.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Also known as SAD are those winter blues that stick around for months and is a clinical grade condition. It is a depression with a seasonal pattern that follows similar patterns to insomniacs, usually having more nightmares and more likely to be night owls.
Effective treatments like light therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (which can also be used to help solve other sleep issues) have shown to help combat those winter blues.
Don’t Leave Me Alone
With it so cold outside the last thing you want to do is face the onslaught of cold waiting for you outside the confines of your home to hang out with people. But being so alone can contribute to winter blues, loneliness, and an all over decline in mental health, sleep, and well-being.
Work It Out
New Year’s resolutions bring about the usual signing up for a gym but there is something to be said about working out. As Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Now that last part is a little extreme but you get the gist. While bundling up and lazing about seems like the perfect winter activity, it has been linked to poor sleep. So if going outside (especially in this weather) or going to a gym isn’t for you, try something at home between binge watching sets of your favorite shows.
It’s Getting Hot in Here…
Listen, I get it, it’s cold outside and you want that heat cranked up to warm up your numbed toes but this isn’t a day at the spa so there is no need for your home to be a sauna. As we discussed many times over, research has shown that the ideal sleep temperature is 65° Fahrenheit so if you’re really that cold, put on a pair of fuzzy socks.
Pro tip: use a humidifier near your bed to help counteract the drying effects of cold winter air and the heating going on in your home. They help to create an environment more suitable for a healthier sleep.