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It’s officially winter — which means shorter days and sleeping in cold weather. This seasonal change can have a significant effect on your sleeping habits, perhaps without you even realizing it.
The lack of sunlight and low temperatures winter brings can throw our bodies, and more specifically our circadian rhythms, out of whack. If you want to know how to sleep better in the winter and ensure that these cold winter nights aren't restless, consider these tips.
How To Sleep Better In The Winter
1. Resist The Urge To Crank Up The Heat
Keeping your bedroom toasty might seem like a good idea during the coldest winter nights, but it can also wreak havoc on the quality of your sleep.
Studies have shown that sleeping in a cold room, ideally between 60 - 67 degrees Farhenheit, leads to deeper, more restorative sleep. Bedrooms on the cooler end of that range are linked to even deeper sleep.
Rooms that are too warm, specifically 75 degrees and above, might lead to sweating and discomfort that can wake you periodically throughout the night. You should also avoid high humidity, which can negatively impact your sleep cycle. Achieve this by taking cold showers, ensuring your fans are working properly, your gutters are clean and there are no leaking pipes.
2. Stick To A Bedtime Routine
The lack of daylight in the winter can throw off your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. Set a schedule for bedtime — and even better, wake up at the same time every day — and stick to it. Ensure you’re getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Be sure to also limit stimulation from electronic devices and evening TV before you hit the sack. The blue light they emit can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, suppress your production of melatonin (the sleep hormone), and result in lost sleep.
3. Get Sunlight In The Morning
Because daylight is short and weak during the winter, it’s important to get your daily dose of Vitamin D when you can. Sunlight triggers the suppression of melatonin (similarly to blue light), which energizes us and allows us to have a full day without feeling tired or sluggish.
Because the sun sets earlier, our melatonin levels start rising earlier in the day.
“That means we may feel more sluggish and more fatigued during the day, and we also don’t get that extra push at night to help us really power down for bed,” says Dr. Nidhi Undevia of Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.
Sleeping in cold weather means you should consider sleeping with your blinds open, and you might even want to consider investing in a sunlight alarm clock that gradually wakes you up by mimicking light from the sunrise.
Exercise helps improve your quality of sleep (and, of course, your overall health), which is why it’s important not to skip out on it during these frigid months.
By expending more of your energy and physically wearing yourself out during the day, sleeping in cold weather at night can become an easier task.
5. Adjust Your Sleeping Environment
Your bed gear for winter and summer should be different. When it’s cold out, you should keep multiple layers on your bed. A natural fiber sheet, a light blanket, and a comforter provide warmth that can help you easily adjust your body temperature as needed.
You might also want to trade in your light cotton sheets for heavier flannel sheets when sleeping in a cold room. Make sure to launder your pillowcases and sheets frequently to help keep bacteria and allergens at bay. With the heat turned on, there’s a high likelihood of unwanted germs growing in your bed (plus, it’s flu season!).
Sleep Snuggly With bedMATCHⓇ
You most likely will want to spend more time in bed during the winter when it’s cold than in any other season — so what better time to re-evaluate your mattress?
Ask yourself this: How old is my mattress? Is it as comfortable as it once was? Does it need to be rotated or flipped? Or, is it finally time for a new mattress?
If your answer to the last question was yes, don’t settle for just any mattress. A mattress is a big investment, so choose one that will support your specific sleep needs every single night.
bedMATCHⓇ is Mattress Warehouse’s diagnostic sleep system that uses advanced technology to provide you with mattress recommendations that match your body type and sleep preferences. After just a few minutes of our in-store test, or after taking our online bedMATCHⓇ quiz, you can narrow your search by confidently exploring mattresses that are a perfect fit for you.
Before the ice and snow hit, be sure to have a supportive and healthy sleep environment for the long winter months ahead.