Approximately 20% of Americans report getting less than 6 hours of sleep on average! The Winter season can also make it especially difficult for people to fall asleep (cold weather and back pain can be a rough sleep environment). Layering under a huge pile of blankets might seem like the ideal situation to combat the cold Winter season but experts recommend other sleep tips for the upcoming cold months. Instead of letting the cold weather consume precious sleep hours, you should keep some of these sleep tips (recommended in an Huffington Post article) in mind:
- Lower the Heat: It may seem like a good idea to turn your thermostat up to stay warm but it can actually negatively affect your sleep. Instead of trying to turn your house into a sauna, keep the thermostat between 68 to 72 degrees for the optimal sleep environment.
- Warm Up: Just like having your house too hot can negatively impact your sleep, so can having the temperature too cool. Your body adjusts to the room temperature so it’s a good idea to find the ideal temperature for sleep. Try layering your bed with a few light blankets so you can remove or add more as you fall asleep.
- Get More Light: During the Winter months the days are usually darker and this can impact your sleep in a tremendous manner. Sunlight helps us to stay “alert and vigilant.” In order to get more sunlight during Winter, you should try going outside in the morning. Perhaps drink your coffee on your porch or just go for a light walk.
- Eat a Light Dinner: At the end of long, cold work day a heavy dinner sounds like a great idea but all that food can make it harder for you to go to sleep. When you eat a heavy meal, your body has to work extra hard to digest it at night. It’s best to eat a light dinner and finish it at least 4 to 5 hours before you head off to sleep.
- Keep Exercising: It’s easy to let your healthy habits fall to the wayside during Winter but keeping up with exercising can actually increase deeper sleep! Even if you’re feeling a little tired or lacking some energy, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a brisk walk. It’ll do wonders for your overall sleep! Just try to delegate any strenuous exercise to the morning.
- Don’t Oversleep on the Weekends: Sleeping in on cold, dreary Winter weekend mornings is often tempting but all that sleep can make it difficult to get back on track for the work week. It’s best to try to stick to your wake and sleep patterns throughout the week and only alter them by an hour or so.
- Use a Humidifier: The dry, cold air during the Winter season can really take a toll on your breathing and steal much needed moisture from your nose. This lack of moisture can dry out your nose and actually lead to one of the most common sleeping problems: snoring. Adding a little humidifier in your bedroom can help keep the air moist throughout the night and also create a little white noise that can help you sleep better!
- Keep Your Nasal Airways Open: Between all the seasonal colds and flus circulating during Winter, your nose is most likely to be affected. Trying to deal with a stuffed nose can make sleep pretty much unbearable! Some good ways to keep the nasal passageways open before bedtime include using a humidifier, trying out a nose passage-opening product, or keeping your head elevated.
For some year-round sleeping tips, check out one of our previous blog posts about some of the top 10 things stealing your sleep!