Happy Hibernation! How to Sleep Better in Winter
With shorter days and longer nights, winter is sure to wreak havoc on sleep patterns. But there's no need to shrug and accept Mother Nature – with a few simple tips, you can make sure your sleep pattern is solid until the summer solstice.
Keep the house cool at night.
On chilly nights it's natural to want to turn up the thermostat, but breathing cooler air – between 68 and 72 degrees – improves the quality of sleep and prevents you from waking up with the sweats. Consider turning down thethermostat and layering more blankets on your bed instead. An automated thermostat will remember to turn down the heat at night even if you forget, helping you sleep better and save on energy bills, too.
Soak up the sun.
In the winter, so many of us are stuck spending our daylight hours in the office, but even a little sunlight can help wake us up and prevent sluggishness. Take a quick jaunt around the block during a break to perk up and reset your body's clock.
Power down your devices.
Laptops, gadgets, and artificial light can decrease the quality of sleep year-round, so it's especially important to lessen your use of these modern conveniences in the winter. Dim the lights and turn off the laptop an hour or two before bed to prepare your body for rest – a good book and a mug of chamomile will help you drift off much better than an iPad will.
Cold weather makes us want to stay inside, but even a little exercise during the day can help promote deeper sleep at night. If it's too cold to go for a walk or jog, starting an indoor exercise schedule – like with yoga DVDs or an exercise bike – can be a great help.
Stick to a sleep routine.
Varying your sleep schedule – getting up early during the week and sleeping in on the weekends – can make it difficult to fall asleep once Sunday night rolls around. Resist the temptation to spend Saturdays in bed, and your sleep will be deeper throughout the week.