As the nights get longer and the temperature drops, the idea of hibernating in the warmth of our beds is becoming more and more appealing. However, with the transition of the seasons comes less sunlight, colder air and changes in everyday routines, which can cause a host of nighttime troubles and have an adverse impact on your quality of sleep. To ensure you don’t suffer from restless nights, here are four sleeping rules to follow this festive season.
1. Don’t overdo the heating
While turning up the thermostat when your home gets cold may seem like a good idea, having your heating on at night can disrupt your sleeping patterns. Bedrooms that are too hot can cause your body to overheat during the night and leave you with a headache and dry mouth in the morning due to dehydration. Air that is too dry can also make your body more prone to illnesses such as colds or the flu. To prevent these problems and increase your chances of an undisturbed night’s sleep, your bedroom should be kept at a cool and comfortable temperature. If you feel the cold at night, try adding an extra blanket or using a hot water bottle to stave off the chill rather than turning the heating on.
2. Establish a routine
It may be tempting to spend longer under your duvet during the winter, but the increased feelings of tiredness you experience during the colder season does not necessarily mean that you should sleep more. No matter how much you crave an extra hour of snooze time, spending longer than you need to in bed can make you feel even more fatigued and groggy. To combat winter weariness, try to stick to a regular bedtime routine and aim for around eight hours of shut-eye every night, including the weekends. You should also make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by creating a clutter-free space, turning off all electrical devices and taking the time to wind down with relaxing activities such as reading.
3. Get lots of light exposure
With shorter days comes a lack of sunlight, which can also have a detrimental effect on your slumber during the winter months. When your body is not exposed to enough light, it can cause your brain to produce an excess of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, which can make you feel more sluggish during the day and you may find yourself wanting to go to bed earlier than usual. To help regulate your internal body clock and promote a healthy sleep/wake cycle, open your curtains first thing in the morning and try to go outdoors as much as possible during the day, even if it’s just for a brief stroll during lunchtime.
4. Watch what you eat
During the festive period, much of what we eat revolves around high calorie, starchy and fatty foods. While we’re all guilty of succumbing to sweet treats during Christmas, a surplus of these types of foods can wreak havoc on your quality of sleep. As well as altering hormone levels that can interrupt your normal sleeping cycle, they can also cause your digestion system to stay active late into the night. To ensure you enjoy a deep, restorative rest, try to avoid eating an excessive amount of sugary, high fat foods, especially in the hours running up to bedtime.