6 Ways to Minimize the Impact of the Seasons on Your Sleep
Changing seasons can have an effect on how well you sleep. Here’s how to make sure you’re still getting enough rest.
A lot of things change when a new season begins, from the weather to your wardrobe to even your sleep. For example, the summer heat might make snoozing unbearable, while the dark days of winter might make you sleepier. However, these changes are manageable and with the right solutions and lifestyle tweaks, you can have good sleep 365 days a year. Here’s how:
In the Spring:
Minimize the effects of both outdoor allergies and allergens. Managing your allergies well is the key to good sleep during this time. Keep your environment clean with a HEPA air filter or air purifier to help with indoor allergies. You can also try taking a shower before bed to wash any allergens off your body and out of your hair, and shut any windows to limit allergens coming in
In the Summer:
Manage your exposure to light. While some researchers stress the importance of sunlight for its role in the body’s production of vitamin D, others will implore you to stay out of the sun to avoid skin cancer. How much sun exposure you should get depends on a variety of factors, including skin tone, geographic location, and more. If you can’t get outside during the day much, try to snag a seat near the window instead. In one study, office workers who reported sitting near windows received higher white light exposure and also slept better than those who didn’t have windows nearby.
Cool down your room. The ideal temperature for a bedroom should be between 60 to 67 degrees, but as the weather heats up in the summer, being too hot can make it hard to get good, quality sleep. Feeling hot and sweaty isn’t only uncomfortable, but research shows that hot weather may decrease rapid eye movement sleep (REM) and slow wave movement sleep (SWS). Invest in an air conditioner or a fan to keep the room cool and use blackout blinds to keep excess light at bay.
In the Fall:
Set a regular sleep schedule year-round. Think about going to bed the way you would waking up—at the same time each day. You’ll have more restful nights, according to an article from Harvard Medical School. Setting your clocks back an hour may not seem like it’ll make a big difference in how we sleep, but that time change may impact your circadian rhythm, which is responsible for regulating melatonin production. During daylight savings, the shift in darkness and lightness can confuse your body, making you feel sluggish the first few days. Prep in advance by slowly adjusting your bedtime a week before the time change hits to help your body and brain make the shift quickly.
In the Winter:
Manage your pain. Whether shoveling your car out from a blizzard in the winter or even putting away those holiday decorations, pain is something you can feel year-round. A nighttime pain reliever like AdvilPM can help relieve the pain that’s keeping you awake and help you get a better night’s sleep.
Combat those winter blues. During the dark and cold days of winter, it’s completely normal to feel sleepier than usual. As tempting as it is to want to sleep in or nap throughout the day, too much of it can throw off your sleep schedule and may increase feelings of depression. Instead, try to fight the sleepiness by getting sunlight whenever possible. Go for a walk or a run when there’s light outside — even if it’s just to grab a cup of coffee. Plus, exercise may also alleviate depressive and anxiety symptoms and improve sleep.