In autumn and winter, many people suffer from daytime tiredness, listlessness or sleep problems. Here we will explain to you how increasingly cold days and a lack of sunlight affect sleep and what you can do to still sleep restfully and start the day full of energy in the morning.
Table of Contents
- Sleep in winter
- Difficult sleep in winter
- 4 sleep tips for the cold seasons
- Relax in a targeted manner and get enough sleep
1. Sleep in winter
It's slowly getting cold and wet outside, nature is preparing for winter and after the time change in autumn at the latest it will get dark earlier in the evenings. This disrupts our sleep rhythm and our internal clock needs some time to get used to the new circumstances after the warm summer months. However, it is not uncommon for us to continue to suffer from daytime tiredness, lack of motivation or low energy levels even after we have adapted to the winter season. Our bodies are particularly challenged in autumn and the snowy winter months, because then there is a lack of important daylight, we are more susceptible to colds and illnesses and our skin, hair and nails also suffer from the cold temperatures, dry out, become brittle and weak.
It is all the more important to sleep enough and well, because at night we fill our energy stores, the immune system works at full speed and our skin, hair and nails are repaired and renewed.
2. Difficult sleep in winter
It has been scientifically proven that our sleep needs vary at different times of the year and that we generally need a little more sleep in winter. But especially in winter, numerous factors arise that prevent good sleep or worsen the quality of sleep.
The internal clock is strongly based on daylight and adapts our sleep-wake behavior to the natural course of the day. As the days get shorter and it gets colder outside, we spend more time indoors and receive less daylight, which our bodies already lack due to the fewer hours of sunshine in the winter months. This also influences the production of the important sleep hormone melatonin in the evening and counteracts falling asleep quickly and restful sleep.
But various external circumstances and changes in the sleeping environment can also make getting a good night's sleep in winter a challenge. Cold temperatures, dry heated air, unfavorable sleeping clothes or changed eating habits also counteract restful sleep. Especially in the cold seasons, good sleep hygiene is important for daily performance, our health and enough energy in everyday life.
3. 4 sleep tips for the cold seasons
#1 Temperature & thermal management
At night, when we rest and sleep, our body temperature slowly drops. When we sweat or freeze, our body takes action to regulate body temperature and prevent hypothermia or overheating. This has a negative effect on the process of falling asleep and makes it more difficult to stay asleep.
Tip: Make sure the room temperature is cool, but not too cold (16-18 degrees Celsius is recommended) and prefer breathable sleeping accessories (pillows, blankets, mattresses) and a appropriate sleeping clothing. In particular, avoid blankets and clothing that are too tight (e.g. b tight socks), as these can disrupt blood circulation and promote sweating at night.
#2 Humidity and indoor climate
In autumn and winter, the temperatures in the apartment and our sleeping environment are often higher than outside, which, combined with strong heating or incorrect ventilation behavior, creates a warm, dry indoor climate. However, the humidity that is too low irritates the nose, respiratory tract and our mucous membranes and causes them to dry out easily, especially overnight, impairing breathing and permanently disrupting sleep.
Tip: Try to ventilate adequately and properly even in winter and maintain a medium humidity (optimally between 40% and 60%) in order to create a pleasant indoor climate Also to supply the body with enough oxygen at night.
Our diet has a big influence on the quality of our sleep. Especially in winter, we often eat heavy meals that are high in fat or carbohydrates or turn to sugary nerve foods, which put a strain on the digestive system, especially in the last few hours before going to bed, and make it difficult to fall asleep.
And certain nutrients, such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol also disrupt sleep. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh were able to show that people drink more alcohol when it is cold and there is no sunlight. This expands the blood vessels, increases blood flow in our body and thus creates a feeling of warmth.
Tip: Avoid heavy meals in the evening, ensure moderate alcohol consumption and try to drink enough fluids during the day, even in winter. You can find out which foods you can use to specifically promote your sleep in this article.
#4 Movement & Daylight
Exercise and sporting activity keep the circulation going, have a positive effect on the metabolism and promote healthy sleep.In the cold autumn and winter months, it is also important to consume enough daylight in order to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and guarantee a restful sleep.
Tip: Integrate exercise regularly into your everyday life and spend as much time as possible in the fresh air during the day. Even moderate training or relaxed walks keep us fit, increase sleep pressure in the evening and improve sleep.
4. Relax in a targeted manner and get enough sleep
When cold, darkness and stormy weather increasingly dominate everyday life, sleep should definitely not be neglected. Because so that we stay healthy and productive during the day, a strong immune system can protect us from nasty pathogens and our mood does not suffer, it is extremely important to relax sufficiently and sleep well at night. And if you wake up rested and refreshed in the morning, you can get the most out of the day and create ideal conditions to enjoy the golden autumn and a romantic, snowy winter to the fullest.
Cold, lack of daylight as well as dry heated air, unfavorable sleeping clothes, poor indoor climate or changed eating habits disrupt sleep in winter
Ensure a comfortable sleeping environment with a moderate room climate (temperature: 16 - 18 degrees Celsius, medium humidity), choose suitable sleeping clothing and ensure an overall pleasant sleeping temperature
Avoid heavy meals before bed and stimulants, such as caffeine and alcohol in large quantities, to promote falling asleep and sleeping
Stay active and exercise regularly, preferably in the fresh air, in order to consume as much daylight as possible and thus support sleep-regulating hormone production
Greetings and see you soon!