Why winters keep you under the sheets

Winters are notorious for keeping us in bed. Cold nights make our beds make our beds look even more enticing, and the relatively shorter days surely don’t help. While some of us can afford catching an extra hour of the zzz’s in the morning, it’s a hinderance to most of us. Below we’ve compiled a list of reasons as to why you sleep for longer in the winters, and how this can be combated, if you want to that is.

Shorter days; longer nights.

Winters usually bring with them shorter days and longer nights. This reduces the amount of exposure we get to sunlight; the primary source of Vitamin D for our body. Vitamin D is important for serotonin production, and serotonin is important for many functions; including our sleep-wake cycles. Research has shown that a lack of sunlight can increase feelings of depression and fatigue and increase carb cravings as serotonin levels are affected. Lower vitamin D levels have been associated with greater daytime drowsiness, and changes in light-dark cycles can also affect when your body releases melatonin making you feel tired earlier or later than usual.

Lower temperatures facilitate sleep.

When we sleep our body temperatures naturally decreases, to allow us to recharge and cycle through multiple sleep stages. Lowering core temperature allows the body to spend energy on other vital tasks such as strengthening muscles and repairing vital organs. During sleep, the body also starts secreting hormones into the bloodstream that help strengthen the immune system. The energy saved up reducing body temperature is used in tasks such as these. Lower all-round temperature lowers our core temperature, resulting in the body preparing itself to start the process of repair and rejuvenation.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder or SAD (we know) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start during the beginning of winter, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Various symptoms of SAD include feeling depressed for most of the day, having low energy, having problems sleeping (even though you want to stay wrapped up in sheets), feeling agitated and sluggish, and variations to your appetite and weight.

You may assume that just because you end up getting more sleep in the winters, the quality of sleep improves. However, that is not the case. Here are a few tips that will help you get better sleep in winters.

1. Set a routine.

2. Set the room temperature to be cool and comfortable, but not too dry.

3. Turn off electronic equipment an hour or two before going to bed.

4. Get moving or get some exercise every day.

5. Try to relax before going to sleep.

6. Get some light exposure every day.

7. Try not to eat three to four hours before going to bed.

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