As the new year moves along and the days get colder, it can be harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. Thankfully, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. More sleep is natural in the wintertime, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The normal range is an extra 1.75 to 2.5 hours per night. The key thing is to limit your sleep to between 7-10 hours per night (for healthy adults). Any more than that can be a symptom of depression, illness, or other underlying issues.
Why You’re Tired
- Less Sunlight: Your body produces more melatonin when you see less sunlight, which can make you more sleepy than normal.
- Colder Temperatures: Exposure to cold temperatures has been shown to increase metabolism, requiring more sustenance and sleep. Plus, indoor heating can dry out mucus membranes and increase your chances of getting sick, which then requires more sleep for healing.
- Change in Exercise or Eating Habits: Fresh produce is less available in the winter months, and you may find yourself turning to refined grains and sugars. It’s also more difficult to exercise and spend time outdoors in the cold weather. These changes to your diet and fitness can lower your energy levels and make you tired more often.
Benefits of Sleep in the Wintertime
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with getting more sleep in the winter. Just keep it between 7-10 hours per night, and you’ll enjoy these benefits and more:
- Fight Illness
- Regulate Appetite and Weight
- Help Counter the Winter Blues
Getting Restful Sleep
More sleep is a good thing only if it’s quality, restful sleep. Here are some ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your sleeping hours:
- Maintain a consistent bedtime and waking time
- Keep the heat a bit lower in your bedroom (66-68°F)
- Spend time outdoors and exercise regularly (Tire yourself out during the day so you can get to sleep at night. Makes sense!)
- Regulate humidity levels with a humidifier or dehumidifier. The optimal relative humidity is 30-60%
- Avoid distractions like a cell phone next to the bed or a TV in the bedroom
National Sleep Foundation: https://www.sleep.org/articles/sleep-quantity-different-sleep-quality/
National Institutes of Health: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/cool-temperature-alters-human-fat-metabolism