As Seasons Change, So May Your Sleep Patterns
Fall colors are symbols of shorter days as we head toward winter. And while fewer daylight hours and colder weather can be the perfect reason to cozy up in your warm bed, the change in seasons may also create challenges not just for falling asleep but also for staying asleep.
How can you ensure the change of seasons doesn't negatively affect your sleep? Writer Emily Laurence gives some great advice directly from a sleep-medicine specialist:
Stay Bright: Yes, light is a big factor in sleepiness. Melatonin is a sleep-regulating hormone and is affected by energizing light. If you keep your space well-lit as the sun goes down late afternoon, you can stave off sleepiness. And in the morning, when darkness lingers longer, using a dawn simulator to mimic the rising sun will help maintain your sleep schedule.
Stay Cool: This may seem counterintuitive as winter approaches, but with indoor heat, particularly in an apartment or other space you may not be able to self-regulate, the warmer temperature can affect your sleep. The ideal sleep temperature is 65 degrees, so putting a fan on or cracking a window if your sleep space is too warm can help.
Stay Aware: If you suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), you experience depression during this time of year, which can cause sleepiness or fatigue. Light therapy is one method known to help, but it is also important to talk to a professional to ensure you are finding a way to cope.
Stay Healthy: 'Tis the season for colds, flu, and other illnesses. If you are getting only a few hours of sleep in a night, your immunity gets weakened, and you are more likely to get sick. And even if you are getting good sleep, when you get sick, often this affects your sleep. To avoid this downward cycle, take precautions to keep from getting sick, take a power nap during the day if you get sick and aren't sleeping well, and during healthy times, set yourself up with consistency to get a good night's sleep.