As we inch closer to winter, the days begin to shorten, and the temperature starts dropping. All these changes in weather can really affect your body. I want to help you understand weather’s effect on our sleep. The last thing our bodies need is to lose sleep over the weather.
Soak In the Sun
One thing I notice almost daily is the decrease in sunlight. As the days get shorter during fall and winter, we see less and less sunlight. You might even find yourself rising before sunrise or not leaving work until it is dark outside. Most of us know that sunlight is the main source of vitamin D for our bodies. With less exposure to sunlight, we absorb less vitamin D. But what you might not have known is lower vitamin D levels have been associated with greater daytime drowsiness.
Sunlight also impacts our release of melatonin (a natural chemical that helps you sleep). When the light/dark cycles change, our bodies release melatonin at different times, making us feel more tired earlier or later than usual.
Weather Can Be Painful, Literally
Did you know that the weather can influence pain levels for those with joint and nerve pain? Colder weather and rising pressure seem to be correlated with increased arthritis pain. There’s almost no question that pain will affect your sleep. It’s important for you to make sure you stay warm and comfortable throughout the night, so look into getting temperature regulating bedding. And if you are having an increase in pain, remember that some common pain medications contain caffeine and other stimulants, which will influence the quality of sleep.
Sleep Comfortably In Cool Weather
The transition to winter is not all bad though! As most of you have probably noticed, the summer’s hot and humid air can leave you feeling hot and sticky. The hot summer air can actually prevent your body from settling into deep sleep and reaping the good hormones released in deeper stages of rest. Luckily, the cooler temperatures associated with fall and winter often help us sleep more comfortable. If you are a “hot” sleeper and need help staying cool even in the winter, look at investing in a cooling mattress pad.
If you find yourself feeling more fatigued that normal, just know that the shorter winter day may have something to do with it. If you are having issues sleeping, try taking a look at the influence of outside factors in addition to your bedroom and sleep habits.
The weather is out of our control so you have to work with the things you can control to help lessen weather’s effect on our sleep. I advise you all to stick to a regular sleep schedule to help support your natural sleep rhythm. Also make sure you keep your bedding comfortable!