Everything seems to slow down in the autumn – as the weather gets colder and the evenings draw in, our desire to spend our evenings outdoors decreases and we start to dream of early nights curled up cosily under our duvets.
The weather during this time of year tends to play a big factor in the changes that affect our sleep patterns, and instead of an evening in the fresh air, it’s common practice to hibernate indoors.
Aside from everything else, we tend to want to sleep much more during the winter than the summer and still suffer a lethargic feeling when we’re awake – it’s no wonder we are constantly thinking of our beds.
It seems to be that this is ‘just the way it is’ when it comes to autumn arriving, but we decided to delve into the science behind it and find out exactly why we seem that much more tired in the winter. Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, believes that it’s because of a number of reasons that our sleep is affected and we’ve listed them below.
Turn up the temperature
In the autumn and winter, we generally want to be as cosy as possible, so we tend to turn up our heating considerably in comparison to the summer months. Although this is necessary to keep us warm during the autumn, sudden changes in temperature can cause our sleep patterns to suffer, so making sure we have the ideal temperature in our sleeping environments is key to getting a good night’s sleep.
Less of the light
During the autumn and winter months, we see the start of early evenings – and when the evenings draw in, our bodies naturally produce melatonin and this causes us to feel tired. This means that the earlier the night draws in, the sooner your body starts the winding down process. The daytimes tend to be much darker during the autumn as well, so we generally see very little daylight this time of year, which can make us feel groggy and tired in the middle of the day, making us long for bedtime sooner.
Making sure that you take regular breaks from your desk at work to get plenty of fresh air whilst at the office is beneficial to combatting the tired feeling in the middle of the day.
Indulging in comfort food
We all know that this time of year is the hardest for keeping on top of a healthy diet, we’d like to be eating salads when in reality nothing fits the season more than a filling, hearty meal.
A meal full of carbohydrates can cause upset to your sleep, particularly if eaten late at night. Eating right before bed can lead to a sleepless night too, not to mention, you may wake up feeling groggy, so you’ll be feeling tired earlier on in the day than in the warmer months. Scheduling in proper meal times is key this time of year to ensure that your sleep isn’t affected.
This time of year can be great for your sleep, and it needn’t affect you in a negative way if you establish the best routine possible for you and your body.
What’s your favourite part of autumn and what do you struggle with the most when it comes to sleeping at this time of year?