How Does The Winter Season Affect Your Sleep

You might have noticed that people tend to sleep more during winter than in summer. Read on to learn how winter can affect your sleep.

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Dec 29, 2022 15:14 IST
How Does The Winter Season Affect Your Sleep

Most of us love to take a nap and sleep more when it is cold and dark outside. Nothing is better than snuggling in your quilt and enjoying your comfort food on a freezy day. You might have noticed that the urge to sleep more increases with the onset of the winter season. This is primarily due to light and temperature, which affects your sleep quality. Sleep helps you to fight against illness, maintain weight and appetite, and beat the winter blues. Sleep deprivation can make people more likely to develop long-term health issues. Read this article to learn how your sleep quality is affected in winter and the causes behind it.

Why You Need More Sleep During Winter

Light is an important factor that controls your sleeping pattern. The exposure to daylight is less in winter, which affects the level of melatonin produced in your body. When you get less sunlight, your body makes more melatonin, which can make you sleepy earlier than usual. The brain receives a signal that it should begin preparing the body for sleep at a lower light intensity. Staying in bed all day and refraining from performing any physical activity can affect your cardiac rhythm and the secretion of melatonin in your body. Cardiac rhythm is your body's internal clock which is responsible for your sleep-wake cycle. It is controlled by the hypothalamus, a region in your brain that alternates between alertness and sleepiness at frequent intervals.

In addition, the temperature is also responsible for controlling your sleep in winter. The low temperature in winter enhances your sleep, whereas the heat in summer makes it difficult for you to sleep. However, the actual sleeping time does not fluctuate. The days are shorter in winter, making you feel you need more sleep. 

Also Read: Sleeping With Lights On? Know Why It Can Be Harmful

Link Between SAD And Winter

Less exposure to light can be linked to Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD). It is a type of depression which is related to seasons. People with SAD usually experience low energy levels, a bad mood, and sleeping problems. SAD can also result in hypersomnia, a sleeping condition in which you sleep for nine hours or more.

Also Read: Seasonal Affective Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What You Should Do

1. Go out and get light exposure during the day.

2. Avoid taking naps during the daytime. Follow a sleeping pattern with fixed waking and sleeping times.

3. It is difficult to step out of your bed and exercise when it is cold outside. But exercising will help you sleep better.

4. You are more inclined to overeat during the winter season. Moreover, consuming heavy meals at night can cause heartburn and stomach discomfort, which can hamper your sleep quality. 

5. Warming yourself with the help of a heater is something which we all do in winter. However, overheating your room can disrupt your body's cooling system and natural sleeping process. 

6. Consuming alcohol before sleeping.

Takeaway

Go outdoors to seek natural light and get sun exposure if available in winter. Refrain from staying in bed all day, and do not overeat. If you have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor and take necessary preventative measures and treatment.

Disclaimer