Winter Wellness and Sleep
It’s not you, it’s winter.
Are you feeling more tired during the winter months? This is partly due to our circadian rhythm being disturbed. (Our circadian rhythm is our daily day/night rhythm and is produced by an internal clock in the centre of our brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus).
Natural light is the most powerful regulator of this ‘clock’. In winter, and as the days are become shorter, we are exposed to less day light. We may be commuting in the dark or working indoors - with no light exposure.
With Darker afternoons, we have the lights on more thus exposing ourselves to MORE indoor light, and confusing our body clock even more. This artificial light leads to more alertness in the evenings, when in fact we should be winding down.
When we get enough sleep, it restores function to the brain and in particular to the prefrontal coretex side of the bring which controls our willpower. Thus, with little sleep our willpower goes.
The mix of being more alert in the evenings and decreased willpower often lead to reverse bedtime procrastination, where, when it’s time for bed we delay going to bed and instead stay up doing heaps of other activities, anything really to avoid going to sleep. This in turn leads to more sleep deprivation and so the cycle continues.
3 winter sleep wellness tips to help:
- Get outside for at least 5 minutes, twice a day if you can; once in the morning before 10am and once in the afternoon before dusk. Getting light into your eyeballs in the morning and before nightfall is a brilliant way to signal to your body clock to work in the right way.
- Vitamin D - take a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. It’s sunshine in a bottle and I find gets rid of that sluggish, ‘meh’, wintery feeling
- Stick to a sleep schedule - by committing to the same going to bed time every night. Your body and mind will thank you for it the next day!