As Winter continues to breeze on as a terrible 2020 comes to a close, you may not be sleeping as best you can. Pandemics, job cuts and mass movements have all been at unusually high rates this year and although vaccines are rolling out, you would be forgiven for stressing out and losing a little sleep.
Sleep can be managed though and with some small lifestyle changes you might be able to make it soundly into next year:
- Watch the humidity
- Keep your nose clean
- Burn some calories
- Watch the temp
- Change some eating habits
These aren’t the most difficult things to do which is why they are included here. No one likes change, but managing your life has never been more important and a good night’s sleep is essential to that.
Manage Humidity Levels
The Winter months can cause humidity levels to drop to a point not recommended for good health. Some believe humidity to be a concern, but when managed properly it is essential for a good night’s sleep..
Too high and it can cause all kinds of nasty things in your home such as mold and bacteria, too low can cause static electricity and respiratory infections. Those suffering from sleep apnea are also at an increased risk since humidity is essential for airway health.
Along with well-managed humidity levels, CPAP for sleep apnea has been shown to be an effective treatment and humidity can be managed with air humidifiers which can be purchased relatively cheaply these days.
Moisten Nasal Passages
As gross as this sounds it is one of the most beneficial techniques for a good night’s sleep during Winter.
The dry build-up of mucus can block the airways causing you to wake up more frequently during the night when you should be sleeping soundly. This can also cause you to snore more, which isn’t beneficial to your partner either.
Some treatments include a saline solution for the nostrils, staying hydrated and reducing dry air. Heating can be a major factor in causing dry air so tip #1 might help with this.
Exercise Before Bed
Everyone seems to say this all the time, but aerobic exercise has been proven as a genuine tool in preparing the body for sleep as it not only helps expend energy but can help with the stresses of the mind as well.
Expending excess energy before you go to bed can help with sleep for a few reasons. The act of heating up and then cooling down rapidly, induces sleepiness and genuine tiredness, which in turn allows you to spend more time in deep sleep, which is essential for resting the body and mind.
This can also be useful for achieving REM sleep, the sleep stage where we dream, which naturally reduces as we get older.
Manage Temperature Levels
Managing temperature levels can be a tricky thing to do, especially for those without expensive air conditioners or accurate thermostats.
You might be surprised to learn that experts recommend a low-temperature level in the room where we sleep at night because as we sleep our core body temperature naturally fluctuates and is magnified by our bedding.
A higher temperature has been associated with the interference of restorative sleep, the stage where our body and mind get the proper rest that they need, and poorly managed temperatures can interfere with REM sleep, causing grogginess the next day.
For a good night’s sleep, experts recommend that your sleeping environment be around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius.
Don’t Eat Before Bed
You might have heard this many times but eating before, or even in bed can be very bad for your sleep efforts. Adding to that, we tend to eat heavier meals in Winter than at any other time of the year as we try to stay warm.
Consuming something close to sleep will cause you to wake up more frequently throughout the night. Interrupted sleep patterns are one of the worst problems that can happen during sleep and will have a high impact on your energy levels the next day.
Other issues such as acid reflux can occur for people with gastroenterological diseases like GERD when food is consumed close to sleep time. Weight gain is also increased by eating meals before bed since you will be moving less therefore not burning as many calories.
It is recommended that you do not eat at least three hours before bed but it is best to have a set meal time and try to stick to that as best you can every day.