The winter time change is always a little more welcome than the summer as we gained that extra hour in bed, but what impact does this really have on our sleep?
Does the time change affect your sleep?
It can take several days for our internal biological clock to re-synchronise with a new schedule, whether it’s a clock change or a timezone difference. For some people, this can lead to disrupted sleep and feeling tired throughout the day.
However it seems that the seasons can affect our sleep more so than the time change itself. The lack of light exposure throughout Autumn and Winter can affect a proportion of people in terms of mood.
So what is the best sleep practice for the winter months?
- Avoid bright light exposure at night
This includes mobile phone and tablet screens as the blue light omitted tends to delay the body clock – so they shouldn’t be in the bedroom.
- Get up at the same time in the morning each day
Waking up at the same time everyday will stabilise your circadian rhythm. As a result, you should naturally become tired at the same time every night.
- Expose yourself to light in the morning
It’s important to seek out exposure to morning light where you can because light is a strong cue to alert your internal clock that it’s time to wake. If you get up before the sun rises, which is most likely during the winter months then wake-up lights such as those from Lumie can help you maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
To keep energy levels high and to ensure you’re tired enough to get to sleep ‘earlier’ on Sunday night, try to exercise outdoors where possible to take in as much natural light as possible – this will help adjust the body’s circadian rhythm.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine have been proven to give you a less restful sleep. Instead try sleep-inducing foods and drink such as; almond milk, oat crackers, peanut butter, cottage cheese or a small bowl of yoghurt with granola or chopped nuts on top.