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8 Tips to Get Better Sleep in Winter

winter sleep tips

It seems like sleep in the winter should be no problem, right? Early nights under cozy blankets while it's cold outside means for restful sleep. Not so fast, though. 

Fewer hours of daylight, cold temperatures, and dry air can actually mean lower sleep quality rather than better sleep. So how do you make sure your long winter's nap is good? Read on for our tips. 

1. Get Outside 

If you've ever struggled to get your baby to sleep, you know one of the suggestions is to make sure they get outside to get some fresh air and sunlight during the day. The same rules apply to adults as well. Because sunlight in the winter is limited anyway, you need to get as much as you can.

Sunlight helps suppress melatonin, which is a hormone that gets your body ready for sleep. When you are exposed to sunlight during the day, your melatonin will be suppressed sufficiently until it's closer to bedtime. 

If you can't get outside due to weather or extreme temperatures, a light therapy lamp can also mimic the effects of sunlight. These are also useful if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder. 


2. Upgrade Your Bedding

You should invest in different bedding for summer and winter. When temperatures drop, you might be tempted to crank up the thermostat, but the ideal sleeping temperature is right around 65°.

For the winter months, layer your bed with warmer sheets, a blanket, and a duvet or comforter. You can opt for a heavier duvet or comforter to keep you warmer. You can also opt for heated bedding, such as an electric blanket or heated mattress pad to make sure you're really warm and cozy when the temperatures drop. 

3. Don't Wind Down Too Early 

Earlier darkness and cold weather make it tempting to start winding down earlier in the night. Fewer hours of daylight make your melatonin production increase, so even though it's earlier in the evening, your body thinks it's time for sleep. 

If you go to bed too early, you can throw off your sleep routine and find that you're wide awake in the early hours of the morning. Try to keep a routine as much as possible so you don't have to readjust your sleep routine every time the clocks change. 

4. Ditch the Electronics

This suggestion isn't exclusive to better sleep in the winter, but rather something you should do year-round. As you get closer to bedtime, you should limit your exposure to electronics, such as TVs, cell phones, tablets, and e-readers. They emit blue light that can make it harder for your brain to shut down, as your melatonin production is suppressed.

If your brain still thinks it's daytime, it won't produce the melatonin needed for you to go to sleep.


5. Exercise 

Cold weather coupled with early sunsets and later sunrises make it really difficult to get out of bed in the morning to exercise or to do it after work or school. Dark, cold nights and mornings beg for sleep, not exercise. If you can resist the urge to stay in bed or jump back in bed at the end of the day, try to get as much exercise as you can. 

We know that exercise benefits your sleep all the time, so instead of letting winter weather impact your exercise routine, keep going all winter long. Your body will thank you and your sleep will be restful.

6. Don't Let It Get Too Dry

The colder months typically come with dry weather which can dry out your nasal passages, give you a sore throat in the morning, and wreak havoc on your skin. All of these things can make sleep harder to come by or interrupt your sleep. A humidifier placed in your bedroom can help keep things moist, ensuring that your lips aren't dry and cracked, your skin isn't itchy and scaly, and your throat isn't scratchy in the morning. 

You can also add essential oils to your humidifier. Lavender and chamomile are two that are known to promote sleep. Just be sure to clean your humidifier often to prevent mold from growing. 

7. Keep Your Eating in Check 

Cold winter nights call for comfort food and rich snacks, right? If you don't want your sleep to suffer, the answer is no, unfortunately. Heavy dinners and snacks can upset your stomach and too much food to digest can impact your sleep quality. 

Try to resist the urge to overeat on carb-heavy or other meals that your body may have trouble digesting and keep your snacks light. If you don't want to cut out comfort foods altogether (and who does?), go for lighter versions and make sure your portions are properly sized. 

8. Prevent Colds and the Flu 

A stuffy nose, sore throat, or hacking cough are not only annoying but also highly detrimental to your sleep. As flu season gets into full swing during the winter months, try to do your best to prevent colds and the flu. Get a flu shot, wash your hands, and take plenty of vitamin C.

If you feel yourself starting to get sick, try to stave off a cold or the flu with rest and lots of fluids. If you choose to take over-the-counter medicine for your cold or flu, make sure it's a nighttime formula, as daytime ones often contain stimulants that can keep you awake.

Getting Good Sleep in the Winter

It's impossible to overstate how important sleep is to our minds and bodies. As the colder months approach, you might have to work a little bit hard to ensure that you're getting good sleep in the winter. Pay attention to the temperature, your bedding, and your overall health and activity level to make this happen. 

If some new bedding or even a new mattress and pillows are what you need to get that long winter's nap, check out our full collection of Nest bedding. Whatever you need to create a bed that's a haven from the weather outside, we've got it.