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Ever wondered why getting out of bed in winter can be so hard? It’s not just the cold your body is adjusting to! Natural bodily rhythms help let your body know when to fall asleep and wake each day. Our bodies have automatic cues to follow to to perform certain activities, and one of the biggest natural bodily rhythms we have is related to our sleeping patterns.
In the winter, not only is there less sunlight but we also tend to spend much more time indoors so we miss out on natural daylight exposure. With less daytime light exposure, melatonin concentrations are generally lower and this can cause sleep disruption. Melatonin is our happy sleep hormone that regulates the sleep–wake cycle.
When the sun rises and light starts streaming through the curtains in the morning, our bodies use this as a cue to wake up. Even if we try with all our might to fight the urge and go back to sleep, our circadian rhythms tell us that it is time to get up when the sun is up. When the sun sets and it gets darker outside, our bodies take this as a cue to wind down and get ready to rest. When it is dark, the inner workings of our bodies begin to shut down in order to recharge after all the day’s activities. It is not our conscience that is telling us to go to sleep, it is our internal clock.
We know we get it! our bedding is unbelievably comfy and this can make it very hard to get up in a morning, or from a nap. We might have a tendency to feel tired or stay in bed longer during the winter, but there is no need for more sleep during the winter months and if we’re sleeping later than usual or napping during the day, that could make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. It could also harm your body clock.
Tips to have a great night’s sleep in winter and wake up feeling revived and refreshed:
The ScienceSerotonin is a hormone that affects the mood. In the summer months when there is plenty of sunlight, our bodies naturally produce more serotonin due to the Vitamin D that is made by our skin cells. When sunlight is in short supply, our serotonin levels automatically fall. This leads to our bodies having less energy and positive feelings. As a result, we are naturally more tired in winter. We long for more sleep because we get less light and serotonin but more of the melatonin hormone.