You’ve just had dinner, it’s only 19:00 and you’re already thinking about going to sleep. You might struggle to eventually fall into a deep slumber, but you know you’ll definitely struggle to get out of it. That’s just how it is in winter, right? Wrong.
Sleeping in winter needs you to be a bit more deliberate about your efforts. (Check out the Granny Goose Sleep Lab: a master class in how to sleep better and the power of digital detox.)
Getting quality sleep in winter is essential for feeling rested, refreshed and ready to tackle the next day. That’s why we asked Sleep Disorder Specialist from the Sandton Sleep Clinic, Neera Bhikha, to share some of her top tips for getting the best sleep this winter.
1/ Invest in an external humidifier
We often have the aircon or a heater on in the house during winter and this tends to dry out the air. This can cause unnecessary congestion and general discomfort during sleep, which is why it’s a good idea to invest in an external humidifier.
“A humidifier will create the right atmosphere and breathing air for better sleep,” Bhikha says.
2/ Regulate the temperature in your room
Many of us try to get our homes as warm (read: blazing hot) as possible. We put on our warmest pyjamas and throw our thickest gowns over them, but this might be counterproductive. Bhikha explains that hot temperatures are not the most conducive for sleeping particularly because our body temperatures drop as soon as our bodies prepare for sleep.
“Ideally, you want your room’s temperature to be anything between 22 and 23 degrees Celsius as this is the most conducive temperature for the body to make a smooth transition from wakefulness to sleep,” Bhikha explains.
3/ Diet is everything
It’s no secret that cravings can get quite wild in this colder season. While you’re daydreaming about the lamb stew you’re planning on making tonight, you’re already on your way to get hot-wings for lunch. But large meals, excessive sugar, excessive alcohol consumption and excessive tobacco use can have a negative impact on your sleep quality. Try to keep your diet as clean as possible, don’t overindulge in anything and stay hydrated throughout the day.
4/ Exercise is key
I think we can all agree that the motivation to exercise in winter can be difficult to summon – what with the early nights and late mornings. But exercise has really good benefits for your sleep, and if you can just work in 30 minutes of focused movement a day, you’ll be good to go.
“Exercise improves sleep patterns. Countless research has found that people who exercise regularly experience better quality of sleep,” Bhikha says.