Sleep Better on the Shortest Days of the Year

Today is the winter solstice, which means it’s the shortest day of the year.  The good news is that from now until the summer solstice, days start getting longer, but the process is short.  How do you sleep better when it simply feels dreary and dark outside?

Get plenty of sun when you can.

While it may be cold outside, be sure to get outside and soak in as much sun as you can, particularly in the morning.  It’s been shown that sunlight resets your body clock.  If you’re unable to be outside for any length of time in the morning, a light box is something of a substitute.

Don’t crank up the thermostat.

Research shows that temperatures above 75 degrees or below 54 degrees can disrupt sleep. For most people, the best setting for your thermostat at night is between 60 and 68 degrees.  Anything more than that, and you could be too hot to sleep well.  Anything less than that could leave you cold.

Dress for the weather.

Your mother always said to dress warm when it’s cold outside, and the same advice should be taken when you’re sleeping in the winter.  If you’re taking the advice given above to not turn the heat up too high at night, you’re going to need to bundle up a little more at bedtime than during the spring or summer.  Warm, soft pajamas are a must.

Woman Sleeping
Conduct a winter bedding check.

Much like dressing your body for the winter, you should make sure your bedding is appropriate and up-to-date.  Flannel sheets are a big favorite in the winter, and if you don’t like heavy blankets many of the newer synthetic materials can keep you warm without a lot of bulk.