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3 Ways The Winter Can Affect Your Sleep And What To Do About It

If you happen to find it more difficult to get enough sleep at night, winter could be the culprit.

People that reside in the northern climates that receive winter conditions that are cold are generally exposed to colder temperatures outdoors, less daylight, as well as air that are drier indoors which has the ability to interfere with sleep.

Less Daylight

Daylight has an effect on melatonin production in the body. This chemical is released in the brain when it is dark and assists in regulating how much a person sleeps, their mood, energy and when they wake up.

The production of melatonin increases in the winter, however that does not mean that it can encourage a good night’s rest. On the contrary melatonin actually causes more fatigue, which can cause issues with your mood and your sleep.


Fatigue often causes people to end up sleeping at the incorrect times. This can mean they can doze off at work in the morning or fall asleep very early at night. This can cause serious problems during normal sleep time such as waking up way too early, waking up frequently at night and insomnia.

The “Winter Blues”

Certain individuals are susceptible to a term known as the “winter blues”, which is described as a typical low feeling during wintertime. Certain individuals even experience a compelling type of depression known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This disorder is related to a reduction in sunlight that causes the person to have difficulties in functioning normally with the short days and the long nights.

A depressed mood that occurs in the wintertime can have a definite affect on sleep. Some individuals may find it very difficult to “fall” asleep, while others find it an issue to “stay” asleep. The other side of this depression can lead to excessive sleep. This bad quality of sleep usually is a trigger for depressive symptoms in these people.

Tips On Improving Your Sleep In Winter

•Setup a sleep schedule that is regular

When you get into bed at an acceptable time every night and try to wake up at a set time every morning, this will assist in regulating your body clock. This regular sleeping pattern will promote better sleeping habits.

•Temperature control

People sleep much better when the temperature is cool, but it should not be cold. Temperatures that vary widely and an overheated room definitely have an impact on sleep. Your bedroom temperature should be a bit lower than the rest of your home.

•Leave the lights on

Make use of the lighting in your home to trick your brain into feeling like the day is longer. In addition, putting your lights on in the early morning can decrease a depressed mood and daytime fatigue, in turn decreasing melatonin production.

•Use a humidifier

Indoor air that is dry can cause your mucous membranes to dry out. This aggravates snoring that can lead to an increase in flu and colds. A good humidifier can assist in avoiding these problems and experts recommend that the humidity levels in a bedroom should be at least 50% all year-round.


An increase in physical activities can assist in combating challenges in wintertime sleep. Exercise increases alertness, improves your mood and improves your quality of sleep. Advice for exercising includes working out at home, joining a gym or even participating in winter sports such as ice-skating, snowboarding or snowshoeing.

•Don’t delay getting out of bed in the morning

Spending unnecessary time in your bed can cause your sleep patterns to become fragmented. This can lead to a disturbance to a good night’s rest.

Dr. Meaghan Clemens

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