Did you know that humans hibernate in the winter months? It’s not the typical kind of ‘hibernation’ you think about in connection with a bear or other animal. However, research has shown that humans living in parts of the world with more cloud cover are more prone to oversleeping or sleeping poorly. This occurs because our bodies are kept in a natural sleep and wake cycle (Circadian rhythm) via sunlight. Less or sporadic sunlight means less or sporadic sleep.
The potential for winter ‘hibernation’ means that you should be even more careful during the winter months to preserve your sleep cycle. After all, you need it! Work, family, and personal goals don’t stop when the weather changes. In fact, for some people winter is the busiest time of the year. Getting less sleep can increase stress levels, reduce productivity and weight loss, and even lead to sickness.
To keep you on the right track, here is a brief reminder of four sleep stealers to avoid for better wellness:
- Bedtime Entertainment - You’ve probably heard this one before, but it becomes a bigger sleep stealer with every new generation of electronic device. It’s a habit to keep your phone by the bed (or even in bed with you), but resist the temptation! Texting, chatting, emailing, surfing the web, watching a show, or playing a game even for a few minutes can result in a bad habit that steals sleep. Your mind will start associating bed with entertainment rather than sleeping!
- Breakfast Coffee - Too many cups of coffee at breakfast can send your body spiraling into withdrawal mode later that day. Before you know it, ‘breakfast’ coffee has extended into dessert coffee after dinner. Consuming caffeine after 3pm will keep your mind buzzing and interfere with sleep.
- Adjusting Your Pill Schedule - From supplements to vitamins to prescription drugs, pills have an effect on your body. Some of them are morning/afternoon specific because they have a caffeine-like effect that stimulates the mind or induces body functions that keep you revved up. When you miss a planned pill time early in the day, don’t make it up at the dinner hour. Instead, set out what you need to take tomorrow morning to relax your mind and ensure another day isn’t missed.
- Snoozing - We’ve all had those mornings when the sun seems too bright and the bed is too warm and snuggly. But pulling the covers over your head and snoozing can adjust the mind to associate bed with relaxation instead of sleep. If that happens, you’ll lay in bed at night and be able to relax but somehow have more difficulty actually falling asleep.
Need to get a good night’s rest? Just like sunlight and the sleep stealers mentioned above, mood can play a large factor in sleeping too much or too little. Sleep then affects mood, and the cycle continues. Break the cycle with Relora®, a published and peer-reviewed source of natural extracts that helps stabilize mood to improve your overall health. Find Relora® in products at your local health center!