Cold weather affects more than your car's battery and what you need to wear when you leave the house. It also plays a big role in your quality and duration of sleep. Here are some tips on how to sleep better in cold weather.
Choose the Right Bedding
Switch from your lightweight summer linens to warmer sheets and blankets. Flannel sheets will keep you cozy. Consider a few layers of thinner blankets, such as a cotton quilt and a fleece blanket or crocheted wool afghan to trap your body heat while you sleep.
Replace Your Old Mattress
Mattresses have a lifespan of five to 10 years. If your mattress is old, it may no longer support your body well. The coils and foam compress, resulting in less comfort. Old mattresses are also havens for dust mites, which could trigger your allergies and cause you to have a stuffy nose. When combined with a winter cold, your congestion could interfere with sleep. A new, supportive foam mattress promotes longer and deeper sleep.
Warm Yourself Close to Bedtime
If your internal thermostat runs cold, try warming yourself before bedtime. A small cup of herbal tea promotes relaxation and warms from within. Flannel or polar fleece pajamas keep your body heat around your skin. Long johns are another good option. Try a warm bath or shower before bed.
Give Your Immune System a Boost
Getting enough sleep helps your immune system fight off colds and influenza, which are common sicknesses in the wintertime. Wash your hands before eating and after returning from running errands. Use disinfectant wipes on the surfaces in your home, including doorknobs, light switches and faucet handles.
Consider a Humidifier
Cold air holds less moisture, so both the outdoors and your home will be drier in the winter. The dry air irritates your nasal passages and throat, which can make it harder to get comfortable and fall asleep. Consider a humidifier for your furnace. Another option is a small humidifier for your bedroom.
Keep Your Home Warm
Keep your home between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. If you're trying to save money on heating costs, put on a sweater and some wool socks and slippers. Locate drafty spots and seal them with caulk. Consider a space heater or an electric blanket for the room where you spend the most time.
Expose Yourself to Sunshine
During the wintertime, the cold air makes it more of a challenge to get outdoors. Find your winter outerwear and take a walk. Even a short walk outdoors on a sunny day helps reset your circadian rhythm so that you're tired at bedtime. If it's too cold outside, open your blinds or curtains, and sit in a sunny spot.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and your quality of sleep. For the best results, exercise early in the day, preferably before mid-afternoon. Even moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk outdoors or a 20-minute swim works wonders for your sleep and well-being.
Choose Nutritious Foods
Maintain a well-balanced diet, focusing on lean proteins, whole grains and plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Choose foods with plenty of magnesium and tryptophan, as these promote better sleep. Avoid big meals, greasy or spicy food and caffeine or alcohol within a few hours of bedtime.