Top Tips for Better Autumn Sleep
The season of bonfires, the return of football, and cozy jumpers can mean months of poor sleep for some people. While autumn's cool nights provide a nice bedtime break from summer’s hot and sticky evenings, a host of other sleep issues can crop up during this time of year and disrupt shuteye. But autumn doesn’t need to leave you fatigued and frustrated—just follow this advice.
See the Light
Autumn's shorter days mean that you’re not exposed to as much sunlight. Not only can this lower your level of vitamin D, which may leave you feeling fatigued, but it can throw off your circadian rhythm, which regulates feelings of wakefulness and sleepiness.
Luckily, getting plenty of sun on your face in the morning can help you avoid this seasonal pitfall, so be sure to open the curtains as soon as you wake up and, if possible, go for an a.m. walk. After sunset, do the opposite and dim the indoor lights to get your body back on track.
Turn Down the Heat
The crisp chill in the air is a welcome invitation to light the fireplace and crank up the heat, but it’s actually best to keep your home—or at least the bedroom—cool, because letting the thermostat go above 22-23 degrees may mess with sleep. At night, your internal temperature drops slightly. If you get too hot, your body will struggle to bring its temperature back down, which can cause you to wake up. But don’t let it get too cold—temps below 12 can also interfere with your shut-eye.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that can set in during the autumn and winter when the daylight hours grow shorter. While the cause of SAD is still unknown, the disorder can alter melatonin levels, which play a role in your sleep/wake cycle, and cause daytime sleepiness and oversleeping.
To get back to a normal sleep schedule, exercise regularly, ensure that your bedroom is conducive to sleep (bye bye, electronics!), and aim to keep your bedtime and waking time consistent—even on the weekends.
Having trouble falling asleep even after trying these tips? Consider investing in a sleep aid as well. For those who are bothered by noise or light, earplugs or a sleep make can be a great solution (and regulating light will help you wake up far more rested)