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Health And Beauty,Mental Health

How To Get Better Sleep This Winter

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On the JJ Barnes Blog, I learn how to get better sleep this Winter to fight off the January blues, and improve both my mental and physical health.

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January Blues

It’s January, and let’s be honest, the world feels a little…bleurgh. The days are short, the nights are long, and that elusive feeling of post-Christmas joy feels like a distant memory. But this year, I’m on a mission: to conquer the January blues and emerge from this hibernation period feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle the year ahead.

Now, I’m no stranger to the struggle for a good night’s sleep. Tossing and turning, listening to various sleep hypnosis podcasts, and staring at the ceiling in the dead of night – I’ve been there, done that, bought the melatonin gummies. But this year, I’m determined to break free from the cycle of sleep deprivation and embrace the transformative power of a truly restful night.

To help me out, health-focused sleep experts Zoma Sleep have sent over their top tips on how to get better sleep this January to help improve your mood, energy levels and more.

How To Get Better Sleep This Winter

Oversleeping can WRECK your entire day 

While it’s incredibly important to get enough rest for your health and wellbeing, it is equally important to ensure you aren’t oversleeping. With less daylight hours and longer, dark nights in January, people find it increasingly difficult to leave their bed in the morning. Experts say adults need up to nine hours sleep a night, but if you find yourself oversleeping, this may have a negative impact on your mood, productivity, and overall health.  

Instead of spending those extra hours in bed at the weekend or taking daytime naps, it is recommended to maintain a daily routine which enables you to relax and unwind each night. Whether you prefer taking a warm bath, reading a book or meditating, these practices can help you develop a nighttime ritual which means you can keep your schedule on track. 

Unlock better sleep with a 15-minute daytime stroll 

Naturally, our body’s internal clock associates things like darkness with nighttime, which can be a struggle during the winter months when daylight hours are massively reduced. Often people find themselves waking up to a dark morning and working until it is dark again in the evening. Seasonal affective disorder, or “winter depression”, is more common and severe during the winter months, with less daylight exposure resulting in low moods, depression and more. 

While it may seem gloomy and cold outside, a 15-30-minute walk every day can do wonders for your mood and overall sleep schedule. Where possible, experts even recommend going for a walk in the morning daylight or simply spending time outside. In the brighter months, we are acclimated to waking up to daylight, so if you are able to spend some time enjoying the morning daylight during winter, this will let your body know it’s daytime.

If going outside isn’t feasible during the cold months, even spending some time by a window in your home where you are exposed to lots of natural light will help your body thrive. 

As well as helping regulate your body’s circadian rhythms for a good night’s rest, exercise is particularly key in relieving any stress of the holidays, resolutions, financial strain, loneliness, and more that are particularly common at the beginning of a new year. The endorphins released from exercise will help alleviate some of the burden, lifting your mood and reducing anxiety levels, allowing you to properly unwind before bed.

The NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity every week. 

Make your bedroom a phone-free zone for a better night’s rest 

Electronic devices like mobile phones, tablets and more are so embedded in our everyday lives that controlling the time we spend on screens can prove incredibly challenging. While many may choose to unwind by doomscrolling on social media, this common practice often sees one video become 10, 20 or even 30.

Screens emit a blue light which disrupts your natural sleep schedule by convincing your body that it is in fact daytime. This often halts the release of sleep hormone melatonin, which helps us regulate and prepare our bodies for sleep each night. By making our bedrooms a screen-free zone, you will help foster a better environment to relax and unwind. 

Winter Sleep Problems

Sleeping in the winter can be more challenging because of several factors.

First, the lack of sunlight during shorter days can disrupt the body’s internal clock and affect the production of sleep-regulating hormones.

Second, temperature fluctuations and dry air from indoor heating systems can make it harder to maintain a comfortable sleeping environment. Additionally, some individuals may experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter, leading to changes in sleep patterns. 

It’s important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, ensure a comfortable sleeping environment, and manage stress through relaxation techniques and exercise.

-Dr, Jordan Burns DC, MS, a sleep wellness expert and spokesperson for Zoma Sleep
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