The winter solstice is upon us! Since the days get shorter around this time of year, some people definitely find themselves groggier and more apt to nap and oversleep. And with the the shortest day and longest night of the year creeping up this coming Thursday, Dec. 21, some of us might have trouble sleeping during the winter solstice, rather than snoozing for too long.
Again, while some people find they sleep a lot more, I personally have more trouble sleeping this time of year. The reason for this might, at least in part, have to do with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). When the hours of the day start shifting around and you get less sunlight, you are also making less serotonin — which helps regulate everything from your appetite to your mood and sleep patterns. And yeah, since winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, you might really be feeling the effects of the increased dark time.
But those of us who take the changes in light and season a little harder are not alone, my friends, and if you, like me, have trouble easing that restless mind and getting your Zs during the winter months, rest assured there are tips and tricks that might help you to save your snooze from being overtaken by the winter-time shifts in schedule.
Whether it's holiday stress or your body feeling totally out of whack when the solstice hits, be prepared with a few sleep hacks so you're rested come the weekend.
I tried this Dirty Lemon Sleep Tonic, and it knocked me the heck out. I'm sensitive to basically everything herbal, so I'm not kidding when I say I had about three sips of this sleep juice, simply made of magnesium and Bulgarian rose water, and I slept like a newborn.
Natural supplements work differently for everyone, so use with caution and maybe check in with a doc before trying, but they can definitely be a useful aid now and then if you're struggling to shut off at night.
Noise pollution is real, my friends, and it can definitely affect your ability to fall and stay sleep, and furthermore, negatively affect the quality of rest you get, your mood, and even your appetite.
So whether you're next to a busy street and the midnight route of a snow plow, or happen to live next to a neighbor having a big ol' outdoor winter solstice party Dec. 21, try some sleep sounds to soothe you and block out the extra noise.
Another thing that can mess up your quality of rest? Light, and even natural light, like moonlight! Don a sleep mask, or try some blackout curtains to darken your room bear-cave style for a better shot at some deep hibernation.
Consider stocking up during the day on foods that are full of ingredients that help to calm your nervous system, like magnesium-rich almonds, bananas, figs, or chard.
Foods that include tryptophan (used in the synthesis of melatonin, another chemical that induces sleep) are another good choice; try adding in some eggs or seaweed during the day.
What's that you say? Make sure you're cold enough... in the winter?
That's right, friends! It turns out that your body actually rests better when your body temperature is lower. So while you don't want to be freezing, of course, you do want to be cool, and keeping your body temperature lower by a degree or two might very well help those middle-of-the-night arousals.
While you could invest in a cooling mattress pad, you can also simply crack the window or keep a fan on to get some cool air circulating. Set the thermostat in your bedroom at about 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for your best rest.
And yeah, maybe it's time to swap those flannels for sleeping in your skivvies, or even in the buff.
If the shortened day and sleep troubles have you feeling super sluggish, you might want to reach for that cup of coffee or some chocolates more frequently than normal for a bit of a wake-up.
But since caffeine can stay in your system from four to six hours (possibly longer), you want to be mindful of when you take your last sip.
Try cold lemon water or even spicy food if you're in need an evening boost.
Now go forth, and get ready for a nice, long winter nap!