In the winter getting out of bed in the morning becomes decidedly trickier. Instead of waking up to clear blue skies and bright sunlight we often wake up to dark, cold, wet weather. However, it’s not just the weather that makes us want to stay in bed. Research suggests that our circadian rhythms change over the winter months. In this article I will be discussing why you may feel like staying in bed all day over the Christmas period, what you can do to get yourself up bright and early and why quality sleep is so important at this time of year.
As I mentioned above the urge to stay in bed is linked to our circadian rhythm. When night falls and the light begins to fade our pineal gland starts to produce melatonin. This triggers to the body that it is time to shut down for the night and let the cells recharge which makes us feel sleepy. In the morning the light that comes through our eyes acts as a trigger for the pineal gland to stop producing melatonin. This then signals to the body that it’s time to wake up and get on with the day. However, in winter the light in the morning is often dull or non-existent so the body does not completely stop producing melatonin. Therefore, we do not get the same wakeup signals in winter that we do in summer which makes it more difficult to get out of bed.
Getting enough sleep is important throughout the year but that’s a topic for another article. Over Christmas your internal clock will be making it extra difficult for you to wake up so if you have not got enough sleep the night before waking up will be nearly impossible. Therefore, you need to make sure that you get enough quality sleep as much as possible over the festive period so that waking up is as bearable as it can be.
So how do you go about this? First, you need to make sure that you go to bed at a consistent time which allows you to get at least 7 hours sleep per night. When you have decided on the time you will be going to bed start winding down about 30 minutes beforehand. Turn off the TV, brush your teeth, change into your bed clothes, turn off the lights and get into bed. In the morning when your alarm goes off get out of bed straight away. Don’t press snooze. Some people also find that dawn simulators are helpful. These are devices which go off on a timed schedule and emit increasingly intense light until it is time for you to wake up. This can then act as a trigger for your pineal gland to stop producing melatonin even if it is still dark outside.
Getting enough sleep is something I have always struggled with. The temptation is always there to browse the Internet or watch some TV instead of going to bed. However, I have been getting better by following the tips in this article. I know it’s difficult but try and follow the tips in this article and get some quality sleep this Christmas. You will feel more awake and alert and your body will thank you for the additional time it has to rest and recharge.
Now I want to hear from you guys. Do you often struggle to get enough sleep? Do you feel extra tired over the festive period? Do you have any extra tips for getting enough sleep over Christmas?
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