Sleeping Differently with the Seasons


Don’t let the seasonal weather or light changes prevent you from getting enough sleeping. Solution is fairly simple.

Each season brings to mind a picturesque image: spring flowers, summer beaches, cozy fall fires, and bundled winters. Getting the most out of all four seasons means enjoying all of their unique characteristics – as well as enduring their unique annoyances. Our sleep patterns and habits are influenced by many factors, including dark nights and varying temperatures.

You simply wake up when the morning light comes on, and sleep when the sky darkens and the temperature declines. During times of change, if you’re unprepared, it will really affect your sleep. It’s likely you experience daylight saving time, even if you don’t live in an area that experiences all four seasons.

Allergies and light disturbances accompany spring

(Literally) Spring is a time of many changes. Pollen from trees is also brought down by April showers and can cause allergies to flare up at night as the flowers bloom. Symptoms of hay fever can worsen sleep quality when exposed to pollen. When you cough and sneeze at night, you can feel more tension and less relaxed during wind-down.

As if allergies weren’t enough, the U.S. moves forward by one hour during daylight saving time.

 A jump of an hour in the clock gives us 60 more minutes of daylight in the evening, but for people whose sleep cycles are sensitive to light changes, it may interfere with their sleep cycle.

Sunlight disrupts our sleep schedule in summer

Sleeping Differently

As the year goes on, we spend more time awake due to excessive light exposure, especially in northern states, where sunset can happen as late as 10 p.m. “Summer is a particularly difficult time to sleep due to long daylight hours and higher temperatures,” Rohrscheib says.

Temperature is influenced by light and is correlated with the release of melatonin when it is time to sleep. Sleeping will be harder when the temperature increases – and staying asleep will be more difficult. In particular, hot humid conditions can cause your body to experience an increase in thermal load, thus waking you up more at night. A high heart rate can also contribute to poor sleep caused by general environmental heat.

Slow wave sleep is important for the processing of emotions and memories, but can be disrupted by these disruptions.

Spring is like fall, but cozier

Once again, the clocks go back an hour in the fall due to the end of daylight saving time. This may be easier for some people since they gain an hour of sleep; however, it can still create an earlier bedtime due to the earlier sunset time, which may cause us to feel drowsy in the evening.

According to Rohrscheib, a way to counteract this is to gradually adjust your sleep schedule in the weeks before the time change.

We may face problems due to shorter days (and those pesky earlier sunsets). Sleepiness and feeling sluggish can result from reduced light exposure during the day.

According to sleep expert Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan, oversleeping will lead to sleep inertia the next day. There are plenty of fall allergens, including ragweed, that can affect sleep and cause oversleeping, but you can take precautions similar to those you would during spring.

It is possible for some people to experience better sleep this fall after going through another time change. The weather becomes pleasantly cool as temperatures dip, which makes for the perfect sleeping environment. According to some researchers, the ideal bedroom temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so keeping your room on the cool side at night is a good idea (because you can open the windows or turn down the heat).

Sleeping during winter can be difficult

Sleeping Differently

Winter presents the greatest sleep challenge of all four seasons. Winter solstices in January and February in northern states often mean shorter days, which means more darkness than sunlight.

In a recent study, almost all of the 293 patients with seasonal affective disorder reported hypersomnia, while just 10% said they had insomnia.