The lack of light in winter makes us tired. If it’s still dark outside when the alarm goes off, many wish nothing more than to be able to go back to sleep. If you don’t get at least an hour of daylight per day, melatonin production is not sufficiently suppressed and that can make you tired.
Shorter days and longer nights – that means more melatonin is circulating in our body. Because of this, many people are permanently tired. Sleep researchers believe that with the extended periods of darkness in winter, the body can no longer distinguish clearly whether it is day or night. Under these circumstances, fatigue during the day may be followed by insomnia at night.
In February it becomes noticeably lighter
Although the days are getting longer at the end of December already, we start to realize that there is more light only in February. At the end of March, however, the change to summer time comes – the next big challenge for our regular, restful sleep.
The hibernation of animals
The hibernation in animals, such as hedgehogs, is something completely different from the increased need for sleep of humans in the dark winter. Animals hibernate to survive the cold and the lack of nutrition in the snowy season. Their metabolism and body temperature are reduced and the animal feeds on its accumulated fat reserves. The heart of a hedgehog, for example, usually beats 200 times per minute, and is brought down to only 2 -12 beats per minute during hibernation. For humans hibernation is not possible, although NASA explores whether humans are possibly capable of it by switching on a gene.
Sleeping well despite the lack of daylight
Regular, adequate exercise can help, because it reduces stress, thus ensuring more restful nights. Also, a daylight lamp may improve sleep by regulating sleep hormones. It would be even better to go out into nature an hour every day and take a walk or exercise. Be sure to go to bed early, even if you temporarily have problems falling asleep in winter. If you can’t fall asleep as quickly as usual, try to make insomnia as comfortable as possible for yourself. If, on the other side, you sleep particularly well and long in winter – enjoy the additional “zizzz” you can get. Sleeping environment is always an important factor – take a look around in our shop, we have wonderful wool filled duvets, which can make you feel warm and comfortable, even if you suffer from insomnia.