Is it time to come out of hibernation?

Published in Sleep Medicine Author: Piyush Das,MBBS

St. Cloud Hospital Sleep Center

No matter what Punxatawny Phil predicts, in Minnesota we know that winter is not over in February. We are not recommending hibernating until the spring, but are recommending three tips for how to sleep better during the winter. The quality of sleep at night depends on types of your daytime activities, the foods, and beverages you consume and your sleep environment. Hence, you may sleep better by making some changes to your lifestyle and bedroom.

1. Use in moderation.

  • Caffeine in foods (chocolate) and beverages (soda, coffee and iced tea) is a stimulant which can disrupt your sleep. Avoid caffeine use within eight hours of bedtime and limit to three cups of coffee equivalent of caffeine per day.
  • Alcohol can help you fall asleep but can affect sleep architecture by promoting more superficial sleep stages and causing sleep fragmentation, thereby making sleep less refreshing. So, avoid using too much alcohol in the evening or using alcohol as a sleep aid.

2. Get support for deeper nocturnal sleep.

  • Use supportive mattress, pillow, and comfortable bedding.
  • Exercise in the late afternoon or early evening.
  • Have a quiet and dark bedroom environment.
  • Try a light bedtime snack like cheese, milk or nuts.
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Limit fluid intake a few hours prior to bedtime
  • Empty bladder right before going to bed.

3. Tidy up.

  • Turn off all screens an hour before bedtime.
  • Read a book, have a quiet conversation or meditate to relax.
  • The best temperature to snooze is between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time during the week and stay within an hour of your weekday schedule on weekends.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep every night (7-9 hours for adults aged 18-64 years and 7-8 hours for adults over 65 years).