The seasons are changing! In addition to back-to-school prep, wardrobe changes and falling leaves, autumn, like other seasons, has an effect1 on your sleep performance. Whether you realize it or not, part of gearing up for the fall months means considering what you can do to maintain optimal sleep performance amidst the changing seasons.
Light’s Effect on Melatonin
The shorter days of fall and winter mean less sunlight, which directly impacts melatonin production.2 This is a key sleep hormone that affects you throughout the day. In fact, increased darkness and associated melatonin levels are directly related to the sluggishness or tired feelings many people report in the winter.
Lack of sunlight exposure also means you get less vitamin D. This impacts your mood as well because vitamin D levels directly affect serotonin production. Serotonin is the hormone responsible for feelings of joy, and low levels are directly related to feeling tired and depressed.
Changes in Temperature
Another hallmark of the fall and winter months is lower temperatures. This can positively impact sleep3 performance since the heat and humidity of summer can prevent the body from achieving a state of deep sleep.
Cooler ambient air temperatures — ideally between 65 and 67 degrees — help drop core temperatures a few degrees at night, which makes falling asleep and achieving deep sleep easier.
How to Account for the Change of Seasons
Proper preparation for the winter months must include adapting your sleep environment for ideal rest. Since you cannot control the weather, you must manage other factors, such as comfort and light. Here are a few ideas for specific changes you can make to achieve top sleep performance in the colder months:
- Get Proper Exposure to Light: Make sure that your room stays dark4 with blackout curtains or blinds to encourage high melatonin levels. Conversely, even when there is limited sunlight during the day, try to get outside for at least 20 to 30 minutes to absorb some vitamin D.
- Anticipate Time Changes: As you prepare to fall back an hour, ease yourself into the time change by adjusting5 your sleep and wake times over the course of a few days. If needed, take a mid-afternoon power nap of about 20 minutes to ease fatigue.
- Opt for the Best Sleep Equipment: Manage your sleep performance by creating an environment designed for comfort and optimal slumber. Beautyrest Black® mattresses6 feature innovations such as Advanced Pocketed Coil™ Technology, which reduces motion disruption while providing targeted neck and back support along with pressure relief. In addition, Micro Diamond™ Memory Foam increases airflow to help you maintain optimal sleeping temperatures during all seasons and throughout the night. Additional technology such as the Beautyrest® Sleeptracker®7 monitor, a sensor system easily installed under your mattress, can also help you oversee and improve your sleep performance.
Getting Great Sleep All Year Long
Like getting adequate exercise and good nutrition, managing your sleep performance is an essential element of a healthy life year around. Just as athletes intensely train and dietitians precisely determine balanced meals, good sleep doesn’t come without preparation. The good news is, once you know what to expect, planning for the change in seasons and optimizing your sleep accordingly is easy.