When you think of Autumn it often evokes images of vibrant colours with leaves turning red. The days start to get shorter and the nights longer, and as the weather turns cooler as it signals the end of the Summer. While it is natural to assume that cooler temperatures and earlier darkness should be more conducive to a good night’s sleep, this isn’t always the case.
How can Autumn affect the quality of your sleep?
Less daylight and sunshine
Autumn in the northern hemisphere means we get less hours of daylight each day and the sun is also less intense as it rises lower in the sky. This combination of factors means that it is likely we won’t get as much sunlight exposure in autumn compared to the summer. This is important as we need daytime light exposure to regulate our circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm regulates lots of things like our wakefulness, fatigue and hormones to name a few. Having fewer hours of light in the morning affects our daily cycle, which in turn affects our sleep-wake cycle.
This is further exacerbated by the clocks changing. At the end of October clocks in the UK will go back by one hour, which means the sun will rise an hour earlier in the morning. This is great if you don’t have children or pets as you gain an hours sleep! But children and pets don’t usually get the memo to have a lie in!
Fatigue and depression
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression brought on by a lack of sunlight, as less sunlight means your body produces less Vitamin D, which affects the production of serotonin. Although SAD is usually associated with Winter, symptoms can start in Autumn. These include low energy levels, hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness or excessive time spent sleeping), increased appetite, and social withdrawal.
Turning on the heating
Cooling Autumn weather may also mean that the heating goes on, making your home warmer, which can affect the quality of your sleep. Studies have shown when you sleep in a cooler environment, your body will naturally get ready for sleep sooner, so you fall asleep faster. A cooler temperature also helps improve the overall quality of your sleep by allowing your body to reach its optimal core temperature faster.
Cold and flu
The changing season also signals the start of cold and flu season. Spending more time indoors in close proximity to people means contagious bacteria and viruses are more easily passed from person to person. And who sleeps well when they aren’t feeling well?
Tips for Optimal Autumn Sleep
Get the temperature right
The cooler outside temperatures should allow you to keep the inside of your home cooler for optimal sleep. Temperatures over 24°C are likely to cause restlessness, while a cold room of about 12°C will make it difficult to fall asleep.
Don’t forget to eat healthy and continue to exercise
Maintaining your regular exercise routine and a healthy diet also helps to improve your sleep quality.
Even though it is Autumn remember to continue to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Hearty stews, bakes and soups can all be made from the seasonal fruit and vegetables that you can harvest or buy at this time of year. Regular exercise is also important for our physical health, our mental health and our sleep.
Avoid artificial lights
Try to avoid bright artificial lights in the evening as much as possible, as these can disrupt melatonin production. Make sure electronic device are on night mode to reduce the blue-frequency light which can be especially disruptive.
Get your bedding right
SilverGuard Supima cotton bedding is not only soft and luxurious but also has thermoregulating properties for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
* IONIC+, formerly known as X-Static