Good sleep is necessary to keep our health in check. If we are not well-rested, how can we perform outstandingly? Therefore, it is crucial that we have a good sleep every night. However, with the seasons changing and the weather getting worse, who would have the energy to look forward to a good night's rest? And thus, without even thinking about it much of the time, most people will resort to sleeping pills or some alternative method to get rid of their inability to sleep.
However, as sleep experts have always said, the secret to having good quality and quantity of sleep is not taking sleeping pills. What we need to do is find ways to help ourselves fall asleep naturally. Only then can our sleep be natural and easy. There are several reasons why we face more insomnia and sleep issues during seasonal changes or climate extremes.
Effects of weather or seasons on the sleep and quality of sleep and duration of sleep:
The change of seasons could disrupt our sleep cycle because some external factors interfere with it. And the worst part is that it never even occurs to most people that their weather could be causing them insomnia or decreased sleep quality! We usually go through four different stages of REM (rapid eye movement) during the night when we sleep; however, if these stages are interrupted, then this could cause a change in the quality and quantity of sleep we get at night.
As mentioned above, with changing weather comes specific changes in our sleeping patterns. In winter, we tend to get less deep or so-called slow-wave sleep; thus, we feel more tired and alert when the bright sunlight hits our eyes upon waking up. It's not only direct sunlight but also artificial light that causes this feeling. This is why some people are more likely to wake up earlier than usual during springtime and fall - because they're used to going to bed early during autumn or late during spring because of the change of season.
Also, a change in weather can cause us to experience pain when we sleep and other physical symptoms. And often, these pains disrupt our sleep cycle, leading to insomnia and tiredness throughout the day, even after an adequate number of hours at night in bed! If you feel uncomfortable or even stiff when sleeping lately, this could be because the weather changes. In winter, we tend to feel colder; thus, it makes sense that our bodies would need more protection against the cold during sleep time if they cannot fight off the cold from outside while we are inside our homes.
Certain seasons can have a profound effect on our sleep. For example, people tend to sleep more in summer and less during winter months because of the temperature change. Here are some other factors:
- The amount of light available changes - We get an abundance of vitamin D from sunlight which aids with serotonin production; when it's cloudy or dark outside, levels drop significantly (this is why many women experience hormonal shifts right before their periods). This lower level of natural lighting has been linked with an increased likelihood of depression and anxiety disorders.
- Metabolism changes: Your body slows down its metabolism as the days grow shorter - this makes you feel colder at night, even if the weather is warmer than usual.
- Air quality issues: The quality of air changes too! Pollution levels are higher during winter months because people use more heating fuel inside their homes, so you're breathing in more particles from wood smoke, car exhaust, and other pollutants than is usual. This affects our alertness levels at night, making it difficult to fall asleep when we need to. You could have difficulty sleeping, especially around festivals and winter periods that produce pollution or fog, like Diwali's pollution and the foggy months of December- February.
How to Manage Sleep During Seasonal Changes?
So now that you know why seasonal climate changes can make it harder to get good sleep, the next question is, what can you do about it? This guide on how to manage sleep during seasonal changes will help you sleep better. It would help if you also focused on maintaining good sleep hygiene to maximize your sense of calm in the changing seasons.
- Avoid cold showers: Firstly, try as much as possible to avoid taking a cold shower. This will cool down your body temperature and essentially force you to stay awake longer during the daytime - which means that the more tired you are after work, the easier it would be for you to fall asleep at night! Cold showers also make us feel stiff in our joints; thus, we tend not to be able to move around comfortably as normally when we're in bed trying to get some sleep. So, if there is no other way but for you to take a cold shower, then perhaps consider taking an extra hot one before going to bed.
- Focus on eliminating things that affect your circadian rhythm: It is also important not to forget about the effects of a laptop screen on us, which stops our circadian rhythm from functioning correctly. Studies have shown that having the light of a computer, smartphone, or TV screen next to your bed at night can affect your sleep quality. So, if you want to get more deep sleep at night and feel rested in the morning, be sure to keep those screens away from yourself when it's sleep time.
- Coping with winter: As for winter, as mentioned earlier, cold weather tends to make us stiffer than usual; thus, make sure that you regularly exercise your body during the day not to have problems falling asleep later at night due to stiffness in your joints! A little exercise goes a long way in not only releasing and regulating hormones but also helping you fall asleep at night.
- Leaving reliability on medicines: Lastly, we often tend to think of sleeping pills as a solution to our insomnia during changing seasons. But be careful with this method and consider (alternative) sleeping pills or natural cures like bromelain or melatonin supplements instead! Pills may help you sleep better and longer but have side effects and long-lasting consequences. You always want to have a healthy balance and only use pills when facing insomnia because of unidentified triggers. Lifestyle changes are always better than relying on pills, and seasonal changes teach us the same.
So, how do we combat these effects of seasonal changes and climate extremes on our sleep? The key is to find ways to fall asleep at night naturally. If you think about it, there's not much difference between what helps us get natural nighttime rest during winter months as opposed to summer - except for warm drinks like tea or hot cocoa. But if your body is used to falling asleep when it gets dark out in autumn/winter, then going outside won't be enough. It would be best if you tried getting into bed earlier than usual, so daylight doesn't affect your ability to fall asleep quickly after drinking something tasty. And no matter where you are in the world, try to regulate your sleep schedule.
Different Indian Seasons/Climate/Weather - Summer, Winters, Monsoon, Autumn, and Spring
Let us look at the different types of seasons in India. The foremost important season is summer as it affects almost all of us, unlike others. We have mild winters in most parts of the country, whereas extreme ones are in India's northeast and northern parts. When winter gets over, we see two significant festivals – Lohri followed by Holi, which eventually lead to good moods even after winter blues are still present.
- Summers: In India, summers are two months long, whereas winters are four or five months long. Winters can be classified into three parts: cold (Dec – Feb), pre-monsoon (March-May), and monsoon (June – Sep). There are some days when it is warm, i.e., before winter starts, but we still classify this spell as 'pre-winter' because soon enough, winter sets in after a few weeks from that phase, i.e., mid-January onwards. In summers, the day temperatures are higher than night temperatures. Thankfully, we have monsoon and pre-monsoon to balance some of that heat and humidity (if you live where it's cold in winters). The best mattress type for summer is Latex, as it's temperature neutral. Or you can also opt for a gel memory foam mattress, which has infused gel beads to keep your body cooler at night.
- Pre-monsoon: After the intense heat during summer comes pre-monsoon – this time, it is a bit better because there are rains - which again bring dust, cool down the environment, and revives our minds. This gives us hope for summer to end soon to bring out our old routine – since this time of the year (March-May) is known as Indian spring. However, after pre-monsoon arrives, monsoon season, i.e., between mid-June and September. We get heavy rainfalls during these months, and it lasts around four months (July and August being the wettest months). Rainfall causes waterlogging in many areas, and even if not, puddles form everywhere. In pre-monsoons, humidity and heat can be at record highs, and going out for work and exercise can feel like torture. This is a period of seasonal change, and you should give your body rest to adopt the changes. Our immunity may fall this season because of excess humidity and heat variations, giving nesting grounds to bacteria, viruses, and pests.
- Monsoons: Monsoons are 3-4 months long and slightly colder than summers. Monsoon rains cause 'dust' problems as people don't bother to shut doors and windows, which leads to dryness and dust in the air. Sometimes we experience allergies or infections from exposure to UV-rays due to lack of sunlight (due to rain). The best mattres type for monsoons is a latex foam mattress, as it is temperature neutral. A high-density memory foam, latex foam, or even hybrid breathable mattress is ideal for monsoons.
- Autumn: Autumn is the last season before winter arrives, lasting two months long. Autumn is not so hot but can get pretty warm during pre-monsoon if your area has that spell. Autumn brings relief from heat because of the rains (not very heavy) and cool temperatures. The best mattress type for autumn is Latex, as it's temperature neutral and protects you from allergies/infections that are caused due to exposure to UV rays during spring/summer. You get cooler days compared with summers but nights remain warm as there is no change in temperature throughout the day (like summer). Autumn also gives much-needed relief from the summers and your body braces for the cold ahead. Much like the pre-monsoon period, it is a seasonal shift phase, which impacts your immunity. You may prefer to sleep on a colder mattress, but it may seem uncomfortable because of the dropping temperatures. A hybrid latex foam mattress or memory foam mattress would be ideal for this period.
- Winters: Winter is the longest season of all, lasting almost five months. There is hardly any change in temperature throughout the day. Day temperatures are almost similar to night temperatures, and it keeps dropping further as we move towards November-end and December – February period (the coldest months). So, the best mattress for winters is latex foam or memory foam. If you're looking for something to maintain regulated body heat, then memory foam is the way to go. Spending too much time in bed during winters can affect your immunity system by making you vulnerable to infections like coughs, colds, etc. So, make sure that you get up from your bed at least once or twice every 3 hours (alternate between sleeping and waking). Your body usually functions and keeps you active throughout the day; this will also help regulate body temperature to some extent. The best mattress for winters would be a high-density memory foam or PU foam which helps you keep warm and cozy.
Other factors: If it is summers or winters and you still feel that your sleep is affected by climate change, other factors could be at work. Issues like sound disturbances, lighting issues in your bedroom (if it is very bright outside), etc. So, make sure all these factors are taken care of before investing in a mattress type since changing the mattress type alone won't help solve your sleeping issues.
Best mattress type based on Indian seasonal changes:
- Summers: It is best to opt for a cooler or more breathable mattress during the summers. Even if you have an AC at home during summer, your body may still feel hot from inside. So, go for a breathable and temperature-regulating or temperature-neutral mattress like a latex foam mattress. You can also opt for a gel-infused memory foam mattress which is better than plain old memory foam to cool off your body temperature. If you sleep fine through summers without experiencing any issue, then you don't need to change anything, as latex mattresses are best for spring and autumn.
- Winters: If you live in an area where winters are freezing, then opt for a memory foam mattress that would maintain body temperature inside the bed while letting out enough airflow to keep you cool during the night. High-density memory foam mattresses are ideal for winter nights and are also better for people who tend to sleep on their backs. If you're a stomach sleeper, it is best to opt for latex foam or a hybrid mattress that would be more breathable and comfortable. If this doesn't solve the issue, then an upgrade to a more comfortable mattress will help in that case as well.
- Dual-comfort mattresses: A dual-comfort mattress may have one side soft and the other side firmer because of different materials. This variance in firmness levels is because of the presence of different types of foam. As a result, one side (memory foam) may feel warm and ideal for winters. The other side may be firmer or have more breathability (PU Foam) and give a more temperature-neutral sleeping experience. Dual-comfort mattresses may be one of the best solutions to combat extremes in seasons.
Other factors: Since there is no control over extreme climate changes, it is better to have an electric blanket on top of your warm-season sleep system instead of switching between mattresses all over the year. By using an electric blanket, you can turn up the temperature during summers and then control it to low while sleeping during winters.
If your mattress is very hard or too soft, you should change it as soon as possible because these two things affect your posture, body pain, and even blood circulation. You will be feeling unwell if you don't switch to something better for your current comfort level. It's best to buy a mattress based on its firmness, which helps with spine alignment, instead of a mattress that suits your seasonal changes (especially if you live in the tropics).
But it's also important to remember that having an excellent support system and adequate airflow. Additionally, other surrounding factors play a vital role in how healthy you feel during your waking hours.
How do seasons affect our circadian rhythm?
A crucial thing to note about seasons affecting circadian rhythms is our mood changes from season to season. There are fewer daylight hours during winter months, which means less vitamin D production because of lack of time spent outdoors with sunlight exposure. Depression rates also increase according to a study done at McGill University where researchers found more visits for depression on cloudy days than they did on sunny ones (with an average difference of six percent). This finding could be attributed to seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD.
Seasons also impact circadian rhythms because of changes in temperature, which can cause disruptions to the natural circadian rhythm and result in sleep problems like insomnia or fatigue during daytime hours when our circadian system typically promotes wakefulness.
Another way seasons affect circadian rhythms is that daylight hours are longer than nighttime hours during the summer months, which means more exposure to sunlight. One of the best ways to cope with seasonally-induced circadian rhythm disruption is by maintaining a regular sleep routine on workdays and weekends throughout all four seasons. This means going to bed at around the same time every night, waking up early enough for sufficient morning light exposure (usually before sunrise). You should also limit screen use near bedtime, drinking caffeine only during the daytime, and avoid sleeping in the daytime.
How to sleep during nights in summer?
One of the significant factors that change our sleep habits is temperature. The cooler temperatures during the winter months can help you fall asleep at night, but it's a different story come summertime. In India, electricity shortages, extreme summers can impact how you sleep. If your room is too hot and humid for comfort or if there are other reasons for feeling uncomfortable in bed, here are some ways to alleviate this:
- Air conditioning can be used to cool hot air and create a comfortable sleeping environment.
- Create an ideal sleep temperature by adjusting the thermostat of your AC unit before bedtime so that it will kick in overnight when needed. An estimated 15-degree difference is ideal for most people between daytime and nighttime temperatures.
- Open windows to allow cool air in and out of the room.
- Close curtains or blinds to block sunlight from entering your bedroom during the day.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to dry air and keep skin from becoming itchy or irritated.
- Lay out an extra layer of bedding such as pillows, blankets, mattress toppers, and sheets on cooler nights for added warmth.
- Invest in some natural remedies like lavender oil or peppermint extract to help you relax and sleep better.
- Take a hot bath before bedtime or take your shower in the morning instead of at night, as this will raise body temperature just enough to make it hard for you to fall asleep.
Many simple changes can be made to combat the effects of changing seasons on your body and mind! The seasonality of a person's circadian rhythm impacts their mood, work productivity, and health because it is determined by exposure to natural light. Seasons can also affect our sleep quality because of changes in temperature, daylight hours per day, and the firmness or softness of mattresses. To find the best mattress for all seasons and luxurious sleep all year round, you can use our SleepID tool for the best mattress recommendations.
- In which season do we sleep more?
- Winter, during the winter, we sleep more because of the shorter days and colder nights. It would help if you drank a lot of water every day (especially in winter when it's dry), which helps regulate body temperature by increasing blood flow through our kidneys. It also decreases depression, improves your mood, and helps with digestion.
- Why can't I sleep when the seasons change?
- The body naturally slows down and releases hormones like melatonin to help you sleep when it's dark. When there is less daylight during the winter months, the natural circadian rhythm becomes disrupted, causing daytime fatigue or insomnia. The human body needs regular exposure to sunlight to produce the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for regulating sleep and wake cycles. The exposure to daylight during winter months decreases, and so does our natural sleep cycle as a result.
- Can weather changes cause insomnia?
- Yes, weather changes can cause insomnia. It's a common misconception that it is only the change in temperature and humidity that causes sleeplessness. Isolated thunderstorms or cool air blowing through an open window at night, for example, might be enough to disrupt your sleep pattern because of associated sounds like banging on metal pipes or howling wind. Additionally, storms and electricity shortages in seasonal changes contribute to giving us sleepless nights.
- Can hot and humid weather affect your sleep?
- Yes, humidity can affect sleep. The amount of moisture in the air affects how comfortable you feel while sleeping and your ability to fall asleep. For those who have insomnia, bedtime temperatures between 15-25 degrees are ideal. Yes, humidity can affect sleep. Excess humidity in pre-monsoons or monsoons leads to over sweating and overheating, leading to decreased sleep quality. To combat this, you can either opt for a firmer latex foam mattress or use a gel memory foam mattress topper to regulate temperature. Sleeping with your partner or kids in excess humidity would also be a bad idea. Air conditioning is a better choice to cool down your room temperature than an air cooler that uses water to cool you down in sleep.
- Is it wrong to sleep with a humidifier every night?
- Many people find that they sleep better with their humidifier running at night. However, it is essential to remember that humidifiers can cause problems if the room becomes too damp or if the air becomes heavy and hard for you to breathe. This may lead to mold, mildew, and bacteria growth. Do not allow the humidifier to run for more than a few hours at a time (no more than eight) without emptying it or changing its filter. Only use distilled water in your humidifier tank so that you do not contribute unwanted minerals to the air, like calcium and magnesium.
- Why do I ache when the weather changes?
- Seasonally induced circadian rhythm disruption can affect not only your sleep but also the way you feel physically. You may experience aches and pains in places like your knees, neck, or back due to changes to the weather. The best thing you can do for yourself is continuing with your normal routine and keep up with the exercises you were doing before. This will help maintain balance in your muscles. The right mattress for joint pain and body ache can help you sleep better and deal with weather changes.
- Why do we sleep better when it rains?
- Rain can be a soothing sound to sleep by, making you feel relaxed and have better dreams. Rain also has other benefits besides just relaxing your mind – it cools the air around you so that when combined with your bedding (like sheets or blankets), you'll stay nice and warm.
- When does SAD usually start?
- Winter-onset SAD symptoms generally start between November and January. Summer-onset tends to come on earlier, around April. June and summer extremes are more likely to lead to SAD than winter months.
- What are some signs of seasonal depression?
- Some early warning signs that you may be experiencing a depressive episode as a result of the changing seasons include:
Increased feelings of sadness and anxiety
Loss of appetite
Difficulty concentrating or remembering anything
Increased feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness. You may also feel the need to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.
- Is a dual-comfort mattress the best to cope with seasonal changes?
- A dual-comfort mattress will come with two different feels, often a firmer side and a softer side. The more firm feel is for use during the summer months, while the softer side is excellent for wintertime. The best way to deal with seasonal changes is to get the right mattress for your body and aim for a temperature-neutral comfort layer.
- Can dry air cause sleep problems?
- The air in our homes is often drier than the air outside due to heated indoor temperatures and climate control. This dryness can make your skin feel itchy or irritated, especially if you have sensitive skin. That is why a hypoallergenic mattress like a latex foam mattress is ideal for sleeping right and forgetting your humidity concerns.