Why We sleep worse in the winter
The days are shorter, the leaves disappear from the trees, it is getting colder and the weather is getting gloomier! And unfortunately not only the weather, but also many people become gloomier during the winter months! And you can not really blame yourself for someone else. It is an enormously recognized problem (by me). About 5% of all Dutch people (450,000!) suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which means that during the winter period, you can literally no longer function normally, a real winter depression!
In addition, almost a million Dutch suffer from a slightly lighter form, namely the well-known winter dip , or winterblues. The toughest months are January and February. In December, we may be happy and distracted by the fun holidays ?? Fortunately, but I’m in January!
Causes winter dip
THE DARK NORTH
The northerner the country is, the shorter and darker are the days in winter, and the more winter depression and winter dip occur. In the Netherlands, it is therefore a common problem, but in Scandinavian countries winter depression is even more pronounced. Another remarkable fact is that winter depression occurs much more frequently in women, even 4 times more often! And that is not a coincidence (but do not ask me what it is … I suspect something with hormones).
The problems often arise when the winter time begins and so the clock returns. Certainly, if there were already a few problems, shrinking of the days, the gloomy and darker weather, and the diminished light supply in general. The return of this one hour can then be just the drop (or hard hit), which makes the winter depression or winter dip officially officially starting …
The drop … or clap
Consequences of winter dip
DISTURBED SLEEP PATTERN
The main symptom of both the depression and the little brother “Winterdip” is a disturbed sleep pattern. You can go to bed for up to 14 hours and wake up again! Then do not have energy all day, can not concentrate, negative, creaky and sometimes even aggressive! And then you’ve had trouble keeping your eyes open all day, lying down in bed, you can not sleep well …
The sleep-watching rhythm has become so disturbed that the day and night rhythm has been reversed.
DISTURBED EATING PATTERN
A second important symptom is a disturbed eating pattern. You usually have a lot more carbohydrate-rich foods and sweets (and carbohydrates are actually also sugars). Getting well is winter months is not uncommon if you suffer from a winter depression. Again, it becomes clear that carbohydrates make you sleepy so you can be tired during the daytime.
There is no reason for depression, as an event or something for (unnatural) reason. Thus, it seems that only the physiological process is most likely to be related to the seasons and the supply of (day) light.
The influence of daylight
On a sunny day, the brightness of light is 10,000 to even 100,000 Lux, it does not matter that Lux tells you something but the difference. In winter, on a cloudy gloomy day, this can weaken to only 1000 Lux. That’s a difference of 10 to 20x weaker light! This is always better than the light supply in the average office space (500 lux). So the weak outside light is still better … but as the days are so short, many people go out in the dark and come home in the dark! However, there is NO exposure to any natural light.
And light is obviously important to our functioning, for example, it causes the creation of endorphin, a body-like hormone that generates and makes us happy.
Light that enters the eyes greatly influences the functioning of our body. During the night, the sleep hormone melatonin is created. This hormone makes you sleepy and largely regulates your sleep. It plays a very important role in the functioning of our biological clock. In people who suffer from a winter depression, the body stays in this night’s state during the daytime. During the day, cortisol (waakhormone) is not enough or not enough, but melatonin is correct. And melatonin is just trying to get you to sleep! Normally, during the day, you get more light during the day, but you are well likely to get virtually no light during the day during the day and in the evening, relatively much, for example by TV and computer screens, or just by (too bright) lights to have at home.
Good sleep in winter
Fortunately, there are many things you can do things about, or at least things that you can take into account. But then you need to know how! with these 3 important advices to sleep better in winter.
It may be more difficult, but try to be exposed to light as much as possible. And do the best in the morning. Then you activate if it were directly your body. You tell your body that there’s a new day ahead, and it starts cortisol (watchdog). Preferably by really going outside and exposing yourself to daylight . So do not be fooled by clouds, it’s even more effective than artificial light! Interesting? Read more about the influence of light .
Take your break even when it’s raining. Try to catch any light beam. If you have the opportunity at work, you should try to promote the supply of daylight to your workplace as much as possible. No slats close!
Another way is with special light therapy lamps (light with a lot of lux), but also, for example, the wake-up light (alarm clock and lamp) that mimic the sun’s rising by slowly shrinking the light in the morning until you wake up in a natural way (When supported with some natural sounds like whistling birds).
Also take a tanning bed. This promotes the production of vitamin D through the body, important to your energy. Normally the sun controls this for you, but it’s just absent. Vitamin D can also be swallowed. You just buy this at the supermarket, Etos, Spice, etc. No more supplements? That is also possible. Vitamin D is also found in certain foods, such as fatty fish.
It’s also unclear to keep moving, keep your body active. So buy a rain suit and beat the weather by catching a bicycle in the winter. Active moves make your body dust and hormones like cortisol and endorphin. It’s best to move you in the morning as soon as possible so that you “activate” your body and produce the watch hormones that keep you awake and energetic. (Actually, like the story about light).
1 + 1 = 3. In the morning, keep moving and light, and you have the ideal combo for an energetic and productive day! 🙂
If you suffer from a winter depression or winter dip, you may not be interested in it, but just try to keep (continue) sports. Sports not only promote the activation of your body and the creation of watch hormones. It is also the perfection remedy for stress! Sports literally feel better and helps to clear your head … if you suffer from a winter depression or winter dip, this is definitely recommended. And for the (normal) regular gymnast … a little rain or snow is for a gym bikkel no excuse not to go to the gym in winter? And believe me, it will do you really well.Read more about the influence of sport in a previously published article: Better Sleeping By Sporting.
Do fun stuff, go out with friends, have fun, smile! Laughing creates the creation of positive substances such as endorphin, dopamine and serotonin. These help relax your body and make you feel more comfortable.