Some people have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep during the spring season. There are several reasons for this, and there are measures that can be taken. Although spring is the season that many look forward to as they emerge from the cold, gray winter weather, there’s a price to pay for warmth and longer sunlit hours. The sun may actually rise before your body is ready for it, and the light suppresses melatonin production, the hormone that makes you sleepy.1
Other reasons for poor sleep quality during the spring months include the onslaught of allergies (to pollen and other airborne allergens) and an energy surge. Just as melatonin decreases, serotonin levels rise in the spring, boosting energy levels and making it more difficult to sleep at the usual time.2 The good thing is that a rise in serotonin directly influences people’s feelings of happiness, so perhaps you are in a better mood when spring arrives.
It’s hard enough to get sufficient restful sleep, but have you heard the cruel truth that while you suffer from sleep deprivation, you actually tend to gain weight? Here’s why: During sleep, leptin levels increase, telling your brain you have plenty of energy for the time being and there’s no need to trigger the feeling of hunger or the burning of calories. The decrease in leptin brought on by sleep deprivation can result in a constant feeling of hunger and a general slow-down of your metabolism. Ghrelin, on the other hand, tells people when they need to eat. People who don’t sleep enough end up with too much ghrelin in their system, so the body thinks it’s hungry and it needs more calories, and it stops burning those calories because it thinks there’s a shortage.3
You can improve the quality of your sleep and recharge this spring with these simple tips:
- Establish and maintain a bedtime ritual. Just as children benefit from a repetitive bedtime routine that gears both body and mind for sleep, so do adults. Whether it’s taking a shower, reading or meditating, try to consciously lay in bed and relax from the head down, one muscle group at a time. Slow down your breathing.
- Visualize images instead of words.4 Envision something calming in your mind rather than focusing on lists or things you heard or said throughout the day. Focus exclusively on Active Wellness images.
- Shorten or eliminate daytime naps. According to the Mayo Clinic, limit yourself to 10 to 30 minute naps and make sure you take them no later than mid-afternoon.5
- Keep your bedroom temperature on the cool side. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees.6 The slightly cool temperature is believed to help the body relax and stay asleep.
- Exercise daily. Expending energy during the day helps your body feel tired enough to go to sleep faster.
- Limit the use of electronic devices at least an hour before your bedtime. The light that emanates from a laptop or cell phone activates the brain.7
- Eat a Mediterranean diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, whole grains, fish and olive oil. Eating a well-balanced diet helps maintain feelings of well-being, which in turn helps you sleep.
- When the sun shines before your alarm, it may cause you to wake too early. To sleep on your own schedule rather than the sun’s, keep your room dark. A simple solution is to wear a Kenko PowerSleep Mask that not only blocks out light but also includes patented DynaFlux® magnetic technology that may help you sleep better.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and your covers keep you comfortably cool or warm. Kenko Sleep Products help you do just that.