With shorter days and dark mornings throwing our circadian rhythms out of sync, achieving restful sleep can be tricky.
Luckily, we can help. In this guide to winter sleep, we’ll teach you about the perfect cosy bedding to slumber in, the ideal winter bedtime routine and even the exercise and nutrition tips that will have you sleeping soundly as can be.
Sleep is essential all year round, and wintertime is no exception.
It’s no secret that pesky illnesses, such as colds and flu, occur more frequently in winter. With the help of the right bedding essentials, a blissful night’s sleep is never far away. Sufficient rest helps to boost our immune systems, helping us fend off bugs during the colder months - keeping us fresh and rejuvenated from season to season!
Our overall well-being can also dip during winter, thanks to conditions such as SAD, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is when a person’s mood becomes significantly lower in the winter months.
Improving our sleep quality allows our circadian rhythm to work in harmony, which has an instant positive impact on our overall well-being.
Without a comfortable and cosy sleeping space, drifting off becomes much more difficult. Here are our suggestions for creating the perfect winter bed to snooze in.
When it comes to duvet terminology, the tog refers to the overall thermal grade of your duvet, indicating its level of warmth.
For a duvet that you can curl up under all year round, an all-season’s duvet is perfect. Combining a 9 tog duvet and a light 4.5 tog duvet that’s perfect for summer, simply button the two together to mimic the same cosiness of our 13.5 tog duvet during the winter months.
When choosing a material for your winter duvet, we have an array of fabulous options on offer at DUSK.
Duck or goose down duvets are wonderfully warm and breathable, as this material naturally expands to create pockets of air, which add thermal insulation, keeping you extra toasty on chilly evenings. However, for those with allergies, our Feels Like Down duvet is a marvellous alternative.
When choosing winter bed linen, an insulating material, such as cotton, is ideal. The natural fibres of this sublimely soft fabric trap air to create a barrier to the winter chill whilst also being temperature-regulating and breathable. In the colder months, it’s also a good idea to opt for sheets with a higher thread count, as these are often thicker and, thus, cosier.
Another smart bedding option in wintertime is Egyptian cotton, as the long fibres of this luxurious material add to its insulating properties. In our blog, you can discover more about Egyptian cotton bedding as well as the fantastic benefits of cotton.
Blankets and throws are ideal for adding extra layers of warmth to your bed throughout the colder months.
Throws are also excellent for adding seasonal winter tones into your bedroom decor, try a festive sage green or warming chocolate brown to evoke wintry vibes.
However, you don’t just have to add extra layers on top of you. By placing a mattress topper beneath you, you not only add more comfort and softness but also an extra layer to trap heat.
Lighting and temperature have a significant impact on our quality of sleep. Yet, with fewer daylight hours and colder temperatures, both of these elements become contributing factors when it comes to getting our recommended zzz’s.
Darkness signals to our brains that it is time to sleep. However, in winter, it’s dark a lot of the time, meaning we often wake up in darkness and finish our working day in darkness, too. This confuses our circadian rhythm, which is the daily cycle our body follows. You can discover the best cycle for your body with our clever chronotype quiz.
One way to counteract winter’s potential sleep disruption is to maximise our daylight hours. This can be done through:
During the evening, limit artificial light by turning lights down as you approach bedtime and limiting screen time right before bed as part of your bedtime routine. Then, when it’s time for sleep, darken the room to signal to your body that it’s time to rest. For those who are particularly sensitive to light, a pitch-black room is best.
Avoid pesky rays of artificial light from the outside world by drawing your heavyweight curtains tight across your window.
As well as helping to keep your bedroom blissfully dark for sleep, thick curtains also give an extra layer of insulation to your room, blocking out winter window draughts. Plus, they provide an additional barrier to outside sounds that might disturb your sleep.
In winter, it can be tempting to turn the thermostat up as high as possible to keep your home toasty. However, this isn’t what’s best for sleep.
The body naturally drops in temperature when it’s time to sleep, at the same time as it releases melatonin. You can, therefore, signal to your body that bedtime is approaching by turning the thermostat down a little, cooling your skin and surroundings.
The best temperature for sleep is usually around 18.3 degrees Celsius. However, as everyone is different, the general advice is between 15.6 and 20 degrees Celsius.
Another way to create a before-bed temperature drop is by taking a bath or shower. The immediate temperature decrease after you hop out of a lovely hot bath or steamy shower immediately relaxes the body for bed.
A chilly bed isn’t ideal to curl up in after a long winter’s day, but turning the heating up isn’t always the most cost-effective choice either.
Once you've got your warm winter bedding on, including a high tog duvet, cosy throw and mattress topper for that extra layer of warmth, there are plenty of ways to give your bed an additional boost of toastiness.
A hot water bottle can heat up your winter bedding quickly, creating a perfect nest to snuggle up in. Or try an electric blanket underneath your winter duvet.
Soothing scents are another way to help promote relaxation before bed, primarily through essential oils or herbal teas.
One bedtime favourite is lavender. This scent is a natural remedy for calming anxiety, making it the perfect companion for evening slumber.
Enjoy the fragrant aroma of lavender by spraying it onto your pillow, rubbing diluted lavender oil onto your temples or using a lavender oil diffuser.
Exercising and eating well truly make everything better, including your winter sleep.
While the cold weather and darkness may urge you to stay in and nap, being active throughout the day is a healthy contributor to an improved quality of sleep. This helps your body to distinguish between active time and rest time, allowing those sleepy hormones to take over when it’s time to wind down in the evening. Just be sure to avoid working out too close to bedtime, as raising your body temperature and heart rate will make it more difficult for you to fall into a restful sleep.
In winter, we tend to eat hearty meals that make us feel warm and nourished. However, try not to eat too heavily in the evening. If your body is still digesting food at bedtime, this can disturb your sleep cycle.
If you do want a light snack before bed, however, there are a number of options, like warm milk, nuts and yoghurt. These foods contain calcium and magnesium, nutrients that are wonderful for sleep. Calcium helps your brain create melatonin, while magnesium relaxes your central nervous system.
Together, these ingredients make a powerful combination for a blissful night of rest.
If you prefer something to drink before bed, chamomile tea is ideal. It contains natural ingredients that help to induce sleepiness, helping you to sip your way to slumber.
For further advice on how to enjoy the sweetest of sleep, discover our blog on sleep expert tips. Or browse our inspiration page for further ideas on creating bedtime bliss, including even more winter sleep tips.