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Getting a better nights sleep can be tough as we move into fall. The days are getting shorter, so we are waking up when it is still dark out, and now it’s getting closer to when the commute home is going to be dark. So how can we start changing our sleeping routines, to help us comfortably move into fall.
We feel more sleepy when it’s dark out
Our internal clock takes its cues from the amount of light that is available to us. These are called circadian rhythms, and they influence sleep-wake cycles, body temperature, even hormone release. So as we are now experiencing longer periods of dark outside, our body is moving into a period to think it needs more sleep. As the amount of sunlight decreases, our bodies receive more melatonin and less vitamin D which will make us sleepier, and possibly more moody, until our bodies adjust to less daylight.
Keep a sleeping routine
Just as our bodies respond to changes in the environment, we can also get our bodies to work in our favor when we create, and stick to, a routine that defines our normal. Decide on a bedtime that you can live with on a daily basis. While it sounds like a luxury to sleep late on the weekends if you don’t have any commitments that are time dependent, you will actually help your sleep routine if you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each and every day. Your internal clock will make those times habits, and soon you will find yourself able to wake up without total reliance on an annoying alarm clock. Now, once you are up – go ahead and change your to-do routine if you would like to. If you can make your weekend fun and lazy, so ahead and do that in your normal waking hours.
Create an inviting sleep environment
Make your bedroom a place that invites you to go to sleep and wake up easily. Decide if having a TV in the bedroom helps or hurts your ability to sleep. At the same time think about other electronics that pull your attention in a good or bad way. If you keep your smart phone in the bedroom, do you find that hours go by with out your feeling them and make your sleep schedule an impossible thing to control? Or do you use your smart phone to wind down with a helpful meditation and then use it as an alarm clock in the morning. Again, everyone is different, so you need to decide what helps you and what hurts you and make the appropriate changes in your bedroom. Other things like bed linens, curtain or blinds, even smells such as aromatherapy can impact your body’s ability to fall asleep faster and longer.
Have a Pajama Party
You’ve outfitted your bedroom to bring on a good nights sleep, now it’s your turn. When was the last time you got a comfortable pair of pj’s to fall asleep in? A change in seasons is most likely going to mean a move in pajama preference. Do you like to fall asleep in a pair of warm flannel pajamas, or is a roomy t-shirt more your style? Whatever your style is, get ready for this change of season and you’ll be ahead of the game with getting a better nights sleep.