Research shows that you sleep better in the cold. Anyone who has had to shiver through a freezing winter will tend to disagree. However, the truth is that you do sleep better in the cold provided you take some simple measures to warm up. You’ll find that your sleep is deeper in the colder months of the year. The only thing that gets in the way of you and comfortable sleep in the winter is the lack o warmth, which can be easily remedied.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can warm up your room and yourself at night so that you get your full eight hours.
Bulk Up On Those Blankets
In the winter, quantity matters. We’re talking about layers. Instead of using just one bulky blanket, resort to multiple layers of blankets instead. Also keep a few extra blankets at hand. This way, you can remove or add as many layers as you want as your body temperature changes through the night. Another reason this is recommended is to be sympathetic to your partner’s needs if you share a bed. You may not feel the cold as much as your partner or vice versa. So with layers, each person can customize their blanket needs.
Take a Hot Shower Before Bed
The ‘why’ of this is simple. If you raise your body temperature before going to bed, it will remain at a slightly higher temperature for awhile after, thus allowing you to fall asleep easily. By the time your body temperature returns to normal, the other precautions you take to warm up your room will kick in and you’ll have uninterrupted sleep. Plus, a shower helps to relax you and your mental state is just as important to a good night’s sleep as the right temperature.
Don’t Sleep Naked
If you are in the habit of sleeping in the buff, you may want to continue doing so in the winter as well, thinking that the blankets or central heating will take care of the cold. This is not a very good idea. You may find it hard to fall asleep this way. More importantly, your body needs the immediate warmth provided by clothes that are close to the skin like pajamas and socks. We’re not saying you’ll fall ill if you sleep nude, but you will have a harder time falling asleep or staying asleep.
Wear Woolen or Flannel Pajamas
Your sleep wear should ideally change with every season. Summer sleep wear requirements are easy, you don’t really need to even wear much then. However, in the winter, you really have to think about what you wear before going to bed or your sleep will be interrupted as your body temperature falls too low. Put away your cotton pajamas until the summer. Bring out or buy woolen or flannel pajamas as long as the winter lasts. These are much warmer and softer too. Thermal underwear is also an excellent idea if the place where you live experiences extreme drops in temperature.
Eat or Drink Something Warm Before You Sleep
Although we wouldn’t normally recommend eating close to bed time, you can get away with it in the winter since your body can use the extra calories to keep you warm at night. Now that doesn’t mean you chomp down on a six course meal. The idea is to have something hot or warm which also has inherent warming properties so that it will heat your body from within long after you have eaten or drunk it. Hot chocolate, herbal tea, a glass of hot milk, soup are all great options for pre-bed warming snacks. If it’s really cold, you can also try some brandy neat or with honey.
Cover your Head and Feet
We lose most of our body heat through our extremities i.e. our hands, feet and head. So wearing socks and a nightcap on your head can help to considerably reduce the cold. You can wear gloves too if the night is particularly cold, but generally, tucking your hands under your blankets all night works well too.
Go to Bed at an Earlier Hour
The later it gets, the colder it gets. The colder it is, the tougher you will find it to fall asleep. So the idea is to get in bed when the cold is tolerable.
There are usually a couple of temperature drops each night – one at around 11 pm and the other at around 3 am. If you go to bed before 11 pm, you’ll be snug in bed when the new, lower temperature wave rides in and it will not affect your sleep if you have taken precautions to keep yourself and your room warm from the cold.
Warm Up Your Bed Before You Get In
This is an age old way to sleep comfortably in winter and one that is still recommended today because of how well it works. Warming up the bed makes your bed more inviting and this psychologically works on helping you sleep better too. There are several ways to make your bed toasty. Earlier, a hot brick used to be wrapped in a cloth and placed under the blankets near the feet. The heat from the brick would infuse the blankets throughout the night. Many folks in rural areas who have fire places will still use this simple technique to sleep comfortably.
Another old but effective alternative to the brick is a rice bag. A rice bag is nothing more than a small bag filled up with rice and thrown into the microwave for a couple of minutes. This is then placed under blankets in the same way as the brick and it warms up your feet and your bed so that you can sleep comfortably, shielded from the biting cold.
Electric blankets are the more modern version of these very same methods. However, it is not considered safe to sleep with the blanket plugged in through the night. Although the safety instructions will say otherwise, it is more prudent to turn on the blanket an hour before bed so that your sheets are warm when you get in and then to unplug the electric blanket. If you feel cold again at night, you can switch it on for a while. Set an alarm so you can wake up and turn it off in some time.
Turn Up the Heat in The Rest of The House
There’s no point getting all warm and snug yourself if the rest of your home can rival Siberia. The cold from the rest of your house can easily get into your room and your bed, undoing all your efforts to make them warm. You can close the door of your bedroom, but the cold might still get in through the cracks. While you don’t need the house to be as toasty as the bedroom, it makes sense to raise the temperature on your heating throughout the house so that the air surrounding your room is warm. This will also serve to get your own body temperature to rise enough to make you warm for comfortable sleep.
If you have a partner or siblings you don’t mind cuddling up to as you sleep, you have yourself natural bed warmers. You may not feel like your body heat is enough to keep you warm, let alone someone else. But the body heat of two or more people combined seems to grow and keep all persons involved nice and toasty. So cuddle up to someone you love to sleep comfortably in winter.
Keep Your Bed Away from Floor and Walls
Your mattress should be raised from the floor so that the cold trapped in the floor tiles does not make its way to your sheets. For the same reason, your bed should not be touching any wall that is exposed to the elements on the other side. The wall will be colder than your bed and it could impair your sleep by not allowing you to get warm enough.
Other Things to Do or Avoid
- Eat warming foods throughout the day, not just at night. This will help you to remain warm in general and you won’t have to go from being extremely cold to suddenly warm when you implement the rest of the ideas in this article. Like spicy food? Winter is the perfect time to indulge in them. The spices will heat you up considerably at the time you do eat them and that warmth will stay on for several hours after too.
- Don’t go out too close to bed time. It’s colder outside and your body temperature drops significantly when you’re out. When you return home, your body’s going to take awhile to return to its normal temperature. This can prevent you from warming up quickly, which will not allow you drop off that easily. The bracing outdoor air will also wake you up and put you off sleep maybe for hours after you get back in. Return home at least a couple of hours before bed time so your body has enough time to get warm again and so that you have enough time to prepare yourself and your bed for comfortable sleep.
You have to agree that most of these tips on sleeping comfortably in winter are simple to implement and most are cost-effective. So there’s no reason that you should not sleep just as soundly in cold weather as you would on warmer nights.