Winter can make it very challenging to get out of bed in the morning. When the alarm goes off, it is still dark and the temperature outside the comfort of your covers is anything but motivating.
It can be very difficult to maintain or begin new healthy routines during these dark, cold months, but the importance of quality sleep cannot be underestimated.
Want to start eating better? If you’re not getting enough sleep your body ramps up cravings for energy-dense and high carb foods.
Planning on upping the workouts? Not only does sleep play a vital role in muscle recovery, but finding that all important motivation is that much more difficult without a good night’s sleep.
The key to tackling all of this is to develop a healthy sleep routine, so that when you do get up in the morning, you are well-rested and ready to take on the day. Here, we’ve put together some tips on how to do just that:
1: Schedule your bedtime
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule that works specifically for you is one of the most important steps to consistently improving the quality of your sleep. Our sleep expert Christabel Majendie explains:
“People often decide the timing of sleep based on the wrong reasons: that’s when their partner goes to bed, they have work to do, etc. Instead work out when you start to feel sleepy in the evening and take that as your bedtime signal.”
By doing this you will be aligning your bedtime routine with your circadian rhythm, or body clock, which in turn will help provide more consistent and restorative sleep.
Once you’ve pinpointed the best time for you, set a recurring alarm on your phone an hour (or less, depending on your preferred routine) before your optimal bedtime - and start running through the same pre-bedtime steps at the same time every night.
Top tip - Turning off this alarm should be the last time you engage with a screen before bed. Research shows that blue light, the wavelength of light emitted from the screens of phones, laptops and other electronic devices, can affect your circadian rhythm.
2: Wash away the day
Taking a hot bath about an hour before bed not only provides an unhurried, relaxed environment to unwind in, but there’s science behind its effectiveness in terms of getting you off to sleep.
This may seem counterintuitive but a hot bath reduces your body temperature by stimulating blood circulation from your core to your hands and feet. This helps remove heat and causes your body temperature to go down. This drop in temperature indicates to your body that it’s time for bed - helping you fall asleep quicker.
This may seem counterintuitive when it’s so cold outside, but your core body temperature being higher can make it more difficult to nod off. That being said, you want to keep your bed nice and toasty, so take a look at our tips on how to make your bed warmer in winter.
Top tip - Add a touch of luxury to your bath with our Sleep Scent One candle, for a relaxing spa-break like experience with soothing aromas of bergamot, lavender and eucalyptus.
3: Less booze, more snooze
Whilst most will be aware that caffeine is best avoided too close to bedtime, our sleep expert Christabel also has some advice when it comes to overdoing it on the nightcaps:
“There is no denying that alcohol is disruptive to your sleep. Although it can help send you into a deep sleep initially, alcohol tends to fragment your sleep so you may wake several times in the night or early morning and find you cannot return to sleep.
Alcohol also suppresses REM sleep which is important for memory and learning, as well as emotion regulation. All this can leave you feeling groggy and irritable the next day.”
Instead, we like to reach for a cup of something warm and soothing. We love Good & Proper Tea’s award-winning chamomile tea bags, which are totally caffeine free and much loved for their calming and sleep-promoting effects. A warm mug of tea seems much more appropriate on those cold and dark winter nights, doesn’t it?
4: Take note - Prepare your mind
Whilst it is easy to focus on the physical preparation - reducing blue light, body temperature etc. - decluttering your mind is just as important.
Consider penning a to-do list for the next day (on paper, of course). Getting tomorrow’s tasks down in list form is a great way of mentally “offloading” the next day's responsibilities, which can help free your mind for sleep.
Similarly, jotting down thoughts and feelings from your day in a journal may allow you to engage with your emotions in a more methodical and considered way, rather than leaving them to your subconscious as you attempt to drift off.
5: Make your final touches
With your mind and body soothed and prepared, it is time to make the final tweaks to your sleep space to ensure that you are undisturbed until it’s time to wake up - the key points to consider are temperature, light and a clutter free environment.
We asked our sleep expert Christabel for her advice on setting your bedroom up for sleep success:
“Use blackout blinds or thick curtains to prevent unwanted morning light, ensure your bedroom is cool (between 16-20 degrees), and make sure you are using the right weight bedding - ideally made with natural fibres to regulate body temperature.”
We have natural bedding and bed linen perfect for any time of year, from our cosy goose down duvets, to our breathable and gloriously soft 500 thread count organic cotton sheets.
Top tip - Throws, cushions and other bedtime accessories are great to snuggle up in for your pre-bed cup of tea, but once it is time to get down to the serious business of sleep, it pays to have somewhere to keep them. Our storage benches make ideal bedding boxes, each one made by hand in Devon and available upholstered in one of our beautiful house fabrics.
Getting to sleep in the cold winter weather can be difficult (and it can be even more challenging to get out of bed in the morning!), but if you follow these tips, you can develop a healthy sleep routine you can benefit from all year round, which will leave you well-rested, revitalised, and ready to take on the day!