Can’t sleep?

The Daily Star

The quality of your slumber can naturally dip in winter, but a few easy lifestyle tweaks will have you snoozing soundly again. You already know how important a goodnight’s rest is for your health. In spite of this, it can be hard to squeeze in those precious hours of shut eye. But an overbooked schedule may not be the only reason you are exhausted; the change in seasons could also be to blame.

Up to 20 percent of adults may experience mild seasonal affective disorder, which can be caused by a disruption in the body’s natural circadian rhythm, triggered by fewer daylight hours in winter, and may lead to disordered sleep patterns, according to a 2013 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Another issue: sleep apnea! This condition, which is characterised by pauses in breathing, may worsen in winter because of upper-airway infections (associated with colds) and irritation from indoor-air pollution (which can increase when we shut our windows to seal in heat). But sweet dreams can be yours with a few simple adjustments to your routine. Here’s what to do.

GET A WHIFF OF LAVENDER

The trick for deep sleep is using a lavender-scented diffuser in the bedroom. The scent has long been known to have sedative properties, decreasing heart rate and blood pressure. In fact, a Wesleyan University study found that women who sniffed lavender oil before bed experienced, on average, 22 percent more restorative slow-wave sleep.

BREAK A SWEAT

Though exercisers and non-exercisers clock about the same amount of sleep each night, according to a 2013 National Sleep Foundation poll, those who worked out rated their sleep as significantly better. Even light exercisers were 43 percent more likely to get a good night’s rest than those who were mostly sedentary.

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