Home > Sleep Patterns > Seasonal Sleep

Seasonal Sleep

By: Wendy Jacob - Updated: 23 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Sleep Season Long Days Circadian

As the days draw in and the nights become longer, most of us feel like retreating into the warm. It is not unusual to feel like a few extra hours in bed rather than face a dark morning and to feel sleepy as the light fades. In the summer the long days encourage us to stay up later, or even rise earlier.

SAD

Our mood may be affected by the seasons and the change in light. Feeling mellow and low as the evenings draw in may be nature's way of helping us adjust to the changing seasons. Light summer mornings and long warm evenings make us feel more energetic and cheerful.

For some people darkness brings more than seasonal gloom. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is sometimes called 'winter depression'. Sufferers feel depressed and exhausted as daylight light decreases and many find it hard to function and carry on their normal lives. The condition is more common in women and the young.

Feeling low and depressed the sufferer may sleep more or less than usual. Light Boxes use bright light therapy to relieve symptoms associated with lack of sunlight.

However, sleep problems may be seasonal and relate to changes in routine rather than a sensitivity to lack of sunlight. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is not strictly a sleep disorder, as the amount of light seems to be the main cause of feelings of depression and any associated sleep problems. Circadian Disorders often make the sufferer feel 'out of step' with normal waking and sleeping hours. They are often sleeping and waking at different times to their family and friends and may have adjusted their work and routine to accommodate their sleeping habits.

Most people adjust to the changing seasons and manage to get enough sleep for their needs. Children are less affected by light and noise and usually sleep well regardless of the season.

Many adults sleep better in darkness and in a comfortably cool room. By making adjustments to the sleeping environment - blackout blinds, light bedding and open windows in summer and more warmth and clothing in winter - it is possible to have good nights sleep in all seasons.

Changes of mood relating to the changing seasons are natural. Sleep is strongly affected by light and as we have evolved we have needed to make adjustments to our sleeping pattern. We would do very little if we slept when it became dark in the winter! By going against our natural instincts we need to ensure that our sleep is sufficient during all seasons. After all, it would be a pity if we couldn't have the occasional lie in on a cold winter's day, or enjoy a late sunset on a warm summer's night!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Doris
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    Some nights I get so cold even wake up cold. I mean terribly cold to the bone. Can’t get warm even with covers etc. what could be…
    22 April 2019
  • Diane
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    My solution for being cold was an electric mattress cover. Turn on about an hour before bedtime, then shut off. If I go to bed cold, I…
    12 April 2019
  • George S
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    I have the same problem as Adrienne (who commented above) and I have been through a series of medical tests and procedures with no…
    2 April 2019
  • Susy
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    This is interesting! I have found that if I do not drink enough water , at least 1,5 liters during the day, I cannot go to sleep. I…
    26 March 2019
  • julie
    Re: Coughing and Sleep Loss
    Hi I had a cold on Sunday, it started with hit and cold feeling changing every hour, I started taking paracetamol fir it. Before going to…
    14 March 2019
  • Adrienne
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    Why do i get cold at nights? While in day I'm normal? It's been 1 week now after my first encounter about this and I'm worried. Last…
    5 March 2019
  • Ukung
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    While sleeping I feel extreme cold and need two three blankets. My husband, who is on insulin, swets. How can I get rid of this? While…
    15 February 2019
  • steve jaubert
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    Hello, I read a recent email from Dr Carolyn Dean who is involved with marketing products for Magnesium deficiencies. She does have…
    2 November 2018
  • Princess lynn
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    I have tried all of them but for me they don’t work. And I am home alone. My heating is on but I am still cold. What should I do?
    27 October 2018
  • Susie
    Re: Involuntary Jerking While Asleep, What Could it be?
    My partner keeps me awake he his continuously moving his arms and legs all night he doesn't realize…
    17 October 2018