Up here in the Northern Hemisphere, not only are the leaves falling — at least in some parts of our above the equator world — but so are temperatures and the sunset hour. The days are getting shorter, there is a chill in the air, and those of us who have been cooped up inside because the heat index has been through the roof are emerging to indulge in nature once more.
It is also a time when we pull out those blankies, start cooking warming foods, and prepare to snuggle as autumn’s slight chill slowly moves into full-on winter cold. If you’re like those of us here at Sleep Club, you’re de-summerizing your bedroom to react to the shifting temps — a comforter instead of the lightweight bedspread, warmer sheets, weighted blankets, even different pillows. Our nesting nature comes into play that much more because the weather is turning more blustery and teeth chattering, and creating the perfect chamber for blissful slumber becomes a priority.
Fall seems like a pretty perfect time for a good night’s sleep. After all, experts say the optimum sleep temperature is between 60-68 degrees fahrenheit (15.5-20 degrees celsius). Obviously, we all have our personal preferences — cooler or warmer may be your jam — but those numbers are based on what your body reacts to, not your mind. And seeing as autumn’s crisp visage aligns with the lower temps, you’d think this is a pretty awesome season for sleep, wouldn’t you?
With that in mind, we’d like to share three big things that support “Autumn Sleep Season!” and three things that don’t. But have no fear! We’ll also share how you can turn those three “uh, oh” issues into wins.
First things first, the cooler temps
Okay, yep. Already touched on that a bit. But it is true. It helps us fall asleep easier because the lower temps naturally signal to our body that, yep, it’s time for sleep. Also, insomniacs tend to have higher body temps and so, cooler is better for battling insomnia. Melatonin production ramps up then as well and the cold supports a higher metabolism. All lovely things, don’t you think?
Second, earlier sunsets means a happier circadian rhythm
With the sun going down earlier, your body will adjust its “sleep-wake” rhythm to a better cycle for you. Getting that 7-8 hours — in general — is incredibly helpful and during the “longer days, shorter nights” of summer, your body gets thrown off, you stay up later and wake up earlier. It’s a conundrum. Autumn balances everything out. Isn’t that nice?
Third, the gift of time
Okay, let’s be honest. You do gain an hour but that doesn’t give you permission to stay up later.
Hear me out.
Yes, there’s that extra, beloved hour if you live in those areas with Daylight savings time and it takes a little bit for your body to adjust to the short days, long nights. HOWEVER… instead of denying yourself that hour by staying up way too late, embrace it by allowing your body to relish the gift of time to refresh and renew. It is a gift.
And now onto the “watch out but have no fear, help is near” of our autumn sleep cycle.
Kinda chilly, think I’ll turn up the heat
It’s natural to want to heat up your house when it gets cold. And no one is saying, “Don’t!” HOWEVER, sleeping is best done in cooler temps and those heaters not only negate that but suck whatever moisture your body is already losing when temps lower. The easy answer to all of this is to use your heater in the day then turn it off or way down at night. Your body will thank you, your SKIN will thank you, and all will be right with your sleeping world.
Here comes the sun... nope, it’s gone
Sun. Vitamin D. Our bodies need it to produce melatonin and the sun supports a healthy circadian rhythm. Autumn is when the sun begins hiding a bit more — not quite winter’s moody, greys but moving away from summer’s brilliant blues. But even when you can’t see the sun, it is there. Of course. Go outside, bask in the overcast. It really will help.
Cool, calm and dry as a bone
As the weather gets colder, the moisture leaves the air. Autumn is cooler than summer, of course, and we don't think about downing liquids like we do when we're "beating the heat." But fall is also drier than the "long days, short nights" season, and we suffer for it. Our skin cracks, we dehydrate easier, and oh so many things.
Get a humidifier, drink lots of water, slather lotion on your skin, and take baths with essential oils in them. Your body, inside and out, will thank you. Trust us.
The fall, the autumn, the harvest, the ambers, oranges and golds of the season. I’m a cold weather person. I love when Mother Nature chills out and blows her brisk breath to ruffle my hair and enter my bones. It makes me feel alive and in autumn, well, I feel cozy, naturally calm, at peace. There is a comfort in this time of year, a desire to cuddle, snuggle, and rest easy in front of a fireplace.
Enjoy the new day, the delicious stews, the comfy blankets, and sweater weather. Autumn was made for a good night’s sleep.