Sleep is integral for healthy function of the body and not getting enough can increase your risk of serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Eight hours of good-quality sleep is recommended to ensure optimum health, but during the winter months this can be tricky. Many people suffer sleepless night’s because of the cold.
So what can you do to help? The Sleep Council recommends having a warming milky drink before bed so you can get the quality sleep you need.
This could be warm milk, a hot chocolate or hot milk tea.
There also some other steps you should look to take to help beat the nip in the air at night.
It advises: “Wear night clothes such as pyjamas or a large T-shirt to keep you warm. Natural fibres such as wool, cotton or silk will keep you warmer than synthetic materials.
“Get rid of icy toes by putting on a pair of super soft bed socks. The extra layer under the covers can help improve circulation in your extremities, which can help you fell asleep more quickly.
“Have a warm (not hot) bath just before you go to bed. This will warm you up and will also help to make you sleepy.
“Try to take some exercise, not too close to bedtime, which will get the circulation going an help to keep the body warm.”
It’s also worth looking at your bedroom, the bed you sleep in and the bedding you use, as this can play a part in keeping you insulated in the cold night air.
Keeping the bedroom warm and choosing the right duvet are among The Sleep Council’s recommendations.
It says: “Keep the bedroom warm, but not too hot, and free from draughts. Ideal room temperature is 16-18 degrees Celsius.
“Avoid a saggy bed. It may be nice to cuddle up for warmth but it can be very uncomfortable and clammy when you are thrown together by a bed that isn’t giving you the correct support.
“Look for a mattress which has a thicker side for use during the winter. A soft sleeping surface is a better insulator than a flat one. Use a fleecy underblanket to retain the heat.
“Choose a duvet with a high tog rating or use several layers of bedding rather than one single layer. Layers will trap warm air and are easily removed if you get too hot.
“An old-fashioned hot water bottle is still one of the most effective ways to keep warm once in bed. Make sure it has a cover on it to avoid scalding and also so that it won’t feel cold in the middle of the night.
“Electric blankets or duvets are ideal for adding some extra heat to the bed. Underblankets will pre-heat the bed while overblankets maintain a constant temperature throughout the night.”
Eating the right foods before bed in winter can also have a positive impact on your sleep routine.