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Seasonal fall and winter insomnia affects so many people (myself included) — plus, insomnia has worsened due to anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic.
“Insomnia [often] occurs in the winter, usually due to seasonal affective disorder,” shared William Heidary, a chiropractor and sleep expert Yahoo Canada. “We’re locked inside all day with a running oven, dry air and more artificial light. All of this affects our melatonin production, and when we inhibit this vital hormone, we contribute to our insomnia.”
Since sleep issues are so common, especially with the end of summertime, read on for Heidary’s top tips for dealing with insomnia this season.
Decrease consumption of caffeine, soda and alcohol
Caffeine is a major contributor to modern sleep problems, and coffee and soda consumption has increased significantly during the pandemic.
Heidary recommends cutting out caffeine at least 6 hours before bed, because caffeine blocks the proper functioning of a sleep compound in the body called adenosine, making it harder to fall asleep.
“Remember, your body recovers while you sleep. At this time, your body is regenerating its tissues and cells and boosting your immune system,” Heidary added.
Alcohol consumption also affects adenosine levels, making it difficult to sleep through the night.
“While alcohol initially helps you fall asleep, it increases the frequency with which you wake up during the night,” Heidary noted.
Limit screen time
Light from our phones and computers also affects our sleep quality. With the advent of online schools and work, screen time has greatly increased as we are exposed to more blue light throughout the day. This, in turn, affects your body’s ability to produce melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone.
“We need the hormone melatonin to trigger sleep. Melatonin is released when our bodies are exposed to darkness,” Heidary said.
“It’s important to prepare your body for sleep by reducing the amount of light before bed. You can do this by reducing your screen time, dimming the lights in the room, or using blue light glasses.”
SEE ALSO: Breast self-examination: is it worth it and what are the signs of breast cancer?
Take a short walk
Exercise also helps increase melatonin, so even a short walk before bed helps to calm you down. Any type of exercise can help reduce anxiety and stress, which ultimately contributes to a better night’s sleep.
“Take this 20-minute walk to lower your stress levels and get some vitamin D,” Heidary concluded.
If you’re looking for more ways to improve your sleep, browse through our selection of must-have sleep products for the season.
Endy’s foam mattress is designed to be breathable and provide better airflow for a cooler night’s sleep. It eliminates motion transfers with its firm memory foam construction and comes boxed for easy setup.
SHOPPING: Endy, starting at $675
Infused with copper, the Renew pillow is designed to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and improve circulation while you sleep.
SHOPPING: Winkzzz, $172
Smooth, soft and breathable, this pillowcase will not cause skin irritation or hair knots. Plus, the silky fabric keeps you cool at night.
SHOPPING: Amazon, $40
This mulberry silk sleep mask is soft, breathable and soothes your eyes at night. The mask can be customized to your liking and is a perfect addition to your nighttime routine creating darkness to help you fall asleep.
SHOPPING: Amazon, $13
Merino wool blanket is best for at home or on the go when traveling. It’s big enough to cover your body, keep you warm, yet compact and lightweight to take with you from the bedroom, to the living room, or even on a plane.
SHOPPING: Simon’s, $215
When you need a deeper sleep, a weighted blanket is a must. This blanket weighs 15 pounds and is designed to promote rest, minimize movement, reduce anxiety and ultimately promote deeper sleep.
SHOPPING: end, $195
Exposure to light can disrupt sleep patterns, so add these blackout curtains to block sunlight and UV rays and get a good night’s sleep.
SHOPPING: Amazon, $45
Sometimes it can be difficult to fall asleep in complete silence or with a ticking in the background. Try a white noise machine like this one with 20 different sleep sounds and different volumes for babies, kids or adults.
SHOPPING: Amazon, $30