If you find yourself sleepier than usual when the days get shorter, you’re probably not imagining things. A recent press release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) reports that over one-third of Americans actually do sleep more than usual during the winter months. This is a direct reversal from trends observed in the summer, when 36% of Americans sleep less than usual.
It appears that sleep needs may fluctuate based on the season, just as they vary for different age groups. However, the necessity of adequate quality and quantity of sleep remains constant across the life cycle and the seasons. The AASM provides a handy calculator as part of their Sleep Education Resources to help you determine your unique sleep needs based on age and wake time.
Though the start of the year has come and gone, it’s not too late to make new year’s intentions to get better sleep. This is especially important for the remaining winter months, when you may need more sleep than usual and are finding it difficult to wake up feeling refreshed. A great first goal for better sleep would be to seek help for any sleep related troubles you are experiencing, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. A home sleep test can inform you and Dr. Gupta as to whether a more extensive sleep study in our office is needed, and from there which treatments may help you get a better night’s rest.
Quality and quantity of the keywords of sleep medicine. Good sleep hygiene can promote adequate length of undisrupted sleep; the practices Dr. Gupta recommends generally include cooler bedroom temperatures, avoiding caffeine and alcohol later in the day, and reducing exposure to blue light before bed time. If device use cannot be avoided late in the evening, night shift modes can help lessen the negative effects of pre-sleep screen usage.