The sleep is a complex process It depends on both the person and their environment. Analyzing the effects of the weather is a way to better understand how we can optimize the hours of sleep.
Because any change influences our mood and also our sleep patterns and habits. It’s a matter of cause and effect: morning light usually tells our body when to wake up, while darkness and cold temperatures tell it it’s time to sleep.
But when these factors change, sleep is disturbed. Something that is important to remember now that the international sleep daythe March 18thunder the motto “Quality sleep, healthy mind, happy world”.
Insomnia and internal clock
The circadian rhythm, or what we know more popularly as the internal clock, regulates numerous processes in the brain, such as metabolism, hormone levels, body temperature, and the sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, it is the one that provides the level and duration of our sleep and rest during the night.
The circadian clock is designed to work and change with the environment and the different seasons of the year. Although many times we are not aware, even a small change in the form of day and night light causes a misalignment of our internal clock.
The changes that occur during spring they make it more difficult to “reset” our biological clock and require a new adjustment of our body and sleep to the new conditions. For example, changes in certain hormones, such as melatonin and cortisol, play a decisive role in upsetting our internal clock and causing sleep problems that usually last a few days.
More reasons why we can’t sleep so well in spring
All this would explain why, for many people, the beginning of spring means a worse quality of sleep. During these days, although it is recommended seven to nine hours of sleep for healthy adults, many will not. Some reasons that would explain it are:
- Time change: the summer time, whose change will take place on next March 27, fast forward an hour and give us more minutes of extra sunlight, which often wreaks havoc on our sleep cycles. In fact, this change to summer time is considered the main culprit of our lack of sleep. As evidenced by a review published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews according to which changing a time can affect sleep for at least one week.
- Furthermore, and according to a research From the Sleep Research Society, during the week following the change to daylight saving time, it has been shown that more people suffer from heart attacks and there is an increased risk of immune disorders.
- humidity change: as we have mentioned, the environment directly affects our quality of sleep. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best indoor relative humidity is between 30% and 50%, and it should never exceed 60%, which seems to be the agreed-upon range for indoor humidity. During the spring it is possible that these levels increase, which becomes a new problem to be able to respect our sleep hours.
- Temperature increase: room temperature is one of the most important aspects when it comes to optimizing the room for better sleep. During spring there is usually an increase in degrees, which forces our body to adapt to something that can hinder and interrupt the internal temperature regulation cycles that help us sleep better. The ideal room temperature for sleeping is between 17ºC and 20ºC.
- Pollen allergy: With spring come the flowers and, with them, the pollen. Allergic rhinitis, an inflammation of the nasal mucosa, is estimated to affect more than 500 million people worldwide. Allergy, the most common, affects 21.5% of the Spanish population, especially children. It has been shown that allergies can make it hard to sleep at night and therefore cause drowsiness during the day.
All of these factors have a direct and negative impact on our alertness, mood, well-being, work and school performance, and health during those days.
How to rest better in spring
Can we prepare for the time change and prevent sleep problems? We can avoid these problems with a few guidelines:
- go to bed a little earlier (about 15 minutes before) every night before the time change.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Avoid exposure to screens (mobile, tablets, computer, etc.) for at least 30 minutes before to go to bed
- Do regular physical exercise (but never during the two hours before going to bed).
- Control caffeine consumption.
- Create an atmosphere that promotes sleep (as much as possible): suitable temperature and without light.
- Keep the room properly ventilated and free of dust, pollen and mites, with neat hygiene.
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