The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, the weather is getting crappier, and if you're anything like me — you're getting a little sleepier. With all of the above and getting out of bed being increasingly difficult it's easy to wonder does colder autumn and winter weather make you more tired?
Well according to the NHS website, not exactly. Sleepiness is all down to our good old pals hormones. And the hormone in charge of sending you off to sleepy town is melatonin. Seemingly the reason we get a bit sleepier during winter months is that the lack of sunlight means your brain produces more melatonin.
Which, considering the universal desire to get thee to bed and cosiness when the weather begins to change, makes a lot of sense. However, is there more than melatonin at play?
I reached out to sleep expert James Wilson for his opinion on the matter. Wilson is a sleep behaviour, sleep environment, and sleep product expert and the third generation in a family of sleep experts. Wilson, or The Sleep Geek is truly devoted to helping people get every one of their forty winks and was kind enough to let us know the tee on why some of us might feel a bit sleepier during chillier months.
Wilson explained that there are a heck of a lot of factors at play during autumn and winter months that can lead to us being a bit more on the sleepy side. And it's likely to be owing to what's going on in the day time.
"When trying to get the best sleep, winter brings a different set of issues than summer. I often find people are more lethargic during the day in winter; more than likely due to the lack of natural daylight which means we don’t get that boost of energy that we do on a bright summer day."
I mean we all know the day we've had has a definite knock on affect to the night sleep we get. However, Wilson explained that not only the sunlight but also the temperature can make your sleep unsettled. Leading to a groggier you. And it's not only the temperature outside but also the whole central heating thing that's an issue.
"Temperature can be an issue for some people too, either they struggle to get warm or more commonly, they are making their bedrooms very warm as they go to bed and consequently struggle to get to sleep and to stay asleep."
Yikes, who ever would have thought that cosy bedroom that seems so ideal when you're drifting off might actually get, well, a bit too much.
Wilson continued, explaining that not only the temperature outside but our inner temperature can affect sleep.
"As our body temperature drops I also find people wake at about 3am-4am in the morning due the cold. For some, the cold weather automatically makes the heating come on as the heating system kicks into gear and this can wake them before they want to get up."
Oh my days. Looks like, central heating adjustments aside you might just have to accept potentially feeling sleepier during the autumn and winter months. But hey — who doesn't love an excuse for a lie in?