Healthy Winter Sleep Habits – Q & A with Dr. Erika Enos
Winter days make me wish I could spend hours and hours snuggled up and cozy in bed. I got to thinking, is this a primal thing like hibernation, or am I just lazier in the winter months? We recently caught up with our favorite Naturopathic MD, Dr. Erika Enos, to get some advice on healthy sleep habits!
ED: I always feel like I need more sleep in the winter, what can I do to make the most of my Zzzzz dedicated hours this winter?
EE: Make sure that you are getting 8 hours of sleep nightly. Our ancestors spent more time sleeping during the winter months when the days were shorter and there were no electric lights to keep them working late; it was a time of year to turn inwards. We should take a cue from this and transition away from our summer habits of long full days. Create a bedtime ritual to ensure deep sleep and release stress from the day. Some suggestions are:
1) Taking a warm (but not hot) bath with lavender essential oil and Epsom salts.
2) Reversing the day meditation: sit quietly and review the day backwards starting from the moment you sat down and working towards the moment you woke up. Witness the events of the day without judgment or getting caught up in emotion; you are watching you in this meditation, not reliving the day. This helps your body and mind unwind and process the events of the day.
3) Enjoy a cup of soothing herbal tea such as chamomile, lemon balm, or vanilla rooibos and read an uplifting book or magazine.
4) Deep belly breathing in a quiet environment.
5) Ending screen time by 8 pm is helpful for soothing the nervous system and promoting healthy sleep patterns; the back light of computers is confusing for your body‘s internal rhythms of sleep and wake. Check out this article to learn more about how technology impacts your sleep.
6) Have a consistent bedtime and waking time. Our bodies thrive on predictable routine.
Thanks Erika! I can’t wait to have a cup of Chamomile and a warm lavender bath, and reflect on my day. Zzzzzzzzzzz 🙂