How Our Sleep is Affected by Weather Changes

The importance of adequate and quality sleep for physical, mental, and spiritual health has been confirmed by numerous scientific studies. Good sleep contributes to:

– Improvement in memory function and learning
– Strengthening of the immune system
– Better physical condition
– Maintenance of normal weight
– Mood enhancement
– Reduction of anxiety
– Increase in our productivity

Weather changes affect the quality of our sleep

Many factors affecting our sleep depend on us and can be adjusted with small changes in our daily routine and sleep habits.

However, one factor often overlooked, which significantly affects our sleep, is the external environment. Changes in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and specific weather phenomena affect us in many ways, both positively and negatively.

Understanding the impact of weather and seasons on sleep quality is an important factor in preparing ourselves adequately.

Shorter Days Affect Our Biochemistry

During autumn and winter, as days shorten and nights lengthen, sunlight decreases, as does our exposure to it. This change, combined with the fact that many people work from early in the morning, before sunrise, until late in the afternoon, after sunset, results in a deficiency of vitamin D, observed even in sunny countries like ours.

Vitamin D significantly affects many functions of our body, including sleep-wake cycles. This vitamin is necessary for the production of serotonin, which is important for your mood. Research has shown that low serotonin levels result in symptoms of fatigue, depression, anxiety, and an increased craving for carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain. Additionally, lower levels of vitamin D have been associated with increased daytime sleepiness.

Changes in light-dark cycles also result in the release of larger amounts of melatonin in our body, making us feel tired and sleepy earlier than usual.

Cool Air Helps Us Sleep Better

Research has shown that during seasons when the atmospheric air is slightly cooler, we sleep better and more restfully. Temperature plays a significant role in the onset of sleep and in circadian rhythms. As our body prepares to sleep, it slightly reduces its internal temperature and maintains it lowered until a few hours before awakening.

The ideal room temperature is between 15.5 and 21 °C, depending on individual preferences and the clothes and bedding used.

Warm, Humid Air Makes Our Sleep Difficult

While the cool air of autumn and spring makes our sleep more comfortable, the warm and humid air of summer has the exact opposite effect. The sensation of warmth and humidity on our skin makes us feel uncomfortable and hinders both the onset of sleep and the achievement of a relaxing and deep sleep.

Our inability to fall into deep sleep also results in our body not releasing certain hormones that are usually released during this stage of sleep, which are beneficial for our mood.

Weather Changes Can Become Painful

Changes in temperature, humidity levels, and barometric pressures can affect pain levels in individuals suffering from arthritic and neurological problems.

For example, research has shown that colder weather and high barometric pressure contribute to increased pain levels in individuals with bone and joint problems. Conversely, high temperatures and low barometric pressure are associated with an increase in migraines in sensitive individuals. Both conditions negatively affect both the quantity and quality of our sleep.

Specific Seasons Accompany Specific Seasonal Diseases or Allergies

Certain seasons are associated with the exacerbation of specific allergies and seasonal illnesses. Higher temperatures and high humidity levels are accompanied by pollen and dust mites, affecting many people with corresponding allergies. Symptoms of allergies are stuffy nose, itching of the skin and eyes, and irritated sinuses. These symptoms make achieving a restful sleep difficult and are treated with antihistamines, which in turn may affect our sleep.

Similarly, during the colder winter months, there is an exacerbation of viruses and colds, the side effects of which also make our sleep and rest difficult. Additionally, medications prescribed to treat these symptoms, such as alcohol-containing cough syrups, may negatively affect our sleep.