Fall & Sleep: Navigating the seasonal shift

As the leaves change and temperatures drop, the arrival of fall brings more than just beautiful landscapes. It can also impact our sleep patterns. Understanding these changes and how to adapt can help you continue to get quality rest during this transitional season.

Impact of Fall on Sleep:

The jury is still out on the exact impacts of seasonal change on sleep – but many of us feel it none the less. Here are a few points keep coming to the surface:

1) Daylight Changes: With shorter days and longer nights, our exposure to natural light diminishes. This can disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep and wake up.

2) Temperature Fluctuations: Are you like me right now? In one day I can be swapping between heat on or off and windows open or closed. As the temperatures continue to drop deeper into the fall – the cooler nights might lead you to adjust your thermostat up even more.  Just remember an overly warm room can disrupt sleep. Go for the cooler, comfortable temperatures for better rest.

3) Allergies: Fall allergies from mold and pollen can trigger sneezing and congestion, making it difficult to breathe comfortably while sleeping.

4) Time Change: The end of daylight saving time can throw off your internal clock.  When that happens this year – look to adjust gradually by going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier each day.

Here are 5 more Tips for Quality Sleep During Fall:

1) Regulate Light Exposure: Seek natural light during the day to support your circadian rhythm. Dim the lights as evening approaches to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.

2) Temperature Control: Maintain a cool but comfortable sleep environment. Consider using breathable, moisture-wicking sheets and blankets. Perhaps even have a cozy blanket close by you can toss on if you want.

3) Allergy Management: If allergies are a concern, use air purifiers, wash bedding frequently, and consider using a HEPA filter in your bedroom to reduce allergens.

4) Routine Matters: Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends. (For me this is a hard one!) This helps your body establish a predictable sleep pattern.

5) Limit Screen Time: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with sleep. Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime and engage in some calming activities instead.

By understanding the unique challenges fall can bring to your sleep, you can proactively adjust your habits and environment to ensure restorative rest during this season of change. Happy Sleeping! 💤🍂 #FallSleepTips #QualityRest

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Shawna Cook

Shawna is a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, who has been working in Cardiac Rehabilitation for over 10 years. Her years in the health and fitness field however have spanned over the past 2+ decades. As an elite level athlete she fell in love with understanding the human body, and how the choices she made, affected how it performed. This led to a degree from the University of Winnipeg in the stream of Athletic Therapy, and the passion towards helping others recover from injury and "be their best selves" grew.