What is the effect of changing the four seasons on sleep?

2023-11-22 2023-11-22T21:03:14Z
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Arabia Weather - Many of us have difficulty leaving our beds in the morning during the winter, and some often resort to pressing the “snooze” or “snooze” button instead, and scientists point out that this is not surprising.

The latest research shows that people may need more extra sleep during the dark winter months than they do during the summer. This need appears to exist even for people living in cities, where artificial lights are expected to interfere with the effect of natural daylight on sleep patterns.

 

What is the effect of changing the four seasons on sleep?

“Our study shows that even while living in an urban environment with only artificial light, humans experience seasonal sleep pattern changes,” says Dieter Kunz, one of the study's lead authors and head of the Sleep and Horology Clinic at St. Hedwig's Hospital in Berlin, Germany. “I would expect seasonal variations to be much higher if patients lived outside and were only exposed to natural light,” he adds.

 

What is the effect of changing the four seasons on sleep? Arab weather

 

Previous studies have found that exposure to artificial light before bed can suppress the secretion of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland, which plays an important role in regulating circadian sleep clocks and the natural sleep cycle that repeats every 24 hours, affecting how sleepy we feel.

However, the German study, which used detailed sleep recordings of 188 patients who lived in urban areas and had disturbed sleep patterns, showed that even when exposed mainly to artificial lights, participants experienced seasonal changes in REM sleep, which is associated with Directly with the quality of our sleep.

 

Biological clock

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep speeds up in the spring, causing participants to sleep longer during this season. REM sleep is the most active stage of sleep, where dreaming occurs and the heart rate increases. This phase appears to be 30 minutes more active in winter than in summer.

Rapid eye movement (REM) is linked to the circadian clock. Dieter Kunz, head of the sleep clinic at St. Hedwig's Hospital in Berlin, comments on the importance of adapting REM to the changing seasons: "So the fact that it adapts to the changing of the seasons makes sense."

In another surprise, the study showed that there are seasonal changes when it comes to slow wave sleep (SWS), also known as deep sleep. Kunz points out that there are “specific changes” in REM sleep and deep sleep, the two main stages of the sleep cycle.

 

This study should be viewed with caution, as it was conducted in patients with sleep disorders, such as insomnia, so additional studies in healthy populations need to be conducted to confirm these effects on a larger scale.

Neil Stanley, sleep expert at Sleep Station, says it's hard to believe we need extra deep sleep during the winter. Stanley points out the importance of slow wave sleep, saying: “Slow wave sleep is thought to be the most important sleep stage, playing a role in memory, learning and improving the immune system.” He explains that we may recoup the loss of deep sleep on subsequent nights, but stresses that there is a need to understand exactly why sleep patterns change with the seasons.

In general, the seasonal effect on our sleep could be related to human historical evolution and its relationship with light cycles in the environment.

 

 

What is the effect of changing the four seasons on sleep? Arab weather

 

How to improve your sleep?

In addition to going to bed earlier in the winter, there are other steps we can take to improve our sleep:

  1. Replace natural light: Try to get as much natural light as possible in the morning hours. This helps reinforce your daily routine and lets your body know that the day has begun. It is best for children to make time to get outdoors before going to school.
  2. Avoid bright lights: Before bed, avoid bright lights and cell phone screens. Bright lights can stimulate the visual system and affect your sleep.
  3. Adjust the temperature: Good sleep also depends on the temperature. Keep the room temperature between 31-35°C (87.8-95°F), as these temperature ranges promote comfort and deep sleep.
  4. Organizing the daily schedule: Try to maintain a regular daily schedule, including bedtime and wake-up time. This helps promote a healthy sleep pattern.
  5. Reduce stress and anxiety: Before bed, do soothing activities such as reading or listening to soothing music to help calm the mind and relieve stress and anxiety.
  6. Avoid stimulants: Reduce the use of stimulants such as caffeine in the late hours of the day, so as not to affect the ability to sleep.

By following these steps, you can improve the quality of your sleep and ensure you wake up refreshed and ready to start a new day.

 

Should we consider changing our sleep habits throughout the year?

Kunz points out that most people maintain a similar sleep pattern year-round, going to bed after watching TV around 10:30-11 p.m., and waking up around 7 a.m. to head to work. In their study, Kunz and his team encourage more adherence to bedtimes, especially for children, as they suggest setting a consistent bedtime. Since school and work schedule morning wake-up times, it may be beneficial in the winter to go to bed a little earlier to meet the “increased need for sleep,” the researchers note.

“When we realize we need more sleep in the winter, sticking to the schedule we set for when we feel our best during the summer is not appropriate,” Kunz says. If they stick to the same sleep patterns year-round, “our study shows that they will lose one to two hours of sleep each night during the winter,” Kunz adds, adding that this could negatively impact health.

Lack of sleep is linked to an increased risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression, as confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to a recent Norwegian study, patients who slept less than six hours each night were more likely to develop infections than those who slept seven to eight hours. Patients with persistent sleep problems were more likely to report needing antibiotics. The study showed that individuals who slept more than nine hours each night were more susceptible to infection.

 

Regarding the study results, the lead author, Ingeborg Forthen, who works as a researcher at the University of Bergen, points out that these results can be explained. “A possible explanation for these results may be that infection affects an individual's sleep or increases levels of sleepiness, or that there is an association between the risk of infection and irregular sleep related to an underlying disease in Norway,” Forthen says.

“Since infections are more common in the winter, getting plenty of sleep at this time may be important to avoid infection,” Forthen adds. This approach may help reduce laziness when the alarm rings on a cold winter morning.

 

Read also:

What is the surprising link between sleep and mental health?

Why do we need more sleep during the winter? How do you stay active in the winter?

Good sleep in winter protects you from diseases

 


Source: bbc

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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