After a long, hot summer filled with some wild weather and other natural phenomena, fall is finally settling in. That typically means cooler temperatures and drier air that many people find more comfortable for sleeping. As winter rolls in, the humidity keeps dropping along with the mercury, and you'll need to get your bedroom ready for the seasonal shift to maximize your sleep. Here's how to get started.
Optimize the Temperature
While it's tempting to break out all your warmest blankets on the first frosty evening — after all, you haven't seen them in months! — sleep research shows that the optimal temperatures for sleeping are actually quite cool: between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. This is actually lower than most people keep their homes during the day, so it's a good idea to invest in a programmable thermostat that allows you to choose a cooler temperature for sleeping. The cooler air prepares your body for sleep because your core temperature drops as you drift off — having your bedroom on the cool side facilitates this natural process.
Change Your Bedding
You know how they say that layers are the best way to stay warm on cold winter days? The same is true for your bedding. Switch out your bedding to include warm but breathable blankets that you can layer on as your body adjusts to autumn temperatures. Several lightweight blankets will provide more flexibility than one heavy comforter, and you'll be able to add or remove them as needed for Goldilocks-style comfort: not too hot, not too cold, but just right. As you add layers, make sure your sheets still allow for good air flow — cotton is the best choice. If you prefer warm and fuzzy to crisp and cool, try a brushed cotton flannel for your seasonal sheets instead.
Keep Things Consistent
One of the challenges to getting a good night's sleep in the winter is maintaining a comfortable temperature all night long. If your bedroom is drafty, or if your heating system creates lots of ups and downs in room temperature, you could find yourself waking up shivering or sweating, depending on your luck. In addition to having layers of blankets to take on and off, consider moving your bed for the season. Try to keep it away from drafty windows to stay warm. It's also a good idea to keep your bed at a distance from your heat register to avoid uncomfortable hot spots when the furnace kicks on.
Consider the Sun
Colder weather isn't the only change that happens in the fall. The angle of the sun as it rises and sets is also quite different than it is at the height of summer, and these seasonal changes could wreak havoc on your sleep cycle if you're not careful. If the sun blasts through your curtains and into your eyes in the winter, try moving your bed or adding light-blocking curtains so your sleep isn't interrupted by early-morning rays. On the other hand, if winter's later sunrises coincide with your alarm clock, try opening the curtains and allowing your body to rouse itself with the natural light — it's a gentle way to wake up! For most people, autumn temperatures are good news when it comes to maximizing sleep. Try these tips to get your bedroom in order for the season, and you're sure to enjoy a better night's sleep.