The average adult needs between seven and nine hours sleep every night, according to the NHS.
But, people often have disrupted sleep during the winter months, according to Naturalmat sleep expert, Cristabel Majendie.
You may experience difficulty getting to sleep, maintaining sleep or struggle to get up in the morning.
These are the four reasons you may struggle to sleep during the winter – and how to remedy it.
The amount of natural sunlight we’re exposed to is much lower during the winter, due to the shorter days.
Sunlight is needed to stimulate the production of melatonin – which regulates the timing and duration of sleep, Majendie said.
“In the winter, not only is there less sunlight but we also tend to spend much more time indoors so we miss out on natural daylight exposure.
“With less daytime light exposure, melatonin concentrations are generally lower and this can cause sleep disruption.”
Try to spend more time outside in the winter to get an adequate amount of light exposure, she said.
“Open your curtains and blinds as soon as you wake up in the morning and try to sit by a window at your place of work. In addition, dim your lights at home in the evening to encourage melatonin onset before you head off to bed.”
As temperatures drop below freezing, many people turn on their heating so their home and bedrooms aren’t too cold.
But, artificial heat produces hot, dry air, which could cause dehydration and dry out mucus membranes.
If you have your heating on at night, you may wake up with a dry mouth, or feel thirsty, and won’t be able to go back to sleep.
“Aim for a cool bedroom in the range of 16-18 degrees Celsius as this is the optimum temperature level for sleep,” said Majendie.
“Turn your heating off at night and use duvets, blankets and bed linen made from natural fibres such as cotton and wool as these will regulate your body temperature more efficiently than manmade fibres.”
Cold and flu symptoms
You’re more likely to develop cold and flu infections during the winter, as viruses are better at surviving in cold temperatures.
With more people staying indoors during the winter, you’re more likely to breathe in the same air as someone who already has an infection.
Infections can cause tiredness, and symptoms are more likely to disturb your sleep.
“Prioritise your sleep to strengthen your immune system so it is fully prepared to fight infections,” said Majendie.
“Make sure your diet includes plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants, nutrients needed for immune functioning, by eating fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water.”
The motivation to go outside and do some physical activity is much harder to come by during the winter, when it’s cold and grey.
But, exercise is key to getting a good night’s sleep.
It increases the portion of deep sleep you get in a night.
“Remind yourself that any exercise is worth doing for the sake of your physical and mental health but if you can combine this with a burst of natural daylight this is a double benefit to your sleep and energy levels.
“However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime because this can actually disrupt your sleep as your body takes several hours to cool down to a level optimal for sleep.”