Spring sleep: tips for better snoozing this season
The pillow’s low, the quilt is warm, the body smooth and peaceful.
Sun shines on the room’s door, the curtain not yet open.
In the air, the youthful taste of spring comes to you even in your sleep.
— Bai JuYi, 8th-century Chinese poet
There’s green in the garden under the melting snow. The sun’s out. The birds are singing. If you’re zipping with spring fever but at the same time feel run-out-of-steam, here’s a list of what might be hampering your napping:
- Brighter mornings seem to have come without warning.
- Warmer days and warmer nights make us restless.
- Allergies. We love greenery, though it can activate our immune machinery.
- Early Birds… those herds of nest-building nerds are right outside your window.
- Daylight Saving Time. What a crime!
- The responsibility of work and taxes waxes.
Yes, the things you love (and hate) about spring can also disrupt your sleep. So, what can you do to get more snooze?
- Invest in a sleep mask and earplugs.
- Trade in the heavy comforter for a lighter one, and the flannels for silky sexy PJs.
- Spring cleaning! Declutter and organize your bedroom. Bedrooms should be for sleep and sex. Only.
- Keep a journal by your bed, so when you do wake up with worries, of taxes or whatever, jot them down and roll over.
- Keep blue-light-emitting gadgets out of your night-flailing reach. Other gadgets are OK.
- Have more sex. It boosts oxytocin, lowers cortisol—and orgasms release prolactin, the hormone which makes you feel dreamy.
- Oh, and make sure your partner doesn’t snore.
- Room too hot? Turn down the thermostat. Open a window.
- Get outside in the morning for some fresh air and sunshine. Fifteen minutes in bright sun (preferably without sunglasses) will help your body produce melatonin the following night.
- Exercise helps. Just don’t do it too late in the day.
- Allergies keeping you awake at night? Your main pollen problem this month in Utah is trees. Check the Weather Channel’s Allergy Tracker (wxch.nl/2S3wvMD) for what’s afloat. Wash your face and hair—and groom pets more often. (After your walk, rinse off Fido’s feet.) When the AC season comes, change your filters.
- Bonus tip: Eat springtime foods that support sleep. Noshing on cherries, kale and lettuce helps produce melatonin. Other foods that aid with Zzzs: , bananas, oranges, avocados, tomatoes.
Now that you’ve sprung forward an hour, stick to a regular schedule. If you’re rising with the birds… consider embracing that, perhaps this is you turning over a new leaf. It could happen. Don’t lose sleep over becoming a morning person.
Anna Zumwalt is a Zen monk and hypnotherapist. She loves putting her students to sleep and waking them up. See her sleep classes at http://www.bit.ly/azclasses.