Winter Insomnia

Winter time insomnia

For many, winter is a time to hibernate and sleep more, but others struggle more with insomnia when the mornings are dark.  A patient recently shared some morning routines she has discovered to battle both insomnia and depression during the darker months.

“I still try to wake up at 6:30 am, which gives me a little bit of time for myself before the kids wake up.  It actually is a bit more relaxed start to the day and that seems to help me stay a little more relaxed all day.”  Before, she describes mornings as “that machine feeling of get up, make breakfast, get the kids up, yell at everyone to get ready and walk the dogs…”

Sleep patterns

Our advice to her had been that sleeping too much can be a cause of increased tiredness and depression, and she says she is trying to get no more than six and a half hours of sleep, and getting up early seems to help.  “Rather than saying “oh, it’s dark, I’m waiting till 7:30” it’s better to get up at 6:30 and, weirdly enough, getting up earlier means I have more energy than when I’m getting up later”. 

Daily routine is an important element of self-care, and mood stabilization, and MoodSurfing continues to explore how routines can be more effectively and usefully incorporated.  One important insight is to remember that a routine, no matter how well thought out, will always be disrupted by one thing or another.  A sick kid, a sick dog, a blocked toilet, or just life in general can send your health-giving routine into an immediate tailspin at any time. 

The trick is to remember that the routine can be re-established as soon as the disruption is taken care of.  Disruptions will happen, but you can cope.  Morning routines are still one of the best ways to improve sleep patterns and control insomnia.

– Nancy