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Why Sleeping in the Winter is Important

Winter has arrived, and with it come holidays, cold weather, and for some, extra sleepiness. While some may be frustrated with feeling extra sleepy during the colder seasons, it’s important to understand why sleeping in the winter is important.

Let’s take a look at why you may feel sleepier in the winter, why getting the sleep you need in the winter is important, and some tips on how to improve your sleep to get the rest that you need.

Why Am I Sleepier In the Winter?

If it seems like you get sleepier in the winter, it’s not just in your head! It’s a common phenomenon to feel unusually tired, sluggish, or fatigued during the winter months, and there are several reasons why you may feel like you have lower energy than usual:

Seasonal Depression

One reason you may feel sleepier than usual is that you may be struggling with seasonal depression. In short, seasonal depression describes when someone feels the classic symptoms of depression with the onset of the winter months. There are several potential causes of seasonal depression (including lack of sunlight, emotional triggers, etc.)

If you think seasonal depression may be the reason you’re feeling sluggish, don’t worry! There are several ways you can manage seasonal depression to help mitigate the symptoms.

Diet Changes

The winter season is packed full of holidays, with many traditional foods being high in refined carbs and sugar. Sugar and high-carbohydrate foods can make you feel sleepy, since they spike your insulin levels. If your diet has switched to high carb and sugary foods (which is common during many holidays), this might be the reason you’re feeling extra sleepy.

Cold Temperatures Increase Metabolism

Cold temperatures require your body to work harder to maintain its core temperature (and your muscles will shiver in an attempt to get warmer, too), which means your metabolism is higher than normal when the weather is cold. You may feel tired during the winter months because you need to eat more food than you would when the temperature is warmer. 

If you think this may be making you sleepy, make sure to focus on nutrient dense foods (and try to avoid refined carbs and sugary foods, since those can also make you feel sleepy!)

Lifestyle Changes (especially New Year’s Resolutions)

Did you make a resolution this New Year’s to make some lifestyle changes? Maybe you decided to start working out more, or maybe you decided to cut calories? Positive lifestyle changes to be healthier are always a good decision, but you need to make sure your body gets the nutrients it needs to function while you make these changes.

Exercising burns calories, and if you haven’t adjusted your eating habits to make sure you body has the fuel it needs to keep moving, then you may feel sluggish while your body is operating at a calorie deficit. Dieting (especially crash diets) can make you feel exceptionally sluggish (and since dieting almost never works anyway, we don’t recommend it).

The Benefits of Getting Proper Sleep

Now that we’ve talked about why you may be feeling sleepier than usual in the winter, let’s discuss why it’s important to get proper sleep (even if that means making sure you get extra sleep in the winter months):

Sleep Helps Mental Health

If you want to manage mental health challenges (like anxiety, stress, and even depression), then getting enough sleep is crucial. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), study participants were 2.5x more likely to experience “frequent mental distress” when compared with study participants who got enough sleep.

Sleep Helps with Exercise

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to get more exercise? Then you need to get more sleep, too! A study first published in 2019 concluded that “[sleep] is arguably the single most important factor in exercise recovery.”

Exercise will cause soreness while your muscles recover, especially if you haven’t exercised for an extended period of time. Sleep helps to reduce the duration of how sore you feel, making it easier to make exercise a part of your regular routine.

Sleep Keeps You Healthy

Sleep doesn’t just help with your mental health. It helps with your physical health, too! Not getting enough sleep inhibits your immune system, since this is when cytokines are produced, which are a protein that help to ward off infection and inflammation. If you don’t sleep enough, it’s more likely that you’ll get sick.

Sleep Helps Regulate Weight

If you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight (or lose weight), then sleep is another important factor. A 2022 survey of studies found “sleep may play a role in weight loss.” It cited a specific study that compared two groups of participants and found that those getting 8.5 hours of sleep lost more fat than those getting 5.5 hours of sleep over a two week period.

You should note that both of these groups were operating with similar kinds of calorie deficits, so the lack of sleep made it harder for the body to burn fat.

Sleep Makes Clearer Thinking Easier

Keeping your mind consistently sharp, clear, and making good decisions should always be a priority, and sleep is key for clearer thinking. A 2007 study found not only that sleep deprivation “impairs attention and working memory,” but also had an impact on “long-term memory and decision-making.”

Good sleep will help you make better decisions, remember details, and will help keep you safe when clear thinking is needed most, like when driving.

How Can I get Better Sleep?

We know that sleep is important for a variety of reasons, but how to get better sleep is another question entirely. There’s a lot of things that can impact your ability to get enough sleep, so let’s take a look at what you can do to help!


Sleep may be important to exercise recovery, but exercise can also help you get better sleep! According to John Hopkins University, exercise “decreases sleep complaints and insomnia in patients,” and even went as far to state that the benefits of aerobic exercise are similar to sleeping pills.

They state that more research is needed about how exercise can help with insomnia, but it’s clear that exercise provides some positive impacts to sleep. 

Eating Health and at the Right Times

Research in this area is still new, but there is growing evidence that not getting enough nutrients can impact your ability to sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, deficiencies in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, E,  and K may be linked to sleep problems. 

Remember this doesn’t necessarily mean you should eat less. In fact, calorie restriction while not getting the vitamins and minerals you need could make your sleep worse!

You also should focus on when you eat, too. The Cleveland Clinic recommends not eating anything around three hours before you go to bed, since eating so close to sleep can negatively affect your blood sugar, which can disrupt sleep, and may also disrupt your circadian rhythm.

Address Anxiety

Do you struggle to sleep because of anxious thoughts, stress, or a racing mind? This is a common problem, and one that you can address! There are several tips you can follow to help to soothe anxiety, including:

  • Cognitive therapy
  • Take antidepressants
  • Try CBD

Before you consider adding or changing prescription medication (or before adding CBD to your normal routine), you should always consult with your doctor first.

Manage Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is another factor that can interrupt your sleep. Depending on what your pain is, there are several steps you can take to help mitigate and manage chronic issues, including:

  • Physical therapy (if pain is due to an old injury)
  • Stretching (if pain is due to tight, weak muscles)
  • Exercise (especially if you have back pain and weak back muscles)
  • CBD (especially if you struggle with inflammatory pain)

A mix of several of these tips can be very impactful in helping to manage chronic pain.

Take CBD

We’ve mentioned that CBD may help manage problems like anxiety and chronic pain, but it may be able to help with general sleep issues, like insomnia. Cortisol, a stress hormone important to several functions in your body, is often linked with insomnia issues (especially if your body is releasing too much cortisol at the wrong time).

A 2019 study showed that study participants that took high doses of CBD had overall lower cortisol levels, which means CBD may provide relief for those who struggle with insomnia because of cortisol levels. A 2020 review of sleep studies found that “Promising preliminary evidence provides the rationale for future randomized controlled trials of cannabinoid therapies.

While research into how CBD can help with insomnia is still new, the early research suggests that it may be an excellent tool for those who struggle with insomnia (and want a solution with few to no harsh side-effects).

Sleeping in the Winter is Important

There’s a lot of reasons why you may feel sleepier than usual when it gets cold, including:

  • Seasonal depression
  • Diet changes
  • Higher metabolism due to colder temperature 
  • Lifestyle changes, like dieting or exercises

And there are a lot of reasons you should focus on getting the sleep you need. Sleep helps with:

  • Maintaining mental health
  • Recovering from exercise 
  • Boosting your immune system
  • Regulating health weight
  • Clearer thinking

If if you’ve struggled to get the sleep you need, there are some tips to follow, including:

  • Exercise
  • Eating nutrient-dense foods
  • Addressing anxiety and chronic pain
  • Trying CBD

If you’re thinking about trying CBD to help get better sleep, we’d love to help you get started on the right foot! PhenoLife has a catered formula for sleep, specifically designed to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Our products are also all lab tested, and our Certificate of Analyses are available online for all of our products. 

Our expert team is happy to answer questions you have about CBD and how it can help improve your sleep! We look forward to hearing from you (and if you’d prefer to simply shop on your own, all of our sleep-catered products are available online).

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