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Here's how to get a perfect night's sleep this winter
Thursday, November 5, 2015, 11:50 AM - If you're having trouble adjusting your sleep pattern following the end of Daylight Saving Time, a new study claims to have found the perfect formula to help your body adjust and achieve a restful night's sleep during the winter months.
One thousand people in the United Kingdom were surveyed in order to determine the ideal times one should be going to sleep and waking up in order to achieve a 'perfect' sleep, particularly in the winter.
The results of the study determined that a perfect night's slumber has a duration of eight hours and 42 minutes with a bedtime of 10:37 p.m. and a wake time of 7:19 a.m.
If this sleep pattern seems a bit unrealistic, the reality proves it is for most adults. According to the same study, people sleep an average of six hours and 15 minutes every night between October and February -- and about 40 minutes less during the summer months.
Longer days can contribute to summertime sleeping habits, while shorter days during the winter also have an impact. More than half of survey participants admitted that dark mornings and evenings leave them feeling more tired and sluggish, affecting both sleep and mood.
The study was conducted by retailer George Home, as a way to identify their customers' sleep needs and habits ahead of the winter season.
"People’s sleeping habits in the U.K. differ from season to season and our insight shows that the number of hours people are managing to sleep is getting less and less," said a spokesperson with the company.
Research found that many people struggle to sleep due to the cold and general discomfort during the winter months. About one in four people admitted to sleeping in extra layers in order to stay warm at night.
These struggles are further exacerbated by findings that 50 per cent of couples argue during the week over room temperatures in the winter.
For those who know this scenario all too well, 19C is apparently the optimal temperatures for snoozing.
But the timing, duration and temperature aren't the only factors necessary to achieve a blissful night's sleep, according to one thousand participants. The study produced a list of key, and quite specific, ingredients that are necessary to a blissful night's sleep.
Top Six Essentials for the ‘Perfect’ Night’s Sleep:
- 2 goose feather pillows
- 1 hot water bottle
- 1 duvet
- 1 throw or blanket across the bottom of the bed
- 1 pair of socks
- 1 pair of cotton pyjamas
WEATHER NETWORK STUDY: 43 per cent of Canadians experience 'Winter Blues'
So how do these findings affect Canadians?
As far as dealing with cold winters and disruptions to sleep patterns, Canadians are dealing with the same factors facing Britons struggling to sleep well.
Studies here at home have determined that roughly 40 per cent of Canadians will deal with a sleep disorder in their lifetime. Long work days, social and family responsibilities, irregular shift work and illness can lead to self-imposed sleep restriction, according to Dr. Frank Ryan, a consultant to the Sleep Disorders Program at the University of British Columbia Hospital.
While caffeine and other stimulants can provide a short term solution to slogging it through those sleepy days, it can lead to an unhealthy means of coping with sleep deprivation.
"The problem is over time, you incur a sleep debt which you can never fully repay," Ryan told the CBC. "This is probably going to have long-term health consequences. That's the risk."
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends at least seven hours of sleep per night in order to maintain optimal health.
But whether it's seven hours a night, eight hours and 42 minutes or somewhere in between, finding the optimal sleep period for yourself is key to feeling rested and staying healthy.
"If you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, and if you're able to get through the day without feeling drowsy even when doing boring tasks, then you're likely getting good quality sleep," Ryan said.
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