There’s something about going to sleep in the wintertime that feels more satisfying than at other times of year. When the weather outside is hostile and chilly, crawling beneath thick blankets and curling up in your bed feels cozier and more comforting than ever. But sleeping during the wintertime does have one pretty serious drawback: dry air.
When the temperatures drop during wintertime, so does the humidity level, meaning that all that moisture your body normally takes from the air is gone. Add into that equation the fact that you’re probably cranking up the heat. Hot air from your furnace increases dryness, so you’re setting yourself up for quite a parched predicament.
Dry winter air causes more than just discomfort—it can have some serious effects. Most significantly, it can wreak havoc on your sinuses. When the air is too dry, your sinuses can’t drain properly, leading to congestion or even sinusitis. When your mucus membranes are that dry, it can also cause nosebleeds. On the beauty front, sleeping in dry conditions can cause your skin and hair to become parched and lose its glow. More seriously, for those who have asthma, dry air can cause nasal passageways to constrict and trigger an attack.
Thankfully, you don’t have to take dry winter air as a given—there are all sorts of simple, inexpensive ways to stay healthy and hydrated until T-shirt weather returns.
1. Lower the Thermostat.
Indoor heating dries out the air even more than it already is from winter. Mitigate this problem by turning the temperature down a little lower before you hit the hay. This has the added benefit of helping you fall asleep more easily, as the ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees.
2. Invest in a Humidifier.
As the name implies, humidifiers are the most obvious—and effective—way to increase the humidity in your bedroom. There are a whole range of options, from the utilitarian to the super sleek and modern. A good quality humidifier can be found for as little as $30, but if you’re not looking to make an investment in any new gadgets, you can get some of the benefits simply by filling a shallow dish with water and leaving it in your room. The water will gradually evaporate into the air and increase the room’s overall humidity. Note: remember to clean and sanitize your humidifier, or you could wind up putting unfriendly bacteria in the air, which is the last thing you need.
3. Drink Lots of Water.
Another obvious choice and equally effective. You should stay hydrated year round, but it becomes especially important when the air around you is sapping your body of moisture.
4. Hydrate Your Skin.
Your body’s moisture is lost through your skin, so adding moisture directly back into it can be tremendously helpful—and also feel great. Find a cream-based body lotion, as well as a more sensitive lotion for your face and a thicker one for super-dry areas like your hands and feet. For an added sleep benefit, get lavender-scented lotions, as this smell can have a soporific effect!
Sleep well and stay warm this winter!