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    Owen's Avatar
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    Winter + Sleep

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    As we move into Autumn I'm looking forward to paying attention to my sleep patterns and hopefully getting more sleep during the colder months - as this is the first year that I've consciously done this (I suspect I may have slept more in winter in the past but just not been aware, or thought I was being lazy or ill) I was just wondering whether anyone else has done this and what the results were - did you feel healthier throughout the winter, were there any other benefits?

    I have to wonder, with regards to SAD (seasonal adjustment disorder) how much of this is people just not sleeping enough during the winter and having mood/health problems as a result? I would perhaps suggest SAD could also stand for Societal Activity Disorder....:-)

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    I would call SAD what it is actually called and sleeping more because of it makes me feel like shit. If you want to try to play the "natural" card to explain it, how about this: humans developed near the equator and did not evolve to experience reduction in the life-giving force of the sun. There is absolutely nothing natural about sleeping thought the winter.

    I close my shades to avoid seeing the sun go down and use a light box during sun down. That seems to help a lot.
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    Proper day and night signals are important every day of the year. An individual who develops dopamine deficiency or resistance during winter is more likely struggling with the day signals. At noon I try to walk outdoors, glance at the sun if it's clear, and take a bit of vitD with lunch but I would not change my sleep.
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    Hey Cactus, thanks for chipping in there, what I'm actually referring to can be best summed up here

    Why You Need More Sleep in Winter | FitWatch

    I'm exploring the idea that its actually good to embrace sleeping more in winter, which a lot of people do, including yourself by the looks of things, it should be built into our day and used for its health benefits. There is current research suggesting that humans do hibernate 'naturally'.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/ar...bernating.html

    People in more northern climates evolved paler skin, it is therefore surely not a great leap of imagination to assume they might also naturally have hibernated. The chances are they would not have survived otherwise.

    So I disagree that 'there is nothing natural about sleeping more in the winter'. What is unnatural is our current maintained level of activity during winter (facilitated by technology).
    Last edited by Owen; 08-31-2013 at 11:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by picklepete View Post
    Proper day and night signals are important every day of the year. An individual who develops dopamine deficiency or resistance during winter is more likely struggling with the day signals. At noon I try to walk outdoors, glance at the sun if it's clear, and take a bit of vitD with lunch but I would not change my sleep.
    Would it follow possibly that someone who is deficient in dopamine during winter is going to benefit from more sleep?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Owen View Post
    Would it follow possibly that someone who is deficient in dopamine during winter is going to benefit from more sleep?
    Sufficient sleep certainly. Over 9 hours seems to signal poor health.
    This book really tries to dig deep into the hormone stuff.
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    IDK, I sleep as much as I can whenever I can. Less than 9 hours most days just doesn't cut it, I feel like I'm still dreaming at work. I'm particularly fond of my 16 hour naps when I switch from night shift back to day shift. I'm always a fireball those days - well, almost always.


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    I grew up in northern Canada and I love the natural cycle of daylight over the year! I also think it's natural to sleep more in the winter. I always seem to sleep a little less in the summer, so I think it just balances everything out. Of course you can mess up your sleep patterns if you never go outside, ignore your health, etc., but you can do that in any season.

    Also interesting that the countries consistently considered to have the highest quality of life also tend to be far from the equator. I realize those scales are more about social development, but it does show that people can live quite happily in conditions that other may consider less than ideal. On the extreme end, people have successfully lived on the tundra for thousands of years...so I personally don't really buy the theory that we're fundamentally adapted to equator-like daylight conditions.

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    Interesting points. I do feel it's tied in with diet as well - so if my diet is bad I am more likely to be getting unhealthy and inappropriate sleep. My assumption is that, since will I'll have done nigh on 12 months of clean nutrition by this winter, if I am still tending to sleep more in winter it is likely to be a seasonal adaptation rather than a metabolic issue. Thats my theory anyway, hence I am planning to do more snoozing in winter without feeling guilty or as though I am being 'lazy', which is something I used to beat myself up about.

    On the other hand it could be that I don't need more than 9 hours sleep even in winter, in which case - no problem.

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    You mean Scandinavian countries like Sweden? Where some kids are provided light therapy starting in pre-school, most kids have their mid-day nap outside in the sun, and one town has just put light boxes at all bus stops?

    Owen, if you are happy to sleep through the winter, call it an n=1 and be happy about it. I've got no problem with that. But sleeping through the winter makes lots and lots of people really miserable.
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