What Groundhog Day Has to Do With You and Better Sleep

Winter is in full swing, and we are finding ourselves hiding in our warm, comfy beds more and more. We dread the moment when we have to climb out from under the covers and face the cold and bitter weather that is waiting outside the front door.

While we’re forced to face this intrusion of life on our time in our bedroom cocoons on a daily basis, there’s one guy out there that is forced to face the awful shock of a winter’s day only on one special date each year.

We’re talking about Punxsutawney Phil, of course! This furry weather prophet makes his big appearance each year on February 2nd, yanked from his hibernation for Groundhog Day to predict how much longer we’ll have to brave the trials of winter.

Groundhog Day began back in the 1700s as Candlemas Day, and was brought to America by the Germans that made Pennsylvania their new home. It’s said that when Phil emerges from his comfy burrow on the second day of February, he lets us know if winter will last for six more weeks if he sees his shadow. Ugh! But the good news is, there’s a chance for a more moderate climate in the very near future if Phil does not see his shadow. Here’s hoping, right?

But the question is, how well do we really know Phil and what his prediction means for us and our everyday lives?

If Phil sees his shadow and hands us the prediction of a longer winter, we need to get ourselves prepped for cold nights, and make sure that the chill doesn’t interfere with getting the good sleep that we all need and deserve – no matter the time of year.

Check out these helpful hints that we’ve gathered from sleep experts worldwide for getting better sleep during the long, cold nights of the winter season.

Create the Right Space: You’ll get a much better night’s rest in a bedroom that is clean and fresh. And taking a few minutes before turning in for the night to tidy up your sleeping space will send your body the message that it’s time to hit the hay.

Invest in Comfort: Getting the highest quality of sleep that you can means investing in the right mattress for your comfort and support, and taking the time to choose bedding that will lull you into Dream Land each night. Winter months are the perfect time for upgrading to flannel sheets!

Choose the Best Temperature: Set the right temp in your room before you climb into bed. Sleep experts and health professionals have found that the best temperature for sleep is between 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Set the Mood: Ditch all of the lighting and electronics in your sleep sanctuary before crawling under the covers. Studies have proven that better sleep happens in the dark, by not allowing light to interfere with your natural sleep-wake cycle.

Remove Interruptions: Leave your cell phone on silent (or better yet, in another room entirely!), grab some earplugs if you sleep with a snoring partner or in a noisy neighborhood, and even think about adding an eye mask to help get rid of unwanted light and movement distractions.

Wind Down Before Bed: Start a “pre-bedtime relaxation routine” by weaning yourself off of electronics, having a warm cup of herbal tea, and prepping your mind and body for sleep at least an hour before you turn in each night.

Give Yourself the Gift of Time: The average American adult needs at least 8 hours of sleep each night to function at their peak the next day. If you know that you take longer than most to get to sleep, allow yourself that extra time, and be sure to factor it into the total amount of time you need to spend in bed to be at your best in the morning.

Just Say No to Stimulants: Sleep experts have found that alcohol, caffeine, and even chocolate can keep you up at night. Be sure to avoid any and all stimulants at least 3 hours before bedtime, just to be on the safe side and ensure yourself a peaceful night of sweet dreams.

Making good use of these better sleep tips will help you to wake up rested and refreshed, whether Phil sees his shadow or not. Happy Groundhog Day!