The Benefits of Longer Hibernation Periods

People Need 30 Minutes More Sleep in Winter, Says German Study

A new study conducted by scientists at St Hedwig Hospital in Germany has suggested that people may need 30 minutes more sleep in the winter. The research team evaluated 292 patients with sleep difficulties who underwent sleep tests as part of the study. Aside from sleep duration, sleep quality and type were also monitored.

The study continued with 188 patients after removing those on sleep-influencing medication, technical errors, and people who may have missed the first REM stage. The observations showed that even in people with sleep disorders, the brain activities of the patients increased in winter compared to summer, they took longer to experience REM sleep, where they could dream, and they slept less deeply in autumn.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Dieter Kunz, said, «Seasonality is present in every living thing on the planet. Although we still perform unchanged, during the winter, human physiology is downregulated with the feeling of ‘going to waste’ in February or March.» He added, «Communities in general need to adapt their sleep habits, including length and timing, to the season, or adjust school and work schedules to seasonal sleep needs.» The researchers think that seasonal changes may be even more significant in a healthy population.

The results of the research were published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Neuroscience.’ People may need to adjust their sleep habits during each season to optimize their health and well-being.

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