‘I’ll take that extra hour of sleep’: Jacqui Felgate on hitting snooze and staying well in winter

The House of Wellness TV co-host Jacqui Felgate reveals why sleeping in can help us survive the colder months, and how to make the most of the season.

There’s so much to love about winter: open fires, red wine, the snow, bowls of steamy comfort food, cosy nights on the couch with family – and, of course, footy!

But outside of the picture-postcard experience of the cooler months, there’s the reality of the season – the lack of sunshine, long and cold days and nights, bitter winds, and feeling as though we may never see the sun again.

Winter means dry skin, colds and flu

My skin reacts at the first sign of winter.

I suffer from mild eczema, which I don’t really notice in summer.

But as soon as the weather turns – bang, it’s back with a vengeance!

According to the Eczema Association of Australasia, “cold, dry weather saps skin of essential moisture and can cause serious issues for skin that is already compromised.”

That’s certainly true in my case and it’s just another reason why summer is my favourite season.

Besides, if a cold is to be caught, I will catch it.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, my friends and I made a list of who we thought would catch the coronavirus first.

I just knew it would be me … and it was, months before anyone else I knew got it.

My immune system just feels weaker in winter; colds, flu, you name it, I will catch it!

It’s natural to want to hit the snooze button

I generally also feel more tired when the weather turns, and that sluggish feeling is actually a real thing – as it turns out, we do need to spend more time in bed in winter.

Research published earlier this year in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience found that we may need more sleep during the colder months.

Scientists examined people who were undergoing sleep studies and found they got more REM (rapid eye movement) sleep in the winter – and total sleep time was about an hour longer than in summer.

REM sleep, which is affected by changing light, was 30 minutes longer in the winter than in summer.

So, all in all, when it’s cold out, we have a good excuse why we need to sleep in – and why we’re just that bit more tired.

Feeling SAD? Blame it on the season

There’s even a name for feeling a little under the weather in winter – it’s known as SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.

It’s a type of depression that’s related to changes in the seasons, a condition that saps your energy and makes you feel moody.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are some steps you can take to help combat SAD.

These include making your home environment brighter, spending enough time outdoors, exercising more, going to bed at a reasonable time, and reducing napping and oversleeping.

So, exactly how much sleep we should get in winter is hard to judge – but I think I’ll take that extra hour, thanks.

Dress for the occasion

Oh, the other thing I love about winter is the clothes.

Is there anything better on a cold day than putting on a warm, cuddly jumper underneath a beautiful wool coat?

And when it’s chilly outside … perhaps it’s time to hit the shops.

But only after I’ve had a nap.

Read more on staying well in winter:

Written by The House of Wellness TV co-host Jacqui Felgate.