Bring some Hygge into your life

How adapting some Scandinavian habits can help us to sleep better

In Scandinavia the winters are long and dark, as a way of beating the winter blues people are turning to Hygge. The word Hygge originates from an Old Norse word, “hugga” which means to comfort or console. The English word hug also comes from “hugga” and a hug is a good representation of Hygge—think closeness, comfort and warmth.

Hygge is the feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. By creating a cozy cocoon we can feel better and sleep better. So how does it work?

How a Hygge lifestyle can help us to sleep better

Hygge is all about relaxing and finding peace and fulfilment in our daily life. Hygge can help us to sleep better, by relaxing better. One of the most effective ways to fall asleep faster is to start to unwind well before going to bed.

De-stressing is vital to sleeping better and to beat the stress-sleep cycle. When we are stressed we can’t sleep and when we are tired, we tend to be less patient, find it harder to concentrate and are more irritable.

During our slow wave sleep the brain performs an essential cleaning process, which is key to avoid our brains overloading with irrelevant information. Our brains have a huge capacity for storing information but this also requires a lot of energy—our brains actually spends 20% of the calories we consume!

The top 8 Hygge tips for a better sleep

  1. Make Hygge a habit

Hygge is about brining cozy moments into our everyday life so don’t save it for the weekend or special occasions, make it a daily habit. By creating a ritual before going to bed we also signal to our bodies that it’s time to relax which will help us to fall asleep faster.

  1. Light a candle

One core element of Hygge is to enjoy the cozy light from candles. By placing candles around our home we can replace the harsh light from lamps. Not only can we create a cocoon of relaxation like this, we can also sleep better. By gradually decreasing the light exposure we have we keep our bodies sleep-wake cycle in place and indicate to our bodies that we are about to get ready for bed. This will make it easier to fall asleep.

  1. Enjoy nature

Hygge is not only being cozy inside it’s also about enjoying nature and spending time outside. This can be as simple as taking a walk or going for a bike ride. Don’t let the weather prevent you from being outside, even if it’s cold and windy you will feel better from doing it and of course warming up inside afterwards will be even more rewarding. Spending time outside also helps us to sleep better by keeping our sleep-wake cycle on track. The exposure to natural light during the day will help us sleep better at night.

  1. Read a book

Open a book instead of your work laptop and cozy up on the sofa. By avoiding to work just before going to bed we can make sure that we leave our worries at the bedroom door. If you still find that you your mind is racing when trying to fall asleep make a to-do list and put it aside for the morning.

  1. Turn off to tune in

Put aside your mobile phone, we don’t always have to be reachable or always scrolling the latest news or social feed. This helps us to tune into the moment. By switching off our electrical gadgets at least one hour before going to bed we can also fall asleep faster. Only 2 hours of exposure a day to the blue light from electronic displays reduces our production of melatonin (the hormone that controls our inner clock) with 22%

  1. Pour a bath

Create your own spa like feeling in your bath room at home by lighting a few scented candles and pouring a hot bath. If you don’t have a bath tub at home don’t despair, a hot shower will also help you to sleep better. The warm water causes our body temperatures to rise and the fall rapidly which makes us sleepy. It also stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin which makes us feel relaxed and calm.

  1. A cup of hot goodness

Pour yourself a cup of your preferred hot beverage like a tea or a hot chocolate to enjoy a cozy moment of Hygge. This can also help you to sleep better, milk for example naturally contain melatonin. Some teas like chamomile tea also have shown to have calming effects which can help us to sleep better. 

  1. Cozy clothing

Forget about restricting waistbands and hard fabric, Hygge is all about feeling comfortable and cozy. Wrap up in soft knits to create your own cozy cocoon, make sure to keep your feet warm as well. Did you know that if our hands or feet are cold we struggle to fall asleep? This will prevent our core temperature to drop as the body is signalling that it’s cold. If our core temperature doesn’t drop we can’t fall asleep. 

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