Mental Health

Winter wellbeing: self-professed night owls and early birds share how they adapt their routines during the darker months

Posted by
Lauren Geall
Published
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites
A winter's morning in a park in London

Ever wondered how other people switch up their routines to look after their wellbeing during the winter months? We asked four self-professed early birds and night owls to share the changes they make as the nights draw in.

With fewer daylight hours and colder weather to contend with, most of us adapt our routines in some way during the winter months. 

This is especially true now that daylight saving time is over and we’ve been left with brighter mornings and dark evenings – while the existence of electricity means we don’t need to match our lives to the rise and setting of the sun, many of us find it helpful to change up the way we live to support our health and wellbeing during the winter months.

But what changes you make to your routine likely depends on one important factor: whether you’re an early bird or a night owl. 

You may also like

Mental health: 5 easy ways to protect your wellbeing as the weather gets colder

Indeed, while early birds may rejoice at the clocks going back and enjoy making the most of the brighter mornings, night owls may find the darker evenings harder to deal with – and need some extra support to get themselves through this time of year. 

It’s a simple distinction – but one that seems to make a big difference when it comes to navigating everything that winter has to offer. So, to find out about the steps women are taking to protect their health and wellbeing this winter, we asked a selection of self-professed night owls and early birds to reveal how they’re adapting their routines. Here’s what they had to say.  

Early birds

A woman holding a mug of tea in the morning
“Now that it’s lighter in the morning, I’m back to waking up earlier, feeling energised and ready to get up and at it.”

“I’m a morning person – I naturally wake up without an alarm between 6.15am and 6.45am, but when it was super dark in the mornings, I found myself waking up later – sometimes after 7am (which meant having to rush to get up for a run). 

“Now that it’s lighter in the morning, I’m back to waking up earlier, feeling energised and ready to get up and at it. I don’t always go for a run in the morning, but I just feel instantly more awake when I wake up and it’s bright outside – and having longer in bed to read the papers is quite a luxury. 

“I’m also not that bothered about it being darker after work – that’s the reality of winter – but if it’s brighter earlier in the morning, that more than makes up for it.”

Miranda, 31 

You may also like

Daylight savings: The benefits of morning sunlight, and why you should go outside when you wake up

“I’ve been hanging on for daylight savings time to end; it was killing me that it was still pitch black where I live at 8.15 until just this week, so the clocks going back has made a huge difference and I feel like I can have my precious morning routine with a dog walk and plenty of coffees and pottering in my dressing gown back. It’s the quietest, most peaceful time of the day and I treasure it. 

“I realise it’s hard for people when the night comes so fast but without minimizing the genuine gloom that brings some people, I try to embrace it – hot water bottle, hot chocolates in bed, warming face masks, new books and bingeing on all that delicious autumn/winter TV.”

Katy, 40

Night owls

A woman working from home in the dark
“Once it’s dark I stop work and have a weird early evening nap of 30-45 mins.”

“I’ve always had an inconvenient burst of energy around 10pm since I was a toddler, so I’m an old hand at managing it with seasonal changes. This year, I’ve bought some new off-white fluffy home accessories (namely a huge white rug for my living room and a fluffy white throw for my bed) to give my home the illusion of more light.

“I’m also dragging myself up an hour earlier than my comfort zone – and I’ve made the executive decision that I can have a latte and biscuits to get going. Actual biscuits. Like custard creams. A selection, in fact.

“To counteract that I have a smoothie mid-morning and salad for lunch, and once it’s dark I stop work and have a weird early evening nap of 30-45 minutes. It really works! I get up fresh as a daisy and embrace the long evening ahead with gusto. I’m also shamelessly cranking up the heating so I can dress lightly indoors and pretend I’m enjoying long dark Mediterranean nights instead of freezing, dank, dark November in the UK.”

Samantha, 43 

You may also like

SAD: “Will working from home during autumn make my seasonal affective disorder worse?”

“I am a night owl, but during the summer I am motivated to do my writing during the morning. However, as soon as the clocks change in winter I start moving my entire schedule. I usually work out at night, but I switch to mornings during the winter. I also wake up later and sleep at 2am, because my most productive hours to get work done are from 11pm-2am.

“In addition, I use one of those lamps that imitate the sun during the evenings. I stay at home more and work from home more whereas during the summer I work from cafes or libraries. Even my shower time changes during winter. I shower in the mornings once winter hits, but do it at night during summer.”

Zurlia, 28 

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: Getty

Topics

Share this article

Author

Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.