Groundhog Day – What’s it got to do with sleep?
Winter hibernation in full swing
Its winter – cold and bitter – and it seems the only safe place to hide is our beds. Do you anticipate long, comfy nights snuggled under quilts but equally dread peeling back the covers, putting your feet on the cold floor? While we experience this tragic emersion from the comfy cocoon of our beds on a daily basis, there’s a little guy named Phil who’s forced to face this terrible shock on one special winter morning each year.
Welcome to Groundhog Day – Phil’s big day. Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary is the most widely known groundhog who gets yanked from his hibernation every February 2nd to predict how much longer we’ll have to brave winter. Groundhog Day began in Europe as Candlemas Day and was brought to America by the Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700’s.
When Phil emerges from his burrow on February 2nd, if he sees his shadow, we’ll be forced to suffer the elements of winter for 6 more weeks – burr! If Phil doesn’t see his shadow, the glory of spring will be blessed upon us early. We’re secretly hoping Phil never sees his shadow again.
But how well do we really know Phil? We pull him from his sound slumber and ask for his wise weather prediction yearly, it’s only right we take the time to know a little more about the guy.
Get to know Punxsutawney Phil
While Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil is the most widely known groundhog, Phil has family around the country who celebrate with him every February 2nd. General Beauregard Lee predicts how long Georgia will experience winter and over in Ohio Buckeye Chuck holds the position of predictor.
Phil also has friends in high places. In 1986 Phil met up with President Ronald Regan and in 1995 he was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show. Good ol’ Phil is also an inspiration to Hollywood. Who can forget the 1993 classic movie Groundhog Day starring the legendary Bill Murray? And if you haven’t seen this movie, then your homework is to go watch it today. You can thank us tomorrow.
The animal rights group PETA calls for Phil’s retirement and, if they get their way, perhaps Phil will relocate to a warm sunny climate where he isn’t forced to predict the weather, and maybe even take up golf. PETA suggests using a robotic groundhog to replace Phil.
Have no fear millennials, because Phil has got himself his smart phone and fans are able to register for a text message alert of his predictions. Last year, February 2nd 2015 Phil saw his shadow and correctly predicted 6 more weeks of winter.
What do you have in store for us this year Phil? Will we all be wearing our winter coats longer than we hope?
Sleep through the winter
If Phil predicts a longer winter, we need to prepare ourselves for sleep during the extended chill. Travelodge’s sleep expert and Chairman of the Sleep Health Foundation, David Hillman, has put together his top tips to help you learn how to sleep better during the winter season. Here’s a quick overview of some of his helpful tips.
- Set the mood for slumber – Make your room dark before you head to bed. Turn off lights and electronics.
- Sleep in a clean and pleasant environment – Keep your room tidy before bed to help you focus on slumber.
- Get the room temperature right – Set the right temp in your room before you climb into bed. Best sleep temperature is between 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Avoid interruptions – Put your phone on silent, use ear plugs if you sleep with a noisy partner and invest in an eye mask to help eliminate light and movement distractions.
- Choose the right bed and bedding – Having a supportive mattress is essential to a good night’s sleep.
- Wind down and relax before bed – Build in buffer time before bedtime where you stop using your electronics, begin your night time routine and get your mind and body prepped for dreaming.
- Spend enough time in bed – Most adults need an average of 8 hours sleep every night. Limit your time in bed to no more than 8 ½ hours. If you take longer to fall asleep, factor that into your sleep time.
- Things to avoid – Alcohol can disrupt your sleep during the night. Not to be obvious but you probably know caffeine is a stimulant and that can keep you awake. Read the full article here.
Check out this funny clip of the movie Groundhog Day, as Bill Murray’s character is stuck living the same day, February 2nd over and over again. Phil even makes an appearance in this hilarious scene!
And if you’re as big of a fan of the Groundhog Day movie as I am, you may find these 7 facts you probably didn’t know quite interesting.