June 11, 2019
Summertime – it’s here! Bring on the longer days filled with sunshine, busy schedules, staying up late to socialize, vacations and other adventures. Unfortunately, the season of jam-packed schedules and distractions can make it harder to stick to a consistent sleep schedule and hotter temperatures can make sleep elusive and less refreshing. Don’t despair, though! With a few mindful changes, you can find yourself back on track and waking up with the energy you need to take on the season. Follow these tips to help ensure a good night’s sleep during the hottest of summer nights.
Keep the thermostat in the 60s. Do not be tempted to move your thermostat to the 70s to save money during sleep. Good sleep will make you more productive, so don’t trip over dollars to pick up nickels. If you don’t have air conditioning, make sure to use a fan to keep the air circulating.
Take advantage of the cooler mornings to get outside and reset your circadian rhythms. The sunshine can help reduce troubles falling asleep and help eliminate the urge to stay up late. This will increase your sleep drive in the evenings when you need melatonin release and proper preparation for sleep.
Reduce light indoors. As daylight hangs around longer, bringing rays into your living quarters deep into the evening, you need to consider darkening the inside environment of your home by dimming the inside lights about an hour before your desired sleep time. Blackout curtains are a good option if you’re willing to make the investment, but a sleep mask works to block out light as well. This will help mimic those times hundreds of years ago when we would sleep as soon as darkness prevailed.
Avoid screen time before bed. Much like you need to dim the lights in a room before bed, it’s important to avoid light exposure from electronic screens. Electronic devices emit blue light, which can trick your body into thinking it’s daytime. Switch them out for a relaxing wind-down ritual like reading a book or having a cup of tea.
Use breathable bedding. Bedding plays a crucial role in helping your body cool down enough to sleep. During the summer in particular it can be helpful to use a lighter blanket than during other times of the year. The type of material your sheets are made of can make a difference too–look for sheets derived from natural fibers, made from lightweight cotton or bamboo or those with moisture-wicking properties or microfiber.
Keep a consistent bedtime routine. Although it can be tempting during the summer to change your routine for vacations or other activities during the week, sudden changes in your sleep schedule can disrupt your body’s internal clock. If you must change your sleeping patterns, gradual adjustments to your sleep and wake times are the way to go.
Hit the shower before bed. Rinsing off before bed is not only relaxing, but it also helps to remove sweat and sunscreen from the day which can be refreshing. Make sure to keep it on the cooler side, since hot showers increase the body temperature, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine during certain parts of the day. The later in the afternoon, the more important it is to stay away from caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it’s job is to disrupt sleep. By limiting consumption to the morning, you’re allowing your body sufficient time to metabolize it and lessening the chances that it will make it harder to fall asleep.
Alcohol, on the other had, initially makes you sleepy, but reduces REM sleep due to the way the body metabolizes it.. Limiting the amount of alcohol you’re consuming and keeping it to 3 to 4 hours before bedtime can help reduce interrupted sleep.
Keep food to a minimum before bed. Late-night feasting can be a fun way to socialize during the summer, but it can affect your quality of sleep. Eating too late can affect your body’s natural release of HGH and melatonin, important hormones for sleep.
Stay hydrated throughout the day. Hydration plays a key role in how you feel during the day, but also how well you sleep at night. Even mild dehydration can drastically disrupt your sleep, leaving you dry, parched and prone to snoring. Yet, drinking too much water in the evening can also be troublesome by causing you to wake up repeatedly during the night to use the bathroom. Combat this problem by consuming water regularly throughout the day and slowing down your intake a couple of hours before bed.
Finding the time and energy to devote to a good sleep can be difficult during the summer, but following these tips can make it an easier process. If you still find yourself having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, then it might be a bigger issue than the summer heat causing problems. Sleep conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea require diagnosis and treatment to alleviate fatigue and sleep loss. Contact Sleep Dallas today to learn more about the steps needed to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.