Ah summer. Time for beaches and fun in the sun, hot temps and cold drinks. More hours of daylight improve our moods and get us more active and more outings with friends help us shake off that winter hibernation. This is a great combination for being awake but can sometimes get in the way of when we want to be asleep. Heat waves can make our electric bill a nightmare so many don’t keep their house as cool as is ideal for sleep. Earlier sunrise and later sunsets delay our body’s melatonin production. The urge to spend time with our friends may cause us to use our phones more often at night to find out what’s going on that week. Increased activity during the day and cocktails at the beach can leave our bodies dehydrated overall. Not to rain on your beach front bungalow but these things add up to less hours of good sleep for most in the summer. Here are some ways to at least put some sunblock on those adverse effects of summertime.
First let’s work on the sun. Since the sun sets later in the summer, it can take your body longer to start producing melatonin and start it’s sleep prep. Black out curtains can help keep out the evening sun and have the added benefit of blocking out the sun from heating up our rooms. Use these to keep your room dark when you’re not using it, lowering the overall temperature and in the evening when the sun is still setting to get your brain to signal that it’s time to get you into sleep mode.
Speaking of heat, depending on where you live, summers usually mean heat waves. Most people don’t want to break the bank running their ACs on full and so end up sleeping in a warmer than ideal room temp. You can cool down your room at night by placing a bowl of ice from your freezer in front of your bedroom fan and the evaporative effect will help with allergens and room temperature.
Summer activities mean you’ll sweat more. Because of this many of us aren’t hydrated enough by the time we get to bed. Keeping our bodies hydrated allows them to regulate temperature throughout the night. Taking a mild shower before bed also cools us down and allows our skin to absorb moisture and helps us feel cooler as we drift off. If you want to make your own cold pack, you can soak an unused dish washing sponge in water and place it in a Ziploc bag in your freezer during the day. When using, just wrap it in a towel to prevent the extreme cold from contacting your skin. The sponge will help because, as the ice melts the sponge will absorb the water back into it rather than creating a big mess.
With the later sunset, it may be beneficial to adjust your sleep time later about a half hour. Use that time to relax and maybe drink some bedtime tea. This helps because one cause of sleeplessness is trying to go to sleep before our body is ready. Staying in bed staring at the ceiling waiting to sleep keeps us awake. To get our bodies ready, staying very active during the day will help us quickly get into a restful state at night.
With the more active summers, it’s important to ensure we still make time for our less active third of the day. Follow these easy steps and those hot summer days can lead to nice, restful nights. For more tips on great sleep check out our other articles on different sleep topics.
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