Ahh... summer! Sunny days, warm evenings, trips to the beach, BBQs- what’s not to love? While for the most part, we love everything about this season, one thing that can take a hit is our sleep. Longer days, busy summer schedules, and high temperatures can take a serious toll on our sleep and leave us less than energized to enjoy all of the summer fun.
In today’s post, we’re sharing some tips for getting the best sleep possible over the summer.
During the cooler months, we generally adhere to a more regular routine than we do during the summer. School, recreational activities, and shorter days tend to keep us on track throughout the rest of the year, but schedules are often disrupted during the summer as we shift into a vacation mode mindset.
This can be especially true if you have kids who are on summer break and don’t have school to wake up for in the morning. A regular routine can fly right out the window when the school year ends, leaving you with random sleep schedules (and perhaps some cranky kids). Routine is important for everyone but especially for children, so maintaining a routine can be really helpful.
“I recommend trying to maintain a regular sleep schedule that doesn’t vary too much from day to day,” says Sunita Kumar MD, medical director of the Loyola Medicine sleep program. “That’s especially true for children—and most children need between nine and 10 hours a night—but adults should try to stay consistent, too.”
There’s nothing wrong with being flexible and ditching the schedules in exchange for a more laid-back routine can provide a much-needed break, but it can take a toll on our sleep. If you’re finding that your sleep is being affected, you may want to reinstate a sleep schedule over the summer that allows for some freedom (no need to miss out on fun summer evening activities!) but still ensures that you’re getting the rest you need.
Depending on where you live, you may not get enough hours of darkness at night to get a proper sleep. In the winter, it can be easier to sleep simply because it gets dark earlier, so your body naturally winds down and prepares for bed.
You can mimic these winter hours during the summer by keeping your room as dark as possible. Black out curtains, an eye mask, and even a towel under the door will help to keep your room dark so you can get your rest.
You can also dim the lights and draw the curtains in other rooms in your home in the evening, so your body receives less light and can begin to shift into sleep mode.
As we discussed here, regulating your sleep hormones and preparing your body for a good night’s sleep actually begins in the morning. When we expose ourselves to the sun first thing in the morning, our bodies recognize that it’s time for us to be awake and alert, and it responds accordingly by releasing the proper hormones. This sets us up for a regulated sleep-wake cycle that will keep us energized during the day and sleepy at night.
More often than not though, we wake up inside, spend our mornings indoors, hop into our car, and then head straight back inside into an office, giving ourselves almost no time outdoors. This summer, why not taking advantage of the beautiful weather and add in some sun exposure first thing in the morning. Whether it’s eating breakfast in your backyard, taking the dog for a walk before work rather than after, or walking the kids to school, there are lots of ways and reasons to get outside in the morning and give your body some much needed sunlight.
There’s nothing quite like a mid-afternoon nap on a sunny afternoon. Warmer temperatures and a more laid-back attitude make summer the perfect time to indulge in some afternoon shut eye. For some people, a nap can keep them from falling asleep at night, but if that’s not the case for you then we say take all the naps you can!
One of the main determiners of a good sleep is your body temperature. While the exact temperatures vary from person to person, generally we will wake up if the temperature dips below 54 degrees or rises above 75 degrees. Even if you’re not fully awake, you may have a restless sleep if your room is too warm and wake up feeling tired and groggy even if you technically got the recommended 7-8 hours.
Keeping your bedroom cool can be tricky during the summer and may require some preparation. The following tips will help you to stay cool and get the rest you need.
This may be stating the obvious, but a fan is one of the best ways to stay cool at night and, as an added bonus, the white noise that they create can be great for sleep as well. This is also a great option if you have a sleep partner who enjoys a different temperature than you. If one of you sleeps warmer than the other, you can position the fan on them to create a customized sleep environment that you’re both happy with.
Your bedding has a surprisingly big impact on your sleep temperature and choosing the right bedding for the summer months can help you to not only improve the quantity of your sleep but also the quality.
Our percale and linen sheets are perfect for the warmer weather. Ultra-breathable and naturally moisture wicking, these materials help to keep your temperature regulated so you can enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep. You can also swap out your heavy winter blankets for our summer fill duvet to stay comfy and cool at the same time.
Simply by keeping your blinds closed during the day, you can keep out a ton of heat from your home (and lower your power bill!), especially on windows that get direct sun. While it’s nice to have the blinds open during the day to let in the summer sunlight, the payoff of a much cooler home (and cooler sleep conditions) is worth it.
Hoping into a lukewarm (or cool, if you can handle it!) shower before bed is a great way to lower your body temperature. Avoid cold showers, which may be too energizing, or hot showers, which will of course make you warmer.
Another great way to stay cool in the summer is to sleep naked. Pajamas can trap in extra heat and make it more difficult for your body to regulate your temperature. Sleeping naked actually has a host of health benefits, so even if temperature isn’t an issue for you, it’s a great idea!
If you’re not interested in sleeping without pajamas, opt for natural, breathable materials.Being mindful of your sleep schedule and taking steps to keep cool will help you to ensure that you get all the sleep you need over the warmer months. We’re wishing everyone a fun (and well-rested) summer!
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