Long days, busy social lives, and hot weather can all make summer a difficult season to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, short-term insomnia due to external factors can be fairly common at this time of year. (1) Summer nights can be full of tossing and turning in bed, being too warm to relax, and too awake to sleep. However, you don’t have to struggle to get a good sleep during the hot season. Read our article below for ideas as to how you can enjoy sleeping well in summer.
Why Is Sleep Affected in Summer?
When summer comes, the sun is out early in the day, and late in the evening. While these bright evenings can mean that you have more time to go exploring, they can actually make sleeping well in summer a challenge. This is because your circadian rhythm is directly influenced by sunlight. The circadian rhythm, or inner body clock, decides when you’re sleeping or awake by controlling the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Melatonin is produced when it’s dark outside and is held back when the sun is out. This is why you sleep during the night and are awake during the day. So, when the sun is out for longer into the evening during the summer, the production of melatonin is delayed. This means that you still feel alert rather than tired in the evening. Your body thinks you should still be up and about, so it’s impossible to fall asleep as long as the sky outside is not dark. However, we’ve got good news: you can fix this.
Handy tips for sleeping well in summer:
1) Limit Your Exposure to Sunlight at Night-time
The extended hours of sunlight can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we want to enjoy the longer evenings before being cooped up during the autumn. On the other hand, being out and about in the evening can make getting a good sleep a challenge. This is especially tricky when you have to get up early in the morning. However, you can trick your body into thinking it’s time to wind down by limiting your exposure to sunlight. Draw the curtains to make the indoors darker. If you have to go outside, wear sunglasses so that you don’t get a boost in alertness from the sunlight.
2) Have A Healthy Sleeping Environment
Your bedroom should be dark, cool, and quiet – this is the best sleeping environment for the best sleep. Make your room dark by investing in blockout curtains. Curtains that are designed to block out light are the best defence against early rises. Not only will they keep your room dark to easily fall asleep, but they’ll also help you stay asleep until your alarm goes off. When sunlight slips into your bedroom in the morning, it can disrupt your body’s production of melatonin and wake you up. No one wants to wake up before their alarm goes off!
Also, make sure you’re not overheating during the night. Your bedding and pyjamas should be light linens or cottons as they’re more breathable and will make you sweat less.
During the day, we open our windows to keep ourselves from getting too warm. However, this isn’t ideal during the night, as bedrooms should be quiet, and any outside noises could disturb your sleep. Instead, check your bedding. Have a lower tog duvet, and consider investing in cooling pillows or mattress protectors. These are designed with thermo-regulating fabric that removes excess heat, and then releases it if your body temperature begins to drop. This way, you’ll be kept at a steady, comfortable temperature for a peaceful snooze. Think about having a fan in the bedroom, too.
If you do live in a noisy area, blackout curtains can also be noise-reducing. By keeping external noises at bay, you can sleep soundly.
3) Take Time to Relax
Summer can be the busiest season as it’s when people socialise more. However, don’t forget to set aside some time for you to relax. Spending an hour winding down before going to bed is a great way to tell your body that it’s time to think about going to sleep. Read a book, listen to relaxing music, or have a soothing bath. Staying away from your phone, tablet, laptop, or even your TV will also help you relax. The blue light that’s emitted from these screens will disrupt the production of melatonin. You’ve already got sunlight keeping you awake – you don’t need technology keeping you up, too.