While many love summer’s longer days and warmer weather, summer insomnia can wreak havoc on your sleep quality, daytime focus and contribute to serious health problems.
“Why do I get insomnia in the summer,” you ask? From longer daylight hours and hormone irregularities to plain old hot weather, there are many causes of insomnia in the summer months. Today we’ll look at tips to overcome sleepless nights and improve your sleep habits.
1. Control The Temperature
As you may already know, sleeping in a cool room is easier than sleeping in an overly warm one. Unfortunately, optimum sleeping temperatures are between 60 F and 67 F, which are almost impossible to maintain without air conditioning in most climates.
If you don’t have central air and are willing to invest in quality sleep, consider buying a mobile air conditioner you can put next to your bed. Black and Decker’s portable air conditioning unit does quadruple duty, offering a fan, dehumidifier and heat for chilly winter nights.
As a side benefit, a fan or AC unit’s white noise also contributes to staying asleep.
2. Wear Moisture-Wicking Pajamas
Is wearing next-to-nothing to bed the best choice? Maybe not if you’ve got kids or don’t like the feeling of sticky skin. Moisture-wicking fabric draws sweat from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable through the night. In addition, moisture-wicking fabric:
- Conceals excessive perspiration
- Provides relief from hot flashes and night sweats
- Prevents bacterial and fungal growth
3. Consider Cooling Sheets
Even on the hottest days, you may prefer having at least a sheet covering you at night – especially if you forego pajamas! Bed sheets featuring cooling technology (like these from Bedsure) are made from viscose from bamboo, providing a breathable, eco-friendly way to regulate heat and keep you comfortable.
You’re probably aware of the many benefits of drinking water, but did you know dehydration can affect your sleep quality? According to the Sleep Foundation, dehydration disrupts sleep, and insufficient sleep can increase dehydration – it’s a vicious cycle. So drink water throughout the day but stop a few hours before bed to avoid nighttime bathroom visits.
5. Be Consistent
Consistency is key – not only with your bedtime hour but with self-care rituals in general. While there’s more light later at night, it’s also light earlier in the morning. Longer daylight hours can affect your body’s circadian rhythm; therefore, it’s best to maintain a steady sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends.
6. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise does just about anybody good, but timing matters. Exercising first thing in the morning has been shown to help set your body clock to the right schedule, making going to bed and rising easier.
If you prefer exercising at night, make sure you do so at least one hour before bedtime to avoid overheating.
7. Watch Your Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
If you can’t face the day without your cup of joe, remember that indulging your caffeine addiction too late in the day can come back to bite you. Consider limiting caffeine intake to before noon or switching to decaf in the afternoon.
Likewise, drinking alcohol too late at night is a common sleep disruptor. While partying on longer days is one of the best parts of summer, laying awake at 2:00 a.m. knowing you have to work in the morning is no fun. Stop drinking earlier in the evening and switch to water or soda to avoid nodding off the next day.
8. Mind Your Meds
Be aware that there are many kinds of medicines, vitamins and supplements that can affect your sleep cycle. According to the AARP, popular medications that can cause insomnia include:
- Alpha-blockers: To improve blood flow and lower blood pressure
- Beta-blockers: To block adrenaline, slow heart rate and lower blood pressure
- Corticosteroids: To reduce inflammation of the blood vessels and muscles
- SSRI antidepressants: To treat symptoms of moderate to severe depression
- ACE inhibitors: To treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure
- ARBs: To treat coronary artery disease, heart failure, type 2 diabetes or kidney failure
- Cholinesterase inhibitors: To treat memory loss due to Alzheimer’s and dementia
- H1 antagonists: Antihistamine used to treat allergies
- Glucosamine/chondroitin: To treat joint pain, improve joint function and reduce inflammation
- Statins: To treat high cholesterol
Note: Never stop taking prescribed medications without consulting your doctor first.
9. Put Your Devices To Bed Earlier
We all know that looking at our devices before bedtime isn’t a great idea. Since we’re already getting an extra dose of sunlight on summer days, topping it off with the blue light from smartphones and tablets late at night only makes matters worse.
If you can’t give up your devices, try wearing blue-light blocking glasses while you scroll.
10. Watch Late Night Snacks
What’s better at the end of a hot summer day than frozen drinks or ice cream? Unfortunately, indulging in extra calories late in the day tells your brain that you’re still raring to go rather than winding down for the day. So cut your food intake at least two hours before bedtime for maximum restfulness.
11. Take a Bedtime Shower
Not only does taking a shower before bed rid you of daytime sweat, but a warm shower also helps regulate your body temperature. A warm (not cold) shower slightly raises your body temperature but then drops it, increasing melatonin levels and signaling your body that it’s time to sleep.
For an extra cooling boost, stand in front of a fan or air conditioner following your shower.
Softies Pajamas For Satisfying Summer Snoozing
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