The winter months are full of cozy fireplaces, warm blankets, fuzzy socks - and better sleep. Sleep comes to us humans easily when our body temperature drops, so it makes sense that not only do we sleep better during the cold months, but that we are in general a bit more sleepy during that time of year. Now, it's summer. Full of days by the lake, long nights by the campfire, and a plethora of super-fun activities. The days are longer and the air considerably warmer (and more humid!).
It stands to reason that with those late sunsets and early sunrises we’re struggling to stay asleep, not to mention those sweaty nights with a fan in your face - desperate for a reprieve from the heat. How can one enjoy the fruits of summer activities while running on shoddy sleep? Fear not. We’re about to break down how to beat the summer heat and enjoy your nights - humidex notwithstanding!
It’s not just the heat that brings about the suffering - although it certainly doesn’t help. The key here is that the days are the longest between May and September, with some North American regions not seeing a full sunset until after 10 pm. This can confuse our internal clock, as melatonin regulation has a direct link to how light it is outside.
Think about when you travel West on an airplane - you get ‘jet lag’ and your sleep suffers. Not only is this, of course, because your body clock thinks you’re hours behind where you physically are - but the sun is setting much later where you ended up, which may delay and disrupt melatonin production.
Here’s how you can combat the effects of excess sunlight and excess heat and get a night of better sleep:
Be Mindful of Lighting
As we’ve covered, the extended sunlight we get in the summertime is both a blessing and a curse. While sitting around a campfire with a slow, waning sunset is peak summer vibes, trying to sleep after that amount of extended sunlight and rousing activity can be difficult. Not to mention, you’ll be up with the roosters!
To beat the sun at its own game, invest in a quality blackout curtain for your bedroom. Not only will this help cool down your room, but it’ll also block out those early 5 am rays. As well, try to get all of your sunshine exposure earlier in the day. This will jump-start your updated summer circadian rhythm. Finally, as with any healthful nighttime routine, ditch the blue light devices before bed! Curl up with a good book or listen to a relaxing audiobook.
Keep Bedtime Consistent
Of course, this isn’t always possible with summer activities at the fore - but it’s good to use this tactic as another way to stabilize your circadian rhythm. This is especially true for young children. If parents set a precedent that summertime means late bedtimes, it will be difficult to establish a school-oriented routine once the fall rolls around.
Set the Mood
We don’t necessarily mean roses and muted candlelight, although this never goes astray! It’s important to create a relaxing, consistent, and peaceful bedtime environment for yourself.
Here are some ways you can do this:
- Set your temperature to 18 degrees Celsius or 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This has long been considered the most optimal temperature for sleep year-round.
- Sleep with minimal clothing, or very breathable clothing such as linen or cotton.
- Install an air conditioning unit in your bedroom with an auto-off feature. Auto-off features will monitor the temperature in the room and switch off when the desired temperature is reached, so you don’t wake up in an icebox!
- Bring in a portable fan, or run your ceiling fan in a counterclockwise motion to push air down to you, which creates a cooling effect and can help regulate body temperature. Bear in mind that this only cools you down, it will not cool the room down, so be sure to turn the fan off when you leave to conserve energy!
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and rich foods before bed. This tip requires little explanation! Alcohol can suppress important REM sleep, caffeine suppresses sleep overall, and rich foods can cause stomach discomfort.
Other ways to set a relaxing bedtime mood are diffusers with lavender oil, a journaling routine, a soothing bath, or some light yoga.
Invest in the Right Bedding
You might not consider how your mattress and bedding contribute to summertime sleep quality, but they play a significant role. Invest in a mattress made of latex, gel, coils, or a hybrid of these. These materials will help wick away moisture and keep temperatures consistent by allowing sufficient airflow.
In contrast, memory foam, while comfortable, is problematic for hot weather. Memory foam will conserve heat and restrict airflow, making for a hot experience. When it comes to your mattress, consider sizing as well. Queen or King-size mattresses are ideal for those who co-sleep with children or share a bed with a spouse.
Additionally, sleeping with one foot out of the covers is a cheap and easy way for your body to self-regulate internal temperature. In that vein, be sure to invest in breathable bedding, such as Egyptian cotton sheets. Egyptian cotton is renowned for its comfort, breathability, and luxurious feel.
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Proper sleep hygiene is the key to living an active and energetic lifestyle. What time of year do you need an extra boost of energy? Summertime. What better way to improve your sleep routine during those hot months than an effective cooling mattress setup and luxurious sheets with a 400 thread count? Don’t miss out! Check out our premium collection of Egyptian cotton sheets today!