Monday, May 24, 2010

Tips for sweet slumber in the summer

From the change of seasons through the sweltering late-summer months, getting a good night’s rest can be a challenge in the summer. The hot and humid weather, the later sunsets, and the added outside noise all contribute to the tossing and turning. The following are tips to help you get the most out of sleep in the summer months.

Make your sleeping environment comfortably cool
This cannot be emphasized enough. Turn on the air conditioner or open a window so the bedroom is 68 degrees or below. If that doesn’t work, try relocating to a cooler room. The ideal temperatures for sleeping are a few degrees cooler than room temperature.

Avoid sunlight before 2-3 hours before sleep
The sunset tends happen around bedtime in the longest days of summer.
Exposure to this sunlight delays the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates when its time to sleep. The body needs several hours to produce the ideal amount of melatonin.
When going outside in the evening sun, bring sunglasses.

Make the bedroom your cave
Keep the shades closed so no light seeps in while trying to sleep. If that’s not enough, try some thick blinds or blackout curtains to block the evening sun.

Bring out the summer sheets
Ditch the down comforter and flannel covers. This is all about keeping the body at an ideally cool temperature. Use light linen sheets instead.

Stay on schedule
A regular sleep schedule is crucial year-round for healthy sleep hygiene. Avoid the temptations to stay out late and sleep in on weekends or holidays.

Keep allergies in check
Pollen, ragweed and other summertime allergens can cause congestion and affect the quality of sleep. Allergy sufferers should keep a clean home and shut the windows during severe allergy periods. Prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications and decongestants can also help.

Eliminate the noise
The neighborhood always seems to get louder when the weather gets better. Cut off the neighbors’ noises by closing the windows, but make sure the bedroom is still at a comfortable temperature. Try drowning out the outside sounds with something more sleep friendly, like soothing music or an indoor fan.

Watch the alcohol and caffeine
Both are found at summer barbeques and festivals and both can be disruptive to sleep. While alcohol may initially help with falling asleep, the overall sleep is unlikely to be refreshing. Avoid consuming excessive amounts or drinking before bedtime.
Caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Avoid drinking soda and other caffeinated beverages in the mid-afternoon or later.

Take a moment to relax
Running around in an overbooked frenzy and then expecting to go home and instantly get to sleep is unrealistic. Sleep is a process, not an on-off switch. Make time for a relaxing activity every night before bedtime.
Image by Beckypai


Anonymous said...

We're having a high enough electric bill during the summer trying to keep the bedroom at 78 or below, much less 68.

Peter said...

Ceiling fans. Ceiling fans cool by creating a low-level “wind chill” effect throughout a room. As long as indoor humidity isn’t stifling, they can be quite effective. Just remember that a fan cools people — it doesn’t actually reduce room temperature — so turn it off when you leave the room.

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement that I can't afford higher energy for cold bedrooms. Does anyone know of a dental device that can be used to keep jaw in a closed position?

Anonymous said...

One trick that helps me, is that I put the water tank into the refrigerator during the day, so that when I first put on the mask, the air flowing through feels cool, which helps me feel comfortable when falling asleep. I have even put it into the freezer for a few minutes just prior to going to bed.

marnster said...

I think this is an excellent article. I'm going to forward it to my brother in Hawaii. Two things, tho. At 68 I'd be shivering. And where does one get linen sheets and black window shades ???

Anonymous said...

A very cheap way to do black out curtains is to find some of those $1 shower curtains and the clip rings.. then clip them between the curtain hangers onto the rod.. they will pull with the curtain.. and then cut them to length. I used this in an apartment and found black shower curtains at the right price and it worked like a champ..

Another option is to purchase black out curtain backing material at a fabric store and tack or stitch it to your curtains.. more costly and it takes a lot more time...

But both do the job!

Anonymous said...

Thought this suggestion might help. We bought a 7800 BTU window unit from Sears. It's cheap to run and sucks humidity out thoughout the house. It also has a remote control so it's easy to control the temperature from bed. It's much cheaper than running the central AC. We also use a ceiling fan.

Anonymous said...

you can find the black out curtains at Wal-Mart and a lot of the other items that have been suggested to have a better sleep.

Post a Comment