Sleep Better During the Summer
Sometimes Sleep When You’re Hot Can Seem Impossible
Summertime. We get more sunshine, warmer, longer days, and can even be going on vacation. In fact, 25% of Americans say that summer is their favorite season. But occasionally the heat and/or humidity, longer daylight hours, travel plans, and increasingly active social lives can affect our circadian rhythms and sleep schedules. Summertime sleep solutions can help.
All you need to do is follow these simple tips and you’ll be sleeping better in no time.
Stay Cool at Night
During the warm summer days, it’s very important to stay cool when night does come. When the air temperature is too warm, REM and deep sleep stages are harder to achieve and maintain. You can also wake up more easily and experience more sleep disruptions when resting in a place that’s too hot.
For sleep, the ideal room temperature is somewhat lower than what most people consider an ideal temperature when awake. Plus, during the summer it doesn’t cool down as much at night, making it harder to rely on the night to help chill things down. Making sure you feel cool as you start to go to bed is important.
Cool Down the Bedroom
Even if you prefer keeping the AC off throughout the day, to improve your sleep you may want to consider turning it on at night. Studies show that keeping the nighttime bedroom temperature lower, potentially between 66 and 70 degrees if you can stand that, is best for sleep. This is where your AC will be a true must during the summer.
A ceiling or stationary fan can also help to circulate air and keep it moving. You might also consider running a dehumidifier if it’s very humid where you live. Humid heat can impacts your sleep even more than dry heat.
You can also put your fan facing the window, so it blows hot air out of your bedroom. And have a second fan to blow cool air in from outside, creating some pretty good airflow. Also, remember to adjust your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise to pull hot air up and out of the room so that it’s not just pushing it around.
If you want the fan facing you, you can put a bowl or pan of ice in front of it. The fan will blow the coolness from the ice as it melts and direct it toward you. You can also use several fans to really up the airflow.
Opt for Cooler Bedding
Your bedding can also play a huge role when it comes to staying cool during the summer. Choose the right bedding to help you stay cool when the nights heat up.
Different types of fabric can affect your bed's climate differently, and while the room may be cool, the area around and at your bed may be warmer because of those fabrics. Your temp, your mattress, your bedding, and your sleepwear can all affect this tiny climate that exists right at your bed.
Wool and cotton are less likely to trap heat than polyester and fleece or other polyester blends can be particularly warm. You’ll likely want to switch those out during the summer for those made of 100% cotton or special cooling material.
If your mattress tends to hold onto heat or make you sweat, you may also want to think about adding a cooling mattress pad for better temperature regulation. Choose thinner, lighter blankets over thicker, heavier ones. And think about getting yourself lighter-colored bed sheets in breathable fabrics, like cotton or linen, because they can be especially breathable and the light color won’t absorb heat from any sunlight that reaches into your room during the day.
Wear Cool, Lightweight Pajamas
Like bedding, sleepwear affects that tiny climate around and at your bed, changing how warm or cool you feel during the night, so choose your sleepwear carefully. The same fabrics that encourage a cool bed also do well as pajamas. Cotton or cotton-blend pajamas are much better than thicker, heavier sleepwear and polyester blends used during winter.
Lightweight sleepwear helps you maintain a good temperature. When the temperature rises, we don’t need long pajamas either. If you’re comfortable doing so, opt for your birthday suit, or if you need a little something select loose, cotton pajamas for good airflow and less of that sticky feeling.
Shower Before Bed
Another great idea is to take a cool shower before you go to bed to help bring your own temperature down. Just like how a cold shower can cool you down after a workout, it can help you cool off on a hot summer day.
If you’re not particularly hot before you go to bed, a warm shower can also help you sleep. Although a warm shower can initially increase your body temperature, it can bring down your core body temperature at night. A warm shower increases circulation in your hands and feet, which can help your body to better regulate its temperature. Those who take a warm shower an hour or two before bed also tend to fall asleep quicker and get better sleep.
Be Intentional About Sunlight Exposure
Our circadian rhythm, or internal clock, is directly affected by light exposure. Sunlight helps us to be more alert and keeps us from producing melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy. For this reason, being intentional about your time in the sun can help you feel tired at the time you need to.
In the summer months, the Northern Hemisphere sees more hours of daylight. The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, sees the most hours of sunlight all year long and typically falls around June 20th or 21st. A common complaint during this time is seeing the sunrise into your bedroom early in the morning and at night.
To keep sunlight from waking you up earlier than you'd like during summertime, consider investing in blackout curtains. Blackout curtains help block outside light. Alternatively, an eye mask can block out unwanted light exposure as the sun rises.
Maintain a Consistent Bedtime
Even if school is out and the sun stays up longer, it’s important to try and go to bed at the same time each day. Going to sleep and waking near the same time regularly helps you maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. So, turn off your lights closer to bedtime to limit the heat in your bedroom and tell your body and self it’s time for bed. Also, turn off your electronics and TV 30 minutes before bed.
Shift work studies indicate that irregular sleep schedules can increase a person's risk of various health problems, ranging from cancer to mental health issues and of course sleep deprivation. So as you can see, it’s important to maintain a regular sleep schedule to not only help yourself sleep better but also keep yourself healthy.
Bring Cool-Down Tools to Bed
Your hot water bottle doesn’t have to just be hot. You can add some water and put it in the freezer to create a nice cold pack for bedtime. You can slide it right in the bed to keep things cool. You can also fill a sock with rice and put it in the freezer for at least an hour for a cool pack that’s not as intense and lasts for about 30 minutes
Cook Outside as Much as You Can
Grill outside or hunt down meals you can serve cold or at room temperature, such as tasty summer salads and sandwiches. Eating heavy items like steak causes your body to generate more heat than if you were to eat fruits or veggies, so be mindful of what you choose for dinner.
Sleep Solo or Further Apart
We do this one a bit instinctively. Cuddling during the summer is typically a no-go unless the house is nice and cool. You can choose to just sleep further away from each other or even go to different locations if the heat is really bad. If both people are utilizing the tips above it will also help to keep each body temp as low as it can be when the time for bed comes.
Welcome Cold Feet
Your feet are highly sensitive and contain several pulse points. You can cool down your whole body by dipping your feet in cold or ice water. Before bed if you’re really hot, fill the tub or a deep bucket with as cold of water as you can stand and soak your feet until you’re ready to sleep.
Chill Your Pulse
An ice pack on your pulse points like your wrists, neck, elbows, ankles, and behind the knees can also help you to cool down fast so that you can sleep.
Combating the heat isn’t just a battle of temperature and sweating a lot can cause dehydration. Earlier in the evening and throughout the day be sure to get enough water so that you don’t end up thirsty or dehydrated. Then, you can back off the water closer to bedtime, so you don’t have to wake up to use the bathroom.
Enjoy Summer Feeling Alert & Well-Rested
By following these tips, you can avoid the fatigue, sleep disturbances, and poor quality sleep that the summer can create and instead enjoy this sunny season to the fullest. After all, a well-rested person is a person ready to take on the day.
If you’re interested in cooling technology for your bedroom, you can look at all our cooling products for more information about how they can help you sleep great. If you have any questions we’d be glad to help. You can reach out over the phone or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We know that sleep is important to you, and it's crucial to us. Allow us to help you find the perfect bedroom setup for your needs so that each and every night is the best night of sleep.