TThe spring and summer months can make sleep feel impossible, ranging from hot temperatures and noisy late-night barbecues to struggling with rowdy birds and early sunrises. Many studies have shown that when spring comes, our sleep is poor. Stress doesn’t help – though, of course, it’s understandable to be worried about a climate crisis that can cause our temperatures to reach extremes and make it harder to sleep.
But on a sleepless night, try to relax. “It’s perfectly normal to have a strangely bad night,” says Dr Eli Hare, a sleep consultant at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. “Admit that if there’s a big heat wave, you may have a few nights that aren’t very good, rather than really worrying about it and then trying to sleep. As soon as you Try Sleep, you will not sleep. “(If the problem of insomnia is” more than a couple of weeks, it is important for people to see their GP “, she adds.) Here, experts advise how to sleep well in the summer months.
Consider your circadian rhythm
“We all love those long evenings but exposing ourselves to the slow light can bring back your circadian rhythm, which is called a slow sleep phase, and make you want to sleep slower than you would otherwise do,” says Guy Leschzinger. Author of Neurology and Sleep Medicine at London’s Cow Hospital, and The Nocturnal Brain. “Obviously a lot of people have a normal life and they don’t want to be left behind.” One way to keep it in balance is to get exposure to morning light, “as soon as possible after waking up”, which should make you feel sleepy sooner after the day. Don’t forget the bright light from the screen, throughout the year, also has a negative effect on our sleep-wake rhythm.
Blackout blinds or curtains can be useful if your bedroom is very bright in the early hours of the morning. Eye masks can also help if it doesn’t make you feel too hot or sweaty. Hare says, “Your room doesn’t have to be completely black. People can be a little crazy to block out every chink of light. It’s just a matter of dimming the lights at bedtime to allow your melatonin levels to rise.” [the hormone associated with sleep], And then in the morning reducing significant light intrusion. If there is too much light intrusion, you are more likely to wake up. “
Reduce your room temperature
For many of us, Leschziner says, “the best ambient temperature in the bedroom is 16-18C (61-64.5F)”. In the heat wave, he advises wrapping a damp cloth around the fan, “because, essentially, the evaporation of water from the wet cloth cools the air blowing by the fan.”
Take a cold shower or shower
“We know that our core body temperature and the onset of sleep are closely linked,” says Leschzinger. “In preparation for sleep, our core body temperature drops. Before we wake up, it rises, so there are probably some important regulatory mechanisms that link our core body temperature and sleep.” Taking a warm bath or just a warm bath for about an hour before bedtime “helps to dilate the blood vessels in your skin so that when you get out of the bath, you can lose heat more effectively”. Some advise not to take a cold bath before going to bed, but it is tempting when the weather is hot, as it can actually raise your body temperature. “There are some scientific arguments, because cold baths narrow your blood vessels and therefore enable you to lower your core body temperature. So theoretically, yes,” says Leschzinger, but he adds that he is not aware of any good evidence.
Keep a cool head
“The brain doesn’t like to get too hot,” says Jim Horn, an emeritus professor of psychophysiology at Loughborough University and author of Sleeplessness. One of the reasons your cheeks turn red, especially when you are tired, is, he says, “your body is getting hot”. You can open the window, but it risks letting sound and light in (if the wind interferes with the curtain). Horne recommends a fan, which comes with a white voice bonus – something to comfort most people. “A fan nearby with a light breeze in your head, I think, is the best way. It doesn’t matter if your body gets too hot during your sleep, as long as your brain stays cool.”
Leschziner has heard them all. “People try to put pillows in the fridge or freezer before going to bed. Wear perspiration-removing clothing from your skin, as it increases the area of the surface where your sweat can evaporate. And things like natural materials for bedsheets. That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there, “said David Cook, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau.
Stick to a routine
In the summer, our schedule may change, from garden to evening, eating late or hanging out with friends, and mild evenings hide us in the idea that it is still daytime, which means we sleep late and later. “Regular sleep and waking hours are, of course, the most important of all things I recommend for a good stable sleep,” says Herre. Our habits also change – for example, we can drink a lot of alcohol. “Alcohol helps you sleep because it’s a sedative, but it interferes with your REM sleep,” says Herre. “You are likely to wake up early and struggle to sleep again.” We may be more likely to eat later, but Hare says we should try to avoid heavy meals two hours before bedtime “because your body can’t sleep and can’t digest.” [at the same time]. Often, you have problems with reflux, indigestion and bloating, and this can interfere with your sleep. “Light salad is fine; a barbecue meal is not ideal. And stay away from iced coffee in the afternoon.” A major genetic variation in how fast we process caffeine. Yes, but for most people it takes a long time, so the general rule I give is to avoid caffeine after lunch, “says Hare.
It’s fun to snooze in the shade, but Hare says she doesn’t recommend a nap, comparing it to snacking between meals. “You will struggle to sleep, wake up a little early or you will not be able to sleep because you have reduced your appetite for it,” she says. Exceptions, she says, “If you are in a very restricted sleep – especially if you are driving somewhere or doing something involving vital concentration – then sleep is important because it improves your alertness and your ability to focus. But, generally. In other words, I do not recommend sleeping as a regular exercise. There is evidence that it actually interferes with your sleep rather than improving it. “
Sleep alone (maybe)
You can get a good night’s sleep without your partner having their own sleep struggles, or with heat radiation and twists and turns. It’s “hard,” says Hare, pointing out that sleeping with a friend is an important part of many people’s relationships; It often happens that people he sees in his clinic want to return. “If you find that sharing a bed makes you both very hot, yes, but I usually don’t like to be advised to take a nap,” she says. “If you get into the habit of sleeping separately, it can be difficult to get back to co-sleeping.”
Don’t exercise too late
During the summer, you can try to fit in your race in the evening when the temperature is a little cold, but it can make it difficult to sleep. Strong exercise will raise body temperature, and the excitement and motivation to try to break your personal best will not help. Save it for the morning; In the evening Horn recommended “a relaxing walk, in very bright light”. However, he added that – for the most part, this advice is for those who are prone to sleep deprivation. “If you sleep well, do whatever you want.”