Warmer days bring a great amount of restorative relaxation, time spent in fun outdoor activities, and more vitamin D production from the sun. All of these factors can enhance your mood and energy levels…but there is a flip side to this.
Longer days and warm summer nights can actually make it really hard for people to fall asleep and stay asleep.
In addition, many people find that it can be harder to sleep until their usual alarm and find themselves awake before they want to be.
This can lead to grogginess, lower productivity, and of course, lower energy levels. Why does this happen?
Here are five ways that summer interferes with your ZZZs, and what you can do to support deep, restful sleep.
Warmer Room Temperature
Warmer nights actually disrupt sleep rather than aid it. There actually is an ideal temperature for optimal rest, which is around 67-69 F.
Anything higher than 70 F is shown to interfere with your REM cycle, which is when your body gets deep, restorative sleep. As heat rises, so does the likelihood of restlessness and rising internal temperature, which works against your REMs.
Summer Vacation Plans
Summer is when a lot of people travel and vacation in the US. With that often comes jet lag, different time zone adjustments, and more exciting day and evening activities that make it hard to get quality sleep.
For some people, it’s less about excitement and anticipation than it is about the stress of packing, planning, traveling, and scheduling adventures.
Either way, your sleep cycle can be all over the place, and stressors or exciting experiences can affect the quality of your rest.
A lot of seasonal allergies happen in the summer months, which makes it really difficult to stay asleep.
In fact, according to the Sleep Foundation, people who suffer from allergies are more likely to develop snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, and short, restless sleep cycles.
Many people wake up frequently with a stuffy nose, cough, irritated eyes, and more, which makes it hard to get quality rest as well as stay in dreamland.
You're Eating Later
Because daylight hours are longer in the summer, people tend to eat dinner a little later too. However, eating later but keeping your bedtime routine the same is proven to be a bad idea.
When there are fewer hours in between your last meal and dozing off, your body has a difficult time metabolizing and digesting food. Turning food into energy also triggers insulin release which can mess with your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Professionals suggest that your last meal is 2-3 hours before bed to allow for proper digestion and minimal stomach upset. Try to limit spicy and caffeinated foods and drinks before bed as well.
Your circadian rhythm—the biological clock that tells your body when to sleep and when to be active—is affected by the increased daylight hours during the summer.
This is because light delays your body from producing melatonin, the hormone your brain produces that signals your natural rhythm that it’s time to sleep.
In addition, your body halts production in the AM as well, which means when the sun comes up sooner, your body is active sooner. In a nutshell, Longer days = less melatonin.
A Natural Solution
Rather than take OTC options that leave you groggy and tired, try a natural option: take a melatonin supplement 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
For even better results, combine melatonin at night with an l-theanine supplement during the day to support lower stress levels and increased relaxation, which will help your body when it’s time to sleep.
The combination will help you stay calm and focused during the day while more effectively signaling your circadian rhythm that it’s bedtime at night.
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