We sleep worse during summer, that's a fact. Below I'll quickly explain why, then I will tell you how to combat this.
You'll probably report sleeping worse in the summer months than the winter months and you're not alone. 74% of people report sleeping less efficiently during summer than winter. Here's why -
- More light! You've heard me say this before but I'll say it again. Light regulates 'sleep' hormone secretion. The longer its light the less of this hormone that is released thus we sleep worse.
- It's warmer! That's bitter sweet because although we love the warm summer days, it also brings along warm summer nights. Our body drops temp by 2°C during our sleep, this drop puts us into the deepest part of our sleep however couple that with a big blanket, maybe pajamas and a hotter climate this can really set us up for a poor night of sleep.
- Humans are hardwired in our DNA to sleep after the sun goes down and wake as it comes up. So trying to get an early night at 9pm (like me) is actually counter productive when the suns still out!
- We're more active during the summer evenings. The days are longer and we're outside more so naturally we don't 'wind down' as early as we do in the winter.
Now all of the above is absolutely fine if you can wake up a lot later the next day however for most of us, this simply isn't the case. If we go to bed later because it's summer we tend to still have to be up at the same time resulting in not only less efficient sleep but shorter sleep.
So, what can you do about it! luckily you have me and I know exactly what to do.
- Keep a constant sleep schedule, I know boring! Just try to go to bed at roughly the same time each night. If your body knows when its going to sleep each night then it will sleep better - you don't have to be exact but within 30-45 minutes of your normal sleep time should work.
- Keep the heating off, dress minimally for bed (naked or just underwear works best), use lighter bedding and consider a bedroom fan. Basically, keep as cool as possible - we sleep better when we are cold than hot.
- Keep it dark! Your bedroom should be dark, harder to do during summer but black out curtains work great, no TV in bed works even better! The less light you have the better sleep you have it's as simple as that.
- The secretion of the 'sleep' hormone is dependent on light, or lack of it. The less light absorbed by the eyes the more sleep hormones will be released resulting in a better sleep. So keep it as dark as possible during the summer evenings, doesn't have to be pitch black but the darker the better.