There are over 40 million adults in the US who struggle with sleep every night during the cooler months of spring, winter, and autumn. This statistic gets even worse over the summer. Little wonder many people tend to act out and snap at others more in the summer.
It does make sense that if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll spend the next day feeling cranky and moody. You may also find that you’re unproductive and incapable of total concentration at work. The body needs at least 6-8 hours of sleep every day.
Anything less and your cognitive functions will likely become compromised. Unfortunately, the summer is often filled with tons of activities, noise, heat, and excessive eating… all of which can significantly impact your sleep. So, what can you do to make sure you sleep better during the summer?
Eliminate the Heat
The first thing you need to do if you want to sleep well during the summer is get rid of all heat sources or anything that might be generating heat. Check your home for air leakages and drafts. Reinforce the insulation inside the wall if necessary and upgrade your air conditioning unit if you have one.
If you haven’t used your air conditioning for a while, go get that AC checked out. If it’s not performing as well as it should, i.e. it’s still hot even with the AC going at full capacity, then you need to get it fixed. This is best done by a professional, and for Orlando residents I highly recommend Bob Heinmiller for AC repair. If you haven’t done so yet, consider upgrading your air conditioning unit to one with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 16-21. Take care of this and half your heat problem is already solved.
Also make sure to keep the drapes and curtains closed. Ensure that your doors are always closed and the AC is on. Also, turn on the fans at home. All of this combined will help you drastically reduce the amount of heat within the house. This is usually the surest way to take care of summer sleep problems.
Avoid Doing Any Workout Sessions in the Evening
Working out has the ability to temporarily raise your temperature and metabolism. This means that you’ll be buzzed and filled with energy late into the night. Your body needs to cool down to a lower temperature for you to be able to fall asleep. As such, it is generally recommended to keep your workouts to the early morning, just before dawn. If you must exercise in the evening, try doing your workouts before 5pm if you’ll going to bed somewhere between 9 and 10pm as it routinely takes about 2-4 hours for your core temp to drop to normal levels.
Have Some Ice Handy By the Bedside or in the Bathroom
Ice is your best friend during the summer. Not only can you take some drinks with it to cool you down during the summer, you can also use it to rapidly drop your body temp at night. For instance, if you wake up hot and sweaty, you can soak a washcloth in the ice and use it to dab your forehead, arms, and neck while you allowing the fan blow-dry you. You can also just go into the bathroom and have an ultra-cold bath. This will help you relax and sleep better.
Change Your Sleeping Quarters
This might be inconvenient, particularly if you have a family, but you may want to consider sleeping on the ground floor if your room is upstairs. Many have opined that multistoried buildings tend to get hotter upstairs at night than downstairs because the heat rises to the upper levels of the home at night while the “decking” cools the downstairs. Still others believe it’s actually cooler upstairs at night, particularly when you’re uphill. Given conflicting anecdotal evidence, you may wish to try out both and see which works best for you.
There you have it… if you follow these tips, you’ll have a cooler summer and sleep better. Enjoy your summer and have fun.
Oscar King is currently attending UCF College of Medicine and assists researchers in sleep studies as part of his internship. He takes those experiences and writes about them on the side to help supplement his income. You can find additional inforation about Oscar by visiting his Google+.
Featured images: image source