With summer heat comes a host of seasonal sleep-related issues. And relaxing, beach-bound vacations may not actually help your Zzz’s in the long run. Some of the ways summer heat can affect your sleep may surprise you.
A Warm Room Hurts Your Sleep
It’s nearly impossible to fall asleep when you’re sweating in a house with no air-conditioning. Even a subtle increase in temperature can make it harder to hit your REM cycle. And those people who crank up the AC may still be sleeping in a room that is too warm to achieve optimal sleep. Studies show that the best temperature for sleep is actually between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. To break bad sleep patterns without breaking the bank, try dialing back the AC during the day when you’re at work and close the blinds during the hottest part of the day to keep your house cool. Then you can spend the dough to keep the nighttime temperatures in the optimal range.
Earlier Sunrises Disrupt Your Internal Clock
June 21, or the summer solstice, is known as the longest day of the year. In Anchorage, Alaska, the sun rises at 4:20 a.m. On the mainland, it can rise as early as 5:11 a.m. Light disrupts our sleep by interrupting our natural sleep-wake cycle and inhibiting the production of melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness. Hanging blackout curtains can block those early rays.
A Relaxing Vacation Can Still Inhibit Good Sleep
If you’ve ever awoken to a crick in your neck from an uncomfortable hotel bed, you understand that being away from home doesn’t always result in the greatest sleep. But that hotel mattress isn’t the only thing sabotaging your rest. Indulging in a few poolside cocktails before bed, like many do on vacation, can result in poor quality of sleep and awakening during the night. Staying up late and “sleeping in” on vacation resets your sleep cycle and will make it harder to get back to the daily grind with a set schedule. When you do treat yourself to a relaxing getaway, aim to limit your alcohol consumption to before dinner (4-6 hours before bedtime), and try not to stay out too late!
For more information on summer-related factors that can affect the quality of sleep, check out: