Why is it harder to sleep during the summer?
Research has found that sleep issues such as insomnia and fatigue are less common in winter. It has also been noted that waking times during the summer months appear to be earlier. Here are some reasons summer might be affecting your sleep!
More hours of daylight
A study from 2019 shows that exposure to light later in the day contributes to an increase in waking events during the night and fewer delta sleep waves. Delta sleep waves are the sleep waves associated with deep sleep; the more deep sleep you are able to achieve, the more rested you will feel.
Delayed Melatonin Release
Melatonin - the hormone responsible for our sleep and wake cycle - increases soon after the onset of darkness, peaks in the middle of the night, between 2 and 4 a.m., and gradually falls during the second half of the night. In humans melatonin has diurnal variations, meaning the release timeline can vary from day to day.
Melatonin being impacted by daylight and the longer daylight hours during summer means the duration for melatonin secretion is shorter than in winter. This is one reason why your sleep cycle might be shorter during summer.
Summer months often increase the desire for enjoying the weather, outdoor activities, and a general uptick in our social calendar. With a busier schedule, sleep might be taking a hit. Not to mention, increasing your daily output can sometimes inadvertently cause stress which is directly linked to impacting sleep quality.
Socializing and later nights often result in food and beverage consumption later in the evening. Food and alcohol when consumed too close to sleep can cause disrupted sleep patterns which ultimately causes you to feel unrested even after a full night's sleep.
With summer comes the beloved, and sometimes uncomfortable, increase in temperature. When we’re too warm, our body moves out of the relaxed state and subtlety into a heightened state of awareness. When our body's internal thermostat drops the temperature back down, this is a signal that it’s ‘safe’ to sleep again. Due to this, you might find it difficult to fall into a restful pre-sleep state if your body or surrounding temperature is high.
How to get the sleep you need this summer!
1. Get temperatures low in the evening and into the night.
If you don't have access to air conditioning, a quiet fan near your bed can be helpful to bring the temperature down in your bedroom. Lowering your thermostat by 1-2 degrees at night will also help bring your body temperature down.
2. Darken your room before bed.
Blackout curtains or shutters will be helpful in creating a darker space that is conducive to sleep. Minimize any electronic lights flashing by purchasing some blackout stickers that cover these pesky blinking lights.
3. Use lightweight fabric.
Temperature regulating materials such as Benji Sleeps airy Sheet Set will help you feel cool and cozy all at once! Check them out here!
4. Create a nighttime routine.
Our bodies respond well to routines, especially when dealing with hormones that can fluctuate such as melatonin. The more you practice a sleep routine, the higher the chances you will have to achieve consistent and restful sleep patterns.