Summer Insomnia: How to Regulate Your Sleep Cycleby Martin Reed Patient Advocate
Summer is generally an active time in most people’s lives. The longer days mean work and play can extend to late in the day. This is welcoming to many individuals who make the most out of the prolonged daylight. But for many, summer can mean the arrival of sleeping problems.
The extra hours of daylight and heat during the summer can take a toll on the body’s sleep/wake cycle, or circadian rhythm – especially for someone who already has insomniac tendencies.
Since there is no way to turn off the solar cycle, there is nothing left to do but ride out the calendar and take steps to deal with summer insomnia. Here are some things you can do to keep your sleep/wake cycle as regulated as possible during the months of more daylight and heat:
Your exposure to daylight in the summer months is basically unavoidable. One thing that you can do is to wear dark amber sunglasses when you are outdoors during the late afternoon and evenings. They will help cut the blue end of the light spectrum from entering your body. Blue light is what hinders melatonin production, causing sleep issues.
Dark curtains and low indoor lighting
To keep sunlight from filtering into your home in the evenings, use dark curtains. Draw the curtains in the late afternoon or early evening so your body can start producing more melatonin and start the transition into sleep mode.
You should also use low indoor lighting. Change out your light bulbs to low wattage ones, as even artificial light can hinder melatonin production.
Heat is a major issue in the summer and can cause a host of sleeping issues. To keep your body temperature regulated, keep your thermostat on a low setting. It may cost you a few dollars more, but sleep is priceless.
If you do not have air conditioning in your home, use a window fan in the evenings and at night. It can draw cool air into your home. Other alternatives include sleeping in the lowest level of the home. Since heat rises, the upper levels of homes will be hotter than the lower levels.
Another option to cool down your body if you are overheated is to take a tepid to warm bath or shower in the evenings. Heating of the body triggers the body’s internal cooling mechanism to kick in. By the time bedtime arrives you should have cooled down quite a bit.
Alternatively, you can just soak your hands and feet in tepid water. This also works to cool down the body. Do not soak, shower, or bathe in cool or cold water as this can have the reverse effect and make your body temperature rise.
Final thoughtf summer insomnia is truly bothersome and you cannot remedy it yourself, seek out the help of a physician or sleep specialist. No one should feel they have to subject themselves to lack of sleep simply because their bodies are sensitive to the solar cycle. There is help available.
Martin is the creator of Insomnia Land’s free sleep training for insomnia. His course will help you identify the issues that are harming your sleep and teach you how to fix them. Over 3,000 insomniacs have completed his course and 96 percent of graduates say they would recommend it to a friend.