What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of summer? You probably think about picnics, sunbathing on the beach, or taking time off from your hectic schedule to relax and recuperate. True, the summer is a great time to rejuvenate your mind and body, but to rejuvenate you need quality sleep. Unfortunately, during the hot summer nights, sleep is sometimes awfully difficult to come by.
So, what exactly makes it so hard to sleep during the summer?
According to studies, the ideal conditions for sleep are a slightly cool room and low body temperatures. But during the blistering summer nights, these conditions are often difficult to achieve. Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure a good night's sleep even during the hottest of nights.
The obvious solution is to use an air conditioner. An air conditioner can keep your room at the optimum sleep temperature. In addition, an air conditioner can provide “white noise.” White noise muffles other sounds that can disrupt your sleep thus enabling you to sleep peacefully. But, despite all these benefits, an air conditioner has adverse disadvantages too.
First, air conditioners are expensive to operate and they aren’t eco-friendly. A simple air conditioning unit can increase your electricity usage and send your power bills skyrocketing. Also, sleeping with an AC unit on can cause a myriad of health complications including respiratory problems and allergies according to some research.
Clearly, an air conditioner is not a great method to ward away the heat. But don’t worry this article will give you ingenious and cost effective alternatives.
One reason you may be unable to sleep during the summer is inactivity. During the summer you may decide to take time off to rest. Do this at your own peril. By not engaging in physical or mind stimulating activities, you won’t be tired enough by the time you go to bed – you will stay wide awake, tossing and rolling in bed.
The summer therefore provides ideal conditions for exercising. But note that you should avoid exercising a few hours before your bedtime. If you do so, you will raise your body temperature and retain heat, thus making it difficult to sleep.
2. Eat raw foods
Larger meals that are high in protein make sleeping harder. This is because during digestion, the breaking down of these foods results in the generation of lots of metabolic heat. For better sleep, trade in that steak for foods like salads, fruits and vegetables. Your body will be able to break down these foods without generating a lot of heat. In addition, substituting cooked foods for raw foods means you’ll cook less and consequently generate less heat in your home.
3. Put electronics away
Today, more than ever, we cannot do without our electronic devices. But if you want to be able to sleep better, you may want to refrain from using your smartphone, tablet or laptop in bed. These electronic gadgets emit blue spectrum light. This type of light sends a signal to your brain that you’re not ready to sleep. It inhibits the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone that enables us to sleep. So if you want optimum sleep, put away that electronic gadget half an hour before sleep.
4. Take a lukewarm shower or bath
A lukewarm bath can reduce your body temperature thus enabling you to sleep better. But, don’t take a very cold shower or hot shower before going to bed. A cold shower can have the reverse effect and increase your body temperature, while the latter will generate more heat within your home and increase the humidity. These factors will hamper your sleep.
5. Substitute heavy bedding for lighter bedding
Do away with heavy blankets and doonas. Instead, opt for lighter bedding like cotton sheets and cotton weave blankets. Not only does bedding made of cotton retain less heat, but it is also more breathable unlike other synthetics like polyester.
6. Place your bedding in the freezer
This may sound outlandish and far-fetched but it actually works! Put your sheets and pillow case in the freezer for about 30 min before going to bed. Preferably, place them in a plastic bag. By the time you are going to bed, the sheets should stay cool long enough for you to fall asleep.
7. Find a cool sleeping spot
Hot air rises, thus look for a sleeping spot that is as close to the ground as possible. If you live in a multi-floor house sleep on a bottom floor or the basement as opposed to a room on a higher floor. Try placing your bed and mattress close to an open and well ventilated window.
8. Ensure your room is dark and cool
Buy blinds so that the sun’s rays can’t penetrate into your room. During the summer, the sun’s rays are more powerful therefore keeping the blinds drawn during the day will ensure your room remains cool.
9. Open your windows
A couple of hours before going to bed, open your bedroom’s windows to increase the air ventilation in your room. This will lower the room’s temperature thus creating the ideal conditions required for sleep.
10. Plant trees
This solution is long term but once they grow to maturity, you will reap immense benefits from the trees you sowed. Deciduous trees provide lots of shade during the summer, making your home compound cool. In addition, this environmentally friendly solution will make your home look more attractive – just make sure to plant the trees strategically.
11. Turn off the lights
Light bulbs (even the energy saving types) emit heat which results in increased room temperature. Before going to bed, turn off the lights to reduce heat emission and to cut down on energy costs. Also, you may want to take advantage of the extended periods of sunlight during the summer by relying on natural light and turning on your lights much later.
12. Maintain a constant sleep and eat cycle
While you may be tempted to stay up late and grab a midnight snack during the summer because you are on vacation and don’t have to go to work, this is inadvisable. Maintain a consistent sleep and eat cycle if you want to sleep better. Experts recommend that you should get at least 7 hours of sleep. This can only be achieved by maintaining a consistent sleep cycle. As the old adage goes, “Early to bed early to rise!”
13. Unplug electronic devices
Light bulbs and electronic gadgets discharge heat even when turned off. Cut down on power use and minimise heat by unplugging electronic devices when they are not in use.
1. Sleep alone
This sounds a tad self-centered but if you want to sleep better you are better off sleeping alone. Snuggling with a partner increases body heat therefore making it difficult to sleep during the summer.
2. Make your own air conditioner
It isn’t exactly like a commercial air conditioner but this ingenious solution will really cool your room. All you need to make this DIY air conditioner is an electric fan, a big mixing bowl and ice cubes. Once you have these items, first fill the mixing bowl with the ice cubes. Then, turn on the electric fan and place it in front of the bowl. The result will be a cool breeze due to the warm air that will cause the ice to melt. It isn’t an exact replacement for a commercial air conditioner, but a DIY air conditioner is an economic and environmentaly friendly way to keep your bedroom cool during the summer.
3. Put an ice pack on your forehead or neck
Place a cold ice pack on your neck or forehead to lower your body temperature. The ice pack will not only cool your neck and forehead, but the rest of your body as well. You can purchase ice bags at most retail stores.
4. Buy a mattress cooling pad
Invest in a mattress cooling pad like the SleepyPad. The SleepyPad is a single or dual zone climate control mattress pad that cleverly regulates the surface temperature of your mattress by circulating water through a network of micro tubes. It means you sleep warm in the winter and cool in the summer – and always have a great night’s rest.
After the cold of winter, the summer is a welcome respite. But, the sweltering heat during summer nights that may result in you sleeping poorly can adversely ruin your summer. However, unbearable summer nights can now be a thing of the past. By employing these simple and creative solutions to ward away the scorching heat during the summer, you’ll definitely enjoy a good night’s sleep. So this summer wake up feeling refreshed, revitalised and ready to get the most out of your day thanks to a good night’s sleep.
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