Sleep Better in the Summer, Be Healthier
Eric Schneider | My Body
Summer means al fresco yoga and beachside swimming, but also it also means extreme heat that keeps you up at night. And, a constant lack of sleep may prevent your body from functioning efficiently, triggering health problems that include weight gain, a weakened immune system, irritability and hazy cognition.
Just a few simple habits can help you get a good night’s rest when the mercury rises.
Create Cool Inside and Out
The heat works against your body’s need to reduce its temperature and prepare for sleep, so a cool room is critical. Studies have shown that the optimal range for solid slumber is between 60 and 68 degrees, which allows your body to get a revitalizing rest that facilitates numerous key restorative functions, including relaxed breathing, lower blood pressure, and the development and repair of muscles and other tissues.
Open your windows during the coolest hours, especially at night, and close them when the thermostat starts to go up in late morning. Shut any shades or curtains in direct sun, which keeps cooler air in, and warmer air out, for less stifling nights.
Air-conditioning units can be effective, but noisy. If so, try fans – they’re not as loud, use less electricity and can even double as a white-noise generator.
Meanwhile, cool off internally by staying hydrated. Our bodies function better with regular water intake, and this extends to a healthy night’s rest. Drink a chilly glass of H2O before bedtime, but take it easy to avoid disruptive trips to the bathroom.
Gather Essential Sleep Tools
In addition to a cool environment, you need darkness and quiet. No matter where you live, all three requirements can be established with some creativity and go-to items: opaque curtains or sleep masks to create darkness, and a white-noise-generating sound machine or pre-bed meditation to quiet the mind. Keep the body cool with 100% cotton sheets that breathe. There’s even something called a Chillow… to chill your pillow.
Other essentials include calming, fragrant essential oils, such as lavender and neroli (applied to the skin or inhaled in a number of ways) and soothing self-massage (perhaps with a few drops of essential oil added to a carrier oil such as jojoba) to work out the knots in your neck and relax.
Settle into Slumber
While many believe they can coast along with less than seven hours of sleep, research shows that amount is extremely important to general health, particularly for maintaining mental alertness and a positive mood.
So, set up the right sleep environment for a healthy and comfortable slumber all summer long.