Spring has sprung, which means summer is just around the corner. And while having the extra few hours of daylight can be great for spending time with family and friends, it can wreak havoc on your sleeping schedule. So what can you do? Keep reading to learn about a few simple lifestyle changes that could put you on the path to better sleep this summer.
Increase Sunlight Exposure During the Day
Everyone has a natural time-keeping mechanism in their bodies. It affects our brains and our hormones, telling us when we’re alert and when we’re sleepy. This is called our circadian rhythm, and it’s triggered by both internal and external factors. One of the external factors is light. Exposure to light during the day (natural sunlight is best!) can help keep your circadian rhythm steady as an adult. Infants under two months old, however, have not developed their circadian rhythms yet. So if you’re a new parent, be prepared! Your circadian rhythm could be disrupted by your baby’s lack of one for a little bit.
Stop Caffeine Consumption Late in the Day
Caffeine, while a magical cure-all for some people, isn’t helpful before bed. Caffeine can stay in your blood for up to eight hours, which means that afternoon cup of coffee could actually be harming your sleep schedule and quality of sleep. If you need an afternoon or evening drink, consider chamomile tea. This tea can actually serve as a gentle sleep aid. It’s recommended to steep for about 15 minutes.
Exercise Every Day
While vigorous exercise is best, not all of us have an hour to go to the gym every day. Fortunately, even light exercise can help more than being sedentary all the time. And with warmer weather quickly approaching, getting outside and moving your body will be easier than ever! Try not to exercise right before bed, though. Taking time to cool down is important, too.
Avoid Heavy Meals in the Evening
Summer is one of the best times to go out and eat dinner. In fact, roughly 48% of people in America actually prefer to eat out during the summer months. Unfortunately, that means heavy, fatty meals. The food is great, but your sleep afterwards might not be! Heavy, fatty meals take a long time to break down. And since your digestion rate slows by almost 50% when you’re sleeping, your body will need to work harder and much longer to pass all of that food.
Know When There’s a Problem
If you’ve been having consistent sleeping issues or notice signs of fatigue for a prolonged period of time, there may be a medical issue preventing you from getting your best sleep. It’s important to know when to contact your doctor for this very reason. Sleep is how we rest and renew our bodies — a lack of that renewing sleep can cause some serious problems. Knowing when to contact your doctor can help solve the root issue.
Getting great sleep this summer could be easier than you think. And just think — with all that energy, you’ll be able to fully enjoy all of that beautiful weather!