How best to adjust your sleep routine for the summer months.
Many of us find it harder to sleep during the lighter and warmer months of the year.
Firstly longer days make it harder to get to bed on time. With sunset times of 8 or even 9pm it's easy to stay outside and then come home to start your regular evening routines later than usual. The mind struggles to shift out of the winter mode, meaning it is far easier to get to bed too late.
Add busy work and social schedules, ever increasing screen time and hot bedrooms, it's no surprise that the summer months can test our sleep schedules.
How much sleep should we be aiming for?
The simple answer is enough sleep not to feel tired through the next day. Requiring additional caffeine or an increased appetite for sweet treats is a sign of a sub optimal amount of sleep.
Although our sleep requirements vary from person to person, most healthy adults will need seven to nine hours sleep to operate at their prime. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least seven hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill the void.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests the following average sleep needs by age.
The best way to find out if you’re meeting your sleep needs is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your day. If you’re finding enough sleep hours, you’ll feel alert and energetic all day long, until your regular bedtime. Make a note to check how you are feeling between 12-4pm as people who do not get enough sleep may notice a significant dip in energy and feel sleepy during this time.
Create a pre-sleep routine and stick to it
The best thing you can do to maximise getting your required shut-eye is to stick to a pre-sleep routine. In the half hour or hour before bed you have to find the time to unwind. Even if your schedule becomes erratic in the summer months with after work social activities, taking the time to mentally check into the same routine before bed will help put you in the relaxed mindset needed for restful sleep.
Make some compromises
Compared to the winter months, the summer is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family. Ensuring you swap screen time for endorphin enriched outdoor activities will enhance the quality of your sleep through the summer months.
Try to keep as close as possible to your normal bedtime despite the lighter evening temptations. If you arrive home later than usual in the summer months try to resist the temptations of an additional night cap or watching one more episode on TV. We are not saying it is easy but trading off for a cup of tea and a pre-bedtime thirty minute read will enhance your sleep and effectiveness the next day will lead to a healthier you.
Create a beautiful sleep sanctuary
It's vital to have a beautiful sleep sanctuary for yourself, particularly during warmer months. Stuffy rooms aren't conducive of restful shut eye so make the change to thinner sheets and invest in a good fan. Blackout curtains or a quality sleep mask can help keep the sunshine from disturbing your sleep. Sleep sprays are perfect for encouraging your mind to wind down and settle into a restful sleep.
Part of my own routine is to make a sleepy time tea and wind down with a book for half an hour away from screens and other distractions. (The science suggests a full hour of screen-free time for optimal sleep).
Keep an eye on your summer diet
What you eat and when you eat it can have a big impact on your sleep. You might find yourself partaking in more treats during the summer months but can adversely effect your sleep patterns. Over indulging in caffeine can be overly stimulating. Make coffees a pre-midday only indulgence. Alcohol might make you feel sleepy initially but will negatively impact the quality of your sleep.
Timing is also an important factor and experts recommend waiting at least three hours after you’ve eaten to go to bed. This allows your body time to digest your food so you’re not up at night with an upset stomach, indigestion or heartburn. That being said, life happens so if you're running a little bit late you shouldn't skip dinner entirely, but instead eat a smaller meal containing foods which are conducive of sleep.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that's believed to induce sleep. This is because it is a precursor to the sleep-inducing chemicals serotonin and melatonin in the brain. Tryptophan is present in small amounts in most protein foods and in higher amounts in yoghurt, milk, oats, bananas, dates, poultry, eggs and peanuts.
We here at Masters of Mayfair have a passion for relaxation, healthy living & adventure in equal measure. Finding the perfect balance is a journey and we wish you all the best with reaching deeper and more restful sleep.