Want to know how to sleep better as the mercury rises? We asked the experts for
With the official start to summer just around the corner (June 21, baby!), chances are your social calendar has begun to expand to fit more weeknight dinners, happy hours, and outdoor workouts. But with warmer temps, and later nights spent enjoying those extra hours of daylight, come some new sleep challenges too. (No AC, anyone? A little too much white wine at happy hour?) Not to fear, these super easy, expert-backed tips will help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more rested all summer long. (Plus, check out the New Rules for Better Sleep!)
An international survey conducted by the U.S. National Sleep Foundation found that only 12 percent of Americans sleep in their birthday suit. Tend to be more of a sweatpants kinda gal? There are quite a few reasons to consider making the switch, especially in the summer. Sleeping naked can make it easier for your body to gradually decrease its temperature—a necessary part of the transition to sleep—allowing you to doze off faster and sleep more soundly, explains sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D. (Keeping your room at about 60 to 67 degrees also helps.) Airing things out down there can also help prevent yeast infections and, no surprise here—can boost physical and emotional intimacy with your partner. Win, win, win!
If you're a snorer, you might want to conisder a mouth workout—especially now since drinking more in the summer can make snoring worse. A new study showed that certain mouth and tongue exercises can reduce snoring frequency and power. (Always Tired? Sleep Apnea Could Be to Blame.)
Better yet, you can do them at your desk. Exercises include: pushing the tip of your tongue against the roof of the mouth and sliding it backward; sucking your tongue upward against the roof of your mouth, and pressing your entire tongue against the roof of your mouth; and forcing the back of your tongue against the floor of your mouth while keeping the tip of your tongue in contact with the bottom, front teeth. It'll be worth all the funny looks you're bound to receive from your coworkers!
A recent study found that loud traffic may be to blame for an increased body mass index (BMI). This makes sense. Breus says noise disrupts sleep, and sleep deprivation leads to weight gain. But in addition to an increased waistline (and the exhaustion and grumpiness you'll feel tomorrow), noise pollution and interrupted sleep have also been shown to affect your cognitive ability and capacity to make new memories, and can even lead to increase blood pressure and heart rate. To block out unwanted noise, a pair of earplugs, a white noise machine, an air purifier, or a fan (especially if you don't have AC) will do the trick.
Since your body releases heat through its extremities as part of the sleep cool-down, having cold hands and feet can interfere with this process, Breus says. It might be warm outside, but keep your hands and feet warm in the hours before bed with socks or slippers, and try a shower 90 minutes before bed, he recommends.
You may be tempted to take advantage of some extra zzz’s on the weekends if you’ve been out late the night before, but experts recommend limiting extra snooze time to an hour or two tops to keep your circadian rhythm on track. Not only will this help you to fall asleep and wake up more easily, but social jetlag—the difference in your sleeping patterns during weekdays when you wake with an alarm and on weekends when you sleep according to your natural clock—has been shown to cause weight gain too.