Summer is a perfect time to practice healthy sleep habits.
As the days get warmer and school is out for the summer, we want to take advantage of the longer days when the sun rises earlier and sets later. Our schedules include more activities with friends and family and often include travel. What does this mean for your sleep? Bright light earlier in the morning can energize you and help you feel more alert. But light and increased activity later in the evening can make it harder to wind down and fall asleep. How do you enjoy the long days of summer while still protecting your sleep? Think of light as the most powerful cue for your body clock.
To get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, or more if you are under 18, you may need to control your light exposure. Are you waking up too early in the morning? Consider adding blackout window treatments or an eye mask for sleeping. Even dim morning light can disrupt your sleep schedule. At night, consider coming inside an hour before bed and dimming lights and electronics indoors. Even outdoor light at dusk can delay falling asleep delay your sleep cycle.
Importantly, good sleep at night starts with healthy behaviors during the day. Spending time outdoors being active is great for your nighttime sleep. Just be mindful of the effects of early and late light exposure. Lastly, it’s easy to become more flexible with bedtime schedules during the summer. Your body functions best on a regular routine so aim for a regular bed and wake time as much as possible.
Use these SLEEP tips to help you prioritize sleep in summer and beyond.
Making Time for SLEEP
Establish a regular routine and structure. Set times for sleep and wake. Keep or return to structured activities in your days, especially if your schedules changed over the summer.
Spend time in natural light. Whether outdoors or inside, bright daylight helps you feel alert. Avoid napping except for young children.
Limit use of electronics before bed. Turn off electronics an hour before bed and keep the room dark, cool, comfortable, and ready for sleep.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity increases your drive to sleep at night as well as reduces stress and improves mood.
Prioritize your sleep by reinforcing the benefits of sleep for your family. Model good sleep habits to help children understand the importance of sleep.