With the arrival of longer days and the summer holidays, the temptation for endless outdoor play, holidays and lots of social activities can often lead us to neglect our sleep. Whilst not everyone’s routine changes in the summer, those who have children on school holidays or those with longer holidays may find that their daily schedule is affected. Without the need to wake up or go to bed early for anything specific like school or work, you might notice you’re finding it hard to get to sleep at night or you might find yourself waking up regularly. Join us as we unravel the mysteries of summer sleep disturbances and seek the secrets to have a revitalising summer rest.
What sleep issues can we face in the summer?
First off, let’s look at the most common reasons why your sleep might become affected in the summer, even if you’re not on holiday.
- Longer days and increase light. With longer daylight hours during the summer, there is more natural light exposure, which can disrupt our body’s circadian rhythm. With more sunlight in the evening, it takes longer for our body to release melatonin, our natural sleep inducing hormone. This can make it harder for us to fall asleep when we get into bed, especially if your sleep environment is not dark enough.
- Higher temperatures. Warmer weather during the summer can make it uncomfortable to sleep, especially if your bedroom is not properly cooled or ventilated. High temperatures can cause restlessness, sweating and difficulty in maintaining a comfortable sleep environment.
- Changes in routine. Summer often brings a change in routine, particularly for students or those who have planned holidays. Without the obligations of school or work, people may stay up later and sleep in. These changes can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and make it harder to establish a consistent sleep schedule.
- Increase activity and social engagements. Summer is a time for outdoor activities, socialising and often lots of planned events. While these experiences are very enjoyable and socialising is very important for your well-being, your plans may lead to later nights and a shift in your sleep priorities. Balancing an active social life with adequate sleep can be challenging for some of you.
- Travel and jet lag. Many individuals take holidays during the summer, which can lead to disruptions in sleep due to jet lag or changes in time zones. Jet lag occurs when the body’s internal clock is misaligned with the new time, resulting in difficulty falling asleep or staying awake at appropriate times.
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Signs your child needs more sleep
No one knows their own child better than themselves, but there are a few tell-tale signs that your children might need more sleep.
- Excessive sleepiness. If your child is tired throughout the day, appears drowsy or irritable.
- Behaviour changes. Sleep deprivation can affect a child’s behaviour. They may become more irritable, moody, hyperactive or have frequent temper tantrums. They may also have difficulty focusing, paying attention or completing tasks.
- Physical symptoms. Lack of sleep can show in physical symptoms such as headaches, frequent yawning, or complaining of feeling unwell.
- Changes in appetite. Sleep-deprived children may experience changes in appetite. They may lose interest in food, have cravings for sugary or high-carb foods, or exhibit irregular eating patterns.
It is important to note that every child is different, and these signs may vary from child to child. If you suspect your child is not getting enough sleep, it’s essential to prioritise their sleep needs and establish healthy sleep habits. To help them with their sleep, My Little Morphée could be your saviour. With over 190 meditative journeys for them to sit down and listen to, the sessions can help them to drift of sooner and have a more restful night's sleep.
Improve your sleep with these tips
To help you overcome any sleep problems you might face this summer, here are a few tips and tricks we have learnt along the way.
- Routine. Try your best to try and stick to a regular morning and evening routine to help your body relax and fall asleep quicker.
- Environment. Create a sleep-friendly environment by making your room darker, you can encourage your body to fall asleep quicker. You can use curtains or shades to do this. Similarly, try and keep your room as cool as possible, for more detail on how to cool your room down on a budget, read our latest blog here.
- Jet lag. Even if the time-zone of your holiday destination is only an hour or two different, it can still disrupt your sleep. Consider adjusting your bedtime, as well as your children's, a little in the days leading up to the trip. This way, you can become accustomed to going to bed earlier or staying up later.
- Food and drinks. Avoid consuming caffeine or stimulating foods like sugar close to bedtime as they can interfere with sleep. Similarly, avoid heavy, spicy or large meals before bed, as they can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep.
- Practice relaxation. If your schedule is all over the place, or you’re finding it hard to get to sleep, you could incorporate meditation into your night-time routine. Morphée is our guided-meditation and sleep-aid device that will help you to unwind before you sleep which will lead to a longer and more restful sleep.
- Limit screen time before bed. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep. Avoid using devices with screens at least 1 hour before bedtime.
- Prepare for back to school in advance. Summer has only just started so this isn’t something you need to think about right now. A few weeks before the back to school rush, try and incorporate a more structured routine back so it’s easier to get them to sleep once they return.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can disrupt sleep, so ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. To avoid 5 trips to the bathroom during the night, don’t drink all of your water at once before you head to sleep!
- Earplugs. During the summer you may have your windows open and if there is noise outside, it can cause you to wake up during the night. To help mitigate this, putting in a pair of earplugs can help to drown out any unwanted noise.
- Bedding. Opt for lighter and breathable bedding materials such as cotton and bamboo.
To conclude, the summer season can indeed disrupt our sleep patterns due to the various factors we have covered. However, the tips and strategies provided in this guide offer solutions to mitigate the impact of these disruptions and will help to improve the quality of your sleep during this time.