How To Stay On a Sleep Schedule During the Summer

If you prioritize mental and physical health, you know how important good sleep is. Along with exercise and diet, it’s a significant factor in feeling well, staying healthy, avoiding chronic illness, and maintaining mental health.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you recognize the importance of sleep, so much about your life sabotages it. Never is this more true than in the summer. This is the season of long days, uncomfortably hot nights, travel and vacations, events, and gatherings that get in the way of going to bed early.

To stay healthy and still enjoy all the summer fun, make sleep a priority. Establish a routine, and stick to it most of the time; stay on schedule, and use your time wisely to enjoy both good sleep and fun activities.

Establishing a Summer Sleep Routine

To consistently get seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night, any time of year, create a routine. Establishing habits and a routine condition the mind and body to sleep when you should be asleep and be awake and alert the rest of the time. Here’s what you need to consider when creating a summer sleep routine:

  • Circadian rhythm: Your body operates on this 24-hour clock related to daylight and light exposure. You won’t necessarily feel sleepy while it’s still light on long summer nights. A routine will help you counteract this effect.
  • Sleep schedule: Set a specific bedtime and wake time you can stick to every day, and that provides enough hours of sleep. Stick with this as much as you can, even on weekends.
  • Light exposure: Control your light exposure for better sleep. Keep your room dark at night, blocking out daylight from the windows and any appliances. Open the curtains as soon as you wake up in the morning to get the first dose of sunlight.

With a routine in place, target summer-specific factors that make it harder to sleep, like high temperatures. Do cooling mattresses work? Yes, they do. If you sleep hot, a summer night can feel like sleeping in a sauna. Try a mattress with built-in cooling features, breathable foam, and materials and fabrics that draw heat away from the surface.

If the increased daylight hours interrupt your ability to fall asleep at night, make adjustments to your room. Get blackout curtains to make it feel like it’s nighttime when you go to bed.

Staying on Schedule

Creating a schedule and routine is one thing; sticking with them is another. You can do, or avoid doing, several things to make it easier to go to bed at your set time and fall asleep sooner:

  • Do something relaxing an hour before bed, like taking a bath or reading.
  • Avoid screens during that hour, as they can disrupt sleep.
  • Exercise during the day but not too close to bedtime.
  • Get plenty of sunlight during the day, but try to avoid it in the hour before bed.
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening and alcohol before bed.
  • Eat only lightly for dinner. Avoid heavy foods or anything that might upset your digestion.

Certain foods promote sleep, so if you get hungry for bed, try snacking on kiwi, tart cherries, almonds, walnuts, or rice. Try a cup of herbal tea, especially chamomile or passionflower, to relax and induce sleepiness.

Making the Most of Summer

Sticking with a healthy sleep routine during the summer doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the season and have fun. One of the best things you can do for your sleep is spend time outside being active. Go to that pool party, take a hike with friends, or play volleyball at the beach. Go to an evening party, but don’t stay out all night or drink too much. There’s no reason you can’t have fun while making healthy choices.

Whatever you do, don’t take naps during the day unless you need them. Try to stay awake and having fun so that you can sleep better at night. The more active you are and the more sunlight exposure during the day, the easier it will be to get an entire night of essential deep sleep.

Enjoying Summer While Staying Rested

It’s tempting to sleep less during the summer. Your mind and body naturally stay alert longer with the increased daylight. Don’t fall into the trap of staying up too late, though. You can’t fully enjoy your summer if you’re constantly fatigued or getting sick from lack of sleep. Make a routine, stick with a schedule, and you can have both good sleep and a great summer with friends.