Sleep In Summer
With summer in full swing here in Las Vegas, the nights become nearly as hot as the days. The Sleep Center at Comprehensive understands that hot weather can make getting good rest more challenging. The team at the Sleep Center at Comprehensive is offering advice, along with specific solutions, to help you get solid sleep when the mercury is eclipsing 100 at midnight.
“We always make sure that patients who visit us are given a thorough assessment about their sleep patterns, with one key area of interest learning about their co-sleeping system, and this can become more of an issue when the weather is hot,” said John Collier, MD, FCCP, DABSM, medical director of Sleep Center at Comprehensive. “During summer, a partner might feel hotter or colder than the other, and adjustments need to be made to accommodate both people, especially if sleep challenges are involved.”
Dr. Collier recommends that those with sleep challenges spend time considering their bedding including mattresses, padding as well as sheets and blankets. He also recommended honest discussions about sleep setups including air condition use.
“If you’re struggling with being too hot or too cold, it’s time for honest conversations – best done during daytime hours – to minimize the potential stress that could occur during a discussion at 3 a.m.,” said Dr. Collier. “When partners are awake and reasonable, talk about what temperatures work for each of you and then decide how to adjust the thermostat and bedding to account for temperature preferences.”
Another variable that Dr. Collier mentions is lighting inside your bedroom. The arrival of summer means the sun comes up earlier and sets later, which can be helpful for people with circadian rhythm disorders, but also a challenge for those who may need to sleep later and are easily awakened in the morning.
“Natural light in the morning is a great way to wake up as the evolving brightness is a cue to wake up and become alert after sleep,” said Dr. Collier. “It’s important to strike a good balance between making your room dark to get to sleep and making sure to take advantage of earlier light in the summer to wake up early enough to be ready for bed at nighttime.”
During summertime many people take days off or work shorter days with companies offering summer hours or summer Fridays. During these times with COVID-19, more people are also working from home. This can provide the temptation to stay up later and sleep in later but making this a habit can disrupt sleep patterns with repercussions extending past the summer.
“Establishing a regular sleep schedule with little variance is important for your body to get acclimated to all year long,” said Dr. Collier. “While it’s ok to occasionally get off schedule, and summer can feel like the perfect time to give yourself a treat, you don’t want to get off your schedule regularly.”
Another challenge with sleep that can happen during summer is integrating alcohol caffeinated drinks and meals eaten later at night into your dietary routine. Having drinks with caffeine, such as iced tea or coffee to cool down, may make you jittery and can make falling asleep more difficult. Alcohol and late nights can also affect sleep patterns and may cause underlying conditions such as sleep apnea to get worse.
Dr. Collier also recommends taking the opportunity to rinse off with a quick shower before bed as beneficial. A quick shower can remove summer-specific elements from your skin such as sunscreen, moisturizer, bug spray and sweat from your skin leaving you more comfortable.
“A quick shower before bed can be a great way to unwind, but make sure that the water is cool and not too hot, as that can raise your core body temperature and make getting to sleep more difficult,” said Dr. Collier.
According to Dr. Collier, hot showers are also not a good idea for those with CPAP machines, as the hot water increases humidity in your room. He also recommends that people turn off their electronics before bed, read paper rather than screens to ensure good sleep during summer and all year long.
The Sleep Center at Comprehensive Can Help
If you do find yourself having difficulty getting good sleep, even by following these recommendations, The Sleep Center at Comprehensive, a division of Comprehensive Cancer Centers and Lung Center of Nevada, provides patients with sleep disorders a wide range of treatment options for those in Southern Nevada and beyond. To schedule an appointment, please call 702-737-5864.
The content in this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.