There are so many factors that can contribute to the quality of sleep you're getting. Stress, certain medications, diet, and other lifestyle elements can all affect how many hours of sleep you're clocking in regularly — not to mention how restful and rejuvenating those hours actually are. But summer months tend to present a whole new problem for those who toss and turn through the night. And if heat is something that keeps you from getting much needed shut-eye, you're probably searching high and low for tricks and tips on how to sleep well in the summer now that temperatures are on the rise.
Many of the usual sleep hacks that work for issues like anxiety — like identifying and diffusing stress triggers or turning off screens by a certain hour — don't apply to to heat-induced insomnia. And though it should be noted that hormonal imbalances and certain medical conditions can cause you to overheat at night despite the temps inside or outside your bedroom (in which case, be sure to consult your doctor) there are a handful of super-simple and expert-approved tips to falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer if it's the dog days of summer that are keeping you up.
Ahead, find six suggestions for a better sleep in the summer, courtesy of certified sleep and nutrition consultant Ingrid Y. Prueher — including a few you probably never would have guessed. And what's even better, some of them don't cost a cent.
Switch Up Your Sheets
Turns out that you have a legitimate excuse to spring for those luxury linens. "I highly recommend investing in linen that is breathable, moisture-wicking and will lower your body temperature while you sleep," shares Prueher. "There is nothing more frustrating than waking up because you are sweating through your clothes and sheets."
Find Your Thermostat Sweet Spot
"Set your thermostat anywhere between 68 to 72 degrees, as this is optimal room temperature for sleep," says Prueher. Make life even easier for yourself by connecting yours to a smart device — so you can even control the temperature from your bed, if need be.
Take A Warm Shower (No, Really)
It seems counterintuitive but there's actual science behind the concept of taking a hot bath or shower before hitting the hay — even when it's hot outside. "I recommend taking a warm 20-minute shower about an hour before bed," Prueher says. "It will help increase the melatonin in your body and the transition from a warm shower to a cooler environment will cool your body down."
Double Down With A Fan
Even if you're blessed with an AC unit, you may still be missing the kind of air flow you crave to feel comfortable at night. If that's the case, Prueher has a simple solution. "If the cooling system is not powerful enough to create a cool environment that you are comfortable in, I recommend adding either a ceiling fan or a floor fan to your sleep environment, which will help circulate the air," she suggests.
Try A Cool Compress
For a quick fix, Prueher has a DIY solution that won't cost you a dime. "If you find that the heat is just too much, keeping moistened washcloths in ziplock bags in your freezer is a good idea," she says. "Just place the washcloth behind your neck, along your shoulders for a few minutes and you should notice that your body temperature will cool down quickly so you can get back to sleep."
Drinking enough water affects so many health issues — including your sleeping habits. "Drink half your weight in ounces of water during the day, which will help you stay hydrated and cool during sleep time," suggests Prueher. "Just be mindful not to drink most of your water intake in the evening or else you will be visiting the restroom all night long."