Surprising Summer Sleep Challenges—and How to Deal

The best parts about June, July, and August may also be the worst for quality shut-eye. Learn how to protect yourself from bright skies, warm temps, and other sneaky sleep saboteurs.

Few things are more aggravating than lying awake in a hot bedroom covered in sweat. Beyond the annoying inconvenience of having to get up and change your shirt (or take a cold shower), this kind of summer sleep disruption can leave you feeling tired and lethargic the next day. But heat and humidity aren’t the only sleep challenges that arrive in the summer: Longer daylight hours can interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm, noisy neighbors can jar you awake, and flying insects can make it impossible to slip into a deep slumber.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Earplugs and a white noise machine will go a long way toward blocking out unwanted sounds. Flying insects can be minimized by closing your windows, installing screens or hanging mosquito nets around your bed. For everything else, this is what you need to know for sound slumber.

Invite the Night
Darkness stimulates the release of melatonin, a natural substance that helps shift your body to sleep mode. Days are longest during these months, so if you have an early bedtime, draw the curtains or close the blinds to reduce sunlight from streaming into your room. If light still seeps in, consider getting blackout shades. And always dim the lights in the evening and opt for low wattage light bulbs.

Maintain Your Cool
To prevent your bedroom from heating up during the summer, close your blinds or curtains during the day. Turn on the air conditioner or use a window-fan to keep cooler air circulating in your bedroom; the optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Wear pajamas that are made from light, breathable fabrics (such as cotton or linen) or consider sleeping in the nude. Ditch the blanket or comforter and opt for just a light sheet on top.

Stay On Schedule
Despite the days being longer, it’s wise to maintain a consistent sleep pattern by going to bed and waking up at the same time (give or take an hour) as you did in the spring and winter. This will help regulate your body’s internal clock so you can fall asleep and stay asleep more easily, night after night. Also, try not to exercise vigorously too close to bedtime, because this raises your heartrate and may make it harder to settle down to sleep at your usual time.