summertime insomnia

Daily Wisdom: Summertime Insomnia is Real

Two easy ways to sleep better this season

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, and health stories.

TODAY'S TOPIC: HOW TO SLEEP BETTER DURING THE SUMMER

THE SCIENCE

A recent study at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) found that more exposure to light during summer months leads to delayed bedtimes and decreases overall sleep quality. Moreover, previous research has shown that it takes people longer to fall asleep in warmer temperatures, and when they do fall asleep it's more fragmented with long periods of wakefulness and considerably less REM sleep. 

EXPERT INSIGHT

“Darkness and the body's own internal clock act as triggers for melatonin production,” says Marc Leavey, M.D., internist and sleep expert with Mercy Medical in Lutherville, Maryland, “so getting out in the sunshine during the day can make even modest darkening at night more of a contrast.”

Cooling the bedroom is also crucial to prevent summertime insomnia. "You need a dip in body temperature at night as a cue to fall asleep," explains Leavey. If you have a partner who adds extra heat this is especially important, he adds.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Eat breakfast or lunch outside for light exposure early in the day. You can also use the timer on your thermostat to temporarily drop the bedroom temperature down to 70 for an hour before bedtime, says Leavey.