Short Nights Shouldn’t Shorten Sleep

June 6, 2016

Sleeping in a HammockSummer nights are shorter. And warmer. Sometimes, even brighter and louder, too. Not really a good recipe for getting enough sleep.

It’s worth making the extra effort in summer to get a good night’s rest so you can get more out of your days, and keep your immune system strong by allowing it all the “processing” time it needs. (And if you need extra support, doing so naturally!).

How to get good summer sleep?

-Pick an hour every night and ditch the tech. Sitcoms call it “the cut off” and joke about how it’s different for everyone: kids, no kids, early workers, etc. The idea is that there’s a time of night when people are supposed to stop calling. Take it a step further by applying it to yourself. Screen time, whether it’s TV, phones, or tablets, messes with your circadian rhythm by making bright light last longer (and depending what you’re tuned into, can be stimulating).

If you use your phone to read, use (and you may have to find an app depending on what you have) a night setting, which reverses white and black so it puts off less light.

-At the same time, limit the food/drink you take in before bed. Waking up for the bathroom multiple times is at the least disruptive, and at the most a trigger for insomnia. Having undigested food in your stomach while you sleep isn’t just bad for your digestion, it’s actually really bad for your heart, and is a suspected link to heart attacks.

-Don’t be afraid to fall on old standards: wearing yourself out is a great way to make sure you sleep at night. Just make sure you’re getting good nutrition to keep up with it! If you think exercising/being active causes insomnia, try being active in the morning/before lunch.

-Avoid unnatural sleeping pills, and by that I mean the ones that make you pass out but don’t actually put you to sleep.

Sleep is hugely important! You’re not just refreshing your brain and strengthening memory, you’re supporting heart health, general body repairs, and overall immune system health.

A good sleeping pill is usually melatonin based (melatonin is what our bodies naturally produce to induce and maintain sleep—it’s why limiting light from phones, including that dumb blinking one, is important for sleep, because light tells your body not to make any!). A few extra herbs and minerals that support healthy sleep and repair are useful, too. You can find it all in our Sleep Support Pack.

-Finally, be absolutely brutal in how you evaluate your bed and bedroom. Humans were around for 40,000 fairly turbulent years before we reached the (mostly) luxury of the twentieth century. Being a heavy sleeper was not necessarily a good survival skill, being a light sleeper was. In fact, humans even keep one part of their brain awake when sleeping in a new location!

Physical comfort to combat the aches of aging, poor posture, and other problems; no light; minimal sound (or white noise/music); clean teeth/no food (heart health bonus); and a fresh scent… literally every sense you have plays into how well you sleep.

How long should you aim for? Humans need between 7-9 hours of sleep, and that’s determined by age and genes (under 20 years old or so it’s actually around 11-12 hours!). If you feel like you need more than that, accommodate it! Sleeping more isn’t bad for you, rather it’s a sign that something else bad is going on, so you should accommodate your body’s natural efforts to heal itself, as frustrating or inconvenient as they might be.

You can’t bank sleep, but you can bank the good health you get from it. So rest up, and if you need support, don’t put it off! Good sleep should start tonight.

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