Sleep expert recommends Summer snooze solutions

Summertime brings light, noise, heat and other conditions that can make getting to sleep hard.

Heat, long days, noise and late nights with friends. These are just some of the summertime conditions that can get in the way of a good night’s sleep but there are solutions out there.

Dr. Katherine Rasmussen, the director of the behavioural sleep medicine program at the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary said her work has identified several things about the summer which make sleeping difficult for some of her patients and some techniques that can help.

Rasmussen said avoiding the light is very important for those who have trouble falling asleep. She explained that exposure to light suppresses the release of melatonin, a hormone which assists with getting to sleep; its secretion is increased in the dark. Light coming through windows from the earlier summer sunrises can disrupt circadian rhythms and so Rasmussen said restricting exposure to light using sleep masks or blackout blinds can prove helpful for both falling and staying asleep.

Read More: World Sleep Day: UBC team examines link between sleep and illness

Read More: Quality, not quantity is key in teens’ sleep habits: B.C. study

She said light from phones and other electronic devices is enough to inhibit the release of melatonin. She recommends avoiding looking at phone screens within two hours of bedtime; along with light from the screen, Rasmussen said many activities on phones, such as games and text message conversations are very activating to the brain.

Rasmussen added television watched outside the bedroom is a more passive activity that will affect sleep less than using a smartphone, but it is still better to unplug from technology and interact with loved ones.

While making sleep a priority is important, Rasmussen said partaking in social activities, some of which may lead to a later bedtime, is important to overall health.

“Summer is also a time to come out and connect with your loved ones and to get engaged with the community,” she said.

Read More: Good sleep routines key to getting kids snoozing: UBC

Read More: Get some sleep this week

Rasmussen said occasionally falling out of a sleep routine due to social activities or going on holiday is not a big problem in the short term and people should not worry about losing some sleep in order to have a good time. To minimize the sleep lost after returning home from a stimulating evening activity such as a sporting event or concert, Rasmussen recommends breathing exercises or having a warm bath. She noted relaxation apps, many of which employ the sounds of nature help some people relax and fall asleep.

Hot Summer temperatures can create sleep difficulties in a number of ways. Rasmussen said windows that are opened to cool bedrooms that are not air conditioned at night can allow more noise in negatively impacting sleep, but this can be counteracted with earplugs or by playing soothing sounds at bedtime.

Melatonin levels rise with a fall in temperature so keeping a cooler environment is very helpful to a good night’s sleep. Rasmussen recommended installing bedroom air conditioning if possible or getting a cooling gel mattress topper.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Kelowna classroom where child allegedly overdosed re-opens after cleaning

An 8-year-old was unresponsive and unable to walk after ingesting an unknown substance at school.

Okanagan Great Ogogogo Bathtub Race beats fundraising goal

Total money raised from the race series is $124,500

VIDEO: Rain doesn’t stop Penticton Terry Fox Run

Around 200 people showed up to raise money for cancer research Sunday

1955 Vees reign again at Classics hockey tourney in Penticton

The 1955 World Championship Vees took home the Moog Cup at minor hockey tournament

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Video: Rain doesn’t deter Terry Fox runners in Salmon Arm

Dozens showed up to continue the Canadian icon’s marathon of hope.

Athlete of the Week: William Buttar

Though he is little, William Buttar is fierce as he makes his introduction into the sporting world

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

Urban Agriculture: Food forestry rooted in thinking of the ecosystem

Columnist dives into Okanagan urban agriculture

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Most Read