June 23, 2020

Four Steps to Better Summer Sleep Despite The Heat!

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We all know that summer days are long and hot, and nights are short (sometimes too short). Energy seems to be in high supply this time of year and so does motivation for life. But, this can mean fussy children (and adults)! It seems obvious that we’re using more energy in the summer. Yet it’s not always so crystal clear that we need to adjust some of our habits to accommodate this seasonal change or how to do it.

Let’s talk about what’s happening inside of our bodies when extra sun is shining on us and how to keep up with the demand it creates on our bodies. This way we can have even more family FUN in the summer!

What causes extra energy expenditure in summer?

1. Increase in body temperature = higher metabolic rate.1 Higher body temperatures speed up metabolism. For each degree Celsius your body temperature rises, your metabolism increases by 10 to 13 percent! To fuel these metabolic reactions, our bodies require additional energy, which requires that our bodies recharge.

2. The sun causes chemical reactions. For example, the production of vitamin D is altered. So, on top of burning extra energy to fuel our increased metabolism, our bodies are using energy to fuel other chemical reactions in our bodies.2

How to prevent family grogginess

Take care of the busy bodies in your family. Increase (healthy) food and water intake to support the extra energy being used. And of course, make time for quality sleep during these lovely sunny days. Sunshine seems to encourage our bodies to work harder and longer in the summer, but if we do not allow for extra restorative sleep we can end up with an overtired family.

Use these tips to keep your family rested and smiling all summer long. Get in touch with me if you have questions or need help strategizing for success!

1. Stay cool at night – Consider investing in floor fans all of the bedrooms (they also double nicely as white noise ;-)). Oh and keep a cool glass of water near your bed!

2. Reduce cortisol build up – Sleep when your body first begins feeling tired. We all can become distracted and forget to prioritize what our bodies need (especially when the sun is shining brightly into the evening!). That’s why keeping an eye on the clock helps remind us to do just that – take care of our bodies! Don’t hesitate to begin bedtime early if your child is showing signs of feeling sleepy before your child’s normal bedtime even starts (your child’s body will thank you with fewer fits and sleepy behavior if you give them the rest they need). And its okay to say no to a BBQ if it is going to interfere with your family’s sleep. 😉

3. Encourage melatonin production – Begin closing window shades an hour before bedtime. Installing blackout shades in your child’s room is a worthwhile investment, especially during these long days in the summer time.

4. Maintain consistent wake-up times – Maintaining consistent wake times will help your body attain and maintain a healthy sleep rhythm, which in turn will help you feel fully rested during the day! A recommended wake time between 6am-7:30 am allows for a healthy bedtime for most children between the ages of 6months-6years.

Protecting your family’s sleep even during the busy summer will truly allow you to enjoy those special moments and be present as we feel more balanced and rested. If you have implemented these steps and your family is still struggling with sleep please reach out to moc.smaerdstraeh@arym, I would love to support your family into rested nights using gentle and evidence based approaches.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5086738/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/

    Myra Hartzheim

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