Do long summer days, hot nights and early sunrises leave you tired at work? Absolutely. Longer days wreak havoc with our sleep patterns. As do school breaks, house guests, summer road trips, heat and humidity.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, sleep problems are widespread, according to Maurice Ohayon, MD, a Stanford University sleep expert. "Better sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. It's a prescription for rejuvenating your mind and body, improving your sex life, increasing your energy reserves and vitality, and helping you lose weight and keep it off."
Lack of sleep is linked to increased risk for auto accidents, weight gain, diabetes, heart problems depression and learning disabilities. It's estimated to cost Americans $100 billion annually.
Here are a few tips you can incorporate tonight to improve your summer zzzz's:
. Keep it dark: Invest in light proof blinds if needed.
. Keep it cool: The ideal sleep temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees.
. Stay close to schedule: Resist the urge to stay up late during long summer days and avoid the temptation to oversleep or undersleep on vacation.
. Stay healthy and hydrated: Sweating causes you to lose water and electrolytes. Make sure you don't become dehydrated. And, avoid excessive sun exposure during the day. A sunburn and thirst will add to your misery if you're trying to sleep in the heat.
. Slow down in the evening: Try to finish physical activity so your body cools well before bed. Take a cold shower and leave your hair wet to cool you.
. Avoid late, heavy meals: Instead, try to eat earlier and choose foods that replace lost water like fruits and vegetables.
For other stories and relevant news visit the Sleep Health Condition Center