For most of us, Labor Day Weekend marks the end of summer. It's when Starbucks starts selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes and sweater weather falls upon us. Although we're sad to see summer come to a close, our sleep could get a lot better.
Humidity and heat during the summertime makes it harder to get a good night's sleep. People toss and turn more and often have trouble falling asleep due to warmer bedroom temperatures. In the fall, nights are a lot cooler and bedroom temperatures become much more comfortable. Scientists say that cooler air supports the body’s natural deep sleep process. The ideal room temperature for rest is between 60-70 degrees, depending on personal preference, body temperature, and bedding.
The new season also means shorter days. As it starts to get darker earlier, we may feel more tired. When the sun sets, our bodies begin producing melatonin - the sleep inducing hormone. Leaving work when it's dark outside makes people sleepier, and much more likely to go home to their beds instead of staying out late at a rooftop bar.
As the leaves change, so do our sleep habits. Longer nights and snuggle weather make us naturally crave sleep. There's nothing cozier than sleeping under warm blankets or on heated beds. The fall also means heartier meals like chili, potatoes, stews, pumpkins, and root vegetables. These carbohydrate-dense foods allow us to nod off quicker. However, feeling sleepier is not necessarily a good thing. Gloomier weather and less sunlight causes increased fatigue and lower energy levels. In order to combat this, people need to get their blood pumping. Staying active through exercise is the best way to help transition the body from summer to fall.
Sunny days, which are prevalent in the summer, actually help you fall asleep at night. Although the days are shorter in the fall, you should still make an effort to expose yourself to sunlight. Go for a morning walk, keep the blinds open, and sit by the window at work. Light activates the wake part of the sleep-wake cycle. Morning light helps to regulate your circadian rhythm and keep on track. When daylight savings ends on November 5th, make sure to get as much sunlight as possible during the following days. This will help your body adjust to the shorter days.