Last week, the New York Times published an article on a topic many are struggling with right now: interrupted sleep over the summer. “There is some evidence that seasonal changes can impact sleep patterns,” journalist Rachel Rabkin Peachman writes, “and there are several issues that could cause you to lose sleep in the summer.” While Rabkin Peachman delves into different strategies to help optimise sleep, like sticking to a consistent routine, lowering the temperature of your bedroom and disconnecting from devices before bed, there are so many Microsteps that can help us optimise our sleep.

We asked our Thrive community to share the tips that help them get the sleep they need during the summertime. Which of these strategies will you try?

Set a two-minute journalling timer

“As a lifelong overthinker, one of the most important tools in my nighttime routine is release writing. I set a timer for two minutes and use that time to journal all the thoughts and emotions that are in my mind and body, allowing them to be present and processed. When the timer goes off, I set it again and sit for two minutes with the peace of a calmer mind and stay present in the moment. When the timer goes off again, I throw the paper away and climb into bed, feeling ready for a good night’s sleep.”

—Sam Curtis, life coach, London, UK

Take a cool shower

“The summer heat can make me feel sticky, so before bed I take a shower. For the last minute of the shower, I turn the water to a cold temperature. I feel chill, both figuratively and literally, and it clears my mind of any stress, making it easier to fall asleep.”

—Kristin Meekhof, author and media and book consultant, Royal Oak, Michigan, US

Create a “worry list”

“Oftentimes, we have trouble sleeping because we are ruminating on something. One way to avoid this happening is to make a list towards the end of the day of all the things that are playing on your mind. For every item on your list, write down the next step you will take. This will create a sense of closure for your brain, and it will stop feeling the need to wake you up in the middle of the night to ruminate.”

—Karen Sargent, organisational psychologist, London, UK

Take a moment for gratitude 

“I find that taking time at the end of every day to recognise and be grateful for all the great things that I accomplished that day is a wonderful way for me to wind down and quiet my very active mind. It could be anything from making a new acquaintance, having a fantastic and meaningful conversation with a friend or colleague, or being able to enjoy time with my pets. Gratitude is such a great way to end the day.”

—Suzanne Schnaars, engineer, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, US

Keep your bedroom dark

“I love to keep the room dark! I sleep with my bedroom door closed, blackout curtains up, and air conditioner blasting. It eases my transition in and out of the summer season and feels more comfortable.”

—Nicole Pyles, writer, Portland, Oregon, US

Drink a cup of tea

“I sleep well when I make time for a cup of tea at night. It’s a ceremonial way of preparing for bed and drinking tea with intention. Tea rituals can be a source of calm, as well as a great reminder to slow down, empty your mind and tune in to the present moment. By using all your senses to prepare the tea, you can create space for reflection and mindfulness.”

—Camille Sacco, banker and meditation instructor, Winter Park, Florida, US

Read by the natural light

“With the longer stretches of daylight, it can feel challenging to doze off when it isn’t yet dark. One strategy that has helped me nod off is to read by natural light. I get ready for bed early and instead of turning on my lamp to read, I use the light coming in the window. Before I know it, my eyes get heavy and falling asleep comes with ease.”

—Emily Madill, author and certified professional coach, Nanaimo, B.C., Canada

Wear cold socks to cool down

“I’ve found one of the nicest ways to relax into a good night’s sleep during the summer is to chill a pair of cotton socks in the fridge and slip them on before getting into bed. Cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body, allowing you to drift away. I find it especially effective when [I] softly say a mantra such as ‘Nowhere to go, nothing to do, time to rest’.”

—Beverly Landais, executive coach, Tunbridge Wells, UK

Get into bed earlier than usual

“In the summer, we tend to stay out later at night going to events, being outside and enjoying the cooler evening hours before the sun goes down. As a result, we often eat our evening meal later than usual and go to sleep later. Over the years, I have learned to just keep basically the same schedule year-round and resist the temptation to stay up later in the summer. This means that during the summer, I’m actually getting into bed when there’s still a bit of light in the sky! Try installing blackout curtains or blinds to trick your brain into thinking it’s nighttime.”

—Annie Bauer, high performance coach, Asheville, North Carolina, US

Create a wind-down routine

“My winding-down routine starts when work is done. The makeup comes off, the clothes get changed into something comfy, and this is the symbolic reset. The rest of the night is creating space and relaxing, so I usually sit on the deck with my little dog and listen to the birds with a book. Dinner prep is usually simple and uncomplicated. Then to get ready for bed, I like having automatic flickering candles on the windowsill in my bedroom. They set the mood when I arrive upstairs. They are on for an extra 30 minutes after getting into bed and are the final soothing visual with their soft glowing flickering lights.”

—Carolina Migliaccio, transformational mentor, Chicago, IL

 

This article was first published on 23 June 2022 at Thrive Global.

Marina Khidekel
Chief Content Officer, Thrive Global

Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive Global content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership campaigns, editorial tentpoles and partnerships, and the voice of the Thrive app. In her role, she helps people tell their personal stories of going from surviving to thriving, brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels, at conferences, and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY.

Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.

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