Nighty Night: Soothing Summer Sleep Tips

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You go to bed exhausted with the sweet scent of sunscreen after a long day in the sun, but all you can do is toss and turn. Here are some things to try before bed to ensure a well-rested summer’s night of sleep.

Eat at your normal time. Even though it stays lighter much later, it doesn’t mean you should push dinnertime to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. Eating a heavy meal too close to bedtime can cause digestive upset and heartburn, making you too uncomfortable to fall asleep. If hot weather makes you crave ice cream after dinner, be sure to enjoy it at least an hour or two before hitting the hay so the sugar doesn’t pep you up.

Kick back with a refreshing iced herbal tea. There’s something about summer weather that makes us want to reach for a cold beer or margarita, but drinking too much alcohol at night can cause fragmented sleep. Enjoy one alcoholic beverage to satisfy your craving, and if you still need to quench your thirst, go for seltzer with fruit slices or iced chamomile tea.

Water before bed. Dehydration is more common in the summer because the heat makes us lose more water. Not getting enough H2O can make you feel tired all day so ensure you’re getting your fill of nature’s beverage by sipping some 30 minutes or so before bed (not too close to bedtime or too much that you have to pee in the middle of the night). It can help move things along digestively as well, preventing constipation in the morning.

Go for AC for allergy relief. Warmer weather means you can finally open the windows. The sweet sound of crickets chirping or the pelting of light summer rain can help lull you to sleep, but if you suffer from seasonal allergies, pollen will blow right in, causing sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes to keep you up. Use a small fan on your dresser or air-conditioning to keep you cool and you’ll soon love the gentle whirring white noise.

Cool shower. Feeling hot and sticky, or worse—sunburned—will keep anyone up. Cool off (and wash away allergens that get trapped in your hair) with a refreshing shower before bed. Going to bed with wet hair is one way to help you stay cool all night. And if you suffer from a sunburn, moisturize with a lotion that contains aloe. If your burn is especially bad, lube up with some gel that contains pain-relieving lidocaine and take a few ibuprofen to reduce inflammation.

Soothing stretches. Getting in shape for baring your body in the summer often means working out more often and more intensely. If you tend to skip out on the stretching sessions during the day, you’ll end up feeling really sore (or could risk an exercise-related injury) so make a habit of stretching at night. Try these yoga poses you can do in your bed to target commonly tight areas such as the hips, hamstrings, shoulders, and lower back; that relaxed feeling will help you drift off to dreamland.

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