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Expert Tips: How to Sleep Better in the Summer to Improve Your Mental Health

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It’s coming up to that time of year again, where the rising temperature index can start affecting more than just our physical health. Hot weather can make it extremely difficult to get a good night’s sleep, and sleep is one of the most important factors behind good health.

Sleepless nights can make you more irritable and vulnerable to stress, affecting your mental well-being. Leading medical reviewer Dr Shane Kannar, for eyesight experts, All About Vision, has put together these top tips to ensure you get the rest you need. 

Switch off and unwind 

If you struggle to get to sleep because your mind is racing, there are a few things you can do to help you switch off and unwind in the evening. Instead of reaching for your phone or the remote, you could try picking up a book, doing light meditation or putting on some relaxing music.

The blue light emitted from most screens can keep you up at night, impacting your sleep and general mood the following day, so it’s important to reduce screen time, especially before bed.  A warm bath with some bath salts or candles will help your mind switch off and get you ready for bed. 

Stay fit

Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Some light exercises in the day can help improve the quality of your sleep by making you feel more relaxed and calm. If you work at a desk – try to get up every hour for at least five minutes and take the stairs more often than the lift. If you use public transport, get off a stop early and walk a little further. Go for a short walk after lunch every day, even if it’s just around the block. 

Reduce your caffeine intake

While caffeine does have some mood-boosting health benefits, it can be detrimental to your sleep. As it is used to enhance focus and energy, it stimulates your nervous system and can stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. It can stay in your blood for up to eight hours, so drinking coffee after 3 pm isn’t recommended. Try decaffeinated coffee or pick up some camomile tea to help you relax instead. 

Try the 4-78 breathing method

The 4-7–-8 breathing method can help you relax before bed and make getting a good night’s sleep easier. We don’t realise how the day’s events can sit in our minds and stop us from having a good night’s sleep. You need to get comfortable and either sit on the couch or lie in bed and clear your mind. Then breathe in for four seconds, hold this for seven seconds, and breathe out for eight seconds. Try repeating this for a couple of minutes before bed, and you’ll find it should help you drift off. 

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