During Summertime People Sleep Less Than in Winter. The Light is the Worst.

The heat makes you sweaty, the light of the summer night keeps you awake. Does this sound familiar?

Markku Partinen, the professor, specialist in neurology and sleep researcher, tells that summertime insomnia is a clearly rising phenomenon in the rapports.

-For some summer affects their insomnia, to others it doesn’t. It’s rare that summertime insomnia becomes to a level of a disease, he says.

According to a survey done in 2002, approximately 20 percent of adults however experiences some kind of difficulties in sleeping during summertime. Approximately 10 percent experiences sleep deterioration in spring and less than 5 percent in autumn and winter.

Those that can sleep as much as they will, so for example unemployed people and pensioners, sleep clearly less in summer than in winter. The need of sleep does not however decrease anywhere.

-In winter, when it’s dark, the secretion of melatonin is better. The light blocks the secretion of melatonin, tells Partinen.

Melatonin is the body’s “twilight hormone” which affects falling asleep and sleep.

The light thus keeps us awake by preventing the production of it. In practise it means that during summer we go to bed later than usually and wake up earlier than usually.

Partinen tells that in May-August there is clearly the most fatigue accidents in the traffic. Often they happen early in the small hours.

Research professor Timo Partonen from the National Institute for Health and Welfare tells that sleep gets disturbed by both psychic and physical distractions.

-The outdoor luminosity is a clearly influential thing. People spend more time outside and stay there later than in winter. At the same time the outdoor light invigorates. If you however wake up as early as in winter, you get less sleep than is needed.

The problem is that in the evenings people stay up past the natural time window to fall asleep. After it sleep won’t come.

If the sleeping pattern is upside down, sleep may remain light and intermittent, and it tires. That is why the wake-up time should be kept the same on weekdays and on holiday.

An adult’s need of sleep is 6-9 hours in a night.

-By seeing how long you need to sleep so you aren’t tired and don’t have to take a nap in the middle of the day in order to stay invigorate, you may find out what is your personal need.

The first trick for summertime insomnia is to make the bedroom dim. Shades and block-out curtains are a good help.

Another factor keeping awake in summertime is temperature.

-If the room temperature rises to 27 degrees, it’s almost impossible to sleep, says Partinen.

The ideal temperature is usually 20-23 degrees but it can vary between 18-24 degrees.

-The cooler the temperature is when you sleep, the warmer blankets are recommended to choose. Limbs are important to keep warm, but it would be ideal to breathe cool air, says Partinen.

An air-source heat pump is an efficient room cooler, and on the other hand, socks and even cotton gloves might be helpful for a chilly person.

Firstly other tricks than drugs are recommended to treat insomnia nowadays.

Fitness exercise that raises the heart rate 2-3 times a week at least for half an hour at a time is needed regularly also because of sleep.

In summer, an evening swim or a small light evening walk is a good way to improve your sleep.

-Swimming in a relatively cool water is good for you and also the head has to be wetted. When the body temperature lowers, it’s easier to fall asleep. Also a cold shower and wetting the head in it may help if you don’t have an opportunity to go for a swim, says Partinen.

A light evening snack is recommended, but of that kind that it keeps hunger away. It can include carbohydrates.

Noise is one factor that keeps awake. The sleeping space should also be quiet.

In summertime, allergic people may be bothered if the room is aired and pollen comes in.

Also mosquitos may disturb the sleeper during nights.

Approximately 10 percent of the population is chronically sleepless.

-If insomnia is caused by a disease, like depression or psychoactive substance problem, it should be medicated first, but sedatives aren’t recommended to take for insomnia, says Partonen.

-Melatonin, which has been much talked about in the recent years, isn’t still considered as a drug. It helps to fall asleep if the sleeping pattern is upside down. It’s though easily used incorrectly, tells Partinen.

The time melatonin is taken is really important for the user. It should be taken no later than 6 hours before the middle of the night’s sleeping pattern and preferably already few hours before it.

-For adults the time to take melatonin is usually at 19-22. After ten o’clock in the evening it’s not worth taking any more, as it only shifts the sleeping pattern later.

If you instead stay up because of anxiety or other similar reason, melatonin isn’t the right drug.

-Then a small doze of an antidepressant or a tiring antihistamine can be used as a drug.

When should a person suffering from insomnia reach for help?

-If sleep issues affect on your performance during the day and lasts few weeks and your tricks aren’t enough to control them, tells Partinen.

Defeat summertime insomnia

1. Take care of the dimness of the bedroom. Block-out curtains or shades are effective.
2. Keep the room temperature at 20-23 degrees during sleep.
3. Make sure that no insects get in the bedroom.
4. Light exercise in the evening helps to fall asleep. An evening swim is ideal as the body cools at the same time.
5. Instead of an evening swim you may take a cold shower.
6. Make sure your limbs are warm.

Original article by: Sanna Heinonen
Link to original article: http://www.hameensanomat.fi/uutiset/kanta-hame/310895-kesaaikaan-nukutaan-vahemman-kuin-talvella-pahinta-valo

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