Have you noticed a change to your sleep patterns now that there’s more daylight? With sunlight spilling in through your bedroom windows earlier, you may find yourself waking up before you’re fully ready. And with dusk falling later in the evening and more daylight to do more, there’s a good chance your bedtime is getting delayed too.
Your circadian rhythm—the body’s natural response to light and dark over a 24-hour cycle—influences physical, mental and behavior changes. This biological timekeeping is built into a cluster of cells found in the brain, as well as in the retinas of the eyes and liver, that together activate sleep-wake activities, such as digestion, temperature regulation and cellular repair.
This is how your body is designed to function, that is, when undisturbed by modern stimuli, such as busy schedules, packed vacation itineraries, and perhaps the biggest threat of all—electronic devices. When you combine something as natural as early sunrises and late sunsets with unnatural external influences, say, staying up ‘til 11:00 scrolling through social media, you can count on losing desperately needed hours of sleep!
Summer sleep vs. winter sleep
There’s a reason why you feel energized and ready to take on more activities during warm weather months. Belgian researchers found that attention and concentration peaked around the longest day of the year (summer solstice), but dwindled during the shortest (winter solstice)—a difference of over 3 hours between the two events.
When you take a closer look at how our biological cycles and daily routines change seasonally, it’s easy to see why despite feeling more cheerful during spring and summer, you may also experience sleep deprivation.
Less melatonin production
Healthy slumber relies on production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. The process of producing it starts with your retinas, which detect light and signal to your brain to keep your body and mind going. In theory, as sunlight wanes, your body should start to wind down in preparation for a good night’s sleep… except that in spring and summer when sunlight is stretched to its max, this process gets pushed out. In June, the sun sets past 8:30 pm!
Add artificial light, especially blue light from devices and LED screens right before bedtime, and you can bet you won’t be counting sheep for awhile.
Too hot to sleep
You probably know the unpleasant feeling of tossing and turning late at night in a hot, muggy bedroom, unable to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. Science reveals that too-warm temperatures are not conducive to creating a healthy sleep environment. Your core body temperature naturally drops by about 2-3 degrees at night to help you fall asleep easier, which is further supported as the temperature of the air drops. But when the air temperature and humidity don’t drop, you’ll struggle to fall asleep.
The ideal sleeping temperature is about 65 degrees F, so turn down your air conditioner and wear light, breathable pajamas to get the rest you need.
Too many summertime cocktails
All the extra sun exposure and increase in skin’s natural synthesis of vitamin D will naturally put you in good spirits, leading to being more active and social… which invites good spirits of a different kind. According to the Journals of Studies on Alcohol, boozy behavior is highest in the summer.
Summer weather may make you feel like you’re on vacation, but your body is clocked in and needs full nights of uninterrupted sleep to keep you healthy. Late at night when alcohol wears off, it has a wakening effect that can disrupt your ability to fall into a deep state of recuperative sleep, when the body repairs itself and gets rid of toxic cellular waste. Collectively, the effects of over-imbibing can lead to fitful sleep, a groggy morning (among other unpleasant side effects), skin dehydration and an increase in destructive free radical activity.
To counter this destructive cellular activity, boost your intake of antioxidants from dark colored fruit. Cherries, citrus, apples, blueberries and blackberries are high in quercetin, a powerful plant pigment that combats free radicals. Body Kitchen Mega Quercetin supplies a whopping 1000 mg of plant-based quercetin, unlike synthetic ingredients found in many other quercetin formulas.
The concept of ‘beauty sleep’ is not conjecture. Every aspect of health—from skin to heart to memory—depends on the cellular cleanout that occurs overnight to function optimally, which can only happen when you’re sleeping soundly. And when it comes to fighting skin aging wrinkles and sagging, a few hours of sleep per night won’t cut it.
Formation of collagen and elastin is part of skin’s repair process and can only occur when you sleep, ideally for 7-9 hours. Collagen and elastin are your “anti-gravity” proteins, with collagen helping to keep skin smooth and firm, and elastin working to minimize sagging and maintain elasticity.
To give collagen and elastin formation a boost, add a scoop of collagen peptides to your smoothies and beverages. Peptides are literally the smallest forms of collagen, so they’re easily digested, absorbed and used to synthesize new skin and connective tissue. Try
Body Kitchen Youthful Beauty Collagen—each serving has 20% more skin-firming collagen peptides, PLUS resveratrol and black currant antioxidants to fight unstable free radicals that can develop as a result of insufficient sleep.
Nature’s sleep aid
You might think that your sleep-wake cycle would automatically adjust to the change in seasons and temperatures, and it would, absent the onslaught of external stimuli. But our modern world and high-tech lifestyles operate on their own schedule.
If you’re having trouble winding down and sleeping, it’s okay to nudge your body toward balance without going to extremes. Try magnesium, Mother Nature’s sleep aid. The same mineral that supports strong bones and blood pressure is also a known natural relaxant and mood balancer. Magnesium supports the parasympathetic system, which is involved in helping to relax muscles and calm an active mind. That’s why Epsom salt baths are so soothing.
For faster benefits, try Body Kitchen Unwind. Our pure and natural magnesium is in powder form for quicker absorption. Add it to water or caffeine-free, herbal tea 30 minutes before bedtime to help you sail away into slumber. You’ll find it in this month’s recipe, our soothing Unwind Nightcap.