sleeping in arizona

Dozing in the Desert: Tips for Summer Sleeping

In Arizona, we have unique elements that might hinder a good night’s sleep each summer: extreme heat, loud monsoons, dry air. Lauri Leadley, president of Valley Sleep Center and clinical sleep educator, provides tips and tricks for catching your zzz’s this summer in the desert.

What are your tips and tricks for a good night’s sleep during the hot summer? Is there an ideal sleep temperature?

Yes, the recommended temperature to sleep comfortably during these hot summer months is 67 degrees Fahrenheit. There are many things you can do to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep, including maintaining a bedtime routine with the same bedtime and wake-up times, turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime, and shower or bathe just before bedtime as it will increase melatonin to help you fall asleep and remain asleep.

How can we block out noise from nighttime monsoon storms?

Earplugs, headphones and white noise are all great options to help block out noise from any nighttime storms.

Can living in the dry desert affect one’s sleep?

Yes, dehydration and the heat can greatly affect one’s sleep. Drinking water and staying hydrated especially during these hot summer months is instrumental in helping you sleep better.

Many who don’t normally struggle with sleep are facing such issues during the pandemic. How can stress affect sleep and in what ways can that be combated?

Stress increases cortisol which is our awake hormone. All of the fear and anxiety people are struggling with during the current pandemic will cause increased cortisol when we need melatonin levels to rise in the evening time to help us fall asleep and stay asleep. There are many things you can do to ease your stress and anxiety to get better sleep, such as eating healthy and exercising regularly, meditation, power-down hour turning off all electronics, writing down three to five things you’re grateful for as gratitude is the anecdote for anxiety, and supplements like herbal teas for sleep.

Many kids are off their normal sleep schedules at this time. What should parents know about kids and sleep?

Parents should always set a scheduled sleep routine with children and stick to it. Rewarding kids with an extra 30 minutes of “fun time” before actual bedtime if they stick to a routine will encourage them to stick with it and recognize there is a reward for good behavior.

What are the main dos and don’ts right before bedtime?

There are many factors that are detrimental to getting a good night’s rest. Don’t take naps throughout the day. Don’t watch TV, work on your computer, phone or any electronic device right before bed. I always recommend a power-down hour before bedtime eliminating all electronics. Do have a set bedtime and wakeup routine that you can maintain, eat healthy and exercise regularly, and sleep at a temperature you will be comfortable with throughout the night.

What are your thoughts on sleep apps?

Sleep apps can be a great resource for better sleep. Nama Sleep is a “help me sleep” app I created that includes sleep meditations, relaxation, and techniques for better sleep! You can download it in the app store here.

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