The heat and the longer hours of sunshine are the main causes for sleep deprivation. For that reason many people turn to sleeping with air conditioning, open windows or use fans that also provide good benefits for a healthy sleep, as say the experts at the Sleep Unit of Hospital Quirónsalud Murcia, Torrevieja and Valencia.
According to Dr. Gonzalo Pin, coordinator of the Sleep Unit for Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia, in summer there are four circumstances that could affect our sleep, in the case of high summer temperatures, “if the temperature is greater than 22 degrees the onset of sleep is difficult therefore more movements and night time awakenings. Also the increased noise levels from outside when we open windows, more people on the street, the noise from the air conditioning machine etc. Our hearing is in “waking activity” hindering the depth and continuity of our sleep.”
The second cause that affects our sleep in the summer is the duration of light-dark natural cycle: as the daylight hours increase, night time falls later and this affects our internal biological clock “its set time” depending on the light we receive spontaneously depends on our bedtime. Our biological night in summer is somewhat shorter than in winter.
Another reason is the change in our daily habits, says Dr. Pin, “we get up later, eat and drink differently, we extend our leisure time and we lose the routine from the beginning to the end of our sleep patterns sleeping more irregular hours. Sleep is a habit that requires external elements to perform properly and consistency between these elements is critical. ”
The logical answer to all of this is practicing a healthy summertime habit of having an afternoon nap. Today we know that siestas (naps) improve our intellectual activity and our mood. But you must have an adequate duration of about half an hour and we should avoid naps very late in the day because they contribute to further delay of sleeping at night.
If these four conditions we also add a long journey in which we cross several time zones (especially eastbound) the appearance of Jet-Lag alter our regular sleep pattern for at least 4-7 days depending on our age, concludes the doctor.
Tips for better sleep in summer
The experts recommend that we follow these tips to achieve better sleep during this time of year, like ventilating the room hours before bedtime, eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated.
According to Dr. Esteban Vicente, a specialist in neurophysiology of the Sleep Unit of Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja, “to have restful sleep during the summer period it is very useful to have clear strategies to maintain proper sleep hygiene.” Some of the practical aspects to improve sleep in summer are:
We should try to normalize the usual sleeping: with the same sleep schedule, we should not sleep more than a 20 minute nap otherwise this alters our night’s sleep and do not lay in more than an hour after a sleepless night.
Breathe properly: With a simple technique you can get it, you must be laid face up and in a comfortable position, close your eyes and relax your muscles, breathing slowly three times without forcing the breath and the end of the third breath hold without breathing in air. It is important that the breathing is not forced, repeat the cycle six to eight times.
Adequate food: It is very important to eat a balanced diet and keep well hydrated. Do not smoke close to bed time and drink moderate consumption of coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks from noon onwards. Go to bed half an hour after eating normally and at least 2 hours if you have eaten a large meal. Finally, you should dine lightly with low fat and calories. The intake should contain vegetables (rich in tryptophan, amino acid precursor of serotonin and melatonin), few proteins and dairy. Avoid cakes and moderate alcohol consumption. Although dinner should be light you should not go hungry.
Conditioning the sleeping environment. Avoid excessive heat and noise in the room. The room must have a temperature of 20-22 C. Use a firm mattress with washable and breathable sheets and avoid sleeping with drafts. If ambient noises bothers you use earplugs. Finally, if it light bothers you or your partner usually sleeps watching TV use a mask it will also eliminate the bright light of the mornings.
Finally, take a hot shower to relax and wear comfortable cotton clothes for sleeping these are guidelines that will help us sleep better.
Sleeping on the left side benefits our digestive system and heart
Dr. Teresa Lluch, specialist of neurology. Hospital Quirónsalud Murcia, explains the importance of posture while sleeping. In fact, “The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology” has recently published several studies that mention that it is better for the lymphatic drainage when we sleep on the left side of the body. Similarly, sleeping on the left side of the body helps smooth functioning of our digestive system. This means that we have a better production of gastric juices and pancreatic enzyme secretion occurs without a lot of effort. Other benefits to the body that occur during sleep on the left side refer directly to the proper functioning of the heart.
Dr. Lluch stresses the importance of sleep to lead a healthy life and recommends adopting the pose on the left side. It need not be overnight. Simply sufficient time in the dominant position “.
Quirónsalud is the largest hospital group in Spain and the third largest in Europe. It is present in 13 autonomous communities has the most advanced technology and has more than 6,200 beds in the 80 centres, like the Jimenez Diaz Foundation, Ruber, Hospital La Luz, University Hospital Quirónsalud Madrid, Teknon, Dexeus, Polyclinic Gipuzkoa, etc., as well as a large team of highly specialized professionals and international prestige.
We work in promoting and teaching (seven of our hospitals are universities) medical and scientific research (we have the Health Research Institute of the FJD, a unique private research centre accredited by the Ministry of Research, Development and Innovation).
In addition, our healthcare service is organized into units and transversal networks to optimize the experience accumulated in the various centers and clinical translation of our investigations. Currently, Quirónsalud is developing more than 1,600 research projects throughout Spain and many of the centers are market leaders in this field, being pioneers in different specialties such as cardiology, endocrinology, gynecology, neurology and oncology, among others.