As a medical student, you know that sleep is important for your patients, but don’t forget that sleep is important for you too. In a study supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, researchers found that medical interns who worked long shifts with little sleep made more medical errors. Ensure the safety of your patients and get enough rest every night by creating an ideal sleeping environment for the summertime. Here’s what you should do before, during and after sleep:
Don’t start counting sheep just yet. The right preparation before going to bed can make your entire night more comfortable. First, let’s talk about temperature. Obviously during the summer it tends to heat up, but people sleep best in slightly cooler rooms, according to the National Sleep Foundation. You’ll want to set your temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on your personal preference.
Next, you need to make sure you won’t be rudely awakened by the sun shining in your eyes. The sun’s rays are a great way to naturally wake up, but remember, during the summer the sun rises at around 5 a.m. If you want to keep catching those Zs until 7, invest in shades with a blackout lining. You can get custom shades at retailers like the Shade Store to fit your bedroom windows. They will not only keep your bedroom darker, but cooler as well. One last thing, take a cool bath or shower before getting that well-deserved shut eye. You’ll lower your core body temperature and sleep better through those hot summer nights.
You might think that all you should be doing while sleeping is, well, sleeping. However, you can continue to improve the quality of your sleep even while you’re deep in dreamland. Having some kind of white noise in the background can be great for those that prefer not to sleep in total silence. You can create white noise with a device like the HoMedics Deep Sleep Sound Machine. A fan can also be great for both lulling you to sleep and keeping you cool.
Speaking of keeping cool, the right type of mattress can make a world of difference during the hotter months. A memory foam mattress can retain heat due to its tighter cell structure, which impedes air flow, says The Best Mattress. If you’re interested in a memory foam mattress that stays cool, consider those made of plant-based foams. This type of mattress is temperature neutral and more effective at dissipating heat during the night. Thinner mattresses (less than 6 inches) also stay cooler as there is less material for heat to get trapped in. (5)
Aside from having white noise and a cool mattress, sleeping on the ground floor of a multi-story home is another great way to sleep well during the summer. If you can’t fall asleep at night because it’s too hot, try sleeping on the first floor. Because heat rises, the upper levels will have a higher temperature than the downstairs area. You can even choose to sleep in a first-floor bedroom in the spring and summer and move to the second floor in the fall and winter.
How you wake up is as important as how you fall asleep. A frantic start to your day can wake you up temporarily but leave you tired by lunchtime. Allow your body to come out of sleep mode naturally by including the following in your daily morning routine:
- Wake up to your favorite tunes instead of a jarring alarm clock.
- Take a few deep breaths and stretch before getting up.
- Think of the best part of your upcoming day.
- Step outside and soak in some Vitamin D for a few minutes.
- Do three to five minutes of low-impact exercise.
- Eat a breakfast high in protein, fiber and carbs.