Endless Summer Days
I know that I’m not the only one who has additional trouble sleeping during the summertime.
Why do I think that is?
For me, the long days, filled often with outside moments, fresh air, and sunshine leave me exhausted, but the extended periods of daylight and the overall feelings of warmth in my home keep me tossing and turning late into the night.
The long days of summer
During the wintertime, I feel like I could easily go to bed at 5 PM every day, and in return, I’d be happy to stay under my covers until sometime after 6 AM the next morning. When it’s dark, and freezing, it’s easier for me to hibernate – to facilitate my natural urges to burrow beneath the blankets, to rest even when I’m not asleep, and to stay curled up at home.
But in the summer, it feels like there’s so much extra time. Time to go places and do things, to see people, and to cross things off my list. The later the sun stays out in the evenings, the later I am convinced I should still be active and involved, running errands, cooking, cleaning, seeing friends, and participating fully in the evening hours.
Summertime routine shifts
This always means that my bedtime gets pushed back, and my routine, while simple, shifts from not long after dinner to much closer to midnight.
When I find myself finally falling into bed, it's harder to relax. My brain constantly is jumping around, from task to task and memory to memory, thinking about the day that's done and the next one to come.
Parenting during the summer
It's not just the structure of the sunlight and the timing of the summer days that impacts my sleep, it's also parenthood. Mothering a 2-year-old during the summer is quite different than during the winter. That extra energy, and enthusiasm, and push for activities and fear of missing out – it's large and in charge in my daughter.
She's aching to get out of bed the minute the daylight streams into her bedroom, and she's on the go, all day every day, outside of the 60- to 90-minute nap she takes in the early afternoon. When she's awake, she's on the go, each activity requiring setup and cleanup, supervision and instruction, and more often than not, my participation too.
Busier during the summer
During the colder months, the darker months, we spend all our time indoors. Cozied up reading books and playing with toys, parenting at times can be less physically active and more passive than it is during the summer. During the summer days, I'm so much busier – finding her bathing suit, filling her kiddie pool, throwing a ball for her to catch, setting up a craft activity, pushing her on her bike. The physical energy and exertion are great for us both, but it means that my exhaustion shows up in different ways at night.
Savoring me time
Lately, I've found that when I put my daughter down for her nap, I've taken one look at my to-do list and rolled my eyes, finding my way to my mattress to try for some shut-eye too before she's up again.
When evening comes, the hours after her bedtime are the only that I just belong to me – so I try to take advantage of them, often staying up much later than I should for one reason or another.
Do you find that the change in season impacts your internal clock or the amount of external energy you exert each day? I'd love to hear your experiences below.
Do you have any other health conditions besides insomnia?