Staring at the ceiling on those hot, humid nights?

man laying in bed

About 15 per cent of the population suffers from insomnia at any given time.  Regardless of the time of year, your sleep can improve if you follow a few basic rules, says Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick, Chief of Medical & Academic Affairs/Chief of Staff at Hotel Dieu Hospital and medical director of the Kingston General Hospital sleep lab.

  • For the sake of your body’s internal clock, get up at the same time each day and limit any daytime snoozes to catnaps (about 10 minutes). 
  • Reduce activity before sleep and limit caffeine/alcohol intake.
  • Avoid light-emitting TVs, smartphones and iPad, which can disrupt the body clock because they emit blue light that slows down or prevents the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. 
  • Sleep in a dark, cool room, about 18 degrees C (65 degrees F)—not always easy in the summer and especially so if you don’t have air conditioning.  Try to prevent excessive heat build-up in your bedroom by keeping curtains and windows closed against sunlight and oppressive heat during the day. 
  • Hot air rises, so think about sleeping on your ground floor or basement instead of upper storey. 
  • If you don’t have AC, you can put a pan of ice in front of a fan so you’ll be refreshed by a cool, rather than hot, breeze. 
  • If you find yourself tossing and turning, get up and do something else (read, meditate) and return to your bed when you’re ready to sleep.