Spring into Summer: Light and Sleep Changes

lightMany people have been noticing the very long days of late Spring and early Summer.

There is more energy to get things done, although that energy can end up being challenged into anxiety and irritability if you aren’t careful and don’t get at least a few hours of sleep every night…

I often think about my trips to Alaska a few years back. And stories of friends going backpacking and never really sleeping for days on end.

There’s something so seductive about staying up late. Many people are reminded of their childhood and the fun and adventure of a late night party or sleepover. There is a pleasant thrill from doing something that is usually not allowed.

The sunlight makes it possible to go without sleep for longer than is usually possible. But there are limits, and those friends found themselves getting more and more foggy and confused and almost not making it back to the trail head.

Elsewhere I have written about new research that shows that sleep is the time when our brain gets rid of toxic chemicals that build up during the day. A biochemical explanation for the loss of mental acuity that comes from too many nights without enough sleep…

This is a good time to put a little extra energy into preparing for sleep. Make a conscious effort to turn off the screens (with the sun up so long you don’t really need to be watching TV and using your computers late. Go for a walk at dusk and your brain and body will naturally wind down and prepare for sleep. The cooler air of evening will help, too.

If you’re experiencing increased energy from longer days, make sure to be somewhat thoughtrful about how you use that energy. It’s a very good time to get healthier. Increased exercise and a healthier diet are ways that you can use the energy now how to build reserves of energy for the fall and winter.