For many families, the summer months bring backyard barbecues, family vacations or lazy days spent by the pool. However, if you are one of the more than 20 million Americans with sleep apnea, this time of year may also aggravate your sleep apnea symptoms. As a result, you may find yourself too tired to organize a barbecue with friends or make plans with the family. Why is the summer impacting your sleep in Topeka? And what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out.
How Can Summer Negatively Affect Your Sleep?
Here are 3 common ways that summer can worsen your sleep apnea:
#1: Longer Days Lead to Less Sleep
The long summer days are filled with extra hours of sunlight, and it is only natural to want to stay up later. However, if you consistently stay up too late you will end up not getting sufficient sleep and feeling tired during the day. Moreover, adjusting your schedule in the summer may also accidentally lead you to break the nightly habit of wearing your oral appliance or using your CPAP machine.
#2: Spending More Time Outdoors
The summer months are meant to be enjoyed outdoors in the sunshine. However, spending more time outside may also expose you to more airborne allergens, such as pollen. Nasal congestion and other allergy-related symptoms can worsen your sleep apnea in Topeka.
#3: Increased Travel
When you’re packing your suitcase for a family summer vacation, it can be easy to forget to include your sleep apnea treatment. Perhaps you even think it can’t hurt to skip wearing your oral appliance or using a CPAP machine for the few days you will be out of town. However, even one night without treatment can lead to more sleep apnea-induced breathing interruptions at night and worse symptoms the following day.
How to Get Quality Sleep During the Summer
Here are a few tips to help you sleep well during the summer and keep your sleep apnea symptoms at bay:
- Sleep in a dark, comfortable environment to get the hours of sleep your body needs. Consider buying blackout curtains if sunlight enters your bedroom windows at an early hour.
- Try to limit your time outside during the late evening hours if you want to fall sleep easier. Exposure to sunlight in the evening can delay your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles.
- Instead of bringing your phone, tablet or laptop to bed, put away the screens and grab an old-fashioned book instead.
- Always use your sleep apnea treatment at night, even when you go on vacation.
In addition to the advice listed above, do not hesitate to contact your dentist if your sleep apnea grows worse during the summer. He or she will be able to evaluate your symptoms and determine if your current sleep apnea treatment is still right for you.
About the Author
Dr. Michael Michel has over 25 years of experience helping patients overcome sleep apnea in Topeka and Silver Lake. After graduating from the University of Missouri-Kansas School of Dentistry, he completed advanced training in sleep apnea treatment and non-surgical treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. To learn more about sleep apnea, visit Dr. Michel’s website or call 785-273-0802.