Better Sleep by Labor Day

WebMD tells you how to combat insomnia during the lazy, hazy days of summer -- and beyond.

From the WebMD Archives


"Invest in blinds that the sun can't get through," Kryger advises. Available at many hardware and home improvement stores, the blinds are an inexpensive way to ensure you get your zzz's, he says.

2. Heat and Humidity

The ideal temperature range for sleeping is 68 degrees to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, Kryger says. "It's difficult to fall asleep if it's much hotter."

The solution: Ensure you have a good air conditioner and sufficient ventilation in the bedroom, Breus says. "Often a small, inexpensive unit can cool the room," Kryger adds. "Measure the room before you shop and buy just what you need."

3. Vacation

While people tend to use the first few days of a holiday to catch up on lost sleep, they soon start staying up into the wee hours, Ohayon says. "Without a regular work schedule, you start sleeping when you want and eating as much as you want," he explains. Late evenings are often accompanied by a few too many nightcaps, a midnight pepperoni pizza, or long talks over caffeinated cappuccino – all of which can make matters worse. Long naps during the day can add further insult to injury.

"Respect your own cycle of eating and sleeping," he advises. "Seven hours [of sleep] is good; more than nine hours is actually bad." Adds Kryger, "You do not want to feel too full before bed. HeartburnHeartburn or acid refluxacid reflux can both keep you from falling asleep and wake you from sleep."

Kryger bemoans the fact that many people don't deal with accumulated sleep debt during their summer vacations. "A holiday is the perfect time to sleep in and catch up on lost sleep as well as to learn and practice good sleep habits that can help year round," he says.

Sleep Woes That Know No Season

Some sleep woes, like those associated with tireless toddlers who jump into your bed at sunrise, can hit any time of year. In his new book, Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, Breus tells you how to get sound sleep, night after night, no matter what the season.