With summer officially in full swing, you’re more likely planning your next vacation, pool day, or barbecue menu than plotting out consistent sleep and wake times. And that’s okay!
No matter the season, Oura members’ sleep habits are always top of our mind. To better understand our collective sleep habits, we took a closer look at aggregate data to see what happens in these lazy, longer days of summer.
? Total sleep duration is lower in the summer.
However, your sleep need doesn’t decrease. We tend to stay up later, but don’t make up for it by sleeping later. To feel your best during the day, maintaining consistent sleep and wake times is key—tap into Oura’s bedtime guidance to fine-tune your habits.
One fun quirk? Oura members in our home country of Finland tend to see their total sleep increase in July and August, a time when many are on extended summer holiday.
? Sleep latency, the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, is higher.
Light suppresses the body’s production of melatonin, so if you’re enjoying the sunlight later into the evening, melatonin release will be delayed, and it may take longer to fall asleep. Take advantage of the longer days by getting more natural light in the morning, then focus on creating a dimmer environment in the evening before bed.
Core body temperature also plays a factor. In the summer months, make sure to keep your sleeping environment on the cooler side: 65°F or 18°C is ideal for sleep. Another habit that can help: Taking a warm bath 1-2 hours before bed can cue your body to wind down as well.
? Less time is spent in REM sleep.
Highly important REM sleep is critical for brain health and emotional resilience. Our data shows that the percentage of REM sleep decreases during the summer months. Why? Oura’s Lead Scientist, Heli Koskimäki, explains:
“When temperatures rise and it’s lighter for longer outside, we tend to spend less time in bed, cutting our total sleep time short. When we sleep less, we shift the balance of our sleep stages towards deep sleep and away from REM sleep which tends to occur more in later sleep cycles.” So, spending more time in bed to ensure your body has time to cycle through REM sleep is key.