Sleep, a grasshopper and an ant

Sleep, a grasshopper and an ant

Summer reminds me of the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The ant works hard over summer preparing his stockpile of food for the long and baron winter. The grasshopper is care free, playing in the sun, relaxing, and having fun. When invited by the ant to help prepare for winter the grasshopper brushes their invitation aside.. ‘chill out’ the grasshopper says, ‘you are too serious’. But when winter comes the grasshopper is starving and the ant is well prepared. 

There are two potential endings to this story. One where the grasshopper approaches the ant for food and the ant says no, ‘you didn’t earn any so you must face the consequences’. And the other, where the ant shows compassion and shares their food with the hungry grasshopper.

Summer is the time for fun. But it is also a time to prepare. Sleep is often given a backseat in summer, the quality and the length of our sleep can decrease. This is partly from natural reasons:

  • Extra sunlight wakes us up early and keeps us up later.
  • Warmth affects our sleep. It is harder to get to sleep and have good quality sleep in warm weather.

And other reasons:

  • We can drink more and eat less healthy. This has an effect on the quality of sleep we have.
  • More social occasions can disrupt our consistency of sleep timings which in turn disrupts our circadian rhythm.

Try these things over summer to help you sleep better:

  • Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. This will stop you being woken up too early by sunlight. Or where a Sleep Mask.
  • Keep your bedroom cool with a fan or air conditioning. The optimal temperature for sleep is 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius. 
  • If you are struggling to get to sleep in summer try having a warm bath an hour before you normally go to sleep. A warm bath will help you ‘shed heat’, cooling your body in preparation for sleep. (Your brain needs to cool down by about 1.5 degrees to get ready for sleep!)
  • Keep timings of going to sleep and waking up as consistent as possible.
  • Try (I know this one is hard!!) to not drink and eat too much close to sleep. This will affect the quality of your sleep.

Don’t worry too much about it either! Part of the preparation for winter is relaxing and having fun over summer. These days we don’t need to spend the long summer days foraging and stockpiling for food! Be part ant, grasshopper this summer!