How to Enjoy the 4th of July Without Missing Out on Sleep!
When you take a look at the numbers, the Fourth of July is a pretty big deal for most Americans. More than 40 million of us are planning to travel for the holiday, over $6 billion will be spent on backyard barbecue fare, and more than $800 million will go up with a bang in the form of fireworks.
There’s no doubt that our country will ring in its 243rd birthday in some serious style this year, and most of us will be out there having a fantastic time, what with all of the food, road trips, and flaming fanfare that comes with the patriotic holiday.
But what about when the beer and hotdogs are all gone? Some of us are going to find it difficult to get to sleep after all of the fun that goes hand-in-hand with the 4th of July. It might not seem like it, but one of the side effects of celebrating our independence is suffering from poor sleep.
Given the fact that nearly 40% of us aren’t getting enough sleep as it is, going all out for the Fourth of July can wreak some serious havoc on your slumber this summer, what with overeating, fireworks late into the night, and imbibing in adult beverages.
Red, White, and Sleep Deprived
Let’s take a look at five ways this celebration of independence can disrupt your sleep, and what you can do to enjoy your pursuit of life, liberty, and a peaceful night’s rest.
1. Sultry Conditions
One of the things you can count on disturbing your sleep on the Fourth of July is the skyrocketing temps of summer. Whether you have an AC at home or not, it can be difficult to sleep in the scorching heat.
Luckily, there are some simple ways to sleep better in the summer, including sleeping solo (sorry pets and partners!), tossing your sheets in the freezer for a few minutes before turning in for the night, or taking a cool shower at bedtime.
You can also create a refreshing breeze throughout your home by setting up box fans in open windows, closing your blinds and curtains during the day to keep the heat outside where it belongs, and consider sleeping on the ground floor, since warm air rises.
2. Patriotic Pyrotechnics
We all know that a big fireworks show is guaranteed on Independence Day, and that it can’t get started until the sun goes down, which means your bedtime is going to be pushed back later than usual.
But when the Fourth falls on a weekday (as it does this year), you don’t have the luxury of a day off after the holiday, and you still need to get up bright and early to head into work and bring home the bacon.
So, what can you do about the sleep deficit that you know is coming? According to sleep experts, your best bet is to get as much rest as you can, even if it’s less than you would normally get on weeknights.
It’s important to keep your sleep-wake cycle balanced, which can be difficult on the Fourth of July, thanks to the neighborhood fireworks shows that tend to follow the big display well into the night.
Try using earplugs to block at as much of the sound disturbances as you can, and add some white noise to the mix, using either an app for your smartphone or simply turning on a ceiling or box fan to create a soothing whirring sound to help lull you to sleep.
3. Boozy Beverages
Beer and wine is sure to be flowing on July 4th, and if you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ll be joining in on saluting our country’s independence by toasting with a boozy beverage or two.
And many of us actually think imbibing in alcohol will help with sleep. After all, our grandparents used to swear by having a nightcap or two in the evening, right?
We hate to break it to you, but alcoholic beverages can actually keep you up at night, especially when it’s hot outside, thanks to our bodies having to work overtime to metabolize the booze while we sleep, causing some serious tossing and turning.
Health professionals recommend limiting your intake of alcohol throughout the day and cutting it out totally at least two hours before bedtime, if you don’t want to suffer from disrupted sleep after turning in for the night.
If you want to avoid trouble drifting off (and staying that way!), you might want to try alternating between adult beverages and some sleep-friendly drinks like caffeine-free tea or flavored water during your Fourth of July celebration.
4. Celebratory Cookouts
Who doesn’t love a hot dog or hamburger from the grill on Independence Day? That traditional American fare can be hard to resist, but you should be careful to avoid overeating during your patriotic celebration.
Eating fatty meals can cause insomnia, especially when they’re eaten less than two hours before bedtime. And eating too much, too close to bedtime can cause you to suffer from heartburn or indigestion while you’re trying to get some post-celebration shut-eye. Not good!
If you don’t want to encourage acid reflux from scarfing down a big meal and then laying down too soon after indulging, you might want to skip out on seconds and try to eat earlier in the evening, which will allow your body to digest your meal before you fall asleep.
5. Ignoring Routines
If you don’t have to work the next day, it can be mighty tempting to stay up late on a holiday and simply sleep in the next morning. This is especially true if you’re naturally a night owl, and think that you can just make up on missed sleep the next day.
The problem with this line of thinking comes in when you disrupt your regular sleep routine, causing you to throw a monkey wrench into your normal sleep-wake cycle, which could wreak havoc on the rest of your week.
When you try to repay a sleep debt by sleeping in later the next day, you can inadvertently cause something known as “social jet lag,” which is a condition that creates a perpetual feeling of grogginess due to a lack of regular sleep.
Your body needs a set sleep schedule in order for you to thrive, and that means going to bed and getting up at the same times as often as possible, even on weekends, holidays, or other special occasions.
How to Celebrate the Fourth in (Laid Back) Style
Now that you know how Independence Day can negatively impact your sleep, let’s talk about the six ways you can celebrate the patriotic holiday without losing out on any more of the sleep that you want and need – or without feeling as if you’re missing any fun!
1. Go beyond a basic BBQ
Instead of heading out to an overcrowded party, try having your own barbecue in the backyard. You can have a great time with a lot less noise if you’re in the comfort of your own yard. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring!
Try grilling up steak or fish, instead of the typical hot dogs or hamburgers, and get the kids to help you create some unique 4th of July desserts to add even more fun to the private party.
2. Host a neighborhood movie night
Once you’ve enjoyed a nice meal with the family, you can open up the celebration (without adding any chaos) by hosting a movie night in your backyard with a projector and a white sheet, once the sun goes down and before the fireworks start.
This is an awesome way to enjoy yourself while still keeping things calm and laid back, and you can make some popcorn or s’mores to add some extra enjoyment for the kiddos in the crowd.
3. Turn your backyard into an oasis
If your kids are looking forward to a big blowout for the Fourth, but the thought of heading out into holiday traffic for a trip to the beach or a local fireworks show isn’t in-line with your hopes for being able to turn in on time, you need to get creative!
You can make your backyard the place to be this July 4th by setting up some kiddie pools and slip n’ slides, providing sparklers for festive (but quiet) fun, or even create a non-alcoholic bar for holiday-themed drinks the kids can make themselves.
4. Celebrate with the ones you love
Serious about being able to sleep this 4th of July? Your best bet is to keep the celebration in the family by hosting something quiet at home, or you might even want to arrange an at-home date night if you’re going to be kid-free.
Just because it seems like everyone else you know is going out for the holiday, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same, after all. You can spend the time with those you care about the most and still embrace tradition with a quiet dinner at home or a night of marathoning patriotic movies on Netflix.
5. Have an at-home campout
Speaking of keeping the celebration private, why not have an at-home campout with the kiddos to celebrate the 4th this year?
You can enjoy everything the Great Outdoors offers right in your own backyard by setting up tents and even a fire pit behind your own home. You and the family can spend time cooking over an open flame, singing camp songs, and gazing at the stars.
All you need is a little ingenuity and a couple of sleeping bags, and you’ve got yourself a peaceful but entertaining Independence Day celebration, which will allow you to get the sleep that you need!
6. Let the kids take the reins
If you want the kids to have tons of fun on the Fourth, but you don’t want the headache of planning a big blowout, why not let them come up with their own ideas for a patriotic celebration at home?
Simply set a budget, give a bit of guidance if they need it, and let the kiddos plan a fun Fourth of July without even leaving the house. Just make sure they run any ideas through you before taking it upon themselves to make them happen – especially when it comes to fireworks!
More Tips for a Restful and Refreshing Summer
Want more tricks for enjoying your 4th of July (and the rest of your summer) without losing out on any of the sleep that you want and need? Take a look at these other related articles for helpful info on getting the most out your sack time this summer.