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Is summer actually stressing us out?

You might imagine that summer would be the most relaxing time of the year, but it turns out for many that’s not the case at all.

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A new study conducted by SleepRate finds about a third of us rank the summer season as the most stressful season of the year.

Rutgers University Sociology Professor Dr. Deborah Carr believes this makes a lot of sense.

“At this time of year, we know that hot weather can make people’s nerves fray easily, tempers are short so the heat is actually one important source of stress and disrupted sleep for those who don’t have air conditioning,” Carr said.

In addition, Carr said “families spend much more time together over the summer, especially families with young children who are no longer in school or in daycare, and we know that creates a whole host of stressers for people.”

And then there’s the family vacation.

“While vacations are fun, they’re also a pressure cooker,” Carr said. “Your schedules are disrupted, you’re spending time with family members who might get on your nerves. You might have these grand expectations for a lovely vacation that ends up being dashed, so vacations for many people are very stressful, and in fact many people say they need a vacation to recover from their vacation.”

To avoid stress during the summer, she recommends managing expectations.

“Maybe you have this to-do list that you want to achieve over the summer that’s really unreasonable, and recognizing maybe you need to ratchet back your expectations,” she said.

Carr also suggested making sure “there’s time for family members to stay separate from one another for a little while, and try to have some regularity in schedule because irregular sleep schedules really can be really problematic.”

She said using some caution and planning ahead can go a long way.

“Activities like going to the beach or traveling are fun, but they’re also accompanied by a lot of stressers, everything from traffic to sunburn to losing airline tickets,” Carr said. “Approach fun activities with a little bit of caution and preparation to help you survive your stressful summer adventures.”

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