Midsummer is marked by hot weather that usually makes it harder to sleep at night. According to research, 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 to 60 percent humidity are the ideal conditions to fall asleep and stay asleep. If the weather gets extremely cold or hot, it disrupts your body’s ability to get a good night’s rest. The reason behind this is that your body temperature naturally goes down at bedtime, so you can relax and doze off with ease. When it’s hot, your body finds it difficult to cool down, affecting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. That explains why you keep tossing and turning all night long, which can lead to being cranky and unproductive during the day. Over time, lack of enough sleep can cause some serious health issues.
How Heat Affects Your Body
We all have unique bodies. But one common thing is that your body temperature naturally fluctuates throughout the day to regulate circadian rhythm. You tend to feel more alert when your body heat rises and then sleepy when it drops.
When the temperature drops, your metabolism slows down, and at the same time the release of melatonin, the sleeping hormone, increases. This signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. If your body overheats, this process is interrupted, and you’ll have trouble sleeping.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help you drift off and stay asleep throughout the night.
Tips to Sleep When It’s Hot Outside
Keep the Hot Air Out
During the day, when the temperature starts to rise, be sure to close the windows, blinds, and curtains. This helps to keep the hot air out. If possible, get your bedroom to a cool temperature before heading to bed.
If you have infants or young children, you’ll want the room just warm enough since their bodies can’t withstand a cold room.
Take a Hot Bath
While it may sound unthinkable to take a hot bath on a hot night, it will actually help you cool down before bed. To make it work for you, take the hot bath a few moments before bedtime. You see, when you take a hot shower, your body temperature will reduce as your body tries to adapt to the cooler environment.
Sleep experts also recommend taking a cold shower before bed to help lower your core body temperature, in turn promoting sleep. Alternatively, you can pat your bare skin with a damp towel or washcloth just before you get in bed.
You sweat a lot in hot weather, meaning you’ll keep getting thirsty. The last thing you want is getting out of bed to quench your thirst late at night. Not only does this disrupt your sleep pattern if you have trouble getting sleep, but you’ll also have a long night.
Therefore, make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day and keep a bottle or glass of water near the bed.
Keep Your Bedroom Cool
If you have installed an AC, dial down the temperature and humidity to cool down your room. If you don’t have an AC, you can use your fan to circulate the air. Just be sure to open the windows so that the air circulates properly.
In case there’s only one window, position your fan so that it circulates the cooler nighttime air inside. Another cool hack is to place a large bowl filled with ice between you and the fan. The fan will blow the cool misty air that the ice emits, keeping you cool.
For some people, the fan provides white noise, which masks other noises and may help aid better sleep. However, fans may not work as effectively in very hot and dry air.
The classic futon is a Japanese bed that traditionally goes directly on the floor. Turns out, sleeping as close as possible to the ground is cooler. This keeps you cool throughout the night, thereby, improving your sleep quality.
When it’s hot, you want to reduce the number of bedclothes and beddings you normally use. Avoid tight clothing since they inhibit the amount of airflow your body receives throughout the night. Sleeping au naturel is an effective and affordable way to cool down. Additionally, be sure to use fabrics made from natural fibers since they regulate your body temperature better than synthetic materials.
You may also want to ditch your comforter and go for a lightweight blanket or simply use a pair of sheets instead.
Switch Your Sleeping Gear
Avoid using memory foam mattresses since they are insulating, meaning they trap heat in your body. Instead, opt for other types of mattresses, like innerspring mattresses, which sleep cooler than others and may contribute to your comfort at night.
On the same note, invest in pillows with a permanent “cold side”. These pillows use heat technology that helps to keep their fabrics cold so that you don’t keep flipping your pillow for the cold side.
On extremely hot nights, the more bodies on the bed, the more heat is generated. So, it might be wiser to avoid sharing a bed on such nights. If you have to share the bed, be sure that you both have the right bedding to keep your bodies less sweaty.
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