How To Stay Cool When Sleeping
A good night’s rest depends on many different factors.
Some people struggle with nightmares or health issues, and diet and exercise can play a big role in the quality of your sleep.
But one of the most difficult times to get a good night’s sleep is when the mercury rises during the summer months.
The ideal temperature for sleeping is somewhere around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18 degrees celsius, but a rogue heatwave can often make it difficult to maintain this sort of temperature.
Here are some things you can try to stay cool when sleeping the next time the temperature starts to climb.
How To Stay Cool When Sleeping
Essentially, it comes down to three areas to examine: your sleeping environment, clothing choices, and habits before bedtime.
Below, we’ll break these down to be sure you’re keeping yourself comfortable at night. With just a few tweaks here and there, you’ll be able to get deeper, more restful sleep while keeping your body and mind happy.
Your Sleeping Environment
The most obvious choice for a cooler night’s sleep is to make changes to your surroundings.
Weather, time of year, room insulation, and access to windows are all factors to consider as you prepare the perfect environment for yourself to rest in. There are also fixtures you can install to help the air stay cool and prevent excess heat from building up in your sleeping area.
Lower Your Thermostat
The easiest action to take is to lower the thermostat in your home to ensure your home won’t be heated above the magic 18-degree mark in the evening.
This sends a signal to your body that it’s time to cool down and calm down for sleep, and plays into our natural tendency for body temperature to lower in the evenings – a sort of “hibernation tactic” that regulates day and night patterns and allows both our brains and bodies to get adequate rest.
Open The Windows
Opening the windows to allow some fresh air into your bedroom can help to cool it down.
If you have multiple windows in the same space, leave them all open to create a cross-breeze, helping circulate air better than the simple one-directional advantage of a single window.
But be wary – if the temperature drops throughout the night, you may have to close one or more windows before morning to prevent swinging to the extreme of becoming too cold!
Get A Yourself A Fan Or Air Conditioning
A simple fan can help alleviate some of the stuffiness and humidity in your room, particularly if you can position one in front of an open window.
Setting up more than one fan can also create an air pattern that circulates cool air around your home and makes you feel cooler, even if the temperature isn’t greatly affected.
Alternatively, if you’re willing to invest some time and money, installing air conditioning or using a portable air conditioning unit can make an enormous difference to a room’s temperature.
The area will cool down faster and in a way you can control, helping your body adjust faster before sleep.
Keep The Room Dark
One way the human body signals that it’s time for deep sleep is through its circadian rhythm.
Controlled by natural environmental patterns of light and dark, a healthy circadian rhythm triggers a regular rest cycle that operates through the brain’s hypothalamus.
You can tap into your circadian rhythm with the help of blackout blinds or curtains, and keeping the room dark during the day can also help prevent the sun from heating the room, killing two birds with one stone.
Do You Sleep With a Partner?
Sleeping with a partner can have a big impact on your ability to stay cool when you’re sleeping.
Everyone’s body chemistry is different and some people get much hotter when they sleep than others. Not only can this affect the temperature of your partner, but it can also mean you spend the nights fighting over the covers while trying to regulate your own temperature.
Try sleeping with your ownset of blankets to give both of you the ability to adjust your temperature according to your needs.
Consider also limiting cuddling time during warmer weather or, if possible, getting a bigger bed to create space between you and your partner, so you can each regulate comfort as needed.
Does Your Pet Sleep With You?
Just like humans, the addition of pets on the bed also affects your sleeping temperature.
If your pooch insists on snuggling, ensure you don’t have so many layers of blankets already on the bed that retains the warmth.
Give them their own area with a mat or dog bed on the floor and train them to know that that’s where they need to stay at night. You’ll both be happier, cooler, and less likely to wake each other up during the night.
As mostly hairless mammals, humans are at a disadvantage for regulating our temperature when sleeping without the help of coverings.
The exposure of our skin to the air means we have to put in more effort to insulate ourselves and trap body heat to be comfortable in cold climates.
When the atmosphere is warm, however, this can be an advantage.
Try Sleeping Nude
There’s always the option to sleep nude for optimal body-temp regulation, as well as the myriad other benefits it provides.
Minimal clothing can have the same effect if you have concerns about modesty or just don’t find it comfortable.
But, let’s say you’ve opted to wear clothing to bed after all – what’s the best way to stay cool?
Material type, texture, and thicknesses can wreak havoc on your body temperature if you don’t choose wisely. The cooler fabrics you choose, the more airy and pleasant your skin will feel when the weather is warmer.
Use Thin, Breathable Clothes and Bedding
Breathable materials like cotton, linen, and bamboo will ensure a cool and restful sleep.
Stay away from heavy fabrics like plaid or velvet during the summer. They might be luxurious and comforting during the colder months, but they don’t make good choices for a restful night’s sleep when the temperature rises.
The same concept of light materials goes for bedding. If you choose sheets of the right texture, you’ll stay cooler easier. Coupled with the right clothing, you can envelop yourself in a cosy cocoon without too much heat buildup.
Though it’s tempting to wear those thick fuzzy socks to bed, you might want to save that for when the outdoor temperature drops during winter.
Inside a well-regulated home, covering your feet may only increase your chances of becoming too warm. If you do wear socks, choose the same breathable fabrics that you would for clothing, sheets and blankets, such as cotton.
Consider Your Mattress Setup
Have you thought about your mattress lately?
One that sits on a solid bed frame or directly on the floor won’t allow air to circulate underneath where you sleep, meaning it is more likely to get hot overnight.
Choose a bed frame that lifts and aerates your mattress to help maintain an ideal temperature, and consider avoiding memory foam, which can trap heat as it moulds to your body over time.
A cheap mattress protector can also have similar detrimental results, so it could be worth ditching it for a few days until the hot weather passes.
In the most intense heat of summer, it may feel as though there’s nothing you can do to be comfortable – especially if you don’t have access to air conditioning – but there are a few things you can do during the day that will help to keep your cool during the night.
Take A Bath Before Bed
This opportunity is perfect for people who enjoy grooming habits in the evening instead of the morning, and it has the benefit of helping you cool down before bed.
Soaking in a bath of mildly hot or lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes before bed can help to regulate your body temperature.
While it might sound counterintuitive to take a warm bath, your body temperature will initially rise in the bath, but it will then drop soon after climbing out of the water, leaving you nice and cool, and feeling refreshed.
The relaxing effects of a bath will also help settle your mind, soothe your skin, and get you into the right calm state of mind for a night of restful sleep – it’s not just about temperature!
Watch What You Eat Before Bed
What you eat before bed makes a significant difference to sleep quality.
Unsurprisingly, ingesting fats and sugars late in the day can disrupt your sleep cycle, causing more periods of wakefulness and even inhibiting REM.
You also shouldn’t go to bed on a full stomach.
Eating your last meal several hours before bedtime is ideal, which gives your body time to digest and also prevents uncomfortable sensations like heartburn that could distract you from rest.
Spicy foods are a definite no-no with dinner, especially if eaten late. They take more caloric energy to break down and can also cause you to sweat, raising your temperature in bed.
Alcohol can also have the same detrimental effects.
If you’re trying to cool down, a heat-enhancer like booze is a terrible choice.
Skip the wine or beer and opt for a glass of warm water, which has cleansing and hydrating effects – and all of the comfort with none of the sugar.
Another inhibitor of rest is caffeine.
Minimal to no coffee or energy drinks past lunch will help your body produce appropriate amounts of a drug called adenosine, which builds as you get sleepy throughout the day.
Even foods like chocolate that contain trace amounts of caffeine may have the same negative effect on your body’s temperature and rest patterns.
Try an Iced Drink Before Bed
Especially in the wintertime, some people enjoy a hot drink before bed.
But even non-caffeinated coffee or herbal teas with calming elements, such as chamomile or lavender, can’t counter the effects of a hot beverage on our system.
If you crave the comfort of tea or coffee before sleep, try making it iced to cool down your skin and circulatory system in time to catch some decent z’s.
Some natural sleep aids, such as melatonin or CBD oil, can help to improve your sleep and can have the effect of lowering your body temperature simply from the way they work in your system.
Experiment with different supplements to find out what works best, then pair it with the correct clothing, diet, and environmental items.
The Bottom Line
If you’re someone who struggles with falling asleep quickly or staying asleep, the temperature might be a bigger factor than you suspect.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options for lifting the heat. With just a few modifications to your habits or sleeping environment, you’ll be able to rest deeply and be counting sheep in no time.