We’ve all been there, trying to sleep when it’s so hot you feel as if you won’t survive the night. When you’re too hot to sleep, you feel so miserable and sweaty, it’s hard to relax enough to get any rest. Or, if you do manage to somehow fall asleep, you seem to wake up every few minutes or in the middle of the night because your body knows something is wrong.
But there are ways to outsmart the heat when you’re trying to get some quality rest when sleeping in a hot room.
How Heat Affects Your Sleep
When trying to sleep in hot weather, it becomes harder to fall asleep and to stay in that state. The external heat can alter your body’s core temperature, which typically fluctuates during a 24-hour cycle. When it gets too hot, your body can’t cool itself as much, impacting your circadian rhythm, which is essentially your sleep-wake cycle.
The hot weather also negatively impacts your slow-wave sleep, commonly called deep sleep, and your rapid eye movement sleep.
But it’s not only the external heat that impacts your ability to rest. Any heat between your body and your sheets can make you feel warmer, less comfortable, and unable to sleep. That’s why it is wise to swap out your heavy winter sheets in favor of some that are better suited for warm weather.
Finding the Right Temperature
Hot nights in bed are the pits. It’s too hard to fall asleep when it’s hot. That’s why it’s beneficial to know what the best temperature for ideal sleeping is.
Any sleep expert will tell you the best temperature for sleeping is anywhere from approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit up to the low 70s. When Mother Nature unleashes a heat wave, though, it can be hard to keep your house that cool. And it can feel downright impossible if you don’t have air-conditioning.
If your house has no air-conditioning, you’ll have to get more creative about how to sleep in heat. Solutions might include keeping the windows open at night to get a breeze, using a fan, and using eucalyptus or cotton sheets.
Things You Can Do Before Bed to Stay Cool
The hour or two leading up to bedtime can be important for cooling down so you’ll be able to get some shut-eye when you hit the sheets. Here’s what you can do to make yourself more comfortable before bedtime.
- Take a cool shower: You can shower by using warm water or even cold water if you can tolerate it. You should avoid hot water because that will make you feel even warmer. The point of the shower is to cool down so it improves sleep. The hot air in your bedroom won’t feel as stifling after a cool shower.
- Drink some iced chamomile tea: A cup of relaxing, non-caffeinated tea may make you sleepier. A good choice is chamomile, which has been used for centuries and is known for having a mild sedative effect.
- Keep the sun out of your bedroom: By keeping sunlight out of your bedroom, it will stay cooler in there. You’ll only be making your room hotter if you allow the sun to stream through the room all day. Invest in some curtains and blinds and then use them to make your room cooler.
- Open your windows after the sun goes down: That will help you get a nice breeze in your room. But don’t open that window until the sun goes down or it will make your room hotter.
- Sleep downstairs: If your bedroom is on the upper floor of a house, sleep on the main floor if possible, or in your basement if you can. Heat rises, so sleeping on the lower floors may lead to a good night sleep. You may decide to sleep on the couch or set up an air mattress in your living room if you don’t have a spare bedroom on the main floor.
Staying Cool on Hot Nights in Bed
Once you head to bed for the night, there are some things you can do to get restful sleep.
- Turn on a fan: If you don’t have air-conditioning, a fan is the next best thing. It creates air circulation, which can keep you feeling much cooler in your bedroom. The artificial breeze blowing over your body will feel heavenly.
- Use proper bedding: In hot weather, you should stay away from heavy, thick comforters and opt for bed cooling sheets instead. Look for something that’s breathable or has cooling properties, such as eucalyptus.
- Bring something cold to bed with you: Something like a cold water bottle or a damp washcloth that you can drape over your forehead may feel soothing.
- Wear breathable pajamas: Lightweight shorts and a tank top or t-shirt that are made of a breathable, sweat-wicking fabric like cotton will help you beat the heat.
- Keep your bedroom door open: That will help with air circulation, just as open windows will.
- Stay hydrated: It’s a good idea to drink a lot of fluids in the summer because your body can use the extra hydration to stay cool. Plus, staying well hydrated will help you avoid that parched, super thirsty feeling that can wake you from your sleep.
- Roll away from your partner: If you’re not sleeping alone, summer is not the time to be sharing cuddles or spooning your partner as you drift off to sleep. Their body heat will make you miserable. It might feel delightful in the winter, but it’s best to scoot away from them when you’re trying to sleep on a hot night.
Your sleep situation in the summer doesn’t have to be a hot mess. By thinking ahead and trying to outsmart the weather, it is possible to get better sleep. Do your best to stay cool, keep yourself well-hydrated, and enjoy those fun, long summer days.