If the warm summer temperatures and high humidity have been messing with your sleep, you are not alone. Record temperatures continue to sweep various parts of the United States and Europe. In the words of Glenn Frey, “The heat is on.” The surge in temperatures and changes in sunrise and sunset can affect sleep quality and sleep duration. That’s why experts encourage people to employ certain strategies that make sleeping during warmer weather easier.
Why Is It Difficult To Sleep In The Heat?
Sleep experts say that the ideal temperature for sleep is 65º F, give or take a couple degrees. It is completely normal for body temperature to drop a little during sleep, and a cool environment promotes a better night’s sleep. It is natural for the body to produce melatonin before you go to sleep. This process causes the body’s core temperature to drop in order to experience sound sleep. Hot weather can interrupt this process and make it more difficult to fall asleep and enter deep sleep, making it harder to stay asleep at night. This is why people have an easier time sleeping during winter than they do during summer.
Maintaining a lower body temperature during sleep in the summer can prove challenging, but there are things you can do to help this process. Beat the heat, and the humidity, and incorporate one or more of the following tips into your nighttime routine to sleep better this summer.
Invite The Air Inside
Well, this tip really only applies if the air outside is fresh enough to invite inside your home. If the breeze is beautiful and cool, open up those windows! Opening up the windows will also depend on how safe you feel with the windows open while you sleep. Additionally, if it is very noisy outside, you may not want to have the windows open. Another option is to open the windows in your bedroom before you go to sleep and put a fan near them. When you’re ready for bed, close the window, or leave it slightly ajar, and keep the fan going.
Shower Off Before Bedtime
Want to help cool your body down before bed? A systematic review of 5,322 studies in 2019 found that taking a lukewarm shower one to two hours before bed significantly improved sleep. The body feels colder after leaving the shower and it will accelerate the cool-down process that prepares it for sleep. You don’t need a steaming hot shower; rather, a warm shower between 104 and 109 degrees F is perfect.
Sleep In The Nude
If the nights are warm where you live, wearing clothing to go to bed will only increase body temperature. Plus, the heat will only increase if you sleep under sheets and a comforter or blanket. There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence about the effects of sleeping naked, but anecdotal reports say that people sleep better in the nude. Without clothing, the body can maintain a lower core temperature more easily. If you don’t want to sleep in your birthday suit, try sleeping in pajamas made from fibers like light wool, silk, or cotton. A 2019 study found that people who slept in natural fibers instead of synthetic fibers were able to fall asleep faster.
You don’t have to dodge the sleep police or anything like that. What we mean by “lay low” in regards to sleep is that you may want to sleep lower to the ground. The Japanese futon, for example, is a bed that traditionally goes directly on the floor. The ground is always cooler, especially if you have tile or cement floors. You don’t have to lay on the floor because there are many low-to-the-ground bed options these days.
Use A Dehumidifier And A Fan
If you do not have air conditioning, or your AC unit isn’t powerful enough, try to place a bowl of cold water and ice in your bedroom. Position the fan behind the bowl and face it toward the bed to increase the fan’s cooling effects. Now, if you live in a very humid area, do your best to keep humidity levels at or below 50-60%. The National Asthma Council Australia stated that optimal indoor humidity levels are between 30-50%. A dehumidifier in the room can help with moisture control and may create a more pleasant sleeping environment.
Invest In The Right Mattress And Pillow
You spend one-third of your life in bed, so it pays to invest in a quality mattress and pillow. How comfortable you feel in bed can dictate how you sleep, and how easily you fall asleep. Thick foam mattresses tend to absorb and trap body heat, which can overheat the sleeper. There are new mattresses that have cooling layers or ways to release heat that your body generates. The same can be said for pillows. Do your research and try to sleep on mattresses and pillows that help keep the body cool.