Sleeping During Hot Weather

3 July 2024

It’s summer and although you are running the air conditioning, the house just seems to still retain the heat of the day. Now you are trying to sleep. You toss. You turn. You can’t get comfortable. You are just plain hot and you can’t sleep!

As your eyes detect the dark, your body releases a hormone called melatonin. This hormone triggers your body to feel tired and to start dropping your body temperature. As you sleep, your body temperature will continue to decrease to help you get a good night’s rest. When you awaken, your temperature will automatically start to climb to its usual 98.6 level.

So, why are you sleeping hot when your body should be cooling?

  • Bedding fabric, mattress, etc. The foam used in manufacturing some mattresses has a tendency to retain heat. Microfiber is a polyester blend that does not “breathe” like cotton.
  • Another person or pets as overnight companions.
  • Hormonal changes. This can include menopause, hyperthyroidism, or other conditions.
  • Metabolism. Eating or exercising too close to bedtime can stimulate your metabolism and overheat the body to the point that it is difficult to rest.
  • Bathing. Taking a steamy shower just before jumping into the sheets, will just make you feel warmer. That soothing hot bubble bath has the same effect.
  • Medical conditions and Medications. Some conditions like anxiety can make the sweat glands work overtime. The same with some medications, including over the counter, like pain relievers. Those people who suffer with sleep apnea often report more night sweats.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do.

sleeping, summer. hot weather

Keep your bedroom cool. This may include closing curtains and blinds during the day when the sun streams in. Turn off lights before you go to bed or keep them on low, especially if they are incandescent bulbs.

Check your bedding. For linens choose cotton or bamboo. If you are shopping for a new mattress, those made of latex give you some good air circulation. If you are committed to a memory foam, consider cooling blankets, pads, or sheets. There are pillows that are made of a shredded foam that gives you better air flow, sometimes called cooling gel pillows.

Obviously, keeping the air conditioning temperature around 67 seems to work. Don’t discount fans. Turning a ceiling fan on low for the night can help whisk away any sweat that forms and help keep you cooler. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, invest in a fan on a stand that can blow over your bed and give you the same effect. Even a small oscillating fan will help during the night.

For jammies and nightgowns, opt for cottons or other breathable fabrics. Going with loose shirts, shorts, or underwear has been shown to help.

Opt for a cooler shower. If you really adore a bubble bath, make the water temperature warm instead of hot.

Check the electronics in the room. Some may be generating extra heat when you don’t need it. Unplug if necessary.

Discuss the issue with your medical team. They can review any existing medications and see if dosages need to be adjusted or recommend another brand or alternative choice. If medicine is not the issue, talk about your food choices. A slight change in diet may help. It could also be that you will benefit from a sleep aid.

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