When you go to sleep at night, your body’s core temperature needs to drop two or three degrees in order for you to reach the deepest stages of sleep. Therefore, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when your bedroom is too warm. Here are tips and tricks on how to sleep in the heat, even in the summer.
1. Change the direction of your ceiling fan’s blades
In the winter, ceiling fan blades should move in a clockwise direction to draw the cold air up and push warm air down. However, in the summer, adjusting your ceiling fan will help you sleep in the heat. Blades should move in a counterclockwise direction to draw warm air up and push cooler air down into the room.
To change your fan’s rotation direction, turn off the fan and then push the toggle switch on the fan’s motor. When you turn the fan on again, the blades should move in the opposite direction. If your ceiling fan came with remote control, the remote usually has a button you can push to change the blades’ direction.
2. Take a warm shower before bed
Another trick you can try is to take a warm shower before bed. Warm water expands the blood vessels in your skin and releases excess body heat.
The reason warm showers are more effective than cold showers is that cold water contracts your blood vessels, which prevents your skin from releasing excess body heat, which means you’ll feel hot again as soon as you step out of the shower.
3. Freeze your sheets
Another way to get better sleep in hot weather is to literally freeze your bed linens! You can put your sheets in a sealed bag in the freezer and make your bed with them right before you go to sleep.
Or you can put ice packs between your sheets an hour before you go to bed to cool it down. If you want, you can also sleep with the ice packs in your bed to keep yourself cool throughout the night. Just make sure they’re sealed well so they don’t leak!
4. Use breathable fabrics
Sheets and pajamas made of loose, breathable fabric will also help you stay cool. While fabrics like satin and flannel are good options in the winter because they trap heat against your body, fabrics like cotton and linen are better options in warm weather because they allow body heat to easily escape so it doesn’t get trapped in your bed.
5. Wear a frozen gel face mask to bed
You can also freeze a gel face mask and apply it before you go to bed. This helps keep you cool because your temples are “pulse points,” where blood vessels run close to the skin’s surface. Applying a cold compress to a pulse point helps spread a cooling sensation throughout the rest of the body.
6. Don’t sleep with pets in your bed
While you may be used to sleeping with your fur babies in your bed, it’s a good idea to sleep separately in warm weather because pets’ body heat will increase the temperature in your bed. Pets have plenty of other health benefits to you, besides keeping you company in your bed.
7. Keep a glass of water on your nightstand
Sleeping in a warm room can cause you to become dehydrated faster. Often the thirst caused by dehydration can wake you up from sleep because your body is signaling its need for more water. To avoid dehydration and get better sleep, keep a glass of water on your nightstand so you can easily stay hydrated throughout the night.
8. Keep your bedroom curtains closed during the day
When sunlight shines through the glass into a confined space, the light’s radiation gets trapped in that space and quickly raises the temperature. This phenomenon is known as the greenhouse effect. (The greenhouse effect is the reason why pets and children can suffer significant heat-related illnesses if left in a locked car, even for a short period of time.)
To avoid creating a greenhouse effect in your bedroom, keep your curtains closed during the day to prevent the sun’s radiation from raising the temperature in the room.
9. Open your bedroom windows when the sun goes down
Outdoor temperatures usually drop quickly once the sun goes down. Opening your windows after sunset allows cooler outdoor air to enter your bedroom and creates a cooling breeze. Just make sure to use screens on all windows and doors so mosquitoes and other insects can’t get to you! While most insect bites are harmless, it’s helpful to know the difference between insect bites and stings.
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Written by Sarah Thebarge, Physician Assistant