Are you restless at night? It might be because your room is too hot.
The temperature of our bodies dips in the evenings and drops further as we fall and stay asleep. This is an important part of the sleep-wake cycle and explains why a hot room (or bed) can keep you up at night.
“Body temperature stays low throughout the night before beginning to rise in the very early morning hours, helping prepare you to wake up and be active and alert,” sleep specialist Dr. Michael J. Breus explained in a HuffPost blog.
The recommended room temperature for sleep is between 18C and 22C or 65F and 72F, according to WebMD. However, everyone is different, so it may take some experimentation to find your optimal temperature for sleep.
But adjusting your thermostat isn’t the only way to keep cool at night. Here are 10 other ways to regulate your room temperature so you can get a better night’s sleep.
1. Beware Of Memory Foam
Memory foam conforms to the body, which can cause heat to get trapped and make you feel hot at night. Memory foam pillows, in particular, absorb heat. To avoid this, opt for a microfibre pillow instead. These are light, fluffy and breathable, which means they won’t trap heat or perspiration.
2. Try A Cooling Pillow
Speaking of pillows, another option is to try a cushion made specifically to cool you down. Cooling pillows are designed to release heat more effectively than regular pillows. If you tend to run hot at night, this might be a good option.
3. Take A Warm Bath Before Bed
Here’s something you probably didn’t know. Taking a warm bath before bed makes you fall asleep faster because it actually helps lower your body temperature, not raise it.
“What happens with a bath ... is you actually bring all of the blood to the surface. And your hands and your feet are wonderful radiators of that heat,” Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist and sleep specialist at the University of California, explained to NPR. “So you are essentially like a snake charmer — you are charming the heat out of the core of your body to the surface of your body.”
Research suggests that the optimal time to take a bath is one to two hours before bed.
4. Wear Loose, Breathable Pajamas To Sleep
This might seem like a no-brainer, but could easily be overlooked. Cotton, linen or bamboo fabrics are lightweight and breathable making them perfect to sleep in. Unlike silk, flannel and polyester, you won’t overheat in these fabrics.
5. Use Moisture-Wicking Bed Sheets
The same breathable fabrics mentioned above can also be applied to your bed sheets to help keep you cool. But if you tend to sweat at night, you might want to kick things up a notch and invest in some moisture-wicking bed sheets.
6. Create A Cross Breeze
Instead of using a fan at night, create a cross breeze using two of them. That way, instead of pushing around hot air, one will create a cool breeze while the other pulls hot air away. This can also be done with a fan and an open window to help keep your room cool.
7. Stay Hydrated
Make sure you drink enough water! Staying hydrated helps regulate blood flow and body temperature to keep you cool. At night, we lose body fluids through breathing, but an overly warm room can lead to more fluid loss than normal. That’s why staying hydrated is so important.
8. Don’t Eat So Close To Bedtime
Eating a big meal before bed can increase your body temperature, making it harder to fall asleep. It can also mess with the release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, the National Sleep Foundation reports. So if you like to eat late at night, make sure you do so at least three hours before bed.
9. Layer Your Bedding
Why toss and turn when you get hot at night when you could simply throw off a layer of bedding? Layers allow you to adjust your own body temperature accordingly. This is especially helpful when you share a bed with someone who likes a different room temperature as you.
10. Forget Cuddling
Snuggling up with your loved ones is lovely, but it might not be the best idea if you’re trying to stay cool, especially on summer nights. Keep some space between you while you sleep, or try using separate covers to regulate individual body temperature.
BONUS: Put your AC on a timer.
Mimic the rise and fall of your body temperature by using a timer on your thermostat. The adjusted temperatures will help you fall asleep faster and help wake you up in the morning.