When things begin to heat up is very important to recognize the impact that hot weather can have on sleep, both quantity and quality. In the summer months especially if you do not have AC, you may find yourself tossing and turning, throwing off the sheets, waking multiple times at night, etc. This can be a source of frustration and fatigue.
Temperature and Sleep
Temperature is a good measure for the quality of a person’s sleep, with the lowest body temperatures being met at approximately 3 AM for most healthy individuals. Quality sleep is no joke either. The myriad of benefits that high-quality sleep provides include:
- Improved alertness and memory
- Reduction of chronic pain
- Reduced inflammation
- Increased energy levels
One factor that affects sleep quality that often gets overlooked is temperature. Research studies and anecdotal evidence both point to cooling off prior to sleep as an effective method for not only falling asleep, but for improving the overall quality of sleep.
Temperature change during sleep is well documented and strongly supported by research, which had shown that our body temp slowly decreases early in the night and reaches its lowest point at around 4:00am. Facilitating that decrease in body temperature can encourage better quality sleep.
Cost of Poor Sleep
Overall, it’s good to consider the consequences of poor sleep, which over time can include:
- Abnormal irritability
- Worse memory
- Reduced physical performance
- Reduced cognitive performance
- Chronic brain fog
- Getting sick more often
- Worse pain management
- Safety issues
- Short temper
Tips and Tricks for Sleeping In Hot Weather:
Buy a chiliPAD
One product that is designed to cool the body down during sleep is called the chiliPAD (https://www.chilitechnology.com/products/chilipad-sleep-system). It’s a water-filled mat, which is placed on top of the mattress and under the sheets. The chiliPAD cycles cool water (around 55 degrees) through the May, which can promote better, deeper, and more restorative sleep.
Cooling down before and during sleep is associated with some distinct improvements to sleep quality, including:
- Reduced night-sweats
- Shorter time to fall asleep
- Less tossing and turning during sleep
Also, waking up to a cool room kick-starts the body into day-time mode. Just like a cold cup of water can make you feel more alert; a nice cool room can encourage getting up and moving.
Get a portable AC unit
You do not have to have an AC unit installed full-time in your house in order to cool off your sleeping environment. There are several options on the market which are inexpensive and can help the temperature in your room a few degrees. Blaux is a company that offers one for under 100 bucks. (https://www.blaux-cooler.com/portable-ac/?flux_fts=aitoqtzlqtiplplqatelolcazixzptiocqtit8b1a4&campaignid=389685434&adgroupid=1170980448040703&creative=73186380730857&keyword=blaux%20air%20conditioner&device=c.com/&msclkid=788a4028c68c1c34dab31f2f5fa90013)
In trying to decrease the temperature of her sleep environment, every bit counts, so even if you decrease lower could drastically improve your sleep quality and quantity.
Take a cold shower or bath before bed
This one is cheap, quick, and boy is it effective. Taking a cold shower for even 1 or 2 minutes can really drop the body temperature. And it does not have to be ice cold water either. Even with just a lukewarm or cool shower, the benefits can be felt. Most people can give this when I try without changing anything about their routine --and do not get too freaked out by the concept of taking a cold
shower. One way to do it is to take a warm shower, and at the end to decrease the temperature until it feels cool.
Take an air bath (like Benjamin Franklin!)
According to his writings, Ben Franklin used to take a daily “air bath”, where he would strip down and stand nude in the night air to cool off his body. Also, he would open his bed covers up to cool off his spot on the mattress. When he laid down, the mattress, the blankets, and his skin temp would all be cool. When he jumped into bed, all three would warm up together, which he stated would help him fall deeply asleep.
The only real way to know what works best for you is to try it out. Maybe try opening a window on a cool night. Try taking an air bath, or a cool shower before bed. Experiment a little bit, chances are good that one of these techniques will work for you to give you a little better night sleep, and a little better day to follow as a result.