When you think about your ideal night’s sleep, there’s a good chance the temperature in this dream scenario is pretty low.
Most people prefer to be freezing cold with a large comforter keeping them warm or in just the right conditions that let them sleep comfortably without any blankets or sheets on in their most comfortable pajamas, and anything hotter would not be ideal.
For most of us, sleeping during summer or in hot climates is something we have to put up with regularly, and if you’re one of the unfortunate ones you know how bad it can get.
You find it hard to get comfortable, might be covered in sweat, and spend your night tossing and turning or flipping your pillow just trying to cool down.
How does temperature affect sleep and is there anything we can do about it?
Sleeping in hot conditions is hard to do for two reasons. Firstly, it’s hard to get comfortable enough to fall asleep when it’s too cold or too hot, and secondly, our core body temperature can dictate when we feel sleepy and ready for bed, which can be disrupted when it’s hot. However, there are things you can do to make your body more comfortable for sleep.
If you’re one of the unlucky ones living without air conditioning or in a climate with unforgiving temperatures, you’ll want to read on.
We look at why exactly temperature affects sleep and better yet, the tips you can use to make sure you get a good night’s rest, no matter the degrees you’re sleeping in.
- 1 Why Is It Hard to Sleep in Hot Weather?
- 2 The Human Body and Nighttime Temperature Adjustment
- 3 The Ideal Setting for Sleep
- 4 Are Some People Naturally Hot Sleepers?
- 5 Mattresses Designed to Regulate Temperatures
- 6 Tips for Sleeping in Hot Weather
- 7 Related Questions
Why Is It Hard to Sleep in Hot Weather?
The human body is a pretty robust thing, but a simple change in temperature around bedtime can easily throw it of whack.
There are two main reasons why we find it so hard to fall asleep when it’s hot, and they are the general discomfort we experience in these temperatures as well as our body’s need for an ideal temperature that helps us to feel sleepy.
The discomfort factor is probably the most prevalent, and it means you’ll experience sweats, irritability, and increased thirst, all of which can prevent you from drifting off comfortably.
When it comes to our bodies, the core body temperature we have will change throughout the day, so when it’s hotter than usual at nighttime we don’t get the usual message that it’s time for bed, and may not get sleepy.
Another important factor to consider is that hot weather usually occurs during summer, as does other changes with our natural environment.
If you’re from the northern parts of the US or somewhere that experiences daylight savings, you’ll notice that the sun comes up sooner and goes down later during summer, which can throw out your entire circadian rhythm.
When you combine the added heat that summer brings as well as this disruption to our body’s natural rhythm, it’s no wonder that this time of year sees a lot of people sleeping less.
However, there are ways it can be rectified so that you’re able to get a full night’s sleep no matter the month or the temperature in your bedroom, so the more research you can do on it, the better.
The Human Body and Nighttime Temperature Adjustment
Although one might assume that it’s a matter of comfort as to why we can’t sleep in the heat, most of it has to do with things happening in our body without us even realizing it.
The daily rhythm that occurs in our body is called the circadian rhythm and this also has to do with our core body temperature.
A couple of hours before we wake up, our bodies are at their lowest temperature for the day.
As the day goes on, this temperature increases slightly and then peaks a couple of hours before we’re due to go to bed that night.
From there, it drops again rapidly which signals to us that we’re feeling sleepy.
During summer, this whole process is thrown out of whack as our bodies are at a much higher core temperature than other months.
This same logic can be applied to taking a hot bath at night and its why many people recommend doing so to help them relax before bed.
Hopping out of a hot bath and having your temperature dip quickly sends a signal to your body that it’s tired and ready for sleep, so it can be beneficial if you’re looking for a way to fall asleep easily.
The Ideal Setting for Sleep
If you know that the summer heat isn’t for you, you might be wondering what is the ideal setting for a good night’s sleep?
As it turns out, there are no set rules we should be following as each of us differ so much that we have our preferences and desires when it comes to finding comfort.
The suggested bedroom temperature for a night of comfortable sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, in summer or for those living in warmer climates, your bedroom likely comes nowhere near this temperature, which is why you’ll need to do other things to ensure it’s comfortable.
Having a quality mattress with a supportive pillow is essential, as it making sure there’s minimal light and no other distractions in the room.
Use block-out curtains where you can and invest in a white noise machine if external sounds prevent you from falling asleep.
All of these changes can improve your comfort significantly, so even if the temperature isn’t right all of the other settings can be.
Are Some People Naturally Hot Sleepers?
You might be one of the people who feel that their temperature rises naturally at night, sometimes referred to as a ‘hot sleeper‘ or ‘warm sleeper’.
If you’ve ever had a partner complain that you’re too hot to sleep next to or you regularly wake yourself up feeling as if you’ve overheated, this probably sounds familiar.
Many factors cause people to feel hotter at night with others not being affected at all.
Men tend to feel hotter at night than women because they have more muscle mass generally, which means it’s creating more heat than body fat.
Women may feel hotter at different times of the month according to their menstrual cycle or the body going through menopause, and it can create a varied temperature depending on the time.
Another factor is how often you work out and the type of exercise you do.
If your metabolic rate is higher, for example, people who do a lot of weightlifting, you might also notice that your body temperature will go up as a correlation.
People who spend a lot of time in the gym will probably be warmer sleepers, even if they are more naturally worn out from exercise.
Mattresses Designed to Regulate Temperatures
One of the biggest game-changers for people who live in warm climates or are naturally hot sleepers are temperature-regulating mattresses.
Even without an air conditioning or a fan blowing, these mattresses have been designed to help you regulate your body’s temperature and ensure a good night’s sleep.
A temperature-controlled mattress can be hugely beneficial for people who feel they sleep too hot or live in conditions where it’s warm.
These mattresses work by absorbing the heat that comes off the body and either releasing it or storing it to then be used again when the temperatures drop.
Most of the temperature regulation capabilities are thanks to innovative materials used to make the mattresses.
Depending on how much cooling power you need, there are loads of mattresses to choose from that can help you get a comfortable night’s sleep.
Tips for Sleeping in Hot Weather
Aside from investing in a temperature-regulating mattress, there are a few other things you can do to improve your quality of sleep when it gets hot outside.
Check out these tips for sleeping in hot weather to make an instant improvement in the bedroom temperature and a better night’s sleep for yourself.
- Evaluate your home to see which part of the house is cooler. Sometimes the bedroom is not necessarily located in the coolest part of the house and you may need to relocate your bed during the warmer months. Choosing somewhere dark and cool will be hugely beneficial to your sleep.
- Make your bed with the weather in mind and leave off any oversized blankets or thicker materials. Choose a lightweight cotton fitted sheet with a simple flat sheet to drape over you as needed.
- Think about who you share your bed with and assess whether it’s time to spend the night alone. Pets can bring a lot of added body warmth which is especially obvious in summer.
- Open up all of the windows in your bedroom and house to get a steady airflow through the area. Use a ceiling fan or pedestal fan to improve circulation and if you can afford to, air conditioning is a smart investment.
- Avoid any physical exertion before bed as it can increase your body temperature significantly.
- Have a warm bath or shower before bed, even if you feel tempted to take a cool one. This will help the natural rhythm of your body by lowering your core temperature and signaling that it’s time for bed once you step out of it.
- Choose light bedclothes and sleep in your underwear if you’re able to. Avoid wearing anything on your head or feet as body heat dissipates from this area but can’t do so when it’s covered.
- Avoid overstimulation before bed which can come from looking at phones, computers, and TVs, exercising too vigorously, drinking caffeine or alcohol, ingesting large amounts of sugar, or doing anything else that makes you feel on edge.
Sleep is the most important thing we can do each to regulate mental and physical health, and when the conditions aren’t perfect it can be hard to achieve.
If you’re a particularly hot sleeper or live in a warmer climate where it’s difficult to cool down at night, check out some FAQs that could help make your sleep more comfortable.
What is the Best Sleeping Temperature for a Baby?
A baby requires a cool and comfortable room to sleep in, not just for a quality sleep but also for their health and safety, and this is slightly colder than an adult or older child.
With children under 12 months of age, it’s recommended that they sleep in a room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit with adequate clothing on.
Is It Better to Sleep in the Cold or Warm?
Each person has their preferences as to what’s comfortable for sleep, so it’s hard to say whether cold or hot is better.
However, it’s easier to keep yourself warm when it’s cold by adding extra layers of clothing or another blanket, compared to hot conditions that can be hard to cool down in.
Ideally, you should aim for between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for a comfortable sleep.
Is It Healthy to Sleep Naked?
If you live in warmer climates or don’t like a lot of layers on you at night, you might consider sleeping without clothes on, and there are benefits to doing so.
Sleeping naked can improve blood circulation which is good for heart health and also help with the metabolic effects of sleep.
If you’d prefer to sleep naked and feel comfortable doing so, you can rest knowing that it’s good for your body.