Waking up hot and sweaty during the middle of the night is a frustrating and uncomfortable reality for many hot sleepers. The inability to internally cool ourselves down can result in many lost hours of rest needed to function at optimum performance. Without it, productivity decreases in addition to our physical health and mental stamina, all because we sleep hot at night. What causes this to happen, and what can we do to prevent it from continuing?
Sleeping hot is often tied to either medical or environmental factors.
One of the most common reasons for hot sleeping is menopause. While women are more likely to feel colder at night according to ActiveBeat.com, they are also likely to have night sweats do to the natural aging process.
Certain conditions that affect the hypothalamus may be to blame as well. Your hypothalamus, located in the brain, controls your body temperature; if you’re feeling very hot during the night, it may be due to a condition causing this region to malfunction.
Finally, medications, particularly antidepressants have been known to cause hot sleeping. WebMD.com says that “From 8% to 22% of people taking antidepressant drugs have night sweats.” If you’re taking these, or other over-the-counter drugs like aspirin or acetaminophen, then you may be experiencing hot sleeping as a result.
Consult your doctor to determine if any of these or other medical causes are the reason you’re unable to cool down during the night.
There are 3 main environmental factors you can adjust to improve your night of sleep and have you feeling cool and refreshed — your bed, clothes, and room temperature.
What we sleep on often determines how hot we are during the night. Fabrics like wool and satin are less breathable than cotton, for instance. Many experts say not to invest in a foam mattress since they conform to the body and thus preserve heat. At Layla , we’ve fixed this problem and created a highly comfortable, yet cool foam mattress. The copper in our copper-infused mattresses compresses, pulling in heat and transferring it away from your body so that you’ll remain cooler into the night.
Certain garments are made from denser materials that can generate heat, causing a poor night of sleep. In general, stay away from wool and fleece as they’re known to cause warmer body temperatures overall. Moisture-wicking fabrics possess the ability to draw away moisture, consequently leaving your body cooler. These fabrics are often made from polyester, so be aware of the material when searching for particular brands.
Sleep.org recommends wearing clothes that raise your body temperature one degree Celsius, as this has been shown to cause sounder, deeper sleep. Just like taking a hot shower to cool down before going to bed, it may seem counter-intuitive, but it alters your body temperature for improved sleep.
During the day, our temperature lies between 98.6 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. According to an article published on Tuck.com, during the night, “you experience a decrease in core body temperature of 2 degrees Fahrenheit.” Essentially, our body cools to regulate our sleep in a process called thermoregulation. Different phases of the sleep cycle increase or decrease our temperature, causing it to fluctuate throughout the night.
If your internal temperatures isn’t cool enough to sleep, then it may be time to adjust the external temperature in your room. For rooms with AC, alter the temperature slightly to see if that makes a difference. For rooms without AC, as Greatist.com suggests, create a cross breeze by opening your window and placing a fan on the sill. The mixture of outside air and the fan’s breeze will have a comforting, cooling effect in your room.
No one really knows exactly what temperature they’re optimum sleep level is, though a good balance is somewhere between 60 – 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep adjusting what you sleep on and what you sleep in to get the results you desire. It may take a little effort, but getting a better night sleep is worth it in the end.