No matter how much you love the heat, temperatures in the triple digits can leave you tossing and turning, searching in vain for a good night’s sleep. People tend to sleep best when the temperature in the room around them is between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be difficult to maintain when the temperature is 110+. If you find yourself sleepier than usual this summer, you may be suffering from heat-induced insomnia and sleep disruptions which can steal your slumber without you even realizing its happening.
Difficulty sleeping in the heat isn’t just a matter of comfort, it is based in biology. As our bodies prepare to fall asleep, our core body temperature decreases and remains lower throughout the various sleep stages until it heads back up to normal when it’s time to wake-up. If the temperature around us is higher than normal, it will increase our body temperature pre-maturely and can cause mini-awakenings over the course of the night, impacting the quality of our sleep.
Here are ten tips for sleeping through an Arizona summer:
- Air Circulation: Try to keep your sleeping space as comfortable as possible by ensuring there is adequate air flow. This is important whether you are using air conditioning, fans, or some other mechanism for cooling.
- Keep the Heat Out: Whenever possible, close bedroom windows, curtains, and blinds during the day to keep the heat of the sun from warming the air inside the room.
- Sleep Lower: Heat rises so the lower floors of your house will generally be cooler than the upper floors. If you cannot get the temperature in your bedroom low enough to support a good night sleep, seek somewhere lower and cooler in the house until the worst of the heat passes.
- Cool Off Before Bed: Take a cool shower or go for a swim in a cool pool right before bed to help your body temperature descend. You can also use a wet cloth that has been placed in the freezer as a cool compress to get the same result.
- Wear the Right PJs: Pick sleeping attire that will keep you cool or at least won’t heat you up. You might opt to skip pajamas all together or invest in a pair made from fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin, keeping you cooler all night long.
- Cool Things Down: The best option for creating a space conducive to sleep is to cool it down with an air conditioner or fan. If a fan is your only option and it isn’t enough on its own, place a tray of ice cubes in front of the fan to help cool the air as it circulates.
- Don’t Skip the CPAP: If you suffer from sleep apnea and use a CPAP when you sleep, don’t skip the machine because you are hot and uncomfortable. The extreme heat can make sleep disordered breathing worse and you may need the CPAP even more than on a normal night.
- Don’t Sleep in Your Car: While it may seem tempting to curl up in the car with the A/C on, this can be very dangerous. You should never sleep in a car that is running but not moving in order to avoid exposure to the build-up of toxic gases.
- Don’t Drink: Avoid alcohol in the hours before bed when the heat is high and sleeping is difficult. Even if the alcohol makes you drowsy, it impedes restful sleep. If you pair alcohol with extreme heat, you may end up dehydrated and overtired.
- Don’t Work out: Don’t engage in vigorous activity or exercise in the hours leading up to bedtime as this will heat up your core temperature and make falling asleep more difficult.
About Valley Sleep Center:
Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients. Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems. They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare. For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; http://www.valleysleepcenter.com.