How to Sleep Well in the Summer Heat
Though the official start of summer is still a little ways off, temperatures have been high for Phoenix, AZ residents for some time. For many, the rise in temperature can result in a decline in restorative, quality sleep.
Getting restful, rejuvenating sleep nightly is key in maintaining a healthy, happy, and productive life. According to the National Sleep Foundation, research has shown that there is an ideal temperature for sleep, and when the temperature is very high, it takes longer to fall asleep. Also, once sleep is achieved, it is broken up or fragmented and there is less dreaming.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep comfortably because of the heat, give the following tips a try:
Prevent excessive heat build-up in the bedroom. Use blinds or blackout curtains to keep out sunlight. Keep the windows closed. Use fans for airflow.
Choose cotton bed linens. Lightweight and lightly colored bed linens are more breathable than linens made of silk, satin, or polyester and promote ventilation and airflow in the bedroom.
Wear lightweight bedclothes- or none at all. Make sure your bedclothes are lightweight and fit loosely. Cotton is a good fabric choice for these as well as cotton breathes better than other fabrics. Another option would be pajamas made from moisture wicking materials. Some bedsheets also come in this material which may be a good bedding option as well.
Freeze your bedsheets. Place your pillow cases, bed sheets and blankets in a plastic bag, then put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you plan to go to bed. They should stay cool for around 30 to 40 minutes, long enough for you to fall asleep. If this is too chilly for you, maybe just place one or two of the items in the freezer, as opposed to all of them. Avoid getting them wet, however, as wet linens will increase the humidity in the room.
Avoid cuddling. Bummer, we know, but those nighttime cuddles increase body heat.
Take a tepid shower. A tepid shower will cool your body temperature and rinse off sweat so you can lie in bed feeling cool and clean.
Keep your feet uncovered. Some people like to sleep in socks, but in the heat of summer, it is best to avoid this. Feet are sensitive to temperature because they contain several pulse points. If you don’t wish to shower, maybe consider dunking your feet in cold water before hitting the sack to help you cool down.
Sleep spread eagle. Avoid balling up at night to reduce body heat and allow air to flow around the body.
Place an ice pack, or cool rice sock, on your neck or forehead. Slip a cold pack under your neck, on your forehead to help cool the rest of your body down as well.
Encourage airflow with fans. Keep the bedroom door open so as not to trap air in and position the fan in a corner of your room so that it faces the bed.
Keep a spray bottle of water next to the bed. If you wake in the night due to the heat, mist your face and neck to cool down.
Avoid exercise before bed. Exercise raises your body temperature and causes you to retain heat. Complete all exercise at least two hours before you plan to hit the hay.
Avoid heavy and/or spicy foods. Heavy meals and spicy foods can cause you to feel hotter. Eat a light meal at least two or three hours before you go to bed and avoid anything spicy.
Don’t drink ice cold water. It may sound odd, but trust us! Drinking ice cold water slows digestion and the metabolism by constricting blood vessels thus decreasing hydration and your body’s ability to cool off. Drink water that is room temperature instead.
If you find that you regularly struggle to sleep at night and are not feeling rested throughout the day, schedule a consultation with the experts at the Valley Sleep Center. We can help you determine if your sleep problems are the result of an underlying sleep disorder or medical condition so that you can get the proper treatment and get the quality sleep you need.