Hello Heat Wave!  There is no question that even for Arizona the recent temperatures have been hot, hot, hot.  There are lots of things that these extreme temperatures make it difficult to do and for many Arizonans, sleep is high on that list.  The ideal temperature for a good night’s sleep is thought to be between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  But when the temperature is topping 110 degrees, even with A/C you may find yourself struggling to get the sleep you need.

There is a reason that sleeping in the heat is hard.  Part of the biological process that tells our body it is time to sleep is a decrease in body temperature.  Likewise, when it is time to get up in the morning, our temperature goes back up.  When the air around us is hot enough to impede those processes, it can make it difficult to fall asleep, difficult to stay asleep, and difficult to get the sleep we need to stay healthy.  Since being too hot already makes most people a little crabby, the last thing you need during these triple digit days is the extra irritability that comes from being overtired.

Here are our favorite tips for making sure you get some sleep no matter how high the temperatures soar.


1.     Make Sure the Air is Moving

Air circulation and flow is crucial to keeping spaces comfortable.  No matter what you are using to cool the air, make sure you are also getting the air moving for the best possible result.


2.     Take a Cold Shower

Help get your body ready for sleep by taking a quick cool shower just before bed.  Lowering your core temperature a little can make it easier to fall asleep.


3.     Exercise Early

You might be tempted to postpone your regular exercise until evening in order to skip the hottest part of the day, but you would be better off working out in the early morning than in the evening.  Exercise raises your core temperature and introduces hormonal changes that can both make it more difficult to fall asleep.


4.     Close the Curtains

Keep your sleep space from heating up during the day by closing the curtain, shutters, or blinds.  This means you won’t have to cool the air as much to get it to a comfortable temperature.


5.     No Nightcaps

You may also be tempted to use alcohol to help you feel drowsy enough to fall asleep despite the heat.  Don’t do it.  Even if the alcohol helps you fall asleep, it actually impacts the quality of your sleep for a significant portion of the night.  You may be better off getting less sleep overall by not having any alcohol because the sleep you get will be better sleep.  You should also avoid alcohol when the heat is this high because it contributes to dehydration.


6.     Sleep on the Floor

It may sound silly, but since heat rises, the coolest place in your room may be laying on the floor.  You might also consider sleeping on a lower floor since the temperature is likely to decrease the lower down you go.