Yes, summer nights are lovely when you’re walking down the coast with your date, but when it comes to sleeping, they can be a real hassle.
Research published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology suggests that hot weather can affect the sleep-regulating mechanism. Additionally, exposure to heat and humidity can increase the thermal load, impacting the quality of your sleep even if you sleep firmly and get your seven to eight hours of shut-eye.
Fortunately, the effects of heat on sleep do not have to be as devastating. They depend on various factors, many of which you have the power to change. Here are some tips that will get you through this summer fresh and rested.
1. Keep Sunlight out of Your Bedroom
While we’re all about natural lighting indoors, welcoming the sunlight into your bedroom during hot summer days can be counterproductive. The room will accumulate warmth and, depending on your sleeping schedule, the sun will wake you up too early in the morning.
The best way to prevent that is to get blackout curtains designed to block outside light completely. Draw them in the morning and do not open them until your bedtime. Of course, if you wake up after dawn, maybe it’s best to keep them closed during the night too.
2. Embrace Sunlight During the Day
Exposure to sunlight during the day helps regulate your circadian rhythm. This means high energy levels during the day and better sleep at night. So, try to spend some time outside in the sun, but make sure you’re using a protective sunscreen and avoid the harsh sun (between 11 and 17h).
3. Make Sure Your Bed Is Comfy
Being able to stretch and spread out on a comfy bed is especially important for hot sleepers. But when the weather is hot, it’s a necessity for everyone, so make sure you have plenty of space to rest in. You might opt for an adjustable bed to help you get in a comfy position and relieve pressure from your back, so that it really feels like you’re sleeping on a cloud.
As for your mattress, keep in mind that some materials tend to retain too much heat, preventing the body from regulating its temperature and thus making you feel even warmer than usual. One of the best mattress options for hot summer nights is gel-infused memory foam which absorbs and releases excess heat, keeping the surface cool and comfortable. If you cannot afford a new mattress, there are some toppers with similar features.
4. Complement Your Mattress with the Right Pillow and Bedding
You can also buy a cooling pillow that will provide above-average temperature control. Some of the materials to look for are ventilated foam, wool, and latex. While a cool mattress and pillow can help, you will also need to get bedding that will enhance your comfort. Some of the materials that provide an adequate cooling effect are linen, cotton, and rayon.
5. Avoid Exercising Close to Bedtime
It is praiseworthy that you want to be active and, usually, physical activity improves sleep. However, exercising close to bedtime can increase your body temperature and make it more difficult to fall asleep. So, instead of intensive workouts before bedtime, choose moderate physical activities in the morning or during the day.
6. Set Your Thermostat
Fortunately, we have technology these days, so we can use it to regulate the temperature in our bedrooms. The ideal temperature for sleeping is, according to experts, 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). However, not everyone has the same sleeping habits and preferences, so, depending on yours, you can set it anywhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 and 19.4 degrees Celsius).
7. Get (Un)dressed
Some fabrics tend to elevate the body temperature and make you sweat during the night, regardless of how short or loose your pajamas are. Some of the best pajama materials to keep you cool are cotton, linen, rayon, chambray, viscose, and silk. Also, if you feel comfortable sleeping nude or semi-nude, go for it.
8. Take a Warm Bath/Shower
Warm baths are famous for their soothing features and easing you into sleep. While the idea of a warm bath or shower doesn’t sound very appealing on a hot night, there is a reasoning behind this. Warm water helps you cool down because your body temperature decreases after you leave the shower and your body adapts to the outside temperature.
9. Eat Light
Heavy meals often create problems with sleep. This gets even more problematic during the summer because digestion is another heat-generating process. So, be sure to eat light throughout the day, and especially as you get closer to bedtime. Choose foods that are high in water, such as cucumber, lettuce, melon, celery, and similar. Also, high-fluid recipes such as soups, stews, and porridges can keep you full and hydrated. Avoid meals high in sugar and fat.
10. Cultivate Healthy Bedtime Habits
A healthy bedtime routine is helpful for getting enough uninterrupted sleep at any time of the year. Here are some things to work on:
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on the weekends).
- Get rid of digital distractions before bedtime. This means you shouldn’t keep your phone too close to your bed and that you shouldn’t scroll your social media feeds before sleeping. Having a TV in the bedroom or bringing your laptop to watch Netflix in bed is also not a good idea.
- Relax before sleep. For some people, this means reading a book, while others might choose deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga to ease them into sleep quickly.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, especially right before bedtime.
- Keep your daytime naps short.
Sleep is precious, and no amount of summer partying is worth the lost rest. Hot weather can be harsh, especially for those with light sleep, but if you follow these tips, you will be able to get the most out of your summer nights.
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