Here is how to stay cool during summer nights
Hot and sweaty nights can have a negative impact on your sleep quality, and warm summer days become unbearable when you’re sleep-deprived. We’ve put together a list of quick fixes, in order to ensure you keep your sleep quality under control and fall (and stay) asleep during hot and uncomfortable summer nights.
- Cover the windows. Close the curtains in your bedroom to keep the heat out during the daytime. If the temperature outside is higher than inside, make sure you keep the windows closed. If you’re desperately craving a bit of breeze, hold on and wait until sunset before you open the windows.
- Stay low. Remember what you were told in school – heat rises. If you live in a house with more than one floor, sleep on the lowest one. The closer you are to the ground, the colder the air. The colder the air, the better you’ll sleep.
- Dare to take a hot shower. As contradictory as it sounds, taking a hot shower or bath a few hours before bedtime can help your body cool down. Your body temperature will decrease after the shower as your body needs to adapt to a cooler temperature. Moreover, showering or bathing before bedtime can also help you relax and wind down.
- Cotton is king. Always opt for pure cotton bedding and sleepwear. Save the silk and satin bed sheets for a special occasion. You can even stick your cotton sheets in the freezer for a while before tucking yourself in. In addition to your bed covers, don’t wear anything but cotton to bed either. A loose-fitting t-shirt and a pair of shorts are the perfect combo. Unless you like to sleep naked, then just go for it!
- Be a loner. No matter how cozy snuggling up can be, a hot Summer night might not be the perfect time for cuddles. Sleep in separate beds or avoid sleeping all tangled up. Body heat transfers. The same person who acts as your handy personal heater in winter might cause you to overheat during the hotter nights. If you’re inseparable, opt for separate comforters.
- H2O. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated all night. This will help your body naturally regulate its temperature. Just make sure you don’t drink too much right before bed. What goes in must come out.
- Avoid exercising close to bedtime. We all know the benefits of exercising for health and sleep. However, working out just a few hours before bed can increase your body temperature and make it more difficult to fall asleep.
- If all else fails, turn to ice. Keep a glass of ice next to you, and dab your wrists and neck to cool down. If you own a hot water bottle, fill it with ice water and tuck it in with you in bed. If you don’t own a hot water bottle – fill a sock with grains, stick it in the freezer for an hour, and you have a little friend to keep you cool for up to 30 minutes – enough time to fall asleep for most people.
- Use a fan. Keep the airflow of your bedroom running by using a fan next to your bed. If you use an air conditioner, try to keep it around 18-20 degrees Celsius ( 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit) as that’s an optimal temperature for sleep.
- Watch what you eat. Heavy and spicy foods can disrupt your sleep as they may also raise your body temperature, especially during summer. Enjoy spicy food at lunch instead and not for dinner (the same applies to alcohol!).
How does temperature affect our sleep?
Our body temperature starts decreasing during the evening, something that is linked to our circadian rhythm. The light from the sunset and the darkness triggers not only the release of melatonin in our body, causing a feeling of relaxation and tiredness, but also a dip in our body temperature.
During our sleep, the body temperature keeps decreasing, especially during the first stages of the sleep cycle (N1 and N2) when it reaches its lowest level. However, external temperatures can affect this natural process: if it’s too warm, the body temperature will increase and disturb our sleep – causing difficulties falling asleep (or staying asleep) and affecting our sleep quality.
Use notes in the Sleep Cycle app to follow up on the effects of your changes, and figure out what works best for you to fall asleep faster on summer nights!