Ah, summer—the season of sunny days and warm nights, which can sometimes turn bedtime into a sweaty battle. The Louisiana heat is no joke! And those high temperatures can certainly do a number on your sleep. The heat and humidity can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep, leaving you feeling tired and restless.
Fortunately, there’s still hope for peaceful slumber and better rest. We’ve curated a collection of tips specifically tailored for those hot summer nights. Let’s explore some strategies and make these humid evenings more sleep-friendly!
Why is it Hard to Sleep When it’s Hot?
There are several reasons sleeping becomes difficult during the hotter seasons of the year.
Heat has the potential to amplify discomfort. That goes especially if you already have skin irritations, allergies, or respiratory issues. A combination of heat and discomfort can make it harder to find a comfortable position or maintain restful sleep.
Interrupted Sleep Stages
A hot sleep environment can interfere with important sleep stages, such as deep sleep and REM sleep. These stages are crucial for restorative sleep and waking up refreshed. Excessive heat can lead to more shallow sleep and frequent awakenings, disrupting the normal sleep cycle.
Potential Poor Airflow
High humidity levels limit air circulation, creating a stuffy environment. Without proper airflow, heat becomes trapped, making it difficult to feel comfortable and relaxed.
Hot temperatures lead to increased sweating as your body tries to cool off. Sweating can make you feel sticky and uncomfortable, making it challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Then, sweating during hot nights can also lead to dehydration. That further disrupts sleep! Dehydration causes discomfort, dry mouth, and increased thirst, preventing you from relaxing and falling asleep easily.
Disrupted Temperature Regulation
Your body has a built-in thermostat that helps regulate its temperature. When it’s too hot, your body struggles to maintain this internal balance, causing discomfort and making it difficult to sleep.
Increased Body Temperature
Lastly, when it’s hot, your body temperature rises. But to sleep, your body needs to cool down. The high temperatures can hinder this cooling process, making it harder to fall asleep.
Now that we understand “why” the heat makes it hard to sleep let’s look at tips to overcome said heat! Overcoming these obstacles can improve your sleep quality – even when it’s blisteringly hot outside.
How to Get Better Sleep When it’s Hot: 10 Helpful Tips
Getting better sleep during the hot summer nights can be challenging. Here are several tips you can follow to potentially improve your sleep quality during the heat!
1. Dress Cool!
We’re talking breathable sleepwear. Ideally, you want lightweight, loose-fitting sleepwear. We also recommend natural materials like cotton or bamboo. These can help wick away moisture and promote airflow easier.
2. Limit Heat Sources in the Bedroom
That means turning off and/or unplugging electronics and appliances that generate heat. Chargers, computers, lamps – extinguish the heat! You might be surprised at how much cooler your bedroom stays.
3. Time Your Activities Strategically When it’s Hot Out
Plan your exercise and outdoor activities earlier in the day when it’s cooler. Engaging in physical activities close to bedtime can raise your body temperature and make it harder to fall asleep.
However, low-impact, relaxing exercises such as gentle stretching or yoga in the evening might help promote sleep.
4. Take a Cool Shower Before Bed
Lower your body temperature by taking a refreshing shower or bath before bed. It can also help you feel more comfortable and relaxed, better preparing your body for sleep.
5. Optimize Your Bed
There are varying ways of optimizing your bed for sleep in the heat. Lightweight, breathable bedding materials like linen or cotton sheets are a plus. They can help regulate your body temperature and promote better airflow.
Take it up a notch by investing in cooling pillows to cool your head while you sleep. Or, go all out and get a cooling mattress pad, too. The more cooling materials you have, the better.
6. Maximize Your Bedroom’s Coolness
You can do more than optimize just your bed, though – you can optimize the whole bedroom! Invest in an extra cooling fan or two. Use the A/C (but be wary of your electric bill).
Speaking of that fan, place it near an open window if you can. It’ll create a cross breeze that brings cooler air into the room. Or, place a tray of ice or a frozen water bottle in front of the fan! It’ll create a refreshing cooling effect.
Consider blackout curtains to block out the sunlight and reduce heat from outside. Blackout curtains alone can drastically reduce a room’s overall temperature.
7. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Do be mindful of not drinking too much before bedtime, though, to avoid frequent bathroom trips during the night.
8. Adjust Your Sleeping Position
Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs could help with heat dissipation. Everyone is different, though! Be sure to experiment with different sleep positions to find the one that feels the most comfortable for you. Ideally, it should allow for the best airflow possible.
9. Use a Compress
When in doubt, try a cool compress or a small towel soaked in cold water. Place it on your forehead, neck, wrists, or feet. Cooling down your body temperature is the goal, and it may help ease you into better sleep.
10. Create a Soothing Sleep Environment Despite the Heat
There are some techniques to use that may help you fall asleep faster even despite the heat. For example, dim the lights to help mitigate light pollution at least 30 minutes before you start your bedtime routine.
You could also play calming music or utilize a white noise machine to nurture a more relaxing atmosphere.
Final Thoughts: How to Get Better Sleep in the Heat
To wrap up, there are several reasons sleeping in hot summer conditions can be tough. Body temperature, thermoregulation, sweating, and dehydration are some of the many reasons it’s difficult to sleep in the heat.
Fortunately, we provided a series of strategies to help keep you cooler this summer. By implementing these strategies, you can improve your chances of getting a restful night’s sleep.
Remember to stay hydrated, create airflow, use lightweight bedding, and consider alternative cooling methods. With these tips in mind, you can navigate the hot summer nights and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Sleep well, and stay cool!