There is nothing better than the feeling of slipping into bed at night after a tiring day at work. Restorative sleep is not just relaxing, but it is also essential for a healthy, happy, and productive life. Unfortunately, two in three people feel hot at night, thereby experiencing sleep deprivation at some point. Cool at first, most people begin to warm up once they are under the sheets, eventually reaching the right temperature just in time to fall asleep.
However, the environment continues to heat with every passing hour, and at some point, most people start to get sweaty. This can disrupt sleep cycles and interfere with overall energy levels. For this reason, it is crucial to understand why you’re a hot sleeper to solve the problem.
Understanding Your Body Temperature
Many things about your body change during sleep: your heart rate becomes slower than usual, your muscles relax, and your breathing slows down. One such important aspect to note is how your core temperature affects your sleep temperature.
Your core body temperature follows the circadian rhythm, meaning it rises and falls throughout the 24-hour cycle. Typically, a drop in core body temperature triggers your body to prepare for sleep. On the other hand, a rise in core temperature during sleep promotes waking. Your core temperature starts to rise nearly two hours before you wake, and it continues rising throughout the day.
Studies show that people suffering from insomnia struggle with their core body temperature rising and falling out of sync with their chosen bedtime. For core temperature changes to happen immediately, your body should retain or lose heat efficiently. The ideal temperature to fall asleep is between 60–67 degrees Fahrenheit.
To achieve the right core body temperature, you might want to consider warming up your skin before getting into bed. For instance, you can take a warm bath or simply a foot bath or exercise a few hours before bedtime. This will help warm peripheral skin, resulting in the blood vessels dilating, so more heat escapes through their walls. So, when you hit the bed, you will already be in the process of cooling down.
It Could be Hormonal
Another reason that leads to night sweats or hot flashes is hormonal imbalance. This is particularly common in females. The fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels that are part of premenstrual syndrome result in many females getting hot at night. Additionally, hot flashes and night sweats are also common symptoms of menopause. It happens as a result of the reduction in estrogen levels and other hormonal changes.
Pregnancy can also cause hormonal changes, thereby increasing your blood flow and increasing your core body temperature—two factors that can lead to insomnia. Obstructive sleep apnea and hyperthyroidism are also two potential causes of feeling hot and sweaty at night.
You Might Be Ill-Equipped
From bedding to blankets to lighting, your bedroom environment plays a vital role in offering you the right amount of sleep. So, if you are experiencing night sweats, then it might be time you consider switching to new bedding, pillows, or pajamas or upgrading your mattress. Your bedding acts much like an insulator, and thicker bedding can trap more heat. Similarly, wearing thick sleepwear can also result in overheating.
Different fabrics have varying heat-retaining properties. You should ideally opt for lightweight sheets and breathable pajamas made of fabrics like cotton. Synthetic fabrics like polyester are a big no. You might also want to invest in cooling mattresses, a temperature regulating weighted blanket, etc.
Make Some Changes to Your Night Routine
If you are feeling too hot at night, it might be because of your night routine. As mentioned previously, warming nighttime rituals may help the body begin the cool-down process, but it could also have the opposite effect for some.
The activities you do before bedtime can raise your body temperature, thereby making it more difficult to sleep. For instance, consuming caffeine before bedtime can increase your mental alertness and increase your body temperature. Similarly, stressful activities like evening exercise can also negatively impact your sleep.
To overcome this, you shouldn’t exercise at least an hour before bed. In addition, you can ideally take a cool shower instead of a hot bath before bed and can also open the windows or use portable fans to regulate your bedroom temperature. It’s all about finding what works for you and your body.
Cool Down and Embrace Sleep
A lot of factors can result in increased body temperature when you try to sleep. Maybe, it is the high room temperature that is preventing you from sleeping. Or perhaps, your bedding is too thick. Even hormonal imbalances or underlying medical conditions can result in your feeling hot while in bed.
For the most part, regulating your bedroom temperature can help. If that doesn’t work, consider changing your pre-bed habits. If that doesn’t fix the problem either, consult with a doctor to figure out any underlying medical conditions.