August 02, 2021 3 min read
Summer of 2021 started with record-high temperatures in many parts of the U.S., and predictions are that we’ll be seeing more heatwaves in the coming weeks. With the line on your thermometer going higher, your chance of getting restful sleep becomes lower.
Under normal conditions, your body cools down in preparation for sleep. Unsurprisingly, this becomes challenging whenambient temperatures are above normal. And the result? Sleepless nights and grogginess during the day. Studies show that excessively high temperatures affect sleep even in people who normally don’t suffer from insomnia.
So, what’s one to do when extreme weather gets in the way of sleep? Below are a couple of hacks that may help you during hot summer nights.
From late morning up until sunset, close all your windows and draw the blinds. This will reduce how much heat and daylight enters your home. Heat buildup makes cooling down your home much more difficult once it’s evening.
If you can, avoid using your stove and oven during the day to reduce how much heat is generated inside your home. Other appliances produce heat, including irons, water heaters, microwave ovens but also lamps, and even your TV. That way you should keep your home unplugged as much as possible for the time being.
After sunset, let the breeze in to help cool down your home, especially your bedroom. If you have an air conditioner, great! But you probably don’t want to leave it running all night to save electricity. In that case, a fan facing out can help blow hot air outside the room at a lower cost.
Bring your core body temperature to a sleep-inducing level with a cool shower or bath. But avoid chillingly cold showers. Very cold showers cause the blood vessels in your skin to constrict and the ones deep in your body to dilate — which leads to a raised core body temperature. Some research even shows that warm showers before bed are more effective in helping the body get rid of heat.
Satin sheets and silk pajamas may feel cool to the touch, but they actually help retain heat more efficiently than other fabrics. Change your covers to cotton ones and sleep in lightweight cotton PJs or a nightgown to stay cool. But if you’re prone to night sweats, bamboo is a natural material that’s great at wicking moisture.
Hot weather can make you sweaty, boosting your need to rehydrate. Sweat is nature’s way of helping us cool down — and only a well-hydrated body can do this effectively. Your appetite is also likely to drop during heat waves, which is another way the body stays cool (digestion generates heat). So, stick to salads, fruit, and yogurt when it’s scorching outside.
Hot air tends to go up, while denser, cooler air hoovers near the ground. Sleeping on ground floors can be much more comfortable during hot weather. But if you live in an apartment, sleeping on a futon mattress can make a difference.
And what if your sleepless nights are also due tosnoring?
Surprisingly, most snorers snore less during the summer season and warmer ambient temperature, which is also a finding from a study published in the journalSleep.
But if you find the opposite to be true, this may be due to summer allergies. But if you’re not a seasonal snorer, you may want to look into snore solutions like oursleep apnea mouthpieces. These tongue-stabilizing devices help patients with primary snoring
Gilbert SS, van den Heuvel CJ, Ferguson SA, Dawson D. Thermoregulation as a sleep signalling system.Sleep Med Rev. 2004;8(2):81-93.doi:10.1016/S1087-0792(03)00023-6
Zheng G, Li K, Wang Y. The Effects of High-Temperature Weather on Human Sleep Quality and Appetite.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(2):270. Published 2019 Jan 18.doi:10.3390/ijerph16020270
Haghayegh S, Khoshnevis S, Smolensky MH, Diller KR, Castriotta RJ. Before-bedtime passive body heating by warm shower or bath to improve sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis.Sleep Med Rev. 2019;46:124-135.doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2019.04.008
Valham F, Sahlin C, Stenlund H, Franklin KA. Ambient temperature and obstructive sleep apnea: effects on sleep, sleep apnea, and morning alertness.Sleep. 2012;35(4):513-517. Published 2012 Apr 1.doi:10.5665/sleep.1736
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Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but nearly everyone with sleep apnea snores. If you suspect (or were told) that you snore, you may be wondering whether you should take that as a sign that you might have sleep apnea.
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