This Is Why You Should Always Sleep With a Blanket in the Summer
It’s the best way to keep cool and sleep through the night.
On those sweltering summer nights, when you spend what feels like forever tossing and turning, it’s tempting to kick off your blanket to try and cool off. But even though it may seem counterintuitive, that’s not actually the best way to keep your temperature down and enjoy your most restorative summer sleep.
We spoke to medical experts to find out the best tips for a good night’s snooze during the sweaty season—and it turns out, blankets are key!
Blankets keep our temperatures regulated in the summer.
For most people, the optimal sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Dr. Kent Smith, a sleep expert and president of the American Sleep & Breathing Academy. “The body is designed to sleep better at cooler temperatures,” he explains. “In fact, our body temperature naturally drops a few degrees in the evening to prepare us for sleep.”
When we enter rapid eye motion (REM) sleep, our body stops regulating temperature and continues to drop during the night, explains Dr. Anthony Kouri, a resident at the University of Toledo Medical Center. That means that when you’re sleeping, your body relies on external ways of regulating temperature, like, you guessed it, a blanket.
If you leave yourself exposed to the elements—or, y’know, your frosty AC—you might find yourself waking up with a chill in the middle of the night.
And blankets also make us feel safe and happy.
There’s a reason why children have “security blankets”—they make us feel safe. According to Dr. Anil Rama, MD, a faculty member at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, people find sleeping with a blanket or sheet psychologically comforting.
And Kouri says that studies have shown that blankets help make us feel happy, too. “In addition to thermoregulation, during REM sleep, our body’s supply of serotonin and dopamine decreases,” he explains of the uplifting chemicals. “These are neurotransmitters that make us feel good.”
That means your blanket just might be essential to helping you wake up happy, too.
But it’s normal to want to leave one foot free.
It turns out, our feet are pretty good at cooling us off, due to blood vessels on the surface of the foot that make it easy for heat to escape. This is why some people like to sleep with one foot outside of the covers at night, Kouri adds.
But no matter whether your feet are in or out when you’re catching those Z’s, if the temperature’s rising, try to sleep with a blanket. It’ll help regulate your body temperature and make you feel more secure—that means a more well-rested you in the morning. And for more in-depth direction on getting rest, Here Are the Best Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep.
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