6 Tips to Sleep Cooler on Hot Nights, Experts Say
Rest easier without worrying about waking up covered in sweat.
Waking up in a pool of sweat is no one's favorite morning scenario. If you're someone who already feels a bit warm in bed, you know how much harder it is to sleep comfortably when the weather heats up. Being a hot sleeper can cause you to toss and turn, which makes it much harder to get a proper night's rest. But you don't have to simply accept a life of sleep deprivation. In fact, experts say there are certain things you can do to make sure you can chill out and get the sleep you need. Read on for six tips to sleep cooler on hot nights.
Don't eat a lot right before bed.
You might be someone who enjoys the occasional late-night dinner, but this could be a recipe for disaster.
Martin Seeley, a sleep expert and the founder of Mattress Next Day, tells Best Life that people should "try to avoid eating large meals right before bedtime" if they want to feel cooler at night. Why? "Digestion can cause your body temperature to rise while you're trying to sleep," he explains.
But make sure you are well hydrated.
Eating is one thing, but drinking water is another. According to Jabe Brown, MSc, a health expert and founder of Melbourne Functional Medicine, staying well hydrated can "significantly affect" how cool you feel when trying to sleep on hot nights.
"Our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water, which we use for various physiological processes, including maintaining our body temperature," Brown shares. "Drinking plenty of water during the day ensures our bodies have the resources they need to keep our internal cooling systems working efficiently."
Of course, that doesn't mean you should down a gallon of water as you're getting ready to turn in for the night. Brown notes that this could encourage multiple trips to the bathroom overnight.
"Instead, focus on hydrating well throughout the day, and take just a few sips of water close to bedtime," he recommends.
Sleep with socks on.
Most of us try to wear as little clothing as possible when we feel warm. But while sleeping with socks on might seem counterproductive, Jill Zwarensteyn, a certified sleep science coach and editor at Sleepadvisor.org, says the science is there to back it up.
According to Zwarensteyn, your body prepares for sleep by changing its core temperature from "wakefulness levels," which means low skin temperatures and a high core temperature, to "sleep levels," which means high skin temperatures and a low core temperature.
"As the body changes these levels, vasodilation is happening. Vasodilation widens the blood vessels and increases blood circulation, which reduces your core body temperature," she explains. "So, if your body is unable to attain high skin temperatures and low core temperature because of poor circulation, your sleep onset may be affected. Therefore, wearing socks can help regulate this process and improve your ability to fall asleep."
Elevate your legs while sleeping.
Giving your lower half a little lift during the night can help your body feel cooler as well, according to Tony Hu, a registered chiropodist, experienced health expert, and founder of Family Wellness Footcare. Hu recommends placing a pillow underneath your legs to slightly elevate them while you sleep.
"This can improve blood circulation, reducing heat buildup in extremities," he says.
Take a warm bath before bed.
As with sleeping with socks on, taking a quick dip in hot water seems like it would only make you warmer. But Zwarensteyn says she also advises people to take a warm bath or shower right before bed to help ensure a relaxing and refreshing night of rest.
"Research shows that a hot bath or shower before bed will help lower your core body temperature, helping you feel cool and fall asleep faster," she says.
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Limit your alcohol intake.
Many people opt for a nightcap before bed because they believe it will help them fall asleep faster. But Niall Sherwell, a health expert and writer for Productivity Acceleration, says that glass of wine or whiskey "disrupts your body's natural thermoregulation process," which may in turn make it harder for you to sleep.
"Alcohol causes blood vessels near your skin to expand, a process known as vasodilation, which initially makes you feel warm. However, as the alcohol is metabolized, this process reverses and can cause your body temperature to drop, leading to night sweats and disrupted sleep," Sherwell says. "To keep cool and maintain a steady body temperature throughout the night, it is best to limit alcohol consumption before bed."