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July 31, 2018
It’s that time of year when high temperatures can disturb your nightly slumber. Humans tend to sleep comfortably within a narrow range of temperatures—the National Sleep Foundation recommends an optimal bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. One reason for this is that our bodies recognize cooling down as a signal to begin the process of falling asleep. Unfortunately, the heat of late summer can lead to sleep disturbances, and humidity exacerbates this issue, making it more difficult for the body to cool itself through sweating.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep yourself cool and comfortable through the summer nights so you can sleep soundly. Here are our top tips for sleeping well in the summer heat.
Keep the curtains or blinds drawn in your bedroom during the day to prevent excess heat from building up in the room. In the evening, this will also help you sleep by maintaining a dark environment. However, if you don’t have air conditioning or it’s cooler outside than inside, opening a window at night can encourage air circulation and help you sleep.
Using a standing or window fan can also help the air in your room circulate and produce a cool breeze. For especially hot nights, place a bowl of ice in front of the fan to help cool the airflow. Window fans can also be mounted so that they blow hot air out of a room, drawing in cooler air from the interior of your home.
Stick to natural fibers for bedding and pajamas, especially cotton, which wicks sweat away from the body and breathes better than silk and wool. And by all means swap out your heavier blankets and comforters for lighter sheets and blankets. (Stray and Wander’s Reve blanket, made of softly woven Turkish cotton, provides just the right amount of weight and coverage for those of you that need some type of bed cover, without trapping heat near your body when you’re trying to rest.)
Putting your sheets in the freezer or refrigerator for a bit before going to bed can also help (just remember to wrap them in a protective plastic bag to prevent them from absorbing moisture). Don’t have room to fit an entire sheet set in your fridge? You can get a similar effect by chilling just your pillowcase, since it contacts the part of your body that contains the brain stem, which is responsible for regulating body temperature. (Our chillable Silk and Cotton Eye Pillows are also an excellent way to feel cooler quickly, and they come in two sleep-encouraging scents!)
Avoid hot foods and drinks and heavy meals too close to bedtime. Eating near the time when you plan to sleep can keep your body active digesting and can cause sleep-disrupting indigestion. And while you may welcome the warming effects of a hot drink in the cooler months of the year, this can backfire when the temperatures climb and you’re trying to sleep. Although it's counter-intuitive, drinking alcohol can also have an activating effect on the body, so it’s also a good idea to avoid it in the hours just before going to bed.
On the flip side, drinking a glass of ice water can help your body feel cooler. And since dehydration can make it difficult to regulate your body temperature, always make sure to keep a cool bottle or carafe of water near your bed in case you wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.
Consider taking a cool shower or a warm bath before bed. The evaporation of water from your skin will cool you, and, in the case of a bath, the process will also relax you and get you in the proper mindset for falling asleep. Don’t have the time or inclination for a full shower or bath? You can produce a similar effect by spritzing your skin with cool water.
We hope these tips bring you some relief from the hot weather, so you can get some quality sleep and make the most of the summer season!
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