Temperature is one of the biggest factors that determines our sleep quality and is arguably one of the easiest to fix. Tossing and turning while trying to find the cool spot in your bed is one of the most frustrating feelings because you feel like you’ll never find relief. On the flip side, when you’re so cold that you can’t stop shivering, you also feel like a peaceful night’s sleep will never happen. So why does temperature affect our sleep so much, and what can we do to stop sleeping hot?
What is the Best Temperature for Sleeping?
There are many factors that determine whether you’re going to get a good night’s sleep or not. Everything from lifestyle habits to room conditions to hormonal changes can affect the way you’re sleeping at night. The easiest way to start making sure you’re getting all the REM sleep and deep sleep your body needs to fully recover from the day before is to set your room up for success. Doing small things like investing in some black out curtains to prevent any outside light from coming in and turning off all blue light-emitting devices can really improve your sleep quality. The excess light can mess with your body’s internal clock and circadian rhythm.
That being said, one of the most important factors in achieving a restful night’s sleep is room temperature. If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ve experienced that awful dread of tossing and turning because it’s too hot, waking up drenched in sweat, or not being able to relax in bed because you’re shivering from being too cold.
Experts say the ideal temperature for sleeping is 68 degrees, but is that true? Like anything else, the ideal temperature is going to vary from person to person, and age is the biggest factor on how cool you should keep your room. As a general rule of thumb, babies and young children require a bit warmer room temperature at around 65-70 degrees, while the range for adults is 60-68 degrees. These are just general guidelines, but temperatures should never exceed 75 degrees and should never drop below 54 degrees, as these temperatures are guaranteed to disrupt your sleep cycles and have you waking up feeling unrested.
What Causes Our Bodies to Change Temperature at Night?
Humans are endotherms, which means our bodies regulate body temperature through heat absorption, production and loss. Your body changes temperature throughout the day to either keep you awake or put you to sleep. The higher your body temperature, the more awake you are, which is why you feel invigorated after a workout. Sleep occurs when the core temperature is dropping, so in midafternoon, your body starts preparing for sleep and subsequently, starts dropping your body temperature, which is why you feel an afternoon slump.
What are Night Sweats?
Night sweats is a medical condition known as nocturnal hyperhidrosis that can happen to men and women of all ages. It’s when you sweat excessively during the night, often soaking through your pajamas, from no external factors causing you to sweat.
Waking up from a deep slumber because the thermostat was set too high or you are wearing too many layers is not considered night sweats because night sweats are not caused by your sleeping environment. While both scenarios are very common and you may experience both from time to time, it’s important to differentiate the two so that you can determine the cause and find a solution to start sleeping better.
What Causes Night Sweats?
As discussed previously, night sweats are not caused by external factors like wearing too many clothes to sleep or the room being too hot. Instead, night sweats have an internal cause, such as hormones. Something as simple as a fever or certain medications can cause your body to sweat profusely while you sleep, causing night sweats. Another common cause of night sweats for middle-aged women is menopause. Not all causes of night sweats are medical, they can be lifestyle too; for example, if you were partying and drinking excessive alcohol before going to bed, it can cause your body to sweat during the night. If you find yourself consistently waking up drenched in sweat and are unsure why, it may be wise to consult a physician.
How to Prevent Sleeping Hot at Night
If you’ve determined that the reason you’re not sleeping well is because of overheating during the night, and not night sweats, we have a few tips for you to follow so that you can start getting a restful night’s sleep and wake refreshed.
To start, opt for cotton. Silk and polyester do not breathe as well as cotton does and therefore traps heat in, making you even hotter. When choosing your bedding and pajamas, always go for cotton so that both your sheets and clothes have ample ventilation.
Another trick to try for staying cool while you sleep is to take ice cubes or a cold compress and place it on your pulse points. Placing something cool on your wrists, neck, elbows and groin is the quickest way for your body to cool down before bedtime.
Try staying hydrated before bed since the sweating caused by overheating can lead to dehydration, which can cause you to lose even more sleep. To avoid this, be sure to drink water throughout the day and then limit your water intake to about 8 oz before bed.
Many people shower before going to bed at night. However, the heat from the shower can often linger, and if your bathroom is connected to your bedroom, the steam can heat up your bedroom. Avoid this by taking a shower earlier in the afternoon so that your body and room have time to cool off before bed.
Sleeping hot is a common complaint from people with memory foam mattresses and memory foam mattress toppers, which is why we created the Muse Sleep memory foam mattress with gel-infused memory foam that helps dissipate body heat, as well as a phase-changing fabric cover that is cool to the touch. The combination of these helps prevent hot sweaty nights so that you wake refreshed night after night.