Quantcast

Sleepless in the Summer?

The secret to solid summer z’s: Stay cool.

Thinkstock
Sleepless in the Summer?

Summer is coming and the temps outside have been steadily increasing with each passing week. For many, the warmer months signal longer days spent outside, going to the beach and barbecues. However, the warmer weather can also bring about tossing and turning at night. Being prepared to deal with the effects of heat on sleep can do wonders for your energy and mood come July and August.

Circadian rhythms are innate, biological clocks that govern many things in our body, such as the release of certain hormones and the timing of when to wake up and when to get sleepy. When good sleepers go to bed, their circadian rhythm kicks in and alerts the core body temperature to drop ever so slightly. As the night goes on, the temperature continues to drop slightly until approximately two hours before routine morning awakening. Simply put, your brain has an internal thermostat that’s lowering the temperature at night to make you sleepy and then rising it slowly just before waking in the morning.

MORE: The Scoop on Popular OTC Sleep Meds

So how does this all translate into an optimal sleep environment? Sleeping in a cooler room is ideal since it helps to enhance that internal thermostat that wants to lower the core body temperature. That being said, there can be such a thing as a room that's too cold and sleeping at either extreme (hot or cold) has been shown to disrupt sleep quantity and quality.

It is hard to give a "just right" temperature for everyone since we all have slightly different thermostats. I rarely see a couple in my practice who both like the temperature as is—usually, one person feels it is too cold and the other thinks it is too hot. I usually advise patients to find what is most comfortable to them, usually within the 60-72 degree range.

MORE: The Key to Getting Your Beauty Sleep

In the hot summer months, keeping your room below 72 degrees might require some creativity. If you have air conditioning, by all means use it. If you don't, try to open windows (it is often cooler outside during the summer than inside) and use a fan or two to circulate the air through the room. During the day, keep your windows closed with light-blocking shades to keep the hot air and sunlight from coming in. If you live in a multi-level house, consider sleeping downstairs or in the basement if it is too hot upstairs. And in the worst-case scenario, consider sleeping for a day or two at someone else's house if their place is cooler at night.

If you and your partner have significantly different internal thermostats, I often suggest that bed partners keep two different quilts or bedspreads on the bed. One person can use the heavier one, the other can use a lighter one.

Keeping your bedroom cool, but not too cold, can be the key to a good night's sleep during the summer months. With good sleep comes more energy to enjoy all those outdoor summer activities!

MORE: Prepare Your Body (And Room) For Sleep

Smart is sexy - get our newsletter:

Comments on this Article (1) | Leave a Comment

Loading…
Let's hang out
Nl-signup-health

Get more
Health Tips!

Get the latest in beauty, wellness, workouts and more feel-good fun—straight to your inbox.

CONTACT US