Sleep and temperature

Sleep and temperature

How to get a good night’s sleep in summer

During the hotter months, many people struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Temperature and humidity have a huge impact on our bodies, so it’s not surprising that many of us wake on summer mornings feeling sleep-deprived and grumpy.
In this blog we explain why outside temperature affects sleep and offer some tips on how to improve quality of sleep when it’s hot and humid.
Interested in knowing more about the in’s and out’s of a good night’s sleep? Subscribe to our blog and we’ll send you our latest blogs straight to your inbox.
Is it me, or is it hot in here?
Hot summer nights can make getting a good night’s sleep a challenge. This is partly due to the effect our core body temperature has on the production of melatonin, the hormone which helps regulate our sleep/wake cycle. If we’re too hot, we struggle to produce all the melatonin we need to drop our core body temperature to a level conducive to sleep.
So what can we do to remedy this and tip the balance back in our favour?
1. Reduce heat build-up in your bedroom
Ideally your bedroom temperature should be between 16C and 18C. If temperatures reach over 22C, you're going to have trouble sleeping. During the day use curtains or blinds to keep the sun out and keep windows closed if the temperature outside is higher than inside. After the sun goes down, and it’s warmer inside than out, open your bedroom windows.
This may sound counterintuitive, but if you have an electric fan, point it at the open window. This will draw heat out of your bedroom, and allow cooler air from outside to replace it. Other tips include using aircon, a fan, a dehumidifier or placing a bowl of ice in front of a fan as a DIY aircon.
2. Try eating dinner earlier
Eating late can raise your core temperature which, as we’ve seen, can make it harder to get to sleep. Also, if you eat late your body may still be digesting food after you climb into bed, causing discomfort and broken or delayed sleep.
3. Exercise during the day
Exercise raises our levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that helps us stay alert, so it's wise to leave at least three hours between exercising and going to bed.
4. Have a good sleep routine
A good sleep routine supports better sleep overall, meaning the occasional restless night will have less of an impact. Go to bed when you feel sleepy, at roughly the same time each day, and keep the bedroom off-limits to activities such as watching TV, working or exercising. Cutting down on stimulants like nicotine, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine, particularly before bed, will help too. Keep your bedroom lighting dim to stimulate melatonin production, and switch off the TV and personal devices 1-2 hours before bed.
5. Lightly layer for comfort
Choose pyjamas in natural fibres such as cotton and silk. If you use a doona, add a top sheet so you can throw it off, yet still be lightly covered. Or replace your doona with a cotton blanket on hot nights.
6. Take a warm shower
Apart from rinsing the day away, a warm (not hot) shower about an hour before bed can help you sleep. Let damp skin cool down before you get into bed – the effect makes your body think your core temperature is lower than it really is.
Interested in knowing more about the in’s and out’s of a good night’s sleep? Subscribe to our blog and we’ll send you our latest blogs straight to your inbox.
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