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How to Beat the Heat for a Good Night’s Sleep

By Sara Butler

Temperature and Sleep

It’s that time of year -- the time of year when walking outside feels like you’re a baked potato wrapped in tin foil cooking in the sun.

Being hot when you’re out and about is one thing, but being hot when you’re trying to get some much-needed sleep? No bueno. With the ideal sleep temperature being between 60 and 67 degrees, this can be a tough time of the year to achieve that wrapped-up-in-a-fuzzy-blanket bliss when you’re trying to nod off.

That’s why it’s important to have some cool sleeping tips in your arsenal, so you can whip them out on days when you’re channeling your inner Thanksgiving turkey as you roast away.

Here are a few tips from the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic that may be able to help you cool down so you can get some rest.

Temperature and Sleep: What’s the Connection?

It’s part of the normal cycle of sleep for the temperature of your body to decrease. It’s tied to something called the circadian rhythm, which, aside from being a great name for a new-age folk band, also happens to regulate important functions of the body, such as mood, appetite, and sleep.

The natural light you are bathed in during the day signals to your brain that it’s time to be awake and alert. This also stimulates your body to release hormones that help you feel more alert and keep your body temperature normal throughout the day.

At night, the darkness signals your brain that it’s almost time for sleep. This triggers the production of more hormones, such as melatonin, that help you relax and feel tired. The hormones also cause your body temperature to decrease, a process that continues once you hit the hay and fall asleep.

If it’s too hot in your bedroom, that can throw a wrench in your body’s temperature regulation and ultimately make it more difficult for you to fall asleep -- and stay that way.

Hot Tips to Stay Cool

Aside from moving to the North Pole in the summer, it’s important to know how to cool yourself down at night. Even if you have air conditioning, there may be some heat waves that are too intense for it to keep up with, making your home warmer than you might like when it’s time for bed.

To help beat the heat, you should consider taking these steps before visiting the Sandman.

  • Close your curtains - You can keep the area where you sleep cool if you close the blinds and curtains to block sunlight (and heat) from entering during the day. A smart move is to invest in some blackout curtains to really keep the sunlight at bay.
  • Don’t exercise - Moderate exercise during the day is a great way to set your body up for better sleep, but if you exercise too close to bedtime, then your body temperature can go up and make it much more difficult to fall asleep comfortably.
  • Take a hot shower - Sure, a hot shower may be the furthest thing from your mind when it’s boiling outside, but it’s a good strategy to help cool down before bed. A hot shower or bath will help your body temperature to decrease overall, and bonus -- it helps you to relax.
  • Invest in natural bedding - Make sure you have pillowcases and bed sheets that are made from natural fibers such as linen or cotton. These fabrics are more breathable than synthetic ones and will help to keep you cooler. Bamboo or rayon sheets may also be a good investment for this reason.

To stay cool as you’re sleeping, you should:

  • Set the thermostat low - Your air conditioning may not be able to keep up, but you should still set your thermostat at about 65 degrees to help you stay as cool as possible.
  • Think about your pajama choice - Choose sleep attire that you’re comfortable in but will also allow you to stay as cool as possible. If you’re normally a sweatpants to bed person, consider going with something a little less snuggly when the weather is really hot out.
  • Use a fan - Circulating air through the room is a great way to cool it down. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, then invest in a good box fan. Even those with air conditioning can benefit from increased airflow.
  • Freeze the pillowcase - Channel your inner 13-year-old at a sleepover and freeze your pillowcase before bed. Simply put it in the freezer sometime in the evening, then pull it out right before you go to bed.

There are lots of things to enjoy about summer, but when a heatwave strikes, it can be difficult to find the good -- especially when you’re tossing and turning at night. Put these tips to good use because, when it comes time to find some Zzz’s, it’s best to play it cool.

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