Getting too hot in bed is a drag. We have all experienced it, tossing and turning beneath sweat-soaked sheets. Of course, once you get to sleep the problem is solved — right? Unfortunately, evidence suggests otherwise.
Bed temperatures that exceed 32ºC can affect REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, causing daytime vagueness, fatigue, and stress. More alarmingly, overheating promotes hyperventilation, which increases the chances of strokes, heart attacks, seizures and asthma. A whole swathe of skin conditions are also commonly caused by overheating. Thankfully, there are many simple things you can do that will have you feeling better in no time.
The ideal room temperature for sleeping is usually between 16ºC and 21ºC. If you have an air conditioner, try setting it somewhere in this sweet spot. Don’t forget to set the timer to raise the temperature in the cooler hours of the morning. If you do not have an air conditioner, the next best option is a fan. If you have a ceiling fan, set the blades to turn counter-clockwise. This will draw the hot air towards the ceiling and away from your bed.
It is much easier to keep the heat out than to cool your room down when preparing for bedtime. Keep bedroom blinds closed during daylight hours. If you have outdoor blinds, use these. Because heat rises, the lower your bedding is, the cooler you will feel. A bed that is lower to the ground may help. If you are on the second floor of a house, sleeping downstairs on hot nights will make a big difference.
Many bedding materials don’t breathe, trapping the heat inside. Replace flannel, polyester and satin with cotton and wool. Thin layers will give you greater control of the temperature. Also, consider changing your pillow. Down pillows can trap heat around your head, which then affects your whole body. Buckwheat pillows are cooler, but less comfortable. Another possibility is a cooling gel pillow, a product that is available through this website.
Too hot to sleep? Here’s why – The Conversation January 8, 2013.
Overheating in bed as an important factor in many common dermatoses – Hugh F. Molloy FACD, Terence J. Ryan D.M., F.R.C.P. September 1993.