A Cool Night’s Rest in the Heat of Summer
Did you know that sleep experts recommend that you keep your bedroom in the low- to mid-60s to facilitate the best possible sleep throughout the night? The ideal sleep situation shouldn’t be too cold or warm while remaining dark and quiet. However, this can become difficult in the summer when skyrocketing temperatures (and air conditioning bills) make it tough to keep your house cool throughout the night. Here are some tricks to help you get a good night’s rest, even on hot summer nights.
Why Does Heat Make It More Difficult to Sleep?
On the most basic level, there are two causes for an overly hot bedroom — the actual temperature (or “dry heat”) and the humidity (the level of moisture in the air). While a high temperature by itself may be uncomfortable, the humidity is what makes a hot day particularly bad, because high moisture levels make it difficult for sweat to evaporate. The evaporation of sweat is one of the body’s natural cooling processes; so, when it’s inhibited by high humidity, the excess moisture leads to that slickly sticky feeling, which is particularly frustrating when you’re trying to sleep. One of the simplest ways to overcome this is to use a fan. Fans move air around the room and your body, increasing the chances of evaporation. If the humidity is still a problem, buy a dehumidifier to regulate the moisture in the air.
Regulate Heat Throughout the Day
You can control the buildup of heat throughout the day by carefully using curtains and open windows. Keep your blinds and curtains closed when the sun is pointed in their direction, but if it’s windy, open up windows on the opposite side to let air circulate. Be sure to monitor the situation as the sun moves across the sky so that the house’s temperature can remain balanced. Just like a windshield screen in a car helps to prevent the interior from overheating after a hot day, so do curtains help stop your house from becoming an oven.
Use Sheets Made of Natural Materials
You can expedite the process by carefully choosing your sleeping situation. Start by swapping out nylon sheets, which trap heat, for thin cotton or bamboo sheets, which are great for moisture wicking and temperature control. Also, innerspring mattresses with foam padding and memory foam mattresses tend to retain heat more than latex mattresses, and these natural tendencies are exacerbated when soft, thick foam mattress toppers are added. Choosing a mattress with a breathable cover will do wonders toward cooling down your night’s sleep. If you live in a part of the world with significant variability between seasons, get a mattress made of natural materials, which tend to be better at balancing temperatures and moisture wicking than synthetic materials. Finally, ditch any excess bedding in favor of a single lightweight sheet — bedspreads and quilts have no place on your bed in the summer.
Make Small Adjustments
Sometimes, small adjustments are all that are needed to help improve your sleep on hot nights. For instance, try sleeping with your bare feet exposed, out of the sheets. The feet and ankles have special vascular structures that help to regulate heat loss. Similarly, just like a loose, lightweight sheet helps to foster sleep, loose, lightweight bedclothes will allow for more temperature regulation than tight or thick clothes. Make sure your bedclothes are breathable, too.
Maintain Your HVAC System
You should also be sure to maintain your HVAC so it can keep you cool at night. Change out your filters about every three months (or less if you have children or pets), and be sure to get your HVAC system inspected once a year. Finally, make sure your window and outdoor air conditioning units are free of leaves and other debris.
Hot nights often are unbearable, but by monitoring the heat throughout the day, keeping your systems up to date, and creating a breeze in your bedroom, you can help cool your room down enough to get some sleep.