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How does warmer weather affect your sleep?

The Washington Post recently covered our latest survey on summer stress, including our finding that warmer weather can affect sleep with “80% saying they sleep better in cool weather.”

It turns out, this statistic has more to do with science than personal preference. As a Stanford Biology professor told WebMD, “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature—the temperature your brain is trying to achieve—goes down. Think of it as an internal thermostat.” But just as that drop in required temperature induces sleep, if you’re slumbering in too warm of an environment, you’ll wake up.

In fact, thermoregulation (or how your body distributes heat) is a key component of a good night’s sleep. Very often, and without even knowing it, insomniacs struggle with warmer core body temperatures, which can be offset by a cooler room temperature. While everyone’s needs are different, SleepRate recommends experimenting with room temperatures somewhere between 60 to 68 degrees.

Another tried and true remedy is a warm shower or bath right before bedtime. When you get out, the sudden drop in temperature mimics your body’s natural nosedive, lulling it into sleep mode. (No wonder so many parents abide by a “bath before bedtime” routine with their kids!) But, sometimes it’s enough to simply change into cooler clothes. As we approach summer’s hottest weeks, say goodbye to your winter PJs and hello to lighter wear. Couples can further manipulate their bodily temperature drops by cuddling for a few minutes before moving to their own cooler sides of the bed, where they’re sure to fall asleep faster.

There are also a number of products on the market that work to ensure cooler nights. Sheex makes bedding products that remove moisture and heat. ChillGel makes slumber gel pads that cover your mattress. The ChiliPad is another mattress cover filled with tiny silicone tubes.

And of course, there’s always the trusty old fan, which creates a wind chill effect by evaporating the sweat from your skin. Installing a ceiling fan directly over your bed, if you don’t already have one, can help keep your entire body cool throughout the night.

 

Jenny is a SleepRate community manager and customer advocate.