Too Hot to Sleep?

Finding it too hot to sleep at night lately? You are not alone. Trying to sleep on hot nights can be a nightmare, as your sleep cycle process is interrupted when your body temperature is too high.

Your sleep cycle process is regulated by the sleep hormone melatonin, which regulates this process by dropping your core body temperature. Therefore, hot nights can mean an increase in how long it takes to get to sleep, how long it takes to get into a deep sleep, and the number of times you’ll wake during the night. It can affect your mood and performance, and leave you feeling like you have a hangover.

Did you know, some people lack the ability to naturally produce enough of this hormone, such as those with neurodevelopmental disorders like Attention Deficit Disorder, or some of us purely due to being aged over 50 years’. So, if you find sleep a mammoth task due all-year-round, consider and discuss other factors with your health professional, such as whether you may naturally be producing less melatonin, before pursuing other unnatural, man-made, medicinal relief. You can read more information about melatonin on the Health Navigator website. Please note: melatonin must be prescribed by a registered health practitioner in New Zealand.  

To beat the heat and get a good nights’ sleep, your bedroom should be between 16°C and 18°C. However, not all of us are lucky enough to have air conditioning in their bedrooms. So, how can you beat the heat? Here are a few tips and tricks to help get a good nights’ sleep:

  1. Don’t go to bed after heavy exercise or a mad dash to get yourself organised for the day.  Take some time to relax and wind down before curling up under the covers;
  2. Create your own air conditioning unit, by filling a large bowl with ice and positioning it at an angle in front of your fan;
  3. Cover a small pillow with a few plastic shopping bags and place it in the freezer for an hour or so before bedtime. The result? A refreshing chilled pillow.  Don’t forget to remove the plastic bags prior to sleeping, though;
  4. Don’t sleep nude! Sleeping naked has been found to make you feel hotter, as the heat causes moisture (the most common being sweat), which won’t have anywhere to evaporate between your body and the mattress. Instead, wear light cotton sleep-wear;
  5. Hang one leg out of the bed. Yes, there’s a method to this madness! Keeping a limb (or two) out from the sheets will assist in regulating your overall body temperature.

For more tips on how to beat the heat, visit EnergyWise, a New Zealand Government website, for tips on keeping your house cool, and also the Ministry of Health website, which offers advice on how to keep yourself cool.

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