Buzzfeed recently posted a funny video showing one woman’s response to trying to sleep next to a too-warm bed mate. The tactics she employed, such as building a blanket barrier, aiming an electric fan at her partner, and dumping a bucket of ice on the poor fellow are hilarious to watch, but are they really effective? Probably not.
Why some people sleep “too hot”
There are several reasons why one sleep partner may radiate heat, while the other wishes they’d stop doing that. The causes of over-warm sleeping are as varied as the people who experience them. Many people find themselves awakened in the middle of the night because of surplus blankets or a thermostat that’s set too high. For other people, the cause may be more serious.
Mayo Clinic notes a number of medical situations that can cause a person’s internal thermostat to blaze away, causing a condition called “night sweats.” Medications such as antidepressants, hormone replacement therapies, and drugs intended to lower blood sugar commonly cause too-hot sleep in the people who take them. Mayo Clinic also explains that women undergoing menopause and persons diagnosed with anxiety, hyperthyroidism, tuberculosis, sleep apnea, and certain serious infections may experience overheating so uncomfortable, it keeps them awake all night. Another surprising cause of overheating while sleeping is constipation!
Fortunately, the clinic also reminds us that most people who overheat while sleeping more than likely do not have some medical disease. More often than not, it’s simply the result of piling on too many blankets and comforters before falling asleep.
Why to avoid a hot night’s sleep
Craig Heller, PhD is a professor at Stanford University near San Francisco. In addition to teaching advanced level biology classes, he is also an expert on the correlation between temperature and sleep. In fact, he wrote a chapter on that topic for an important college textbook. Dr. Heller describes a “set point” that the human body seeks to achieve in order to enter into a deep and restful sleep stage. The ideal body temperature for sleeping tends to be a bit lower than typical daytime body temperature. Dr. Heller also notes that on the whole, a cooler room is better for inducing sleep than a room that’s too hot.
Another expert weighing in on the relationship of body temperature and sleep cycles is Dr. Ralph Downey of Loma Linda University. Downey explains that a too-hot bedroom can and will interfere with REM sleep cycles. During this phase of sleep, which is named for the rapid eye movement that occurs therein, humans dream. Without this important REM phase, humans do not wake up as refreshed and well-rested as they do when they enjoy a deep, REM sleep cycle.
Optimal temperature for human sleep
Both Dr. Downey and Dr. Heller agree that the ideal bedroom temperature for achieving a perfect night’s sleep is generally between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, everyone has their personal preference, and some people enjoy sleeping in a bedroom that is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not a good idea to set your thermostat higher than the above mentioned temperature range. Do that, and you risk overheating your body in the night.
What you can do if your partner radiates too much warmth while sleeping
If your partner experiences serious night sweats, encourage them to visit with a physician to rule out any underlying medical condition that may be causing them to sleep too hot. Once you know your partner is healthy, there are things you can do to ensure your own bedtime comfort.
Set the thermostat to 65 degrees or lower. If you live in a wonderful climate, you may wish to turn your home heating system off completely. Open a window and let the cool fresh air help lull you to sleep. Don’t wear socks to bed. Doing so can increase your body temperature and make it difficult to attain the ideal “set point” temperature for sleeping.
Be sure to choose the right mattress. While a memory foam mattress such as this from Best Beds Boutique can provide cloud-soft sleeping comfort, memory foam can also trap body heat, transferring your partner’s warmth to you. Instead, you might consider getting the world’s first copper infused mattress from Layla. It ships free, plus you can try it for 4 full months to make sure you love it.
Make your bed with temperature regulating sheets and opt for a pillow stuffed with feathers, coconut fiber or hemp.
A good night’s sleep is one of the simplest (and most valuable) pleasures of life. Turn down the thermostat, open a window, and enjoy sweet dreams tonight.