How to sleep in a heat wave

How to sleep in a heat wave

A heat wave hit California this week, leaving many of us restless, sweating, and staying up late from the high temperatures. If you’re struggling to get to sleep in the heat, check out our tips below to unwind before bed, so you don’t waste any more precious time counting sheep and waiting for sleep!

Recent analysis from the UK’s Climate Crisis Advisory Group found that changing temperatures across the globe will likely continue to rise in the next years’ upcoming summer months. This means even if you were spared some of this year’s tougher heat waves and higher temps, you might not be so lucky in the years to come.

What is the ideal temperature for sleep?

Experts recommend keeping your bedroom cool, between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, for the best sleep. While AC can come in handy here, it is a luxury that not all have access to. Higher temps have been found to reduce REM sleep and increase sleep interruptions or wakefulness, according to studies.

Additional studies have also noted that hotter temperatures can raise the heart rates and physiological stress for many older sleepers. Heat wave exposure has also been warned to be dangerous during pregnancy and can lead to premature labor. 


How can you sleep better in the heat?

  1. Drink water!
    Staying hydrated throughout your day will help you rest easier and regulate your own body temperature better at night. If you’re trying to avoid any sleep-interrupting trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, try not to drink too much water in the 1 or 2 hours leading up to your bedtime. 

  2. Wear natural, loose clothing.
    Natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, and hemp (our favorite!) are recommended over synthetic fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, nylon, rayon, and elastane. These synthetic fibers are chemically manufactured from gas, petroleum, alcohol, and often trap in heat, whereas natural fabrics are much more breathable.

  3. Cool your bedroom before bedtime.
    If possible, try to open windows and doors to increase air circulation when temperatures drop later in the day, and before bedtime. This is most effective when done outside of peak heat hours. You can also close blinds and curtains during the day to keep your room darker and cooler during the day. Ceiling, floor, and electric fans are also great for keeping you and your room cool, and are much more energy efficient than AC units!

  4. Take a cool shower.
    While a cold shower might wake you up a little too much, jumping in a cool or lukewarm shower or bath is a great way to get cool and clean before climbing under the sheets, or over them! If cooling your room doesn’t seem to be working, cooling your body may be more effective and helpful for getting your circadian rhythms more in sync too!

  5. Limit consumption before bed.
    Before heading to sleep, avoid consuming caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and any foods that are high in fat, sugar, acid, or spice. These can all keep your body awake longer and prevent you from getting deeper, more restful sleep. Alcohol in particular is important to avoid if you find yourself wide awake in the heat; while alcohol can make your body temperature drop, it typically makes you feel hotter!