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You Probably Forgot To Do This If You Can’t Sleep At Night

You Probably Forgot To Do This If You Can’t Sleep At Night

Winter is coming, and for many of us, that means bundling up in cozy blankets and pilling fluffy pillows on our bed to tempt us to hit the snooze button more than usual. Though turning up the heat before you turn into bed can seem appealing with cooler weather, you may find you don’t have such a restful night of sleep.

Though it sounds like a cozy bedroom creation, keeping your bedroom warm can make you more likely to overheat while you sleep. This can lead to excessive tossing and turning and even those embarrassing sweaty mornings.

The relationship between body temperature and sleep

Our body temperature is always changing and self-adjusting throughout the day.

    As you can see from the graph above, you’re coolest around 6am – the time many of us wake up. Throughout the day, you continue to get warmer until you peak around 9pm – the time many of us are getting ready to head to bed. From there, your body temperature drops until you reach your coolest point once again at 6am.

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    Have you ever realized how lazy you feel when you’re hot? It’s due to a physiological response our body gives off!

      It’s fighting against the temperature in an effort to keep from overheating. It’s the same reason you’re more likely to want to take a nap on a hot summer afternoon than you would be to play a sport. One will help regulate your body temp, while the other can overheat you and cause severe dizziness.

      By now you’ve heard about how important absolute darkness is for truly restful sleep, but did you know your body temperature is just as impactful?[1]

      “Combination of sleep onset and maintenance insomnia has been associated with a 24-h elevation of core body temperature supporting the chronic hyper-arousal model of insomnia. The possibility that these last two types of insomnia may be related to impaired thermoregulation, particularly a reduced ability to dissipate body heat from distal skin areas, has not been consistently supported in laboratory studies. Further studies of thermoregulation are needed in the typical home environment in which the insomnia is most evident.”

      The best temperature for restful sleep

      The optimal body temperature for sleep should be between 60 and 67 degrees.[2] When the room is too warm and you’re also bundled under a heavy comforter and surrounded by heavy pillows, the body temperature increases leading to discomfort.

      In most cases any temperature above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees will interfere with your sleep.

      Keep your body temperature low to sleep better

      We could all use a better night’s sleep, so here’s how to be the master of your temperature and wake up ready to face the day.

      1. Keep the room temperature low

      If you keep your room relatively cool, you are far less likely to become overheated, leading to that restless sleep no one wants. In order to ensure ideal temperatures, try keeping your curtains closed during the day so the sun light can’t heat the bedroom too much. And if possible, leave your bedroom door open so that air can circulate throughout the day.

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      2. Use Breathable Bedding

      Synthetics like polyester, which tend to be less breathable than their natural counterparts like cotton, linen, or even wool are a no-no. Natural fibers can also help wick away moisture like sweat. Memory foam pillows may be comfortable but they also get very hot, so try to stay away. If you’re convinced you can’t sleep without a fancy pillow, look into those that have cooling and breathable fibers to ensure a low temp while you rest. For mattresses, or mattress covers, look for those with cooling fibers, too.

      3. Lower your temperature before you go to sleep.

      Take a warm bath, or hot shower, before bed. As soon as you step out of the bath or shower, your body temperature drops rapidly to re-regulate with the temperature of the room. That quick change physiologically can cause sleepiness.

      4. Stay away from anything that gives you heat.

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      Try not to use, or even look at, your mobile devices before bed. Along with keeping you interested and awake, the light also makes it hard for your brain to register that it’s bedtime. Likewise, keep the room dark when you’re trying to fall asleep. A sleep mask does an excellent job of blocking out all light, helping you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. And to ensure you stay cool, try wearing a cool face cloth to bed, or keep a water spray bottle for misting. It’s also a great idea to keep a glass of cold water next to the bed.

      Get some sleep!

      Remember, keep your bedroom cool and stay away from non-breathable fabrics when shopping for bedding. Though the fall and winter can have you craving heavy blankets and this pajamas, it’s not conducive to sleep and can leave you feeling overheated and generally unwell. Keep some ice water by your bedside and take a few sips if you find yourself waking up throughout the night. Don’t be afraid to peel back the blankets; you can always keep some extras nearby in case you wake up chilly.

      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

      Reference

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      Jolie Choi

      Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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      Published on June 19, 2019

      What’s the Best Nap Length for the Biggest Brain Benefit?

      What’s the Best Nap Length for the Biggest Brain Benefit?

      Would you like to know the secret to the perfect nap? Are you wondering the best nap length or the perfect amount of z’s to catch up on some much needed sleep, feel amazing and help your brain function better? We’ve done some research and found some solutions, so if so, please read on!

      We all know that children need naps, and if you are a parent, you well know the importance of naps for your kids: a properly timed nap can make or break the rest of the day and everything can go straight down hill if an afternoon nap is missed. Sometimes less sleep can make getting to sleep at be time even more of a struggle. Kids tend to need more sleep than adults however the average adult needs between seven to nine hours of sleep per night – suffice to say, most people in the modern world do not get enough on a regular basis.

      In this article, I’ll cover the benefits of napping and the best nap length to experience its benefits.

      The Importance of Sleep

      Sleep plays an absolute vital role in our overall health, and our cells renew and regenerate when our bodies go through sleep cycles. Physically and mentally, the function of sleep helps us heal and work through illness and stress so we can wake up fully functional.

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      Needless to say, sleep deprivation over time can alter immune function, affecting the body’s immunity and decreasing the efficacy of the killer T cells (important in irradicating disease). Adequate sleep may help fight certain cancers, enhance and protect cardiovascular health, decrease irritability, and can even affect metabolism and weight.[1]

      It’s fairly obvious that we need to make sleep – proper sleep that is, a priority in our lives for the sake of our health. It’s often insinuated that those who prioritize sleep are somehow lazy or not driven, but that is clearly not the case. In fact, getting the right amount of sleep seems to help us function much more effectively in our day to day lives, so its well worth the effort to fit it in.

      Due to the ethical limits on research on human subject, science really has no specific evidence on just what happens when people lose sleep beyond a few days. The likelihood is, that we simply could not live without it.[2]

      Benefits of Napping

      For those of us who have the luxury of being able to nap, we know it feels like a wonderful thing – curling up on the couch with a blanket on a blustery day, all cozy and warm – we don’t need science to tell us that, but can it really help recharge our brain? The research says yes.

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      If we don’t get an adequate amount of sleep at night, a daytime nap just may improve alertness and motor performance. A nap may also help improve reasoning and reaction time, but the best part? A nap could even improve our mood![3]

      Take a look at this article to find out more about the benefits of napping: 3 Ways Napping Boosts Your Brain Power (And How To Maximize The Benefits)

      What’s the Best Nap Length?

      The question remains – how long should we nap? In fact, there are a few optimal nap lengths depending on your available time and desired outcome.

      • If you are feeling an afternoon lull and just need a quick refresh in alertness, 10 to 20 minutes is your optimal goal, just a quick recharge to help you get through that last meeting of the day or bout of emails sitting in your inbox.
      • Feeling frustrated, stressed or need to remember some important points from a book you are reading, and have a bit more time to kill? A 60 minute nap showed a decrease in impulsivity, a greater tolerance to frustration as well as helped with cognitive memory processing. Some research showed even a small amount of sleep could potentially help reinforce learned material!
      • Overwhelmed and exhausted and need a total reset? 90 minutes enhanced creativity, emotional and procedural memory and allows for a complete cycle of sleep – which may result in less of that groggy feeling you may get with a shorter nap.

      Dr. Sara Mednick, PhD, believes we may get the same learning enhancement benefits in a 90 minute nap as we do in an eight hour sleep period.[4]

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      When to Nap?

      So we know how long to nap, now when exactly should we nap? There are likely days when a nap could come in handy right after you get up or right before bed, but these are not the best choices. It all depends on if you are an early morning riser or a night owl.

      For early risers, around 1PM is best; for the night owls, around 3PM is better. Keep in mind though, to try not to sleep much later than 4 to 4:30PM, or you could risk having trouble getting to sleep at bed time.

      Regular napping has shown a decrease in overall stress for some people, thus could also reduce the risk of heart attack / heart disease, stroke, and excessive weight gain.

      Bonus Tips on Napping

      Need to be awake and going immediately after a power nap? Drink some coffee (or something caffeinated) just before a 20 to 30 minute snooze and by the time you wake up the caffeine will have had time to kick in and you’ll be ready to go!

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      Here are some tips to make napping easier:

      • Pull the blinds, make the area dark.
      • Get cozy – make sure you are warmly dressed or have a warm blanket.
      • Do some stretches prior to your nap.
      • Don’t stress it if you can’t sleep – the rest is helpful either way.

      The Bottom Line

      Now that you know the best nap length that will give your brain the biggest bang for your buck, it’s time to put napping into your routine.

      Whether you’re an early rise or a night owl trying to get a quick refresh or productivity boost, find a time that fits you to take nap to reap its benefits.

      Featured photo credit: STEPHANIE MONTELONGO via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Health Publishing: Importance of Sleep : Six reasons not to scrimp on sleep
      [2] Harvard Health Publishing: Repaying your sleep debt
      [3] American Psychological Association: The Science of Nap
      [4] Dr. Sara Medinick PhD: Take a Nap

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