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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

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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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      Last Updated on October 16, 2019

      Why Am I So Tired Even After Rest?

      Why Am I So Tired Even After Rest?

      I used to go home and just lie on the sofa after work to rest.  Later, I wanted to spend more time for self-improvement. Unfortunately, the only time I had to cut into was my “rest” time, which I started replacing with actions like exercising and reading books instead. To my surprise, I didn’t feel more tired. It actually made me feel more refreshed!

      When I looked into what “rest” really is, I found that it’s a poorly understood subject, and why many people often feel tired even if they “rest” a lot.

      What Everyone Is Wrong About Resting

      Letting your mind run free is the quickest path to exhaustion. Most people tend to define rest as:

      • Lounging on the sofa or laying in bed
      • Doing nothing (is that even possible?)
      • “Netflix and chill”
      • Not doing chores

      And while your body is in a relaxed posture, your mind isn’t. Rest is a mental activity, not just a physical one.  When you engage in the activities like those in the list above, you encourage mental activity that is counterproductive to rest.

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      Mindlessly watching television, browsing the internet or reading tweets isn’t mindless at all. This type of mental engagement and stimulation can actually leave you more tired than you were initially. Your brain is not only quietly processing all that you are taking in, it is also preparing for and encouraging you to socialize[1]. A recent study[2] found that when the brain isn’t actively engaged in a conscious activity, it shifts into a state of prep for social interaction with others.

      Another important fact to consider is that the brain needs something to focus on in order to achieve a state of symbiotic rest. It needs a purpose.

      Think about an activity requiring very little focus and attention–such as showering. Most times you are thinking about other things and your mind is busy working out problems and connecting dots. This type of mental activity is necessary and beneficial but it chases away rest. Letting your mind run free is the quickest path to exhaustion.

      Human feelings are unreliable. When we trust our feelings, very likely we’d just lie on sofa after a day of work, even if we know for our health’s sake we should exercise for 30 minutes. On weekends, we tend to oversleep as we “feel” that we need more sleep, though that actually disrupts our sleeping patterns.

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      Like taking rest, simply being yourself isn’t necessarily relaxing. When we rely on our feelings, we end up feeling more tired.

      What Is Rest, Really?

      Rest is an activity. It is not a state of “doing nothing”.  Below are 2 important ways to trigger your brain into actively engaging in rest. They directly oppose what society typically considers rest and relaxation but I challenge you to give them a try.

      Switch Between Tasks That Are Opposite in Nature

      If you are working at the computer, after a few hours, switch to a more physical task, or go for a walk or short run. If you are working on a very technical and detail oriented project, switch to working on something requiring a bit more creativity. After being in meetings all day or giving a presentation, work on a quiet task, alone that does not involve other people such as balancing your checkbook or prepping food for dinner.

      As you participate in each activity, be sure you are practicing mindfulness — or being fully present — as you engage in each activity.

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      The key here is to remember the brain needs and likes focus. After engaging in some of the tasks above, you are most often tempted to just “veg out”.  Giving into this feeling will sap you of the remaining energy you have left.

      Have Light Exercise

      Exercise is the cure for what ails us. Moderate exercise reduces stress,[3] increases productivity, overall health and wellness and prolongs life. Research shows that regular amounts of light exercise are one of the best treatments for those suffering from exhaustion and fatigue.[4]

      This fact holds true for those with sedentary or physically demanding jobs. Whether you are in a tiny cubicle sitting all day or working at a dock loading and unloading heavy freight, studies show that light amounts of exercise beyond your daily routine helps your mind and body achieve rest.

      A study conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia[5] found that moderate and low-intensity workouts increase feelings of energy.

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      “A lot of people are overworked and not sleeping enough,” said Patrick O’Connor, co-director of the university’s exercise psychology laboratory. “Exercise is a way for people to feel more energetic. There’s a scientific basis for it, and there are advantages to it compared to things like caffeine and energy drinks.”

      In the study, research subjects were divided into three groups. One group was prescribed 20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week for six weeks. The second group engaged in low-intensity aerobic exercise for the same time frame and the third group–which was the control group– did not exercise at all. Both groups of exercisers experienced a 20 percent boost in energy levels compared to the group of non-exercisers.

      Researchers also discovered that intense exercise is less effective at mitigating fatigue than low-intensity workouts. The low-intensity group reported a 65 percent drop in fatigue levels, while the high intensity group reported a 49 percent drop. It’s important to note that any exercise is better than no exercise.

      Bottom Line

      In order to truly feel rested and refreshed, it’s time to develop a new norm and give our mind and body what it actually needs to rest.

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      Featured photo credit: Rafal Jedrzejek via unsplash.com

      Reference

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