Anyone could use some good sleep tips, especially in the heat of summer.
According to data collected between 2016 and 2018 from the tracker and alarm clock app Sleep Cycle, people slumber better in the summer months compared to any other season — but it’s not about the heat per say, it’s about staying cool.
Experts from Sleep Cycle explain that the improved sleep quality likely has to do with “vacation vibes and air conditioner,” reports Elite Daily.
In fact, you actually have a harder time falling asleep — and staying asleep — when your body temperature is raised, sleep coach and founder of SleepZoo Chris Brantner told Elite Daily. The suggested bedroom temperature, according to Sleep.org, should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (not too hot and not too cold).
“Thermostat settings far lower or higher than what’s recommended could lead to restlessness and can also affect the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep,” according to the site.
Sleep.org recommends that you think of your bedroom as a cave: “quiet, cool and dark.” (Or, as the porridge in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”)
Summer sleep tips for keeping cool
Given that some of us don’t have AC to keep us cool — or do not find “vacation vibes” relaxing (since being out of office can mess with your circadian clock) — here are summer sleep tips for cooling off and getting proper shut-eye.
Find the right mattress
Brantner tells Elite Daily that, as far as summer sleep tips go, a key one is to find a mattress that’s “not only comfortable, but is designed to keep you cool and dispel heat.”
Foam mattresses, despite their appealing comfort, actually absorb heat and make you feel even hotter in the summer.
In addition to this, Sleep.org suggests finding breathable sheets and pajamas.
Avoid anything with silk that can trap warmth. The site suggests finding sheets with “natural materials like cotton, bamboo or linen.”
Also, avoid high thread counts. Instead, a thread count between 200 and 400 “may provide a happy medium of softness and breathability.”
Take a hot bath (or shower)
Philip Gehrman, Ph.D., from the Penn Sleep Center at the University of Pennsylvania, told Real Simple taking a hot bath before bed can raise your skin temperature higher than the temperature in your room. This, in fact, will make you “experience a drop in body temperature as heat transfers out,” which will help you fall asleep.
Brantner added to Elite Daily that hot water will also help calm you down.
One of these summer sleep tips that may be hard to follow: Avoid eating right before bed
Gehrman suggested that, in addition to these summer sleep tips, you should stay away from large meals before bed. You’ll expend energy digesting the food, which raises your core body temperature.
Nutritionist and physiologist Ritesh Bawri explained to NDTV that this production of heat from burning calories is called “thermogenesis.”
Certain foods — like root vegetables — produce more heat than others. View a full list of these foods here.
Keep your feet uncovered
Michael Decker, Ph.D., a member of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, told Real Simple that sticking your feet out from under your covers “allows you to trap and direct heat outwards.” We bet you’ve tried this one before.
Other summer sleep tips to consider
If none of these summer sleep tips to cool you down do the trick, you can take a number of approaches.
Dr. Jocelyn Y. Cheng, a neurologist from NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center told Metro back in March that, though it seems counterintuitive, you should get out of bed and do something if you’re still awake after 20 to 30 minutes.
This “something” should be done in the dark or under dim light. Pick an activity like reading, writing or yoga (besides scrolling through Instagram or watching Netflix) that’s “not too engaging, but can distract you until you might feel sleepy again.” Repeat this process if you still can’t fall asleep.
Also, a recent study suggested that letting your dog share the bed with you results in a more sound sleep, despite the fact that some call this unhygienic.
Regarldess of your view on sleep tips, you should cuddle up with your pup to combat the heat this summer. It’s absolutely worth a shot.