As the nights get colder, it’s no surprise that you might need to turn on the heat a little to hunker down and chase out chilly air. But you might also then find yourself struggling to get comfortable and wondering how to sleep when the room is warmer. “Too warm of a sleep environment can lead to sweating and sleep disruptions throughout the night,” says Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s pediatric neurology sleep medicine program. “If you are uncomfortable at night, you may not get into the deeper stages of sleep and wake up unrefreshed.” But, not to worry: these tips will help you compensate for the heat so you still get your proper rest and be your best self in the morning.
How to Sleep When the Heat Is On
Sleep in — and on — breathable fabrics
If you find yourself sweating at night, Kansagra says you should consider the types of clothing you wear to bed and your bed linens. Look for breathable bedding and sheets that won't trap whatever warm air is circulating in the room or that your body is giving off.
Exercise in the Morning
“When the body begins the fall asleep, its internal temperature begins to drop, making it easier for you to fall asleep,” says Kansagra. “However, exercise, particularly exercise late at night or right before bed, can raise the body temperature too much.” If your core temperature is higher, that will only compound the effect that having the heat on might have on your sleep. So even though exercise is a large part of being well, it’s best to exercise early in your day to avoid disrupting your rest.
Take a Warm Shower
According to Kansgara, a warm night time shower can actually help you fall asleep, because it artificially raises the body temperature for a short period of time so that when you step out of the shower, you experience a rapid drop in temperature. Essentially, heat from your core comes to the surface of your body and radiates through your hands and feet. The same is true of a warm bath. “This temperature drop can help get you snoozing in no time,” says Kansagra.
Try giving the heat a rest
Forced-air heat can actually dry out the air in your home and cause you to feel ill, have dry mouth, or just feel stuffed up. For those reasons in particular, it’s best to try to turn off the heat when you can, and instead use warm, cozy blankets. But while changing the bedding in Winter is best, many still prefer to use artificial heating. If you’re one of those people and you find yourself tossing and turning at night, uncomfortable because you’re stuffy, consider trying drug-free Breathe Right nasal strips, which instantly open your nose for a more restful sleep. The 3M adhesive will keep your strip secure all night long so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the world.