Maintaining your proper body temperature when sleeping is essential to getting a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep. And any source of heat is more than welcome as you sit there shivering between your sheets in the winter months.
But what happens when you can’t cool off at bedtime? Or when you’re wake because it feels like your bed is as hot as your fireplace?
Being too hot (or too cold, for that matter) can disturb your sleep and rob you of precious shut-eye.
In a perfect world, our bodies are supposed to regulate our internal temperature so that we can fall and stay asleep. Our temperature should waver between 96.8 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit over a 24 hour period.
The hotter this temperature gets, the more difficult it is to fall asleep.
When temperature regulation is something that’s supposed to occur naturally, why is your body warming up when it should actually be cooling down?
We’ll explore the possible reasons that you get hot and bothered at night.
Environmental Causes for sleeping hot
You may be getting so hot when you sleep due to simple environmental or physical factors. Addressing and changing any number of the following may help you cool down and get some sleep.
1. Room Temperature
Even though our bodies are supposed to regulate body temperature, it only goes so far.
During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the temperature-regulating cells in your brain essentially stop working and allow your body temperature to be set by the temperature in your bedroom.
If you keep your bedroom thermostat set to a balmy 75+ degrees, this may be contributing to your feeling hot while you sleep. It is recommended to keep bedroom temperatures to 60-66 degrees Fahrenheit.1
When considering your sleeping attire, you need to think about not only the amount of clothing that you wear but also the material of what you’re wearing.
Obviously piling on too many bulky clothes can cause you to feel excessively warm throughout the night. Wearing minimal layers can help you beat the nighttime heat. Materials such as polyester or Lycra are far less breathable than materials like cotton or cotton blends.
The less breathable your sleep garments, the warmer you will be. Non-breathable materials trap and hold heat. Go for loose-fitting cotton pajamas to stay cool. Mabybe even ditch your bra at night.
You may even consider wearing special clothing that designed to lower skin temperature. Lowering skin temperature by even one degree can help cut back on middle-of-the-night waking due to overheating.
3. Pillow Choice
When your head is hot, your whole body is hot.
Since your head spends hours resting on your pillow when you sleep, your pillow choice has a big impact on your body temperature at night.
Down pillows tend to create a heat bubble around your head. And memory foam, while it may be comfortable, is incredibly effective at trapping heat. Pillows made from natural materials such as buckwheat offer a more breathable and cooler option.
Along the same lines as your pillow trapping heat around your heat, your sheets can do the same thing.
Your bedding might be keeping you too hot at night depending on the fabric and the weave or thread-count.
Fabrics like flannel and satin are not terribly breathable and can trap heat around your body throughout the night. In addition, a tighter weave or higher thread count stifles air circulation and hangs onto your bodies heat.
Switching to cotton sheets with a lower thread count will do wonders for keeping your nighttime warmth at bay.
5. Sleeping Mates
There is no doubt that sleeping next to significant other or a cuddly pet can be extremely soothing and even help you fell asleep more easily.
Unfortunately, sleeping in close proximity to another human or animal can also cause you to overheat at night a disturb your precious zzz’s.p>Body heat is a powerful form of energy. When you sleep with a bed partner, human or dog, the heat that their body gives off may be adding to your excessive warmth.
Medical Reasons You Get Hot While You Sleep
When it comes to getting to overheating at night, there are a number of medical and health related reasons that may be contributing to your warmth. To get to the bottom of your nighttime temperature struggles, consider if you might be suffering from one of the following conditions.
Due to fluctuating hormone levels, many women experience excessive hot flashes and night sweats during menopause.
The hypothalamus that regulates body temperature acts like a faulty thermostat during menopause. Changes in estrogen levels throw the entire process out of whack and leave you dealing with uncomfortable overheating.2
If you are menopausal or premenopausal, this may be why you’re feeling so hot throughout the night. At least you don’t have to worry about sleeping on your period anymore.
It could be you are just sleeping hot because you are sick. Fever is often associated with a high temperature and can leave you feeling hot, bothered and downright uncomfortable.3
A number of different infections can cause feelings of overheating during sleep. We’re not talking about just a little infected cut on your finger though – these are serious infections. .4
Bacterial infections like endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves), urinary tract infections osteomyelitis (inflammation in the bones), or HIV all have overheating or night sweats as a common symptom.
Various cancers such as lymphoma are associated with feeling hot during sleep5. Generally, people with undiagnosed cancers find that getting too hot during sleep is the first sign. Keep in mind that other symptoms such as unexplained weight loss will also likely be present.
It’s no secret that medications can have a variety of side effects. We’ve all heard the television commercials listing countless possible rare or common side effects.
Getting too hot while sleeping is one of the most common side effects of many medications.
With the often over-medicated world that we live in, it may be time to check your prescriptions and see if any of them list feeling hot throughout the night as a side effect.
Do you find yourself getting too hot when you sleep? What is the cause? Let me know in the comments below!