By Oktay Ozadam
For many people, it's commonplace to wake up feeling like they're either laying on a frying pan or in the middle of Antarctica.
From sheets to innerspring mattresses to thermoregulation, let's take an in-depth look at why you're body feels too hot or too cold and some practical ways you can get back to resting soundly again.
- What Is A Hot Sleeper?
- What Is A Cold Sleeper?
What Is A Hot Sleeper?
A hot sleeper is someone who consistently feels too warm during the night. Hot sleepers will often wake up feeling their body temperature is too high, which can lead to sleep deprivation if steps aren't taken to sleep at a cooler temperature.
It might seem like a small problem with an easy solution, but there are several considerations someone who sleeps too warm might want to take a look at for better sleep.
Why Do I Get So Hot When I Sleep?
The most common reason people wake up warm is that their bedroom is too warm, or they are using too many blankets. However, several medical conditions can cause this problem as well. Most are harmless, but there are a number of them that can be serious.
Let's take a look at several of the causes. If you suspect you have one of the more serious medical issues listed, a doctor is your best resource.
- Menopause – Hot flashes are a widespread and natural cause of night sweats for women. Changes in your diet or doctor-approved hormonal therapy can help alleviate some of the symptoms that cause this uncomfortable hot feeling. Additionally, several suitable products can provide a great deal of relief. (See more on that below)
- Idiopathic hyperhidrosis – This condition causes the body to produce an excess of sweat without any medically identifiable reason.
- Exercise before bed – A cool-down sessions a few hours before bed can be a significant help in lowering your body temperature before sleep. A great alternative to exercising before bed is stretching, or yoga, which helps you to relax while still contributing to your fitness routine.
- A dense foam mat/pad – These bed toppers may be very comfortable, but they are not particularly breathable. An issue easily remedied by one of the temperature-regulating devices mentioned below.
- Low blood sugar – Hypoglycemic Individuals may experience more sweating while taking insulin.
- Cancers – Night sweats can be a symptom of several cancers, the most common being lymphoma. Generally, however, those with undiagnosed cancer will likely experience additional symptoms such as a fever or unexplained weight loss.
- Hormone disorders – Several of these disorders can result in night sweats. One indicator of hormonal problems is red or flushed skin.
- Neurological conditions - This is unusual, but a select few neurological disorders can contribute to night sweats and feeling too warm while sleeping.
If you're concerned that you may be experiencing any of the more severe above-mentioned conditions, it is advisable to speak with a doctor.
How To Cool Down At Night
If feeling too warm is not a symptom of a medical condition, then there are easy tips that can help. Fewer blankets and lower temperatures in your room can go a long way in helping you stay cool. Several excellent products can help you stay cool as well.
The ideal sleeping temperature is between 60° F (15° C) and 67° F (19° C) for most people and 65° F (18° C) and 70° F (21° C) for the elderly or infants. Maintaining that temperature in your bed and bedroom will help facilitate a night of more restful and restorative sleep.
What Kind Of Sheets Are Best For People Who Sleep Hot?
Natural fibers like bamboo and cotton are best for absorbing the moisture from sweat and drying it quickly.
Believe it or not, sleep experts also suggest using a type of sheet with a lower thread count. The higher thread counts amount to a tighter weave, which is less breathable. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a thread count of 200 to 400.
Are you familiar with the type of material your fitness or hiking clothing is made from? The reason this material is used is that it allows for a function called moisture wicking. As mentioned above this type of material is very breathable and also excellent for quickly absorbing and drying sweat. Sheets made from a similar material can be an excellent resource for a hot sleeper.
What Type Of Mattress Helps Keep You Cool?
It's generally agreed upon that innerspring mattresses sleep the coolest. The reason for this is because of the lack of dense, heat-retaining foam and instead, they have springs that allow for a lot more breathability.
Hybrid mattresses have an innerspring paired with foam or padded topper. These help reduce the heat retention of strictly foam mattresses or toppers.
If you own a foam mattress or topper, there are some relatively simple solutions to keeping it cool. Several bed temperature control gadgets like the chiliPAD mattress topper or Kryo Sleep Performance System(now known as OOLER) are pads you sleep on top of that work on a thermostat. They help give you the best of all worlds: Regulated temperature and stay comfortable.
Some Tips For Hot Sleepers
We've discussed a few tips for helping regulate our temperature while sleeping already, but no two people sleep the same. Let's take a deeper dive into keeping cool at night.
First of all, it's worth mentioning a second time that sleep experts agree that the ideal temperature to sleep at is between 60° F (15° C) and 67° F (19° C) for most people and 65° F (18° C) and 70° F (21° C) for the elderly or infants.
The reason for this is because your internal temperature drops as you sleep through a process our body uses called thermoregulation. However, during deep sleep (also called REM sleep) your body turns this process off, and you're at the mercy of the temperature of your bed or room.
If you wake up hot and it's not a result of a medical condition, then it is likely that you're over the 67° F (19° C) mark and it would be wise to find ways to help your body regulate.
Let's Talk Tips - Hot Sleeper Solutions
- Use cooling sheets made of breathable, moisture-wicking material.
- Believe it or not, sleeping naked is a great way to help your body thermoregulate. It also has a slew of other health benefits, including helping you lose weight and reducing stress.
- If you're chronically too warm, you might consider investing in a new more breathable innerspring mattress.
- Using a fan can help promote the effect of convection, which is one of our bodies natural cooling processes. Try using a fan like the bFan cooling fan or BedJet cooling mattress pad that blows air under your blankets or sheets.
- A thermostat controlled bed mat allows you to set the temperature exactly where it should be for perfect sleep conditions.
Take a look at our review of the best bed cooling systems for more ideas.
How Does A Hot Sleeper Go To Sleep and Stay Asleep?
One of the best things you can do if you sleep too hot is to find a way to regulate the temperature of your environment. There are several ways to do this beyond just adjusting your thermostat, but that is an excellent place to start. Try setting it between 60° F (15° C) and 67° F (19° C) . You can experiment within that range until you find yourself sleeping soundly again.
What Is A Cold Sleeper?
A cold sleeper is someone who finds themselves waking up chilly at night. They may generally feel like they are more sensitive to cold air, or that it's difficult for them to retain their heat at night.
What Type Of Mattress Is Best For A Cold Sleeper?
A thick memory foam mattress is not only very comfortable but is excellent for capturing and retaining heat. If you find yourself waking up cold, a memory foam mattress might be just what the doctor ordered.
What Types of Sheets, Blankets, or Comforters Are Best For A Cold Sleeper?
Heavier and thicker blankets or comforters can help a cold sleeper out quite a lot. It might be challenging to find that balance if you don't sleep alone, however. There are some ingenious dual comforters that are heavier on one side, and lighter on the other.
What About Pillows and Sheets?
Pillows are another story. We lose a lot of heat through our heads, and if you're using a memory foam pillow, it may help to retain your heat by trapping more of it in the dense material. You could also consider using something like the Moona Thermoregulated Pillow, which allows you to regulate the temperature of your pillow.
Also, a higher thread count on your sheets means a tighter weave which makes them less breathable. What that results in is more heat retention.
We hope this information helped you understand some of the reasons why you may feel too hot or cold at night, and what you can do about it. Remember, your sleep impacts every area of your health, so it is worth learning and taking action to make sure you're sleeping your best.