Why is it hard to sleep when it is hot?

20:30   11 May, 2022

No one likes waking up in the middle of the night, but for the more than 35% of adults who sleep less than 7 hours each night, this can be a common scenario.

There are several reasons why people sleep less: stress, caffeine late at night, or sleeping too long during the day, but one reason you may not have thought about is air temperature.

As the planet continues to warm due to climate change, we're in for warmer winters and hotter summers. Your bedroom is no exception.

"If you look at the temperature forecast for the next 50 years, you find that global temperatures will rise, and that will affect people's sleep," explained University of California cognitive neuroscientist Sara Mednick.

If the bedroom is hot, the likelihood of sleep problems increases.

High temperatures can disrupt the third stage of sleep, during which the body goes into slow-wave sleep, a deep state of rest in which brain activity slows to recover from the day, Azizi Seixas, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, told Yahoo Life.

According to the scientist, keeping the room temperature lower is a signal to the body that it's time to go to bed.

Experts suggest several ways to help you fall asleep in hot weather.

A 2019 review notes that a gradual transition from hot to cold helps prepare the body for sleep by lowering the underlying temperature and stimulating brain activity to rest. One way is to take a hot shower, but then use cold water closer to the end or get out of the hot shower and into a cool room.

Another option is to keep your feet and hands out of bed.

But if your feet are cold at night, Seixas recommends wearing socks to provide extra warmth. A heated mattress pad can also help in homes where heating systems don't work well during the winter months.

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