Ah, summer. We love it and hate it. Here in the United States, summer sweeps into town each year bearing gifts in her train: vacations, cookouts, beach days, outdoor concerts in the park, and (if we're lucky), plenty of ice creams and iced coffees.
But summer isn't all fun and games. Not everyone can afford lush vacations; in most states, temperatures soar and humidity bears down on us like a wet blanket; bugs we didn't know existed invade our personal space; and, worst of all, our favorite TV shows go off the air, leaving us with nothing but reruns to watch on those hot summer nights when we can't sleep.
Though most of us find balm from the day's oppressive heat in the cool of the evening (or in the cool of our air-conditioned homes), there are times when summer's just too real. Not only is it too hot to sleep, it also seems too hot to live.
When that happens, don't fear. We're here to help get you through.
We know just what to do when you can't sleep in the summer.
Handling Bedtime When It Seems Too Hot to Live
First, it's important to remember that falling asleep during the hot summer months often requires forward planning. If you know you're going to have a rough night due to the heat, there are a few things you can do ahead of time to keep the situation from escalating.
The good news is that most of these steps can be initiated quickly, cheaply, and effectively.
Exercise in the morning instead of in the evening. If you exercise in the morning, you won't go into the evening overheated and in need of a "cool down" period before bed; and while it is a smart idea to trigger sweat, which can cool you down, there are ways to do so without raising your body temperature. Speaking of which…
Eat spicy food and drink hot tea. Although it might sound counterintuitive, eating spicy food for dinner and then crashing on the couch with a mug of hot tea can be just the trick to cooling down before bed. It doesn't necessarily have to be tea. It could be any number of hot drinks, including a simple mug of hot water (although we'd suggest steering away from coffee for obvious reasons). The thing is, spicy food and hot drinks can trigger sweat, which is guaranteed to help you cool down before bed.
The increased rate of perspiration is the key. Although sweat may seem like a nuisance, the body perspires for a very good reason. When sweat evaporates from the skin, energy is absorbed into the air as part of the reaction, thereby cooling the body. A larger amount of sweat means more cooling, which more than counteracts the small amount of heat contained in a hot beverage relative to the entire body (Smithsonian).
Stay hydrated. If you're going to depend on sweat to help reduce body temperature, you will want to make sure you're well hydrated first.
To sweat, of course, you need to be hydrated. But if you are dehydrated, your body will not be able to sweat and you will be putting yourself at risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Both of these can cause you to feel weak and may even cause you to faint. Therefore, staying hydrated directly affects your sweating which also determines the ability of your body to cool itself (Fit Day).
Opinions vary regarding exactly how much water is "enough" to stay hydrated. Suffice it to say that if you are depending on sweat to cool you down on a hot night, perhaps you should consider drinking a bit more than you normally do. A slight increase should prove sufficient.
Control your environment. If you know the heat is going to keep you awake at night, there are a few things you can do to keep your room from being as hot as it can be. Before you leave for work in the morning, do what you can to ensure that your room isn't sealed tight and heating like an oven all day when you're at work. If you can safely and effectively increase ventilation, do so; and by all means, make sure you block as much light as possible from entering the room. Use heavy, light-blocking shades (or rig some makeshift ones out of blankets if necessary). Keeping the room well-ventilated and dark during the day can help produce a cooler, more sleep-inducing environment at night.
Sleep on the couch. For once, do this not because your partner told you to do so, but because by separating your body heat, you both have a better chance of staying cool throughout the night. Besides, you won't disturb one another as you toss and turn while trying to find the coolest and comfortable spot.
When all else fails, improvise. If your air conditioner is broken and your room is heating up, there are always little tips and tricks you can try to beat the heat. Whether that means you rig a super-low-tech solution with a giant bowl of ice and a fan, dig ice packs from the freezer and sleep with them behind your neck, or simply sleep on the floor for easy access to the coolest air, put your ingenuity to the test. You may surprise yourself with the creative solutions you can come up with!
We Can Help
Of course, nothing helps you fall asleep and stay that way quite like the perfect mattress.
Here at Nest Bedding, we would love to help you find the perfect match. That way, even if your air conditioner goes out and you're faced with a night of trying the techniques listed above, your discomfort will not be exacerbated by an old, lumpy mattress.
If you would like to hear more about our premium products, or if you would like to chat about anything else sleep-related, please feel free to contact us at any time.
You could always stop by and see us as well. Especially if your air conditioner is not working. Together, we can sit down in the perfectly moderated and just-right chill of our store and have a long, leisurely talk about your mattress needs.
We promise to be cool about it.
See you soon!