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Sleep Well Wednesdays: Why you sleep worse in summer (and how to fix it)

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Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo on how to drop your body temperature when you’re hot AF in summer. 

Summer is definitely upon us and isn’t she a beauty.

Beach swims at 7am, more sun than you can poke a stick at, and balmy nights. Beautiful indeed… until you try and sleep. If you’re like most of us, you’re probably noticing it’s harder to fall asleep, and you’re waking up in a sweat on multiple occasions, even in the absence of alcohol.

If so, read on and find out why and how you can manage it. 

Why do we sleep worse in summer?

It all comes down to melatonin, the sleepiness hormone to help us fall and stay asleep. Essentially, one of the cues for its synthesis is a dip in your core body temperature, exactly why I recommend a shower as part of my signature bedtime routine (side note – no, you don’t need to have a cold shower; the decline in your core body temperature occurs when you emerge into a cooler bathroom). 

And, as you would have noticed, during summer, there are some nights it’s so hot we experience little, if any, decline in our body temperature in the evening. As a result, our melatonin levels are not as high as they usually are, and you struggle to sleep. 

How can we manage this? 

Fortunately, there are a few strategies available to us – and it’s not just about having an air con unit. 

1. A cooling mattress pad

Almost  the opposite of a electric blanket to keep you warm in winter; a cooling mattress pad like ChiliPad or OOLER helps you stay cool throughout the night.

Sitting underneath your sheets, this is my principal recommendation for summer sleep solutions, as its closer to your body than an air con unit for example, it’s more likely to keep you cool. ChiliPad have cooling pillows too!

2. Air con set to 18 degrees

My next (yes, not first!) recommendation is to have an air con unit set to a spicy 18 degrees. While this may seem cold, this is the temperature recommended by the National Sleep Foundation to provide the best quality sleep. And remember – of course, you can always rug up under a blanket. In lieu of air con, a fan is your next best bet.

3. Sleeping naked with socks

This one sounds counterintuitive, however sleeping naked (with socks) actually promotes heat loss. And, as above, you produce more melatonin, and are able to both fall and stay asleep with greater ease. 

4. 200-400TC sheets in a natural fibre

Natural fibres like bamboo, cotton, linen and silk are a must. They offer thermoregulation, which is the ability to absorb and dissipate heat. With regards to the thread count, this is a breathable thread count, again, supporting heat loss instead of trapping it. 

5. Have a shower before bed

As above my friends, this encourages a decline in your core body temperature, which as you now know, is the key to sleeping well in summer.

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smart, savvy and more than just a sleep expert.

Hi, I'm Olivia.

If you want raw, real and unfiltered Olivia, my blog is where you'll find it.
As an author and avid writer, I find immense pleasure in sharing the ins and outs - without holding back - of my journey through life.
Professionally, I'm a sleep expert - but i'm guessing you already know that.
Personally, I'm a free-flowing, idealistic introvert who loves to travel, dance and enjoy an Aperol Spritz.

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