If you’re a hot sleeper, you probably dread summertime. With record-setting heat waves on the horizon, you don’t want to spend all those warm summer nights sweaty and sleepless in bed. It feels impossible to control the climate and keep cool when the ambient air is like a sauna. You wake up feeling like a dried out old sponge, but that’s not even the worst of it. Overheating at night can lead to a variety of health problems and completely throw your circadian rhythms out of whack.
DAY N’ NIGHT
To understand exactly how overheating affects the body, we must first talk about circadian rhythms and how they’re related to your sleep cycles. Our bodies run on a 24-hour cycle that, in healthy individuals, mirrors the natural day and night cycle. All of the small signals and processes involved in keeping this “biological clock” ticking are known as circadian rhythms.
One of the things that signals to our body that it’s time to start the sleep cycle is a drop in core body temperature. Scientists believe this occurs in order to conserve energy during sleep and direct it towards other restorative processes. This drop in core temperature stimulates the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Aside from the physical discomfort of night sweats, hot sleepers often have problems drifting off because their body simply hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s melatonin time.
IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT
No R.E.M.?! That’s right—melatonin deficits lead to shallower, less sound sleep. This means sweaty sleepers never get the chance to enter the deep sleep or R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) phases. And this is when the magic happens: Deep sleep is when physical damage to the body is restored and the immune system is fortified, while R.E.M. sleep is when you do most of your emotional processing, memory consolidation, brain development and dreaming.
Those who can’t regulate their temperature properly are also more likely to have nightmares. This is the body’s reaction to the extreme temperature changes as you start with the blankets on, get sweaty, kick them off, start shivering, pull the covers back on, etc…
You wake up in the morning feeling gross and gritty. Your blankets are drenched in sweat and you’re dehydrated and underslept. This increases the likelihood that you’ll lay down for a nap during the day. By this point, your circadian rhythms are completely out of sync. Up is down, day is night, and your mood and body temperature fluctuate wildly as your thermoregulatory processes struggle to right themselves.
STUFF MY FACE WITH SOME REESES! THIS IS MY LEMON TORTE!
All this leads to increased production of cortisol, the “wakefulness” hormone. Cortisol is produced during times of high anxiety in order to increase vigilance. However, it also increases your appetite. If you find yourself zombie-walking to the fridge every night for a midnight snack, it’s likely a sign that you have raised cortisol levels.
Overheating leads to overeating, and we all know the problems going to bed stuffed can cause: acid reflux, weight gain, digestion problems, to name a few.
SLEEP&GLOW VENTILATED BLANKET
But luckily, you can stop this vicious cycle before it even begins. Beat the heat and stay cool with a ventilated blanket. But make sure you make the right choice. Some cooling blankets rely on chemicals or heat-regulating materials, such as glass beads. But if you’re a radiator, these will gradually warm up throughout the night, leaving you hot and hopeless in the wee hours of the morning. Lighter blankets may work in the summertime, but will leave you shivering when the winter months roll around. The Sleep&Glow ventilated blanket comes with mesh ventilation panels that help control air flow and temperature by removing excess heat and moisture, ensuring the optimal sleep climate all year ‘round. This is what makes it one of the best temperature controlling blankets on the market, and an ideal choice for hot and sweaty sleepers.