If your bedroom temperature is too warm, falling asleep, and staying asleep, can be difficult.
Experts recommend keeping your sleep environment between a cool 60-67°F (15-19° C). But sometimes, even when the thermostat is at an optimum level, we still find ourselves lying in bed feeling hot, uncomfortable, and unable to drift off.
There are several reasons for this, and I’ll look at some of the most common ones in this post. Plus, I’ll provide some simple and practical solutions to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable at night.
Why Do I Get so Hot When I Sleep? 6 Reasons & Solutions
If your bedroom is cool, but you’re still too hot, one of these six reasons could be to blame.
Excess humidity can exacerbate sweating and make a room feel much warmer than it is.
Even if your thermostat is in the ideal 60-67°F (15-19° C) range, too much air moisture can leave you clammy and uncomfortable.
Plus, high humidity isn’t just bad for our sleep. It can also lead to the growth of moisture-loving mold spores, which, if allowed to multiply, can have disastrous long-term effects on our health.
Test Your Bedroom’s Humidity Levels
The easiest way to test the air’s moisture content is with an indoor humidity monitor and a hygrometer.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to shell out on an expensive model; even basic hygrometers, which you can pick up in most major hardware stores, will do the job.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping the relative humidity of any indoor space between 30% and 50%, so keep this range in mind when testing your bedroom’s levels.
Solutions: If high humidity is causing you to feel hot and bothered during the night, there are a few things you can do to bring it down to a safer and more comfortable level.
Dehumidifiers are the quickest and most effective way to suck moisture from the air. Still, using these machines alongside a hygrometer is best to ensure you’re not going too far in the opposite direction and making your bedroom too dry.
But you don’t always need to spend money on gadgets. Simple tricks like opening a window to improve ventilation and allow the airflow to circulate can help.
Suppose your bedroom is close to the kitchen or bathroom. In that case, you can also try opening the doors and turning on the extraction fans to help suck excess moisture away.
Other things that can help include avoiding air-drying laundry inside and fixing any leaks in your home to keep your environment as dry as possible.
2. Mattress, Pillows, And Bed Linen
Mattresses, duvets, and pillows have different thermal properties, and the same is true for your sheets and pillowcases.
Many mattresses are designed to retain heat and keep you warm, but this isn’t helpful when all you want to do is cool down.
Bedding made from synthetic fibers can also trap heat and moisture, making you feel clammy and overheated.
Solutions: If your budget allows, consider investing in a mattress made from cooling, breathable materials such as latex, memory foam, and gel.
But suppose you’re not ready to part with your old mattress yet. In that case, you can buy cooling mattress toppers, which still make a significant difference without costing the earth.
For your bedding, avoid synthetic fibers such as polyester. Instead, choose sheets, pillowcases, and blankets made from natural, breathable materials such as cotton, bamboo, or Tencel (a cooling, soothing material made from sustainably sourced wood.)
3. Lifestyle Factors
What you do in the hours before you go to bed can significantly impact your body’s core temperature, affecting your sleep.
Experts warn that drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks later in the day can raise your core temperature for several hours. Eating spicy or fried foods also yields the same results.
Other lifestyle-related culprits include excess sun exposure, exercising later in the evening, and stress.
A 2015 study on animals showed that while stress lowers the skin’s surface temperature, the body counteracts this drop by raising its core temperature, which can last for several hours.
Solutions: If you’re a regular coffee drinker, try limiting your intake after lunchtime and completely cut out all caffeinated beverages after 2 pm.
Caffeine doesn’t just raise your core temperature; it also leaves you feeling wired and alert long after you’ve taken the last sip, which is the last you need to aid a good night’s sleep.
If possible, avoid hitting the gym in the evening and opt for a morning workout instead.
Exercising at the beginning of the day will also increase your energy levels and provide mood-boosting endorphins, so you can feel at your best and be ready to wind down when bedtime.
If stress is the culprit, it’s important to identify the underlying cause. Your doctor best addresses chronic stress, but there are several ways to mitigate stress at home.
Mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises before bed can reduce cortisol levels and lower your core temperature. Using essential oils can also help.
4. A Fast Metabolism
Your metabolism is responsible for converting food into energy and eliminating metabolic waste. A fast metabolism is generally regarded as a good thing.
But while your body burns food and converts it into fuel, your core temperature naturally increases. The faster the process, the more the number goes up.
So, it stands to reason that people with a high metabolic rate are more prone to overheating, no matter the time of day.
Generally, men have a faster metabolism than women, meaning males are more likely to suffer from an unwanted metabolic rise in temperature that keeps them awake at night.
Solutions: Suppose a naturally fast metabolism is causing you to feel too hot at night. In that case, the best course of action is to keep you and your environment as cool as possible.
The obvious first step is to dial down the thermostat. Still, other strategies I’ve mentioned above, such as a cooling mattress or mattress topper and natural fiber sheets, can also make a big difference.
Air conditioning can help, but don’t worry if you don’t have AC; there are plenty of other ways to stay cool at night, which you can read about in our in-depth guide here.
Hormones regulate our body’s internal systems, including our core temperature. Hot flushes and night sweats can strike when they’re out of balance.
Women are prone to hormone-related heat increases. Menopausal women often suffer these symptoms as estrogen levels drop and other hormones fluctuate.
Pregnancy also dramatically alters hormone levels, leaving many women struggling to stay cool at night. Plus, your regular monthly cycle can cause dips and spikes in your body’s core temperature.
But it’s not just women that can suffer; certain types of thyroid disorders, which can affect anyone, are known to alter hormone levels and lead to night sweats and hot flashes.
Solutions: If you suspect your hormones are playing havoc with your body’s nighttime temperature, speak to your doctor.
If menopause is the issue, they might prescribe specific hormone replacement therapies to help ease hot flashes, night sweats, and other unwanted symptoms.
They may also recommend specific natural remedies, supplements, and lifestyle alterations that can help to rebalance your hormones and better regulate your body temperature.
One of the main symptoms of any bug or sickness is a high temperature. Chances are that if you’re suffering from any form of cold, flu, or infection, your night sweats will be a symptom of this and will hopefully be short-term.
Some other more sinister health conditions can also cause night sweats, such as cancer, heart disease, and hyperthyroidism.
Solutions: Consulting your doctor about controlling the symptoms is the first approach to getting restful sleep. However, Cough, cold, and flu can cause congestion in your breathing system, and you would want to get rid of it, despite the fact that you are under medications prescribed by your physician.
Most often, your medications may fail to work and keep you up as you sweat profusely. Hence you can opt for some home remedies aside from the medicines.
One such remedy is trying decaffeinated black tea and sweetening it with honey. It contains theobromine that suppresses capsaicin-induced cough without any negative effects. And the honey in the black tea minimizes the scratchy feeling by coating your throat.
Some studies even suggest that honey is much more effective in soothing nighttime coughs than some over-the-counter medicines. It clears the nasal passages before bed and prevents the symptoms, and helps to get a good sleep.
7. Medications And Supplements
There are numerous over-the-counter and prescription medications that have heat-inducing side effects, including, but not limited to:
- Antibiotics such as penicillin and cephalosporins
- Painkillers such as Tylenol and aspirin
- Metformin and other diabetes medication
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Hormone therapy medications
- Steroids, including cortisone or prednisone
- SSRI and tricyclic antidepressants
Certain supplements can also disrupt your body’s ability to regulate temperature, and leave you feeling too hot, even in a cool room.
Solutions: If you suspect a medication is causing a spike in body temperature at night, talk to your doctor. They may prescribe an alternative or offer advice on dealing with these unwanted side effects.
Also, don’t forget to check any supplements or natural remedies you might take, as these can also cause your internal thermostat to rise.
A healthy adult’s body temperature drops in the evening, preparing us for sleep, but sometimes, this process is interrupted.
And when our internal thermostat doesn’t dip as much as it should, the result is a restless night’s sleep.
If you’re feeling overheated at night or experiencing hot flashes or night sweats, be sure to speak to your doctor.
As well as the reasons listed above, it could be a symptom of an underlying illness, so it’s important to rule this out before you proceed.
For more tips and tricks on optimizing your sleep environment, including your bedroom temperature, check out our collection of in-depth guides designed to help you get the best night’s sleep possible.