While Floridians associate spring and summer months with going to the beach, baking in the sun and having outdoor fun, getting a good night’s sleep during the hotter months can be a real nightmare!
Humidity is a huge part of the problem. And we Floridians know humidity all too well on a hot day or night. Humidity makes it hard for sweat to evaporate, causing us to feel sticky and uncomfortable.
Sleeping six hours or less each night can make you groggy, cranky, clumsy and inept the next day. When you sleep in a hot, humid bedroom, it could take longer to fall asleep. And even when you do, you could still be looking at a restless night if you’re tossing and turning in your own sweat.
Floridians depend heavily on air conditioners to keep our bodies at a comfortable temperature. (Shameless plug alert) Of course if you have Super Heat & Air install, repair or maintain your air conditioner, getting a good night’s sleep on a hot night should never be a problem! But if you’re struggling to sleep on a hot night, here are a few tips to help get you through it:
A cold shower before bed might seem like a good idea to stay cool on a hot night. But it can actually backfire as your body temperature could rise to counteract the cold. Instead, take a lukewarm shower or bath before going to bed.
Sleeping in a hot bedroom can make you sweat to the point of dehydration. By keeping a cold glass of water on your nightstand or near your bed, it helps to reach out for a sip or two to hydrate or press it against your forehead to help you cool down. It’s also a good idea to drink a glass of water before you plop into bed to hydrate ahead of time.
(Depending on who you ask) Cuddling is a wonderful thing: except on a hot sticky night! Snuggling up with your partner creates double the body heat, so try to keep it to a minimum. If you’re burning up while cuddling up with your partner on a hot night, it's OK to let go and sleep on your own side of the bed.
Adjusting your thermostat may fall into the “thank you Captain Obvious” category, but people looking to save money on electricity costs tend to set their thermostats too high, even on a hot night. We’re not implying that these people are cheapskates, but come on! Turn the thermostat down when it's hot! Your electric bill might come in a little higher, but not sleeping well to save money will still cost you! A few extra bucks on your electric bill is worth the sleep. It’s recommended you keep your thermostat between 65-75°F for the ideal sleeping temperature.
When you exercise, you raise your body temperature significantly as you burn calories. And you retain heat for several hours after your workout. Early workouts are known to improve your quality of sleep. But a workout too close to bedtime could keep you up all night.
Who doesn’t love a late night snack? While we might enjoy a hot meal before bed, a hot kitchen can create more heat in the house. And cooking by a hot stove or oven will cause your body temperature to heat up. Your body also produces more heat when eating a hot meal or even trying to metabolize a large meal. So keep your late-night meals small and at room temperature if possible.
Getting drunk might help you fall asleep, but having alcohol in your system on a hot night is a very bad idea! Alcohol might seem like a quick-fix to help you fall asleep fast, but the result will ultimately be a low-quality interrupted sleep. You could also possibly find yourself waking up periodically throughout the night and taking frequent bathroom breaks in between sleep.
Yes, we know that turning off the lights to go to sleep is pretty standard procedure for a good night’s sleep. But try keeping the lights off some time ahead before you go to bed. Light bulbs and lamps give off heat. So by simply dimming or shutting off your lights at least a half hour ahead of bedtime, you’re already taking a step toward a cooler night’s sleep. It also helps to keep your curtains or blinds closed during daylight hours to block the heat created by natural sunlight.
There’s nothing like wrapping yourself up like a burrito in a thick, snuggly blanket on a cold night for a perfect sleep. On a hot humid night, however, not so much! Stay away from bedding with materials like nylon, vinyl, silk, satin and wool. Try sleeping in cotton sheets, which are light and comfortable. Also avoid heavy blankets or duvets and remove mattress protectors or pads, which retain heat.
There’s nothing wrong with sleeping naked. But on a hot night it might not be the best idea. You might think that stripping down to nothing but your birthday suit will help you cool down. But it might actually make you feel hotter because moisture between your body and your bedding will not evaporate. Cotton sleepwear is recommended, as it is a comfortable, natural non-synthetic material that “breathes better” on your body and evaporates moisture.
If you live in Tampa Bay during the hot months and you don’t have a working air conditioner, you’re in serious trouble and (shameless plug alert #2 ) you need to call Super Heat & Air! But until we come to the rescue to fix your air conditioner or install a new one, try the rudimentary method of putting frozen ice packs or a pan of ice in front of a fan to help you cool down.