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Why Do I Get So Hot When I Sleep: Everything About Sleeping Hot

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 8 minLast updated on April 13, 2021

Ideally, your bed should be the most comfortable spot in the house. After all, we spend one-third of our lives sleeping.

The ‘comfort’ part applies to everything: support, softness, and temperature. Our body naturally regulates temperature during sleep so that we feel comfy. 

But sometimes we can experience overheating at night, and then get up groggy and sluggish.

What are the reasons for that and how to prevent hot sleeping? This article holds all the answers, so let’s get into it!

Reasons Why You Might Sleep Hot

First of all, let’s look at the healthy temperature regulation:

When we prepare to fall asleep, our body naturally lowers its temperature to kick off our sleep hormone production, melatonin. We mainly lose our body heat through the skin, and this process is combined with blood vessel dilation in hands and feet (1). Night body temperature is usually 1-2 degrees lower than average, which helps maintain the state of sleep.

Now, let’s see what can break this pattern.

Health and Age-Related Issues

The main reasons for extremely high body temperature while sleeping are the changes inside your body, which can be age-related or a direct result of underlying health conditions. Here are some of the conditions that can alter your body temperature and make you sweaty at night:

  • Hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is excess sweat secretion that happens on itself or in with other health issues. People with this condition produce more sweat and might have a higher body temperature than average.
  • Thyroid problems. Hyperthyroidism, diffuse toxic goiter, or Grave’s disease make your thyroid gland secrete more hormones. Thyroid hormones govern a lot of processes in the body, including temperature regulation, and those with increased thyroid function are more prone to night sweats.
  • Tuberculosis. Active tuberculosis may also cause the elevation of body temperature as a part of the immune response to the bacteria. 
  • Menopause. For older women, one of the main causes of extremely high body temperature while sleeping is menopause. Hormonal changes affect temperature regulation and can cause night sweats and insomnia in more than 80% of perimenopausal women (2).

Problems With Your Bed

Another reason why you might get so hot when sleeping might be hidden in your bed. Literally. 

Your mattress should aid in the heat loss, but in some cases, it fails to do that:

  • Your mattress is too old. Mattresses can change the structure with use. Foams and pillow tops will flatten out and begin to retain more of your body heat instead of dissipating it. So if you noticed hot sleeping, you may inspect the condition of your mattress and think about replacing it with a new one.
  • Your mattress isn’t initially breathable. Different mattress types have different breathability. Despite having a reputation as the most comfortable bed, memory foam mattresses are temperature-sensitive and can trap a lot of heat in their pores. Latex mattress has a slightly more breathable structure and can work for those who need good contouring without feeling hot. However, one of the best mattresses for hot sleepers are those with coils, because their core allows for more potent air circulation within layers and dissipation of body heat.
  • You use bedding with a high thread count. Bedding fabrics can also affect body heat loss. High thread count cotton is great for its durability, but it has very small holes in the fabric that can slow down heat loss. On the other hand, linen, is much more porous and breathable, and so are semi-synthetic materials, such as bamboo rayon and Tencel.

Your Partner’s Influence

Yes, you’ve got it right.

Many of us share a bed with a partner. The thing is, differences in physiology and hormones between men and women can cause the difference in body temperature.

Studies report that women tend to have a higher body temperature than men (3). However, the perception of temperature depends on the skin temperature, and women have lower skin temperature than men.

In simple words, women tend to overheat and sweat faster than men because their skin cools down more quickly. And if you’re a woman, your higher body temperature can influence your partner’s surroundings — especially if you sleep under the same blanket — and make them more prone to overheating during sleep.

How to Make Your Sleep Cooler?

How when you know why you get so hot when sleeping, you can address the problem, which is great. Below, you will find some tips that will help you cool down and turn your bed back into a sleep sanctuary instead of a sauna.

Choose Mattresses With Natural Materials

The first thing you can do is to replace your mattress with a more breathable model.

Here are some checks to make when choosing it:

  • Latex mattress. Latex mattresses are made from the processed sap of rubber trees. They have an open-cell structure and allow the air to circulate inside the mattress and dissipate your body heat.
  • A pillow top or Euro Top mattress. Pillow tops are made with fiberfill materials that create a breathable layer between your body and the mattress and help withdraw heat. Euro tops are sewn-in layers of gel foam or latex that can also act like a heat-withdrawing pad and help you sleep cooler.
  • Hybrid mattress. Hybrid mattresses have a wrapped coil system as their core layer. The structure of the coils allows air circulation inside the mattress and efficient body heat removal during sleep.
  • Innerspring mattress. Innerspring mattresses, except a coil core, also have fewer comfort layers above, so they tend to feel firmer. This might be a good pick for overweight hot sleepers because the firmness will help them sink less into the mattress layers and naturally cool down.

And what about memory foam beds?

You can try them too!

Just make sure to choose mattresses with open-cell foams, plant-based foams, or gel-infused foams as a comfort layer. These materials retain less of your body heat and help regulate body temperature throughout the night. And the mattresses for restless partnered sleep are made of these materials because of their perfect motion absorption.

Use Cooling Toppers

If you cannot afford mattress replacement, you can try adding a mattress topper to your bed. Mattress toppers will act as a cooling pad and smooth out any lumps if your mattress is too old. 

The recommended options are:

  • Natural latex toppers — for those who need natural and hypoallergenic materials.
  • Convoluted mattress toppers — for those who need extra pressure relief and breathability.
  • Gel foam mattress toppers — for chronic hot sleepers.

Create Suitable Microclimate in the Bedroom

Along with replacing a mattress, you might want to work on your surroundings in the bedroom to make them more sleep-friendly:

  • Set the right temperature. The range between 60-67F is thought to be the most beneficial for a good night’s sleep. However, if you’re a chronic hot sleeper, you might set it even lower, down to 58-59F to prevent overheating at night.
  • Use the humidifier. Humid air makes us cool down more quickly. Along with that, the humidifier purifies the air, which helps maintain a sleep state with fewer awakenings.
  • Choose quality bedding. Linen is the best bedding fabric for hot sleepers thanks to its breathability. However, if you aren’t comfortable with the feeling of linen, you can also choose silk, bamboo rayon, or Tencel fabrics.
  • Purchase separate blankets. If you share a bed with a partner, and one of you is a hot sleeper. You can try sleeping under separate blankets. This creates a comfortable ecosystem for everyone and prevents your partner’s night sweats from affecting your bedtime.

F.A.Q.

Can my mattress be the reason for overheating?

Yes. Some mattresses can retain body heat and slow down your natural heat loss, which might make you sweaty. These are, for example, mattresses that use dense or first-generation memory foam.

How to choose bedding for those who overheat during sleep?

Choose lighter natural fabrics, such as linen, bamboo, or silk. Cotton might be a great option too because it’s hygroscopic, but it’s better to choose fabrics with medium thread count for their breathability.

How do I regulate my thermostat to sleep better?

Set the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees. This is considered the optimal temperature for deep sleep and melatonin production. Although if you think that it might still be too high, you can lower it to 58-59 degrees.

Conclusion

Overheating during sleep is a pretty common issue, and it’s usually tied to two reasons: your health and the bedroom conditions. If you don’t have any underlying health issues, make sure to choose cooling materials, regulate temperature and humidity in your bedroom, and mitigate the influence of your partner’s body temperature by purchasing separate blankets.

Which of the solutions we presented above seems the best for you? Share your answer in the comments!

References:

  1. Ronald Szymusiak (2018, November 17). Handbook of Clinical Neurology. Chapter 20 — Body Temperature and Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444639127000205 
  2. Maurice M. Ohayon (2006, June 26). Severe hot flashes are associated with chronic insomnia. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16801508/
  3. Hannah Devlin (2017, October 11). Why women secretly turn up the heating? Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/science/shortcuts/2017/oct/11/why-women-sewcretly-turn-up-the-heating

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