There are few things better than crawling into a cozy, warm bed on a cool evening and drifting off into a peaceful sleep. Until, that is, you wake up in the middle of the night too hot or too cold to fall back asleep. You might not know the exact cause of your sudden sweat or shivers, but one thing’s clear: You want it to stop.
Dr. Michael Grandner may have advice that can help. He’s a member of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania and is Board-certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine. As he explains to the web series #OWNSHOW, your body temperature is very closely related to how well you sleep, and it fluctuates often during the night.
“In the beginning of the night, you might feel like you’re at the right temperature, but then your body temperature will drop during the night, then it will hit its minimum late at the end of the night, then you start coming up again,” Grandner says. To help your slumber be as comfortable and restful as possible, try these four tips for better sleep.
1. Keep the room between 62 and 72 degrees.
For the majority of people, there’s a clear 10-degree range that represents the sweet spot for deep, restful sleep. “Most people sleep most comfortably at around 62 to 72 degrees,” Grandner says. “Much hotter or colder than that can end up disrupting sleep.”
2. Dress in layers.
“How your body temperature is interacting with the room temperature and how that’s interacting with the blankets can end up leaving you uncomfortable,” Grandner says. “That’s why it’s good to have layers that you can take on or take off if you’re sensitive to temperature.”
3. Be aware of the spicy-food effect.
“A lot of people don’t realize this, but sometimes very spicy food — especially if you eat it close to dinnertime — can raise body temperature, which might make it more difficult to sleep,” Grandner explains.
4. Take a long, hot bath before bed.
“There’s some data showing that a really long, hot bath right before going to bed might temporarily raise your body temperature, but as soon as you get out of the bath, it will plummet,” Grandner says. “[This] might make it much easier to fall asleep, as your body temperature’s dropping.”
Still waking in the middle of the night? This counterintuitive strategy may be the key to falling back asleep.
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