Why does my body get so hot at night?

Has anyone ever told you that sleeping next to you is like sleeping next to a radiator? 

If you said yes, you’re not the only one. It’s been found in studies that one in three people suffer from night sweats and overheating during their sleep. Why does it happen? What can you do to stop it? Does it mean something is wrong with you?

It’s time to explore this theme.

Why does my body get so hot at night?

There’s an important relationship going on behind the scenes between sleep and body temperature, the two are interlinked and play an interesting role in our sleep-wake cycle. 

What your body is actually doing when you get hot at night is thermoregulating itself (shivering and sweating are other forms of thermoregulation).

This means it intentionally warming you up and cooling you down in order for key bodily functions to recuperate. For example, the brain needs to cool down at night in order to help you rest.

Wait, what? Does my body want to get hotter?

There are several factors at play here, but the truth is that because of how your body temperature rises and falls all day long as your enter different environments, the cause of your overheating might be that your room is too cold. 

It could also be that you’ve been outside in the cold and then come into a hot environment and your central heating compounds your thermoregulation to make you overheat. 

Your body clock is important

When you are tired and start sending information around your body that you want to go to sleep, your body temperature naturally starts to drop. For some people though, and you may well be one of them, their body’s temperature doesn’t drop, and they remain hot.

This could be part of your issue and it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with you. You simply need to improve your sleep hygiene.

Developing a sleep routine is one way to fix this - go to bed at the same time, create a pre-sleep ritual, and try not to get into bed until you want or are ready to sleep.

Can I do anything differently?

Aside from the sleep hygiene tips mentioned above try these ideas out:

  • Take a hot shower or bath before going to sleep, your body will try to cool you down as a result
  • Let cool air into the room with a fan or an open window, but don’t let it get too cold, as then your body will try harder to warm you up
  • Try different pyjama materials
    • cotton soaks up sweat and is not advisable,
    • wool will make you even hotter,
    • silk can cool you down in the heat and warm you up in the cold - perfect!
    • bamboo materials wick your sweat and keep you cool - nice!
  • If you share a bed, try to get more personal space so that you’re not heating each other up
  • Try a temperature regulating pillow, such as this one

Let us know how you get on!

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