Article - Too Hot or Too Cold to Sleep?
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The healthy human body maintains a constant core temperature. Very modest variations in this core temperature make us feel overheated or chilled which can be uncomfortable. Common physical conditions sometimes make it difficult to regulate body temperature including menopause, hypothyroidism, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, Parkinson's disease and diabetes. Nausea medications, antidepressants, alcohol and some over-the-counter cold remedies can also make the body vulnerable to temperature fluctuations.
During the day you can manage your comfort by adding or removing layers of clothing, having a blanket or fan nearby, or taking a warm or cool shower. However, night time temperature fluctuations can be harder to manage, making you restless and uncomfortable, leading to a poor night's sleep.
The staff at Dynamic-Living.com has the following tips and suggestions to help you maintain a comfortable body temperature at night without upsetting your sleeping patterns.
Create the right environment
Although we live in temperature-controlled environments where the air conditioning and heating systems keep our houses at a relatively stable level, fluctuations in outside temperature may not be instantly fixed by automatic thermostat controls.
Make sure you have appropriate bedding for each season. Preferences and climates may vary, but most people probably need light cotton sheets and a thin blanket in warmer weather and a thicker blanket or layers of blankets in winter.
In transitional weather, layers are your best bet. Fall and Spring can be particularly tricky times to manage your temperature, since the beginning of the night may start out warm, but then cool down substantially by the early hours of the morning. Make sure you have a warmer blanket close at hand that can be put on or pulled up when you need it.
Some people like a breeze on their skin while others can't tolerate it. Change the position of your bed to avoid a draft or place a fan at the foot of the bed if you need a breeze.
If you have sensitive or hot feet, a blanket lift will let you sleep better at night by reducing pressure to your feet and ankles from the weight of your bedding.
The perfect pajamas
The kind of pajamas you choose can make a huge difference in controlling your body temperature. Consider specialty pajamas to help you stay cool or warm.
For warm sleepers:
Wicking pajamas take sweat immediately away from the body and help it evaporate more quickly. If you suffer from night sweats due to Menopause, Parkinson's or any number of other conditions, this type of pajama will keep you dry and cool during your warm spells, but warm and cozy the rest of the night. Wicking pajamas are also great in high humidity climates as they remove the moisture from your skin and help accelerate the evaporation process.
Silk pajamas, once available only for the rich and famous, are great for warm weather allowing the skin to breathe and sweat to evaporate quickly.
For people who chill easily:
Flannel usually refers to a thick weave of cotton or a cotton/wool or cotton/synthetic blend. Flannel pajamas are great for keeping warm and cozy in the winter months without overheating.
Footed pajamas are perfect for people with cold feet. They keep feet and ankles warm and cozy even if you kick off the blankets.
A night cap is an old-fashioned head cover that you wear while sleeping. It prevents heat from leaving your body through your scalp and keeps you warm even on the coldest nights.
How your pajamas fit can also affect your sleep. If they are too tight, pajamas can restrict your movements as you turn in your sleep. If they are too loose, pajamas can leave too much room to get tangled.
Eat and drink for sleep
What you eat and drink shortly before bedtime can affect your body temperature for quite a while after you go to sleep.
If you are having trouble with night time body temperature regulation, try to limit the amount of food or drink you consume in the hours before bedtime.
It is best to stay away from alcohol. Although alcohol can make you feel warm and toasty for a little while, it actually increases blood flow in your skin and makes you sweat. Both of these changes result in the loss of body heat, leaving you more vulnerable to cold after you've fallen asleep.
Whether you suffer from night sweats or cold feet, restlessness and discomfort at night can make you miserable the next morning. With some planning and the right bedding and pajamas, you can be prepared for those inevitable temperature fluctuations and sleep like a baby.
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