How to Sleep When It’s Too Hot to Sleep

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
February 23, 2022
min read


The recipe for perfect sleep is simple: getting into bed under the covers and sleeping at the perfect temperature to fall asleep. But the bedroom gets hotter as the night goes on. Many of us get hot and can’t sleep.

When over 50 million Americans report sleep disturbances of some kind, it can make you wonder if perfect sleep patterns are achievable at all – especially in the hot summer months. Lucky for you, there are ways to get quality sleep despite the sweltering summer temperature. Read on to learn more about snoozing on a hot night and getting the rest you need.

That is why we created the Purple Grid. Features 1,400+ ventilation chambers for better airflow so you can sleep cool all night.

How Body Temperature During Sleep Affects Your Quality Of Life

Fact: core body temperature is the most important determining factor when it comes to sleep quality. A person’s circadian rhythm is closely in tune with their body’s internal temperature. Higher temperatures are associated with active hours and tend to wake our bodies up, while lower temps trigger feelings of relaxation at the end of the day. With this in mind, how does temperature impact your sleep?

If you’re running too hot because of your environment or body temperature, that can result in fitful, shallow sleep. That means tossing, turning, and chronic wakefulness even after you’ve finally drifted off. This ends up disturbing your REM sleep, which leads you to feel unrested during the day. Poor sleep quality can also have long-term health consequences.

On the other hand, a cold snooze can impact your shut-eye and the release of melatonin. While you may not be as bothered by a cooler night, it can be hard to fall asleep when your environment is too chilly. That being said, it’s important to bundle up for a good sleep.

Why do we get so hot when we sleep?

The reason you get so hot when you sleep is mostly due to bedding, mattress and environment. This can include things such as temperature in the bedroom. Having the proper bedding and mattress can help offset warm temperatures.

lady sweating in bed

What Causes Night Sweats?

Night sweats are very commonly associated with sleeping too hot, as sweating is your main method of body thermoregulation. But if you’re not getting adequate sleep because of extreme heat, you need not worry just yet – many of the common causes are harmless and have straightforward solutions.

An Overly Hot Room

Our homes hold a lot of heat, which makes sense when you think about all the electronics buzzing and generating extra warmth all day. Unfortunately, all of this excess heat can stay trapped in your room if you don't crack a window now and then.

Luckily, the solution is fast and easy. Switch on an electric fan and open up a window before going to bed, and your night sweats will be a thing of the past.

Clothing Or Bedding

It can be tempting to wear your decade-old fuzzy pajamas to bed when you get insufficient sleep, but sometimes those thick flannels hurt more than help. The same goes for heat-retaining sheets fashioned from flannel or fleece. Even with a ceiling fan on, you might find yourself sweatier than ever in hot weather.

If you’re the type of person to sleep in these warmth traps, you may want to consider swapping them for something lighter if you often wake up in night sweats. We recommend wearing airy cotton pajamas, using lower thread-count sheets, or even drinking a glass of cold water before bed.

Type Of Mattress You're Sleeping On

purple grid

Some foam mattresses aren’t built with increasingly hot summers in mind, and it becomes really evident when your high core temperatures result in poor sleep quality.

If you’re still sleeping on a chunky foam mattress pad with no ventilation, you may want to trade it out for something a little more modern. Perforated mattresses designed for optimal sleeping temps can help you achieve restful sleep despite the heat. (Side note: a new pillow might help, too.)

Purple Mattresses

Purple Mattresses have 1,400 + ventilations chambers for better airflow - so you won't sleep too hot or too cold.

Not Sleeping Alone

Jean-Paul Sartre once said, “Hell is other people.” That’s notably true when your sleep partner doubles as a furnace. Cuddling with a loved one can benefit your relationship and mental well-being, but it can also result in hotter, sweatier nights.

If you’re cuddled up with your sleep partner but don’t feel like sharing body heat, we recommend splitting up and getting two separate blankets. This can help with body thermoregulation despite hot weather.

New Medication

If you’ve recently started a new medication, you may want to read the included literature if you start breaking out into sweats during bedtime. Everything from anti-depressants, hormone replacement therapy, painkillers, migraine meds, asthma inhalers, to breast cancer medications may cause sleep disorders and shallow sleep.

If this turns out to be the case, consider contacting your primary care provider to identify your risk factors and explore your options. In the meantime, take a shower with cold water before bed to try to improve your sleep habits.

Hormone Disorders

Changes in your body’s hormone levels can impact body temperature. While this can be as simple as menstrual periods causing shallow sleep, sometimes it can hint at a more significant issue.

If you think you may be struggling with an endocrine-related health condition, an overactive thyroid, or diabetes, we recommend seeking medical attention as soon as possible. Beyond interrupted sleep, undiagnosed and untreated hormone disorders can have severe consequences on your health.

6 Ways To Stay Cool And Sleep When It's Hot

  • Adjust your thermostat: Sometimes the simplest solution is also the best one. Set your thermostat to a chilly and comfortable temperature before going to bed, and you’ll rest easy.
  • Use an electric fan: Air-conditioned rooms are great, but electric fans can be a cost-effective way to introduce a bit of cool air to your nighttime routine. Set it to oscillate, and it’ll feel like a fresh spring breeze.
  • Try a different sleeping position: Some sleeping positions can keep the human body from maintaining a normal temperature, even in air-conditioned rooms. Consider sleeping flat on your back with your limbs spread out for a cooler snooze.
  • Skip the exercise routine before bed: Aerobic exercise can get the blood pumping, which keeps you awake and alert for hours after you’ve finished. Skip your exercise routine and wind down instead for better sleep satisfaction.
  • Mind your diet: One of the lesser-known sleep tips is avoiding spicy food before bed. Doing this means an overall decrease in core body temps, resulting in improved objective sleep quality.
  • External cooling solutions: The number one way to combat shallow sleep caused by heat is to physically cool your body down. That means sipping a cold glass of water or even using ice packs around bedtime. A cold shower can also impact your overall sleep satisfaction.

Cooler Sleep = Better Sleep

Sleeping in ideal temperatures isn’t just about your comfort; it’s also about improving the quality of your sleep and managing medical conditions associated with insufficient sleep. If you’re waking up sweaty every hour, chances are you aren’t getting the restful sleep you need. As a result, your cognitive functions will likely be impaired the next day.

So cool off, dress light, and let hot nights be a thing of the past.

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