Why You Get Hot When Sleeping: What to Do About It

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
April 13, 2023
min read

Do you wonder why you get hot when you sleep? What can you do about waking up hot at night? Sleeping hot is often caused by a hot environment and can cause you to have restless or interrupted sleep, which isn’t great for your sleep quality.

Lucky for you, there are ways to cool down and get quality sleep despite sweltering summer temperatures. Read on to learn more about why you get hot at night and what you can do about it.

Table of content:

In this guide, you will learn the following:

  • How Body Temperature Impacts Your Quality Of Sleep
  • Why Do We Get So Hot When We Sleep?
  • 6 Ways To Stay Cool While Sleeping

How Body Temperature Impacts Your Quality Of Sleep

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, you may find yourself tossing and turning during the night, even after you’ve finally drifted off. 

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, lower temperatures can cause your blood vessels to temporarily narrow, which may increase your blood pressure. Other abrupt changes in ambient temperature and humidity can also put stress on your body, so it’s important to bundle up before going to bed

Why do we get so hot when we sleep?

We get so hot when we sleep mainly due to environmental factors, like the ambient temperature of your room or how much body heat your covers retain. If your bedroom is set to the ideal sleeping temperature of 66 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and you're still getting hot when you sleep, there may be other factors causing you to sleep hot.

lady sweating in bed

Having the right bedding, mattress, and sleep environment can make all the difference. If you just want to have the most comfortable night of sleep possible, check out our guides to the perfect sleeping temperature and some reasons you can’t get comfortable in bed.

Here’s a list of some of the common reasons for getting hot when sleeping and what you can do to fix them.

1. 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 and raise the room temperature if you don't crack a window now and then. This is especially true in warmer climates, which can make getting a good night’s rest seem impossible.

Luckily, the solution is fast and easy. Switch on an electric fan and open up a window before going to bed, and experience the benefits of a lower temperature.

2. Clothing Or Bedding

Warm clothing and warm bedding can make all the difference when it comes to sleeping cool or hot. Our advice? Be mindful of the material your clothing and bedding are made out of.

Fabrics made from animal fibers (like wool) or synthetic materials (like polyester) aren’t very breathable and retain body heat. In short: they’re insulators. 

If you’re feeling hot as you sleep, try opting for sleepwear and sheets made from light, breathable fabrics like bamboo. 

And if that’s not enough, you can always switch over to using cooling sheets for the optimal sleeping experience. Here’s a guide to the best cooling sheets for hot sleepers.

3. Type Of Mattress You're Sleeping On

Just like your clothes and bedsheets, different mattresses have different properties that make them easier or harder to sleep on. Some mattresses aren’t built with increasingly hot summers in mind, and it becomes evident when your high core body temperatures result in poor sleep quality.

Mattresses from memory foam work by molding to a person's body by reacting to heat. Unlike memory foam or traditional mattresses, Purple mattresses adapt instantly, thanks to the technology of the GelFex® Grid. Instead of storing heat to gradually mold to the body, this proprietary hyper-elastic grid has over 1,400 ventilation chambers, so you can sleep cool and enjoy comfort that moves with you.

Having the right mattress can spell the difference between a restful night and a restless one, especially if you tend to sweat at night. Check out this guide to choosing the best mattress for hot sleepers

4. Not Sleeping Alone

Cuddling with a loved one can benefit your relationship and mental well-being, but it can also result in hotter, sweatier nights. Perspiration, after all, is the body’s way of cooling down.

While people may have individual preferences in their sleeping arrangements, you may want to consider splitting up and getting two separate blankets. This way, you can still stay cuddled up with your sleeping partner and share your space without sharing your body heat. This can help with body thermoregulation despite hot conditions.

5. 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. 

While antibiotics are useful for treating a variety of infections, certain penicillins and cephalosporins may have side effects that include disturbed sleep. Other prescription drugs such as steroids and diabetes medications can also have the same effect.

Even over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol and other medicines to treat common illnesses can have an impact on sleep. Research has shown that acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), aspirin, and ibuprofen can disrupt sleep by increasing the number of times a person wakes up during the night. It can even delay the onset of deep sleep.

If night sweats are a problem for you, we recommend setting an appointment with your doctor to share your concerns, identify any potential risk factors and explore your options for treatment.

6. Hormone Disorders

Hormones play a significant part in our bodily functions, so hormone disorders can have a big effect on our daily lives. While this can be as simple as menstrual periods potentially contributing to shallow and restless sleep, sometimes it can indicate a more significant issue.

Undiagnosed and untreated hormone disorders can have consequences on your health, especially if you’re a woman. Studies have shown that women are more likely to develop thyroid disorders compared to men, suggesting a link with the hormone estrogen, which women generally have higher levels of compared to males.

Events across a woman’s reproductive cycle like menstruation and pregnancy can also cause hormonal imbalance and impact your sleep. For example, women going through menopause – the period when the ovaries start producing less estrogen – commonly experience hot flashes and night sweats.

8 Ways To Stay Cool While Sleeping

  • Sleeping on a mattress designed to sleep cool: Sometimes finding a mattress that is designed to sleep cool will make all the difference. In addition to the GelFlex® Grid, Purple mattresses utilize cutting-edge materials like breathable Ultra Comfort foam, and responsive coil systems designed to allow air to pass through.
  • purple gridNatural fiber bedding: Natural fiber bedding, like our CompleteComfort and SoftStretch sheets,  helps regulate the body's temperature.
  • Adjust your thermostat: Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. Keep your sleeping area cool – set your thermostat to a chilly but comfortable temperature before going to bed.
  • Use an electric fan: Air conditioning is great, but electric fans can be a cost-effective way to bring down your bedroom temperature. 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 and your heart rate up, which keeps you awake and alert for hours after you’ve finished. Skip the exercise and wind down by incorporating meditation into your bedtime routine 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. You’ll also want to avoid consuming anything with caffeine near your bedtime. This will just increase your alertness and make it harder to settle down and sleep.

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

If you’re waking up sweaty every hour, chances are you aren’t getting the restful sleep you need. Better sleep means a better you.. 

So, cool off, dress light, and let hot nights be a thing of the past. If you still aren’t getting great sleep, check out this guide to sleeping better to see what else you can do.

Sleep Cool with Purple

Purple has been reinventing comfort for three decades. Browse our selection of mattresses with the proprietary GelFlex Grid top layer, which ensures minimal heat retention as you snooze.

Purple Harmony Pillow

Named “The Greatest Pillow Ever Invented," with the accolades to back it up.

Purple Harmony Pillow