As temperatures rise and heat waves continue to shatter records, staying healthy in hot weather becomes a top priority. And while heat-related health issues like sun stroke, dehydration and sunburns may take the spotlight, hot weather actually brings even more serious risks—by preventing you from getting deep, rejuvenating sleep.
Why Temperatures Matter for Sleep
In order for your body to enter into deep sleep repair mode, your core temperature needs to drop by about 1-2 degrees. This drop in body temperature is triggered by melatonin, the relaxation and sleep hormone released by your pineal gland in response to darkness. Cooler body temperature allows your natural repair and rejuvenation processes to take place during sleep, so you can detoxify, rest, and replenish. But when it’s too hot, your body can’t cool down enough to enter deep sleep mode, or stay asleep throughout the night.
What Happens to Your Body When It’s Too Hot at Night
If you can’t cool off at night, your sleep cycles will be disrupted and your sleep quality will suffer significantly. You’ll notice immediate effects like next-day drowsiness and fatigue, brain fog, and changes to your mood.1 Poor sleep and excessive nighttime heat will fuel chronic inflammation and can lead to serious conditions over time, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, immune dysfunction, and much more.
The good news is, there are a number of strategies that can help keep you cool during the night, so you can achieve the quality sleep you need for long-term health and vitality.
Keeping Your Cool: Fine-Tuning the Body’s Thermostat
“Thermoregulation” is the process of how your body regulates your internal temperature—and it’s essential for deep sleep and total body repair. While your natural melatonin can help cool and relax your body, when the heat rises you need additional support to regulate your core temperature and sleep deeply. This is even more important when your natural melatonin production gets blocked by exposure to bright lights, blue light from screens, or other electronics before bed.
To maximize your body’s natural melatonin production, it’s key to avoid bright lights at least 2 hours before bed, and sleep in complete darkness. These simple strategies will help boost melatonin production so you can enter into deep, restorative sleep cycles. A small amount of melatonin supplementation can also help improve your sleep.
Healthy Relaxation and Body Temperature Regulation
GABA is a calming brain neurotransmitter that helps you relax, while regulating your body temperature to keep you cool during rest.2 Supporting GABA activity with proven herbs and supplements such as pure Honokiol, is an important way to relax your mind and body, and improve thermoregulation. Pure honokiol is one of my top recommended supplements because it can cross the blood-brain barrier to boost brain function and support healthy neurological activity. Honokiol is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory extract that delivers powerful protection for key areas of health.3
How to Get Better Sleep in the Heat
For optimal sleep, your bedroom temperature should be around 65 F. If temperatures are above 80 F, your body can’t cool down and your sleep is going to suffer. You naturally loose about 64 oz of water each night, but with heat, it can be much more—resulting in dehydration and inflammation that can get even worse when sleep quality suffers.
Air conditioning can help, but some data shows that high air flow can interrupt deep sleep cycles, and make dehydration worse.4
To help you cool down and achieve deep, restorative sleep, these additional tips work to release heat from your body, improve temperature regulation and optimize your sleep cycles.
Stay hydrated! You lose a lot of water when it’s hot out, so make sure to drink and replenish your body with fluids throughout the day.
Take a warm shower before bed. While it may sound contradictory, warm water will release heat from your body by circulating blood flow to your skin. You can also do a warm foot bath, which will pull heat down from your core and help release it. A cold shower instead will force your body to try to reheat itself after, causing the opposite effect needed for deep sleep.
Apply a cold compress to your forehead or body in bed as needed.
Turn off all lights and electronics. In addition to disrupting melatonin, these can increase the temperature of your room significantly.
Freeze your sheets. Wrap bedsheets in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer briefly before bed.
Spread out while you sleep. This helps release body heat evenly.
Take cooling, calming botanicals including pure Honokiol to support thermoregulation and deep, rejuvenating sleep.
For optimal nighttime repair, I recommend a natural sleep formula that can help you get the rest you need to feel your best and wake up refreshed—even on hot summer nights. Cooling and protective ingredients like pure honokiol extract and melatonin, together with other nourishing herbs and botanicals support balanced circadian rhythms, REM cycles, and total-body rejuvenation, without next-day drowsiness.
By incorporating these nighttime cooling strategies for restful sleep, you can help your body maintain the right temperatures for rejuvenation and next-day energy—safely and naturally.
Cedeño Laurent JG, Williams A, Oulhote Y, et al. Reduced cognitive function during a heat wave among residents of non-air-conditioned buildings: An observational study of young adults in the summer of 2016. PLoS Med. 2018 Jul 10;15(7):e1002605.
Miyazawa T, Kawabata T, Suzuki T, et al. Effect of oral administration of GABA on temperature regulation in humans during rest and exercise at high ambient temperature. Osaka City Med J. 2009 Dec;55(2):99-108.
Talarek S, Listos J, Barreca D, et al. Neuroprotective effects of honokiol: from chemistry to medicine. Biofactors. 2017 Nov;43(6):760-769.
Morito, Naomi & Tsuzuki, K. & Mori, Ikue & Nishimiya, Hajime. (2016). Effects of two kinds of air conditioner airflow on human sleep and thermoregulation. Energy and Buildings. 138. 10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.12.066.