WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- As much of the nation struggles to
stay cool during record-breaking temperatures, falling asleep and staying
asleep can be extremely challenging, especially for those without air
conditioning. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is issuing
recommendations to avoid sleep loss and exhaustion during periods of
"Finding the ideal sleep environment during periods of high
temperatures can be difficult. However, getting a good night's sleep is
important for maintaining energy and focus during the day," said Meir
Kryger, M.D., Vice Chair of NSF, sleep expert and author of A Woman's Guide
to Sleep Disorders. "Inadequate sleep can affect productivity at work or
home, personal relationships, overall health and even your ability to drive
The National Sleep Foundation recommends taking the following steps to
beat the heat and get a good night's sleep:
Avoid excessive heat build up in your body. Avoid hyperthermia by
reducing your activities, drinking plenty of water including drinks that
replace electrolytes, by finding cool, shady places to stay during the
times of highest temperatures and by taking baths in cool water. Children,
older adults and those who are ill or taking medications may be more
affected by heat and extra precautions should be taken to avoid
Allow time for your body to cool down after physical activity or
exercise. Falling and staying asleep requires the body to lower its
internal temperature. This natural process may take longer after physical
activity, so try to complete such activities several hours before bedtime.
Take steps to prevent excessive heat build-up in your home and bedroom.
Use blinds to keep out sunlight during the daytime, and keep windows
tightly closed if the temperature outside is hotter than indoors. Leave
windows open at nighttime when the temperature drops, and use a fan to
circulate cool air if you don't have air conditioning.
Wear light bed clothing. Light cotton pajamas, shorts or t-shirts (or
nothing at all!) may help prevent you from overheating at night.
Investigate bed clothing made from fabric designed to wick away (draw away)
Take a shower or bath before going to bed. A cool shower can help
reduce the temperature of your skin and give you a better feeling, but it
may not help reduce your core body temperature, the factor associated with
sleep onset. Sleep experts advise that warm/hot baths completed at least an
hour before bedtime have been shown to improve sleep under normal
conditions, but there is insufficient evidence to know whether hot water
helps when it is hot outside or in the home.
Create lower temperatures in the sleeping area to aid sleep. Cooler
temperatures aid sleep so sleep in the coolest room in the house (it may be
the basement), use a room air conditioner or if necessary use a lower
thermostat setting at night.
Maintain consistent sleep and wake times. Sleep as long as possible in
your usual night time pattern. If the heat gets to you during the day,
limit napping to early afternoon.
Avoid hot and heavy meals, particularly near bedtime. Try to eat cool,
refreshing foods that replace lost water like fruits and vegetables. Avoid
coffee and excessive use of caffeine, particularly in the afternoon or
For more information on how you can minimize sleep loss, improve your
sleep and recognize the signs of treatable sleep disorders, including more
tips on sleeping in hot weather, visit NSF's Web site at
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is an independent nonprofit
organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving
greater understanding of sleep and sleep disorders. NSF furthers its
mission through sleep-related education, research, and advocacy
initiatives. NSF's membership includes researchers and clinicians focused
on sleep medicine as well as other professionals in the
health/medical/science fields, individuals, and more than 800 sleep clinics
throughout North America that join the Foundation's Community Sleep
Awareness Partners program.
SOURCE National Sleep Foundation