Having Trouble Sleeping in this Heat?

National Sleep Foundation Issues Recommendations to Protect Americans from

Sleep Loss Due to Heat

Aug 02, 2006, 01:00 ET from National Sleep Foundation

    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
 excessive heat.
     "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
     NSF Background
     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