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Sleeping in a Heatwave: Strategies for Coping with Hot Weather


High temperatures can disrupt the body’s sleep cycles, leading to health problems. Can knowing strategies and remedies help manage sleep quality?

Sleeping in a Heatwave: Strategies for Coping with Hot Weather

Hot Weather Sleep

Sleep is important for refreshing the mind and body and being productive in school, work, relationships, and overall health. With record-breaking temperatures becoming the norm, consistently sleeping healthy is becoming difficult as forecasters predict another scorching summer with above-average temperatures. 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2024) Studies show that high temperatures make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep, which can negatively affect the immune system, cardiovascular system, cognitive performance, and mood. (Zheng, G., Li, K., and Wang, Y. 2019) (Obradovich, N. et al., 2017) Throughout the night, the body cycles through different sleep stages. (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2022)

Because the body’s temperature regulation is less effective during certain stages, a hot environment can cause waking so the body can thermoregulate. The right temperature is imperative for a healthy night’s sleep. For optimal sleep, it is recommended that the bedroom temperature be between 65 and 69 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this isn’t always possible without air conditioning, which increases electricity bills. Here are other strategies to help keep the body cool for better sleep in hot weather.

Cooler Sleeping Environment

Thinking creatively about sleeping arrangements can help. Try to find the place that is the coolest and has the most airflow. Shutters or curtains during the day can help keep the room dark and cooler, and opening the windows can increase airflow. (Fergus Nicol, 2019) Using a fan can help improve air circulation, and putting ice behind the fan can blow cooler air for improved sleep.

Cooling Pillows and Breathable Pajamas

Pajamas and bedding made from breathable fabrics can help keep the body cool, and cooling mattress toppers or pillows can also help. Cooling pillows have gel overlays that absorb body heat and cool the head and neck. Keep an ice pack on the bedside table and a towel and ice to keep the body cool.

Take a Slightly Warm Shower

Taking a cold shower can cool the body down quickly, but studies have shown that showering in warm water before bed can make it easier to fall asleep. (Tai, Y. et al., 2021) The warm shower signals the body into cooling mode, which can help promote sleep as the body temperature falls at night. However, the water shouldn’t be too warm, which could exacerbate sweating.

Sleep Hygiene

It can be difficult to create the perfect sleep environment in hot weather. A healthy going-to-bed routine is essential in the summer, as stress and anxiety can significantly affect sleep quality. Avoid eating close to bedtime, avoid alcohol, and add some time to relax and unwind before going to bed. Sleep experts suggest general sleep hygiene habits like keeping a consistent bedtime and turning off screens an hour before bed can help improve sleep, even in hot weather. (Baranwal, N., Yu, P. K., and Siegel, N. S. 2023)

Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic care, massage, and decompression therapy can help improve sleep. Treatment retrains the body to relax; stretching and pulling the muscles increases blood circulation and advanced and improved brain signals telling the body to relax. A chiropractor will evaluate the individual’s sleeping patterns and recommend various strategies. Benefits include:

  • Muscle tension relief.
  • Stimulates nerve and blood circulation.
  • Relaxes the whole body.
  • Enhances central nervous system function.
  • Relieves pain and discomfort.
  • A chiropractor will also provide:
  • Sleeping position recommendations.
  • Postural stretches and exercises.
  • Recommendations on supportive mattresses.
  • Ergonomics for work, home, and bed.

Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic works with primary healthcare providers and specialists to develop an optimal health and wellness solution through an integrated approach to treating injuries and chronic pain syndromes, improving flexibility, mobility, and agility programs to relieve pain and help individuals return to normal. Our providers create personalized plans for each patient. If other treatments are needed, Dr. Jimenez has teamed up with top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, and rehabilitation providers to provide the most effective treatments.

Beyond Adjustments: Chiropractic and Integrative Healthcare


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2024). April 2024 was Earth’s warmest on record. Retrieved from www.noaa.gov/news/april-2024-was-earths-warmest-on-record

Zheng, G., Li, K., & Wang, Y. (2019). The Effects of High-Temperature Weather on Human Sleep Quality and Appetite. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(2), 270. doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16020270

Obradovich, N., Migliorini, R., Mednick, S. C., & Fowler, J. H. (2017). Nighttime temperature and human sleep loss in a changing climate. Science advances, 3(5), e1601555. doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1601555

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2022). Sleep phases and stages. Retrieved from www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep/stages-of-sleep

Nicol F. (2019). Temperature and sleep. Energy and Buildings, 204. doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.109516.

Tai, Y., Obayashi, K., Yamagami, Y., Yoshimoto, K., Kurumatani, N., Nishio, K., & Saeki, K. (2021). Hot-water bathing before bedtime and shorter sleep onset latency are accompanied by a higher distal-proximal skin temperature gradient in older adults. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 17(6), 1257–1266. doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.9180

Baranwal, N., Yu, P. K., & Siegel, N. S. (2023). Sleep physiology, pathophysiology, and sleep hygiene. Progress in cardiovascular diseases, 77, 59–69. doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2023.02.005

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Sleeping in a Heatwave: Strategies for Coping with Hot Weather" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

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We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
License Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*
Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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