Why Am I Hot at Night

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Do you ever wonder why you get hot at night? I know that this never used to be me.

In fact, before I turned 50, I was the person wearing flannel pajamas to bed. Because my feet were always cold, I often went to sleep with socks on.

Then, I turned 50 and the hot flashes started. They would come throughout the day but always were more intense at night. Suddenly, I went from the person who was always cold to the person who was always hot–especially at night.

Why we get hot at night

Everything I always learned told me that your core body heat rises and falls throughout the day. And one of the ways we get sleepy is when our body heat declines at night.

Unfortunately, women of a certain age don’t experience the same thing. Sure, they have fluctuations of hot and cold but tend to be on the warmer side rather than the cooler one. 

Another reason people tend to get hot at night, regardless of gender or age, is their daytime routine. For example, if you exercise too close to your bedtime, your body temperature is likely still elevated.

Another thing that can make you feel hotter during the night is your bedroom and your bedding. Are you sleeping with too many blankets? Do your pets sleep with you? What is the temperature of your room? All of these things can contribute to your body temperature staying warmer than it should be. 

Body heat and insomnia

One of the issues with staying warm after sunset is you don’t get tired. And when you’re warm, you’re most likely wide awake.

This is one of the reasons that women suffering from hot flashes often have insomnia. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that severe hot flashes are linked to chronic insomnia. So if you can find a way to deal with the hot flashes, you may be able to sleep better. 

You can talk to your doctor about over the counter or prescription medications that can help you with hot flashes.

Feet get hot at night

As I mentioned earlier, I used to be that person who slept with socks on. Now I go barefoot most of the time at home, including when I sleep. Conversely, on cooler days, when I’m feeling (miraculously) chilly, just putting on a pair of socks warms me right up.

So why do feet get hot at night? Well, the extreme reason could be that you have an undiagnosed or untreated medical condition.

For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, hot or burning feet could be the sign of nerve damage. You get nerve damage from untreated diabetes or other conditions. Sometimes multiple sclerosis causes hot feet. Definitely speak to your doctor if you’re concerned.

How to cool down hot feet at night

Otherwise, you may simply need to cool down your feet at night before bed. Take off your shoes and socks awhile before bedtime. Give your feet time to cool down from the day.

Another option: consider soaking your feet in a cool foot bath. Or, take a shower so you’re cooling down your whole body, including your feet. Finally, if you like your sheets all tucked in, try untucking the bottom so your feet can breathe free and stay cool throughout the night.

Is your mattress making you hot at night

Some people find that memory foam mattresses hold heat. And then they radiate it right back at you.

If you like the feeling of a memory foam mattress but not the temperature, consider investing in a cooling mattress or a cooling mattress topper, such as the Sleepyhead Copper Topper. You can use code SUMMER20 to save 20%.

How to deal with feeling hot at night

Here are some of the ways that I’ve dealt with being hot at night. These tricks have helped me feel cooler and sleep better.

Temperature down

My poor husband. He needs to bundle up when we go to bed because of how cold I make our bedroom. I’ve found that anything above 66 degrees is just too warm for sleeping. 

So if you don’t touch your thermostat at night, try doing that. Even in the winter, we sleep in a cold bedroom. It’s helped tremendously.

Hair up

Are you someone with long hair who feels hot at night? Guess what? Putting your hair up could make a big difference.

I find that just getting my hair off my neck is all I need to feel cool. Recently, I got my hair cut into a cute bob. Now my neck is exposed and I no longer have to put my hair up at night. But as my hair gets longer, I’ve a feeling I’ll be going back to my topknot at night to keep myself cool.

Fan on

Do you have a ceiling fan? Turn it on at night.

Using a heat pump/mini split to heat and cool your bedroom? Use the remote to direct the blades to your side of the bed. Having a breeze running over you will keep you cool.

Finally, if you have none of these options, you may want to get a portable fan to keep on your side of the bed. I know that Peloton users like myself swear by the Vornado fan. You may want to move it into your bedroom to stay cool at night.

Shoulders out

Ever since I started sleeping warm, I’ve discovered that I must wear sleeveless tops. For some reason when my shoulders are covered, my body temperature goes up. 

So I invested in a bunch of tank tops with a built-in shelf bra to wear at night. These have become my defacto pajamas.

If you prefer nightgowns, you could look at sleeveless ones. Companies like Cool-Jams make all kinds of cooling pajamas. I’ve included a few options here.

Legs bare

In addition to hot feet, some people have hot legs at night. That’s why I tend to wear pajama shorts to bed rather than pajama pants. Give this a try and see if having bare legs makes for cooler legs.

Fewer blankets

I love the feeling of sleeping with the weight of blankets on me. But that feeling of pleasure lasts for only a few minutes, until I’m burning up.

So even though I’d love to sleep with three blankets on me to feel that weight, I simply cannot. These days I sleep with one cotton blanket and top sheet.

And while I would love to snuggle down under that single blanket, I can’t do that either. Because covering my shoulders leaves me sweating. So I have to keep my arms and shoulders exposed to the air to stay cool and fall asleep.

This article explains why hot flashes are one of the 34 symptoms of menopause.

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