How to beat the 'heat hangover' and get a good sleep

·Features and Health Editor
·3-min read

Summer may have taken its sweet time arriving this year, but now that the temperature is heating up, getting a good night's sleep could start to become a struggle for some — particularly those without air conditioning.

As night-time temperatures hover above the comfortable bedroom temp of between 17C and 21C, it is very possible that you might think you've gotten enough sleep but still feel like zombie when you wake up.

Enter the 'heat hangover'.

woman Sleeping in the heat
Sleeping in the heat can still have you feeling tired in the morning. Photo: Getty

Sadly many of us simply put up with sleeping badly in summer because - well - it's summer. But you really don't have to and more importantly, you are not alone.

"Once the temperature of your bedroom rises above 24 degrees, your body begins to go beyond its thermo-neutral zone — that's where a completely naked human body is comfortable, and doesn't have to do anything 'extra' to cool itself," deputy chair of the Sleep Health Foundation Professor David Hillman told 9Honey.


"Higher than 24 degrees, and your body begins to try and regulate its temperature through evaporative heat loss. You begin to sweat more and your blood circulates closer to the skin to cool you off more efficiently."

Nervous woman sleeping and dreaming on a messy bed, restless sleep and sleep disorders concept, top view
The sleep disruption causes "the symptoms of a bad night's rest like lethargy and fatigue in the morning". Photo: Getty

Professor Hillman adds this is where the problem sits, as your brain simply can't compute the extra work your body is putting in and as such wakes you up.

And it's that sleep disruption thanks to the heat, that causes "the symptoms of a bad night's rest like lethargy and fatigue in the morning".

Thankfully there are a few things you can do to help.

Sleep expert Cheryl Fingleson, from The Sleep Coach, previously shared some of her top tips for beating the heat at night with Yahoo Lifestyle.

Go low

Hot air rises, so consider moving your mattress to your bedroom floor for the summer months, or if you live in a multi-story home, to a lower room.

This might not be practical if you have an unwieldy large and heavy bed, but it’s an easy idea for older kids with smaller mattresses who find it hard to sleep in the heat.

Be fan-savvy

Sleeping with just one fan running is for amateurs. Try adding another box fan into the mix, next to an open window to push hot air from your bedroom.

Then angle another fan on to your body, but not directly on your face so it doesn’t disturb you when you are in a lighter sleep phase.

White warm midsummer night in the cozy bedroom in june with ventilator in the open window
Use your fans wisely. Photo: Getty

Sleep solo

Sharing a bed with a partner or a furry friend means their body heat will transfer to you throughout the night. It might seem antisocial, but sleeping alone is cooler and less disruptive.

If that’s not possible, but you and your partner have different body temperatures and bedding needs, consider having separate covers: a sheet for them, a light summer doona for you, for example.


Electricity = more heat.

“I always tell my clients to have an electronic sunset and keep all screens out of the bed, but turning off electrical appliances around your house when they’re not in use will also help it keep cool,” says Cheryl.

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