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Sleeping Hot: Why Night Sweats Ruin Your Sleep Quality (Plus A Simple Fix)

I love my sleep, not only because I feel amazing after a night of deep sleep, but because sleep quality extremely important for your health and wellbeing.

As a sleep coach, I've written many blog posts on increasing sleep quality, such as how to increase your deep sleep, inclined bed therapy, and using supplements such as Qualia to take your sleep to the next level.

This blog post takes a similar approach. I'll be digging into one specific problem many people have during the nighttime: overheating and sweating. That problem is also called "night sweats" or "sleeping hot".

I personally have seen the severe drop off in my sleep quality during hot nights. Having lived through hot and humid Sydney summers for numerous years, not only would I feel the effects of sleeping hot, but my Oura Ring sleep data showed the significant decline in deep sleep quality in these summer months.

In this blog post, I'll tell you why very high temperatures are detrimental to your sleep quality - and how I found a solution to that allowed me to reclaim my quality sleep while sleeping in hot environments.

If you'd like to skip to a specific section, click below:

Sleeping Hot: Why Night Sweats Ruin Your Sleep Quality (Plus: The Best Fix)

No one enjoy's sleeping in a hot environment. You're sticky, uncomfortable and it's hard to relax.

But a hot room not only make's it hard for you to sleep, it has been shown to negatively impact your sleep quality as well.

Let's find out why:

 

1. Night Sweats: Why Nighttime Body Temperature Matters

In case you weren't aware - body temperature has a huge effect on your general health (1).

Us biohackers even use temperature to our health advantage. 

Using heat from a sauna leads to many benefits such as improved heart health, fat loss, sleep quality, ability to cope with stress, and overall well-being.

Use cold from ice baths and cold showers can also be used for many health benefits related to cold thermogenesis.

The bottom line is that the temperature in your environment influences your body and health.

And it's thus no coincidence that being very cold or very hot at night has an effect on sleep quality:

 

How Body Temperature Drops At Night

Before considering the topic of overheating, let me say something about sleep quality.

During sleep, you're cycling through different sleep stages.

You start with the superficial sleep stages called "non-REM" (NREM) 1 and 2.

After that, you enter deep sleep which is exemplified by NREM 3 and 4.

From deep sleep, you then transition into "REM sleep" - the period in which you dream.

For best health outcomes, you want to maximize the time you're spending in deep sleep and REM sleep.

It turns out that the temperature of your bedroom has a huge effect on the amount of time you're spending in deep sleep and/or REM sleep. 

The most important fact is that your body temperatures drop during the nighttime (6).

A lower temperature is literally a trigger for your body to go to sleep. Body temperatures drop off during the nighttime and peak in the late afternoon (7; 8)

If that temperature drop is prevented from happening, sleep quality suffers. In fact, incorrect body temperature regulation at nighttime is one of the hallmarks of insomnia (9).

Meaning - if it's either too hot or too cold during the nighttime, you'll end up with less deep and REM sleep (10). 

Very high temperatures like 36 or 38 degrees Celsius (97-100F) literally ruin your sleep quality (11).

And even if you're young, resilient and in the prime of your life, a hot bedroom still lowers sleep quality (14).

Some studies have also confirmed that lowering the temperature to a more comfortable level does decrease sweating and increases sleep quality (12; 13).

Of course, colder temperatures aren't always better - if you're too cold during sleep, warming you up will actually improve sleep quality (15). 

Meaning there is an ideal temperature range to create optimal sleep quality - not too hot and and not too cold.

Everyone intuitively knows that sleeping in very hot or very cold environments is never pleasant for sleep. And yet, very few people actually take the time to control the temperature of their bed and bedroom.

Other Causes Of Night Sweats

High temperatures in the bedroom are not the only reason why you might be experiencing night sweats.

In fact, a couple of circumstances might increases your risk for overheating at night, such as:

  • Hormonal changes, such as menopause, which can result in a higher or lower capacity to regulate your body temperature. Thyroid problems - via the gland located in your neck - can also result in an inability to keep your body temperature high.
  • Stress. If you've got continuous high levels of stress hormones such as "cortisol" and "adrenaline", your capacity to regulate your temperature may be affected. Under chronic stress, many people can no longer keep their bodies warm or have alternating sweating patterns by which they start sweating and overheating very easily
  • Diseases. If you've got the flu, or a bacterial infection, your immune system will be so active that it naturally results in very high body temperatures. Several neurological diseases also cause dysregulation in body temperature

The bright side?

Most night sweats are simply happening because of a bedroom that's far too hot.  So let's dig into that topic and consider how you can optimize sleep quality at night.

I'll consider the best solution for that problem offered on the market today:

 

2. The Technological Solution To Sleeping Hot

Knowing that optimal sleep quality is dependant on having the room temperature, what can we do?

Sure we can open the windows, run a fan or even use air-con.

But often these solutions are not enough or not an option.

For instance, on a hot and humid still night, opening the window may not bring down the temperature to the required level (and may simply welcome in mosquitos and horrible air pollution - both of which are going to ruin your sleep).

And maybe you're not fortunate to have an air conditioning unit in your room, or maybe it's too expensive to run every night, or maybe you don't like sleeping in an air conditioned room.

Fans also have their limitations - if the room is hot, you're simply circulating hot stuffy air.

I suffered from all of these issues when living in Sydney - hot, humid internal and external air temperatures. Lack of air flow. Mosquitos. No air con and fans that didn't seem to do anything but rattle all night.

Fortunatley, I found a solution that allowed me to eliminate my night sweats and return to a sleeping deeply even during hot summer nights.

The solution was the product called 'chiliPAD'. ChiliPad - by ChiliTechnology - provided me with a revolutionary way to cool my bed and help me sleep. Without any downsides.

In this next section, I'll explain how this ChiliPad technology can massively improve your sleep quality.

ChiliTechnology offers cooling pads that can be placed on your mattress for increased sleep quality. Here's how it works.

 

How The ChiliPad And (And the New Ooler) Work

Both ChiliPad (and the newly released Ooler) products have two basic components:

  1. A device that lets warm water in and cools it down by using a pump
  2. A circulation system that's integrated into a cooling mattress pad that allows cool water to lower your body temperature

The circulating cool water runs through pipes embedded into a mattress topper (which sits on top of your mattress, underneath your bottom sheet). This cools the surface of your bed and as transfers away heat from your body to the cool water in the pipes.

That principle of heat transfer is simply based on the First Law of Thermodynamics (16):

"Two bodies brought in thermal contact will change their temperature until they are at the same temperature."

To explain that principle in plain English: if your body is hotter than the water, heat is transferred to the water so that your body cools down.

Because you can manage the water temperature circulating in the ChiliPad, you can lower your body temperature as much as you need to (or even increase the temperature for those cold nights!)

Thus, even if you're living in the desert in Arizona, a Chilipad helps you sleep at the perfect nighttime temperature - without having to use an air conditioner or let in external air.

 

Finding The Right ChiliPad

It's essential to choose the right Chilipad type when you're buying one online. While that recommendation might sound self-evident, you're going to have lots of hassle if you're ordering the wrong type for your bed.

The following sizes exist for the Chilipad:

  • Half queen
  • Half king
  • Half cal king
  • Full (for a 1 person bed)

The first three options are used for cooling down 1 half of a 2-person bed. There's also an option to completely cover a 2-person bed with the following sizes:

  • Queen
  • King
  • Cal king

The Ooler can be bought in exactly the same options, except for the full (single person bed coverage). 

The half options are great if you're sleeping together but have different "temperature set points" regarding what you judge as comfortable.

Your partner may be comfortable with a 3 degrees Celsius (5.4F) hotter water flowing through the circulatory system.

This was the case with my wife and I. I run much 'hotter' than she does. I would be laying in bed naked sticky with sweat struggling to sleep and she would be in her PJ's under the covers fast asleep.

The ChiliPad provides a solution to cool one side of the bed without effecting the other.

I've also got some discount codes for the Chilipad and Ooler. They are:

Discount Code - FERGUS25 – saves you 25% off of the chiliPAD sleep system

Discount Code - FERGUS15 – saves you 15% off of the OOLER sleep system

 

Setting Up These Devices

Using these devices couldn't be easier. There's a core unit that pumps around the water. Then there's a hose and the mattress topper that actually regulates the temperature.

You simply connect the hose into the core unit and fill the core unit with water. Connect the core unit to the grid and you're good to go.

Even a kid can set this thing up. So there's no need to be afraid that you're unable to correctly set this thing up - everyone can do this!

 

Mechanism: Programming Temperatures

Both devices have different temperature settings, ranging from 55F to 110 (12 - 43 degrees Celsius).

In theory, you could use the Chilipad or Ooler to warm you at night--even though most people use blankets for that purpose because it's a lot cheaper. Wearing socks in bed is another good method to keep you warm and increase sleep quality (25).

The heating part of the product doesn't interest me because there are so many offerings on the market for that goal--it's the cooling down part that makes this technology unique.

But I'm certain someone will find benefit in this function.

 

The New Version: The Ooler

The company behind the Chilipad product line has been improving its offering over the last few years.

The newest installment in that product line is the "Ooler". The Ooler is an upgraded version of the Chilipad.

 

One benefit of the Ooler includes the ability to program the device to activate and deactivate at specific times of the day. Another benefit is that the Ooler has lower background noise levels.

Keep in mind that noise lowers your sleep quality and that some people are more susceptible to the negative effects of environmental noise.

The Ooler also blocks blue light so that you don't have to tape the display.

If you're interested, you can buy an Ooler HERE.

Whether you pick the Chilipad or the Ooler, I always recommend buying from the Chilipad company instead of a third party. Why? The Chilipad company offers a 90-day return policy that's not available if you'd purchase from a 3rd party vendor.

And be sure to subscribe to my newsletter as I will be reviewing the Ooler in the coming months.

 

3. My Experience With These Cooling Mattress Pads

When living in Sydney, the Chilipad was really a gamechanger - especially during the summertime.

Unfortunately, I didn't have an Oura ring back then. The Oura ring is a sleep tracking device that measures the amount of time you spend in deep sleep and the dream phase (REM sleep). Spending lots of time in deep and REM sleep is a sign that your sleep quality is very high.

Nonetheless, I did notice tremendous sleep quality improvements when using the Chilipad. 

When I was living in Sydney, I actually placed two earlier versions of the Chilipad on top of each other - which did the trick.

Fortunately, the company has created newer models which allow for a better cooling experience at night. 

I have ordered the new Ooler and will be testing this with my Oura Ring to show firsthand how beneficial these units are for increasing sleep quality in summer months.

 

 

 

4. Who Should Buy A Cooling Mattress Pad Such As The ChiliPad?

Honestly? Almost anyone who has trouble overheating at night during the spring or summertime. 

It doesn't matter whether you're a CEO who needs to perform at his peak all the time, or an athlete who wants to improve performance, or if you're wanting to get the best sleep quality possible.

In fact, I think there's a very simple sign that determines whether a device like the Chilipad is a perfect product for you: "are you sweating at night"?

If you are sweating you've got night sweats and you're overheating. And if you're overheating, your sleep quality is not as good as it could be.

I've coached many clients in the area of sleep quality over my lifetime (You can access my free sleep tips HERE) and I've discovered that sleeping hot is a common problem causing a lot of problems with sleep quality.

Overheating at night is not just a problem that people have in the tropics--many of my clients form Europe, the US, and Australia have problems overheating during the spring and summertime in their respective timezones.

At this point, I think almost anyone could benefit from a Chilipad unless you're living at the North Pole or Antarctica -- at least, if you've got the money to spend towards that specific goal.


Sydney summertime - hotter than hot. Follow my health and brain optimization journey at my Instagram.

 

 

5. Alternatives Cooling Mattress Pads And Other Cooling Methods

The ChiliPad isn't the only way to lower your body temperature at night. 
Below I've listed a few alternatives to the Chillipad technology products.  

Bedjet

The Bedjet actually comes very close to the function that the Chilipad technology offers. The mechanism of both products is different though. The Bedjet uses cold or warm air to regulate body temperature instead of water.

The downside of this product is that the Bedjet only blows air from one single source. A consequence is that your body is not cooled evenly.

Plus the technology used in the Bedjet is going to emit higher EMF levels and put out more sound.

Because the Chilipad uses a topper, all your body parts are actually cooled evenly - which is an advantage. I must admit that I've not personally tried the Bedjet.

 

bFan

The bFan also uses air to cool your body down. Again, air works less well for cooling your body down than water - in fact there's a 30 fold difference between using air and water to cool your body (compare stepping into a walk in fridge with an air temperature of 4degrees with plunging into a pool of water at 4 degrees to see what I mean!)

The benefit of this model is that's it's very easy to install. Because and it's priced lower than the BedJet and Chilipad. It might be a nice budget option for some people though. 

  

Slumber Cloud Nacreous Mattress Pad

The "Slumber Cloud Nacreous Mattress Pad" can be placed on top of your mattress and thereby regulate temperature. 

The NASA-engineered viscose and cotton combination absorbs heat when you're too warm and helps retain heat once you get too cold.

The product is priced between $169 and $239 and is thus also a viable option if you want to save money. The price difference originates in the size of your choice - i.e., whether you choose a Twin or a King size product target.

This option cannot be combined with the Chilipad or Ooler because you'd put insulation between your body and the previous products.

 

Samina Mattress

 

My wife and I sleep on a Samina Mattress. Not only is this the healthiest mattress on the market, it also has amazing air flow and little to no heat retention.

Meaning - it's a healthy, toxin free bed that helps lower your body temperature and keep you cool at night.

The Samina mattress system is designed in a way to maximise air flow under the bed, and it is made using breathable natural materials including wool fibres.

My wife and I both noticed how much cooler we felt in summer sleeping on our new Samina (which we purchased when we moved to New Zealand). In fact, this was the main reason why I never rushed out to buy a new Chilipad when I left Australia for New Zealand (I left my old one in Australia as I was limited on suitcase space!).

The only downside to the Samina Mattress is the price. It's going to cost you around $10,000. 

A Chilipad is a much more affordable option!

 

The Ultimate Budget Option: Cold Showers

Don't have the money for these product recommendations? Don't worry:

Cold showers are really a poor man's solution to overheating at night - and they are quite effective!

Having a 5-10 minute cold shower before bed is a great way to cool down before bedtime. The bright side about this option is that it won't cost you much and that everyone can do it.

I actually use this cold shower option if I'm ever away from home in a hot environment. It really does make a big difference to your sleep.

Beware of taking a shower that's really cold before bedtime though: by doing so, you're raising stress hormone levels such as "cortisol" and "adrenaline", which lower your sleep quality (1; 2).

 

6. Closing Thoughts: A Perfect Summer Day Should End With A Perfect Summer Night

Remember that day you spent at the beach with your family? Remember how much fun you had and how sunlight made your day so much better?

Well, that night you might have been sweating and unable to sleep due to the heat.

Perfect summer ruined. Or not?

These fascinating cooling mattress toppers might save your summer sleep from now on! Just think about it: what if you could get an extra 30 minutes or hour of deep sleep each night? 

Multiply that across an entire summer (and maybe even spring?) and you can soon see how a product like Chilipad can literally change your energy, health and life in a profound way.

Alternatively, next time it's stifling hot and you're worried about another night tossing and turning in a hot room, try having a cold shower. And see first hand how lowering your body temperature before bed improves your sleep quality.

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