Winter Health | Just why is sleeping with the heating on so bad for you?

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FHB Magazine – Winter Health | Just why is sleeping with the heating on so bad for you?

FHB Magazine

Fashion • Health • Beauty

Issue 118 | November 2019 (w/e 29-11-19) | Published by IPMG Global distributed by Al-Sahawat Times

Winter is coming – although it feels like it’s here already – prompting many of us to reach for the thermostat to keep us toasty as temperatures plunge into single digits.

Winter is most certainly upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere and those of us living in far north are starting to feel the bite.

Whilst the idea of cranking the heat before settling down to Netflix and Coco might sound like the perfect way to combat the cold, keeping burning through out the night is not such a good idea.

Experts say getting tucked under the duvet with the thermostat on full blast may be a recipe for a bedtime disaster.

Sleep consultant Maryanne Taylor, from The Sleep Works, told Sky News:

“If the room is too hot, our body needs to work extra hard to regulate our body temperature during the night. This can increase wakefulness and reduce our time in deep, slow wave sleep, which is the all-important restorative sleep, enabling us to feel rested and energetic the next day.”

Taylor added:

“Scientists have discovered that people who suffer from insomnia have raised body temperature levels when they first go to bed, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep. The result of this is an increased state of arousal as their bodies need longer to lose that excess heat, which is causing them to stay awake.”

For the best possible night’s sleep, it is recommended that you drop your core body temperature by having a hot bath or shower between 40 minutes and an hour before you go to bed.

The subsequent drop in body temperature aids production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which can be stifled if the room you sleep in is too hot.

Many also report that they suffer from headaches and flu like symptoms when the heating is cranked to the max. Medical research has actually found that central heating systems may cause migraines. This is due to the heating system drying out the air in the house which can lead to a long list of health problems from headaches and flu symptoms to acne and sore eyes.

Sleeping in a room where the air is too humid or dry can cause health problems neither is a good idea and getting the balance right is important for your health. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers can be used to assist in regulation but one of the easiest ways in winter is to simply swap out the heating for a hot water bottle.

For those in homes suffering from damp, turning off the heat is not an option. Damp not only destroys clothing and furniture but can cause significant health problems. In these homes it is best to lower the heat to the minimum levels to keep the damp away when sleeping.

Other tips for a good night’s sleep include:

Regulate the temperature of your bedroom, keeping the room as dark as possible and free of clutter, which can exacerbate a cluttered mind which can have a detrimental effect on sleep. Keep electronics out of bedroom and try to avoid using screens too close to bedtime. Try to eat a light breakfast or have your morning juice within around 30 minutes of waking up to boost blood sugar levels; get light exposure as soon as possible in the morning to help you feel more alert. Incorporate exercise into your day, ideally getting out of breath for 20 minutes each day; have regular meals and healthy snacks in between to avoid blood sugar level dips during the day. Try to incorporate a ‘buffer zone’ leading up to bedtime to allow switching down time before getting into bed – hot shower or bath, followed by relaxing activities, which allows your body and mind to wind down which enables more relaxed and restful sleep.

In the hour or so leading up to the desired bed time you should start your bedtime routine; a hot shower, your beauty treatments and cleansing. Switch off electronic devices and screens and swap your bed time Netflix binge for a good book.

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About the Author

Caleb Simmons
Caleb Simmons | Journalist Since: 2003 | New York - Abu Dhabi - London - Barcelona