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Summer temperatures decrease the likelihood of deep sleep, studies show

PHOENIX — Studies have shown that high temperatures increase the likelihood of disturbed sleep.

“In our sleep center we see insomnia rates increase, especially during the summertime,” said Doctor Joyce Lee-Iannotti, medical director of Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix.

“This has a lot to do with discomfort, people have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.”

Lee-Iannotti said the brain’s ability to function is more adequate in cooler temperatures.

“Increased temperatures are associated with your brain’s inability to wind down and fall asleep,” she said. “From a sleep study standpoint, increased temperatures can affect your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.”

The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your AC unit between 61-68 degrees, which is probably impractical for most people. One main concern with maintaining these temperatures is the cost of running an air conditioning unit consistently at that range.

Lee-Iannotti recommends patients keep their rooms set at 71-75 degrees.

“You can use fans, less sheets, cooling pillows and blankets,” the medical director explained. “You can also keep a bag of frozen rice next to your feet to help you stay cool while you sleep.”

She recommends keeping a bottle of cold water next to your bed to help you stay hydrated overnight and also walking around if you are unable to sleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.

While there are many things you can do to help yourself fall asleep, the things you shouldn’t do are just as important.

Not exercising within three hours before going to be and limiting phone and screen use to within two hours of going to bed may help. It is also recommended that a television is not kept in the bedroom.

“The general recommendation is to keep temperatures cooler to get more consolidated and deep quality sleep,” Lee-Iannotti said. “The world revolves around good sleep.”

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