Here’s Why Even Hot Sleepers Can’t Fall Asleep Without a Blanket, According to a Sleep Expert

published Apr 29, 2021
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With the warmer months approaching, many people have already switched out toasty, overstuffed comforters in exchange for lighter and more breathable bedding. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably anticipating those sweltering hot nights where staying cool while sleeping is the ultimate struggle. You might have noticed that no matter how high the temperatures climb, you just can’t seem to kick your blanket to the curb. Something must be covering you in order to fall soundly asleep. Well, there’s a scientific reason for that, according to sleep experts.

Terry Cralle, RN and educator for the American Sleep Association, says sleeping while covered has been ingrained in us since infancy. “From a behavioral standpoint, most of us have associated blankets with comfort, relaxation, bedtime and sleeping since childhood,” she told AT. “Therefore, they serve as a cue that it is time to sleep.” In addition to the familiar feeling of being “tucked in,” there’s also the scientific fact that our core body temperature drops during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. “We lose the ability to regulate temperature — so a blanket, sheet, or duvet can help keep your temperature from dropping too low and disrupting sleep,” Cralle explained.

So, no matter how hot you sleep, warmth is always going to be an essential part of getting a good night’s rest. Our circadian rhythms (often referred to as our “body clock”) can make us sleepy or alert depending on the time of day, and Cralle explains that this rhythm is always connected to body temperature. “Our body temp is at its lowest point a couple of hours before we wake up in the morning. That’s when a blanket comes in handy,” she says.

For hot sleepers who want to feel snuggly and secure with lighter bedding, we’ve rounded up the best bedding options for summer.