Sleeping shirtless in a heatwave: Why it's a mistake you should avoid

While sleeping shirtless during the summer seems like it has benefits, sleep experts and psychologists believe it could be harming you.

 Can't sleep because of the heat? (illustrative) (photo credit: PEXELS)
Can't sleep because of the heat? (illustrative)
(photo credit: PEXELS)

Over the past month, many of us have faced the dilemma of whether to turn on the air conditioner or remove our shirts before going to bed. While sleeping without a shirt may seem like the easiest solution to combat the heat at night, a sleep expert warns that it can actually disturb our sleep patterns.

Susie Reading, a British psychologist, advises against sleeping naked, despite its apparent benefits. She explains that sweat collects on the skin without being absorbed by clothing fibers, hindering effective cooling. Instead, she recommends wearing loose, airy, and lightweight clothes made from natural fibers such as cotton, silk, eucalyptus, or bamboo, preferably in lighter shades.

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Avoiding certain foods is also crucial for a good night's sleep, as Redding suggests. Spicy or high-fat foods, in particular, can raise body temperature and make it harder to fall asleep. Redding advises being cautious with items such as teriyaki or soy sauce, tofu, miso, citrus fruits, cooked meat, and aged cheeses. These foods contain tyramine, an amino acid that can increase brain activity and disrupt sleep.

For those who enjoy a pre-bedtime drink, here's some bad news. Redding encourages people to avoid alcohol late at night as it negatively impacts sleep quality, causing frequent awakenings during the night and leaving you feeling exhausted in the morning.

Sharing a bed doesn't mean you shouldn't sleep

If you share a bed with someone, using separate blankets can lead to a more peaceful sleep for both individuals. Redding suggests optimizing your sleep environment by using individual covers that can be adjusted according to personal preferences, reducing the chances of blanket tug-of-war during the night.

  (credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)

While sleeping without clothes has been associated with health and physical benefits, including improved hormonal balance, mood, and enhanced intimacy, the bottom line is that it's ultimately a matter of personal preference. The key is to prioritize a sleep routine that works best for you.

On a positive note, taking a shower before bed can help induce drowsiness. Redding explains that a pre-bedtime shower shortens the time it takes to fall asleep. However, it's not recommended to take a shower immediately before going to bed, as it keeps the body warm and makes falling asleep more difficult. Redding suggests taking a shower an hour or two before bedtime. Scientifically proven, this practice helps draw core heat to the extremities, facilitating its release.

According to Redding, while the warmth of the bath is relaxing, it is the dissipation of core body heat after the shower that actually promotes sleep.