With summer right around the corner, you’re likely concerned that high temperatures combined with menopausal night sweats will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Many of us crank the AC or sleep next to a fan to avoid overheating. There is, however, another surprising step you can take to find relief on hot nights: wearing a pair of wool pajamas. It sounds ridiculous, of course, but actual proven research supports this claim.
Can hot weather cause night sweats?
The experts at John Hopkins Medicine estimate that 75 percent of women experience hot flashes. When they occur during sleep, they’re called “night sweats,” and they’re a particularly annoying menopause symptom because they happen even more often when you’re already hot That’s right: When temperatures rise in spring and summer, hot flashes really gather steam (pun intended).
What you wear to bed plays a big role in adapting to external temperature changes and regulating your body’s temperature. Wearing pajamas made with a cooling fabric (like wool) can make it easier to sleep through the night without waking in a pool of sweat.
How do wool pajamas help with night sweats?
You probably know that wool is a great fabric for staying warm in winter. But the experts at The American Wool Council say that it’s actually a helpful cooling material that you can wear all year long. Their reasons include:
- One fabric, four seasons: You know wool equals warmth, even when wet. But a thin layer of American Merino wool also beats the heat because it’s breathable, it wicks sweat, and it helps regulate skin temperature in any season.
- Moisture wicking: Wool pulls moisture vapor away from your skin before it can become sweat, and it will absorb more than 30 percent of its weight before becoming damp. (It also works the other way around, taking on a heavy dose of external moisture before you ever feel it.)
- Always breathable: The air spaces in wool fabric insulate while also allowing moisture to easily pass through. This keeps your skin dry and improves your body’s ability to control its temperature.
Additionally, a 2019 study published in Nature and Science of Sleep considered the effects of snoozing in Merino wool, cotton, and polyester pajamas when it’s hot — and found that wool came out on top.
The four-night study included 36 adults (half of which were women) between the ages of 50 and 70. Researchers found participants had an easier time falling and staying asleep when they slept in Merino wool pajamas as compared to other fabrics.
What does this mean for you?
Considering the benefits of wearing wool to prevent overheating, it’s worth buying a few sets of PJ’s made with the material. Check out this sleep expert–approved pair of Merino wool pajamas, which provide 50 percent lighter warmth than other thermal sleepwear.
And a cozy-yet-cooling pair of pajamas is just the first step to getting a better night’s sleep. Here are three additional ways to catch those Zzz’s with ease:
- Make simple diet tweaks. Add sleep-inducing foods like pistachios and kiwi to your diet — these can help increase melatonin levels. Also, consuming less salt during the day can help prevent disruptions in your sleep-wake patterns at night.
- Try a supplement. Probiotic supplements are commonly taken for gut health, but they may have additional quality of life benefits. Research suggests they’re linked with easing anxiety to boost sleep quality. If you’re looking for a more sleep-specific supplement, try RealSleep. Their plant-based capsule formulas are made with ingredients such as turmeric and Valerian root, and they’re customized to fit your specific sleep needs. (Take RealSleep’s 90-second sleep quiz to get started: subscriptions cost $39.99 per month.)
- Limit your screen time before bed. Blue light exposure from your phone and tablet are well-known sleep disruptors. The fix? Avoid using any digital devices at least 30 minutes before bed so that you’re not tempted to check notifications.
Warmer days don’t have to mean terrible sleep. Keeping those bothersome night sweats at bay may be as simple as a sleepwear switch and small tweaks to your everyday habits.
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