Have you noticed a rise in bad dreams lately? Are you scaring yourself awake in the middle of the night?
You know what's very likely the cause? The heat. You can officially add that to the growing list of why the heat sucks. And get ready for even more nightmares with this weekend's impending heatwave.
According to Dr. Neil Stanley, ex-chairman of the British Sleep Society, sleeping in rooms with a temperature higher than 18°C can increase your chances of nightmares. I can't even remember the last time I slept in a room less than 25°C much less below 20°C
According to Stanley, you need to lower your internal body temperature by 1°C for the best and deepest sleep. Our body sits at a pretty stable 37°C, but if you're sleeping in a warm room and can't cool down then your body can't get rid of the excess heat.
If you're kicking off hot sheets or tossing and turning all night, this can lead to a sort of sleep-deprivation. And that, in turn, leads to greater 'sleep intensity', where you're more likely to enter the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep phase; when nightmares typically occur.
Basically, your brain starts behaving like an overtired and hyperactive child with a really nasty imagination.
The advice to 'keep your bedroom cool' is easier said than done for most of us Montrealers. Especially this July. But there are a couple of tricks to make sure you get the best sleep even if you don't have air-conditioning.
Stanley recommends avoiding eating late and ditching the booze altogether at least a few hours before you head to bed (Stanley sounds a little boring).
We've all had that feeling of passing out quickly only to wake up a few hours later once the alcohol has left our system.
If you're feeling really crazy you can put your sheets in the freezer for a couple of minutes before you crash or take a few icepacks, wrapped in a towel, to bed with you.
Both sound rather unpleasant... but so does that recurring dream of all my teeth rotting out.