Why Does Heat Make You Sleepy?Updated on May 12, 2018
Do you get sleepy when you get hot? For many people, the onset of summer also means the onset of a season of feeling sleepy more often. But being tired all the time means you end up missing out on so much that summer has to offer. Here are some of the reasons why being hot makes you sleepy, so you can figure out how to combat this effect and fully embrace summer.
When you get warm, you sweat. And when you sweat, you lose fluid and electrolytes, like salt. If you take this to an extreme, you can get really sick and even die. However, even mild dehydration can make you feel tired. When your electrolyte balance is off, your body has to work harder to perform its normal and essential tasks.
Dehydration can also make you sleepy because less fluid in your body means less blood volume. This means that your blood is thicker and, therefore, that your heart is working harder to pump it throughout your body. All of this extra work can make you feel tired.
Combat dehydration by drinking more water. While other fluids will help, too, water is the best way to keep yourself hydrated or to rehydrate after you’ve lost some fluid. Put yourself on a schedule, set a timer to remind yourself to drink, or count your glasses of water. Do whatever motivates you to drink more.
Low Blood Pressure
If you’re like most people, heat will cause your blood pressure to drop. Many won’t notice any ill effects from this, though some will suffer from headaches and dizziness. However, lower blood pressure means that slightly less oxygen is making it to your brain, which can make you feel sleepy. Your body will also work harder to maintain normal oxygen levels there, which can add to your tiredness.
If you struggle with low blood pressure, make sure you’re drinking enough water and eating enough salt. You can also try sitting cross-legged, which can raise your blood pressure fast.
Most of us associate feeling sleepy with being nice and warm, curled up in a blanket. Over time, we begin to associate warmth with rest and sleep. This can mean that, when we feel heat, we automatically begin to get sleepy because that’s what we’ve trained ourselves to do.
Combat this by teaching your brain to associate warmth with other things, too. You may have favorite activities that you only get to do during the summer, favorite vacations you take when it’s warm, or people you only see during the warmer months. If you begin to feel sleepy when you get hot, think about those things instead. You’ll eventually train your brain to get excited when you get warm, rather than to fall asleep.
Your body knows exactly what temperature it likes to be at, and it will work hard to maintain that. When you’re in a hot environment, your body temperature will start to rise. Unless your body does something to cool down, you’ll get too hot. The automatic systems in your body don’t like that, and they begin working hard to cool you down. They’ll produce sweat and do all of the other things that bodies do when they need to get cooler. All of this extra work can make you sleepy.
Your body tends to go into overdrive when it’s especially hot or when you haven’t been in heat for a while. If you gradually spend more and more time in the heat, it won’t overreact and so will save more energy for the things you want to do.
When you sleep at night, your temperature drops. If you go into air conditioning or get wet after being hot, you’ll experience a similar drop. This can trigger sleepiness because that’s what your body usually does when your temp drops like that. Cool off slowly to avoid this kind of fatigue.
You don’t have to be sleepy all summer. Work to combat these causes of heat-induced sleepiness and you’ll be able to enjoy yourself all season long. Remember to get enough sleep, too, because you’ll get the most out of summer when you’re well-rested.