Temperature regulation is a critical factor in managing and maintaining sleep quality.
While a cooler ambient temperature in a bedroom is considered optimum, Building and Environment stated that cold extremities could delay the onset of sleep.
Warming the bed before retiring for the night is a way to enjoy the best of both worlds. The air temperature can remain suitable for sleep – around 65°F is considered perfect – while the body enjoys close-contact thermoregulation.
Many people use an electric blanket for this purpose, ensuring that a mattress is cozy and warm upon getting into bed. Unfortunately, the use of electric blankets has various risks.
According to The Journal of the Korean Society of Hazard Mitigation, electric blankets can be a significant fire hazard. Forgetting to switch off the blanket could have dire consequences.
Also, somebody with limited circulation may struggle to feel if an electric blanket is overheating.
Thankfully, electric blankets aren’t the only solution to balancing temperature in bed at night. Numerous other options are available to anybody seeking to avoid feeling cold and uncomfortable overnight.
What Can I Use Instead of an Electric Blanket?
Having established that an electric blanket isn’t the best way to warm a bed, various substitutes can be taken under advisement. There’s no universal alternative to an electric blanket that’s considered superior, but the following alternatives are available:
Sharing a Bed
In many respects, sharing body heat is the best way to warm up a bed. Not everybody relishes the opportunity to sleep beside a partner, but the warmth can be beneficial.
Likewise, there are multiple reasons you should not sleep with a dog on your bed, but the increase in temperature can be helpful. You could try to rely upon a stuffed animal for comfort, but that’s unlikely to be quite as impactful.
The warmth associated with sharing a bed with loved ones isn’t only physical.
Psychological Science explains how positive social interactions, such as friendly emails or text messages, can also increase warmth. Using screens late at night is inadvisable, so consider keeping handwritten notes or letters that make you smile near the bed.
A smart mattress is the closest safe comparison to an electric blanket if you prefer a more scientific approach. Most models offer temperature regulation that can be controlled through your cellphone.
This isn’t the same as an electric blanket, as it won’t flood a bed with heat before you clamber in. It can be set to a standard temperature, but more importantly, it will react to your unique heat signature.
You can choose if you prefer to be warmer or cooler while sleeping, and the mattress will react accordingly. The mattress will hold energy and keep you warm if you prefer a toasty bed.
Most smart mattresses can be divided into zones, making them ideal for anybody that shares a bed with a partner. If your partner runs hot, the smart mattress will cool their side of the bed, ensuring they’re just as comfortable as you.
Hot Water Bottles
Hot water bottles provide localized heat while in bed. While hot water bottles are not the most convenient way to stay warm, they’re undeniably effective.
One significant advantage of this approach is the flexibility that hot water bottles provide.
Holding the bottle against your chest is a common approach. You could use more than one hot water bottle and apply them to other locales, including your feet, head, or knees.
Hot water bottles also decrease in temperature overnight, enhancing their safety. As mentioned, if you forget to turn off an electric blanket, it can burn the skin, and hot water bottles won’t pose this risk.
That doesn’t mean that hot water bottles are entirely failsafe. Always firmly screw the lid onto a hot water bottle to avoid leaks, and do not fill it with freshly boiled water.
Allow the water to drop in temperature before use or switch off a kettle before reaching the boiling point.
Thicker Comforter on the Bed
If you find yourself cold at night, you may want to consider a new comforter. Sleeping under a thicker blanket or one made of different material may go a long way to keeping you cozy overnight.
The material used to create your comforter is also key to managing body temperature.
Cotton is the most common choice, but the qualities of this material are variable. You’ll need to spend a lot of money to find a cotton comforter that keeps you warm.
Wool is a much warmer material for a comforter, so if you tend to struggle to stay warm, wool will help resolve this. If you share a bed, a partner may find a wool cover too hot.
Bamboo is becoming increasingly popular as a comforter material, as it maintains body temperature and offers a luxurious feel at a reasonable price.
You may need to use additional heat sources alongside a bamboo comforter, such as a hot water bottle.
Applying extra blankets will mean additional layers. If you start overheating overnight, you can strip away these layers to reduce the temperature again.
Effectively increasing temperature isn’t as simple as just laying cloth in a pile. Understanding how to layer blankets for maximum warmth will yield results.
Start by assessing your comforter. Does this allow the skin to breathe, or is it made from dense, heavy material like wool? Contrast this with your first layer of blanket. Place a heavy layer on a lightweight comforter or a light blanket on a chunky comforter.
Think about your movements in bed, too. Heavy layers may hold you in place if you’re prone to tossing and turning in your sleep. For example, if you need to move in the night to go to the toilet at short notice, keep it light so you can maneuver at speed.
Add as many or as few blankets to a bed as you consider necessary – warmth is a matter of personal preference. Just take a moment to consider the approach to applying these layers.
Warmer Bed Clothes
Much like the material used in a comforter will make a difference to temperature, so will your choice of nightwear. Unless you opt to sleep naked, which has pros and cons, knowing what to wear in bed to keep warm can be pivotal.
Fleece pajamas are durable while maintaining body heat in even the coldest temperatures. As per The Design Journal, polar fleece is a natural insulator. Fleece pajamas may generate static electricity against a blanket, so wear them carefully.
If the fleece is too hot, flannel pajamas are an alternative. Flannel is more breathable while remaining much warmer than traditional cotton or polyester. While flannel pajamas are made from cotton, they’re brushed on both sides to offer an extra layer of warmth.
You may be tempted to wear thermals in bed, but approach this cautiously. Thermals can be skintight and uncomfortable when attempting to sleep. Entrapped warmth can prevent the body from naturally cooling off while sleeping.
This could lead to sweat, overheating, dehydration, and struggling to remain asleep. Even if you manage to get through the night without waking up, you will likely feel uncomfortable in the morning.
As a last resort, you may want to consider a portable heater beside the bed for additional warmth. This approach offers many of the same concerns as an electric blanket, possibly more.
Like an electric blanket, a portable heater will produce a small but intense source of warmth. This could be pointed toward the side of the bed that you sleep on. Turn it on for an hour or two before bed and you’ll have a cozy mattress.
Portable heaters also come with the same risks as electric blankets. In many cases, they’re a greater hazard. Fire Technology explains that poorly maintained portable heaters cause many household fires.
If you use a portable heater, apply it to a flat surface where it won’t fall and away from anything flammable. Don’t position a portable heater to blow hot air into your face, as this can dry the skin.
Another consideration of portable heaters is the energy consumption they require. In many cases, these appliances are costly to run. The reward may not live up to the expenditure, especially compared to other approaches that do not require energy.
It’s crucial to stay warm in bed, but electric blankets aren’t essential. Consider traditional approaches to increasing your body heat that isn’t power-driven for a safer night of high-quality slumber.