Dr. Neil Stanley, a former chairman of the British Sleep Society, is cited by Fox 5 Atlanta as making the assertion to the Daily Mail that those who are catching their Zs in a hot space could be suffering from more frequent nightmares. According to Stanley and several other doctors, a warm room can disturb a person’s sleep, causing more vivid dreaming, which means more vivid nightmares as well.
A medical director of New York Neurology and Sleep Medicine spoke with reporters at Fox 5, backing up Stanley’s claim. Dr. Allen Towfigh says that a greater amount of R.E.M. could be happening “if it’s too warm.”
“If it’s too warm, you may end up having a greater amount of what’s called R.E.M. sleep, which is the part of sleep when you’re having a lot of dreaming occur. If you’re having more R.E.M. sleep, one could imagine that you’re going to have more nightmares — if you’re prone to getting those.”
Dr. Stanley says that the ideal sleeping temperature is anywhere between 61 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, or 16.11 and 17.77 degrees Celsius. He also stated that doctors see greater sleep intensity and more brain activity if someone is sleep deprived. For those dealing with the summer night heat without any AC, the U.K. Sleep Council says that placing a tray of ice in front of an electric fan should also do the trick.
“In order for us to get a good night’s sleep, we need to lose around 1°C of our internal body temperature, which sits at around 37°C (99°F). We typically lose that 1°C (34°F) through our head or face, which pokes out of the duvet. If you’re sleeping in a room which is too warm, your body’s core temperature is unable to lose that heat and your sleep will be disturbed.”
Lauri Loewenberg, a dream interpreter who works with DreamCloud mattress company, told journalists at Bustle that those sleeping in increased temperatures “may not sleep as soundly or restfully.” According to Loewenberg, this also means that the dreamer will remember their dreams better, which is perhaps not ideal for those having nightmares brought on by high temperatures.
On the flip side of this hot temperature and nightmare speculation is the claim that summertime tends to bring on “happier dreams and less nightmares,” says Loewenberg. Apparently people tend to be happier during warmer weather, which means they often have more pleasant dreams as a result of the emotions and events being experienced throughout the day.