Why we can’t sleep without covers, even when it’s hot

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night feeling hot with sweat running down the nape of your neck but still cannot let go of your blanket or sheet? You are not alone! In this article we will attempt to explain exactly why you need that blanket to fall asleep, even though it’s in the middle of summer.

First some history

Blankets are actually a modern-day item, previously it was too expensive for many humans to own a blanket and was considered a luxury of the wealthy and royals. Most humans kept warm during the night by sleeping next to each other and even sleeping with their livestock and pets. As blankets became more affordable, more people could invest in buying themselves some bedding.

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During the night your body’s core temperature keeps dropping and is at its coolest around 4 a.m. in the morning. That is why many people wake up feeling cold in the early morning hours, even though it is summer. For this reason, many people prefer to sleep with a blanket to prevent waking up in the early hours of the morning. The drop in body temperature, especially before bed, is actually necessary in order to fall asleep. In this way, a blanket can actually work against you by keeping your body active and awake. So, perhaps opt for only a thin blanket or stick to sheets.


Chances are that your parents taught you to always sleep with a blanket covering you. When you were little, you were most likely wrapped in blankets and swaddling materials. This allowed for conditioning and shows that sleeping with blankets is very much a learned behavior.

Stress and anxiety

Many people have started sleeping with weighted blankets nowadays as it has actually been found that they reduce stress and anxiety! Even just having a normal blanket covering you will cause you to relax more and therefore fall asleep faster and sleep better. Having a blanket covering you definitely provides a sense of comfort and safety. This actually allows your brain to secrete more serotonin and lowers stress hormones, also allowing for better sleep.

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Does this mean that you have to part with your beloved blanket? Not necessarily. Here are some tips to help you regulate your temperature better whilst sleeping under a blanket. Wear cotton pajamas and make sure they are short-sleeved. The less dense clothing you have on, the easier it will be to tolerate your blanket. Consider sleeping in underwear and perhaps a lightweight, breathable top. Other people have opted to buy bamboo blankets to sleep with in summertime. They are very breathable and will keep you cool while still allowing you to cuddle with a blanket. Speaking of cuddling, it is perhaps best to keep a little bit of space between you and your partner while sleeping. If you like cuddling, cuddle a little bit before bedtime and then move away slightly to prevent overheating during the night. Uncover your feet, as your feet allow you to lose or retain a lot of heat. By uncovering them you might find that you can actually sleep better.