Persistent insomnia is a very common issue during hot summer nights that are annoyingly burning and heavy, where a comfortable sleep becomes a desired luxury. But no matter how uneasy you feel, you just can’t give up your blanket. So why do humans hang on tightly to their blankets to sleep at night?
Hot, humid and stuffy nights often make you feel the need to sleep uncovered. However, no matter how hot and uncomfortable you may feel, you can’t easily abandon your blanket! Ultimately, you may get one leg or an arm out of sheet, but it won’t take long until you cover up again.
It is an incomprehensible feeling that experts tried to explain, and it seems that they finally managed to find an answer for this paradoxical phenomenon.
According to studies, two explanations for this behavior have been noted, and research has clarified how our bodies react during heat and why do we feel the need to stay covered.
Firstly, it might be interesting to take a glance at the history of bedsheets that have been around for a very long time, but it should be reminded that they have not always been accessible to everyone throughout the history of mankind. As with the Egyptians, for example, bedsheets were reserved for royalty and nobles since not everyone could afford them. This was mainly due to the materials from which the sheets were made. Among the Romans, bedsheets were relatively affordable since they were made of wool.
As for Europeans, these little luxuries made from cotton were not affordable for the poor either. It was until the end of the Middle Ages that they became remotely accessible to everyone.
As the time passed by, production of bedsheets started to expand but still not enough to become reachable for the commons. And for a long time, bedsheets remained a sign of wealth of their owners.
These items were even of a great value in heritages. According to Virginia Tech, historian Roger Erick has revealed that a bed was a source of pride for a family. He even wrote to Atlas Obscura in 2017 that beds were the most valuable object in houses throughout Western Europe. It was the first major item that a newly married couple would invest in.
While the bourgeois had the luxury of getting bedsheets, commons were forced to find other way to warm up, mainly sharing beds to share body heat, or even stick to their pet animals.
Currently, bedsheets have become fairly common and scattered around the world where they’re used regardless of the weather according to Melissa Melby and Carol Worthman (2002), in a study that has contributed to the explanation of this item’s emplacement in different civilizations and its importance in anthropology.
According to the researchers’ observations, only nomads don’t feel the necessity to use blankets while sleeping. Almost people from all cultures, regardless their life style, tend to cover up at night using blankets from different materials.
Regarding the reasons of this behavior, two main ones were brought up to explain the origin of this conduct: the first cause is physical and biological; the other one is psychological and relatively complicated.
Initially, you should know that the human’s body heat is self regulating. Contrary to the cold-blooded creatures such as reptiles that have to search for sources of cold or heat, we can adjust our body heat according to the temperature of our environment, and it precisely changes slightly according to our sleep schedule.
Researchers have discovered that before we sleep at night, close bedtime, our body’s temperature drops by few degrees to make us sleep better, because at low body temperature we tend to feel more tired.
It is a theory that has been verified in 2008 by study entitled “Skin deep: Enhanced Sleep Depth by Cutaneous Temperature Manipulation”, where participants were told to wear tight suits to make their body temperature weaker, in order to test whether that would affect sleep quality. The study showed that people who were cooler slept well and more peacefully.