Heat, humidity and sweat. These are the things you want to keep as far away from you as possible when you’re sleeping. Unfortunately, during the summer months, staying cool while you sleep is easier said than done.
Temperature plays a big part in how well you’ll be able to sleep. If you’re a hot sleeper, then you know it’s nearly impossible to get good sleep when you’re battling the heat. Thankfully, there are things you can do to stay comfortable throughout the summer months and beyond.
How Does Temperature Impact How You Sleep?
Your body temperature varies during the sleep cycle –– also known as thermoregulation. Thermoregulation regulates your sleep. During the first two stages of sleep, your body temperature decreases until it reaches its lowest point –– which is where it will stay for the rest of the cycle. We’re not talking drastic temperature changes; it’s generally only about two degrees.
The heat from your sleep environment will interfere with your body’s natural process. Your body naturally returns to its normal temperature when you wake. If your body temperature rises prematurely, it will keep you awake. Being too hot while you sleep can throw off your circadian rhythm and keep you from sleeping. You are the most sensitive to temperature during the first two NREM sleep stages, meaning that you won’t make it very far into your sleep cycle if it’s hot.
15 Sleep Tips to Help You Sleep Cool
- Upgrade Your Bedding
Do you know the super comfy jersey sheets that keep you cozy warm during the winter? You’re not going to want to keep those on your bed during the summer months. In the heat of the summer months, you’ll want to have breathable and airy sheets on your bed. When looking for sheets, the fabric is key. We advise linen sheets with moisture-wicking properties. Linen has a looser weave than both woven cotton and polyester so that it will trap less heat.
Some of the top brands offer sheet sets that are designed to keep you cool at night:
- Freeze Your Sheets and Pillowcases
If you’re a particularly hot sleeper, you can try freezing your sheets and pillowcases for about an hour before you go to sleep. This isn’t a method that’s going to last all night –– at most, you’ll get an hour. But it will help you fall asleep cool and comfortable.
- Buy a Cooling Mattress
Admittedly, buying a new mattress is not the cheapest option on the list. But if you’re someone who sleeps hot all year round, investing in one of the best cooling mattresses will be worth it. Nectar and Cocoon are both temperature-regulating mattresses. They both feature a cooling cover that’s cool to the touch and regulates your body temperature. The GhostBed Luxe is another option and sleeper cooler than both Nectar and Cocoon chill.
If you’re not ready to invest in a whole new mattress, a cooling mattress pad is a more affordable and often accessible option. There are also temperature-regulating pillows like Purple that are both supportive and temperature-sensitive.
- Be Strategic With Your Fans
Even if you have AC, sometimes it’s just not enough to keep you cool during the night, especially if you’re the only hot sleeper in a house of people who are always cold. Usings fans help circulate airflow and keep you cool all through the night. If you have a ceiling fan, make sure you set your blades to turn counterclockwise. This will circulate cool air in your bedroom.
If you don’t have an AC unit, you can use a fan to create your own. Try placing bowls or soda bottles of ice behind your fan to pull cold air through the fan.
- Try to Change Your Sleeping Position
Bad news for people who love to cuddle –– your sleeping position has an impact on your body temperature. When you cuddle with a partner, you swap body heat, so cuddling might not be the best way to sleep during the summer months.
If you sleep on a mattress that tends to trap heat, try to sleep on your side, so the least amount of your body is touching the mattress. If you sleep alone, try sleeping like a starfish across your bed to stay cool.
- Think About Ventilation
To avoid heat getting trapped in your room, try opening windows that are across from each other. It will help pull air through the room at a faster rate, which has a cooling effect.
- Be Careful What You Wear
Depending on what you wear to bed, you might be trapping heat close to your body. Tight clothing limits the amount of airflow that reaches your body. Certain types of fabric can also increase your body temperature. Generally, you’ll want to stick to cotton pajamas to stay cool. And if that doesn’t work, you can always sleep naked. Skipping clothes all together means you won’t have to worry about airflow or discomfort.
- Avoid Big Meals Before Bed
We all know certain types of foods you should avoid before bed –– fatty, spicy and heavy foods. The term “meat sweats” exists for a reason. If you are someone who snacks before bed, consider lighter options like a salad or nuts. Foods like popcorn, bananas and chocolate will help you sleep.
- Limit Drinking
Drinking alcohol before bed is generally not a good idea because it will not help you stay asleep. You might fall asleep quickly, but as your body metabolizes the alcohol, you’ll wake up and have a hard time going back to sleep. Drinking before bed might also cause night sweats and hot flashes because your blood vessels are dilated. You’d be better off drinking water or milk before bed.
- Exercise in the Morning
Typically you want to avoid rigorous workouts right before bed. However, relaxing yoga is a good way to get ready for bed. Saving your workout until the morning helps you avoid sweating and lets your body’s natural thermoregulation kick in.
- Take a Warm Bath Before Bed
Integrating a warm bath or shower into your nightly routine is a good way to fall asleep faster and stay cool during the night. Your body heat will rise while you’re in the warm water, though it will cool when you get out. Make sure to keep the water warm and not hot. If you steam the entire bathroom, you lose the cooling effects.
- Turn Down the Thermostat
Most families have a lower temperature limit that they don’t go past. We get it; cranking the AC can really run up your electricity bill. That said, if you’re waking up because of the heat, you might want to lower your limit. Experts agree that 65 degrees is ideal for sleeping.
- Keep Ice Water by Your Bed
Surprisingly, sweating during the night might be a symptom of dehydration. Keeping a glass of ice water by your bed kills two birds with one stone by hydrating you and also cool down if you’re too hot.
- Draw Your Curtains During the Day
Keeping your curtains closed during the day will keep the sun from during your bedroom into an oven. A lot of the heat will dissipate by the time you go to bed, but some will linger. Keeping the sun out will keep your room cool through the day and when you’re going to sleep.
- Keep Ice Packs on Hand (Literally)
Treat yourself like a lunch box and stock your freezer with ice packs. If you need to cool down on the spot, place the ice packs on your pulse points –– neck, elbows, wrists, groin and ankles.
Too Long, Didn’t Read?
No one wants to be sweaty and hot when they sleep! The heat will keep you from getting the quality sleep you want, and it’s just downright uncomfortable. Thankfully, there are so many ways you can beat the heat this summer. If you have a unique hack that didn’t make our list, send it our way!