We sleep best in moderately cool rooms while our core body temperature is slightly lower. Hot summer nights frustrate our restful sleep. Wanna know how to sleep like a baby in hot weather without turning on the AC? Here’s a truckload of tips, tricks and hacks to beat the heat during hot summer nights.
Enhance Your Bedroom
Close Blinds, Shades, and Curtains
Beat the heat by drawing your curtains down to keep the sunlight from entering your home. Want to take things a step further?
Invest in thermal insulated curtains to tame your room temperature and keep air conditioning costs down. If you live in a hotter climate you won’t regret getting these cooling shades and neither will your wallet.
Ditch the Comforter and Use Sheets
A no-brainer this one but the heat may have clouded your thinking so we’ll mention it anyway. Save the heavy duvet covers and comforters for the cold winter.
For the hot summer months ahead, rid your bed of anything extra that can contribute heat. This includes stuffed animals, extra pillows, sheets, and blankets. Pack them away in storage for winter and sleep on light sheets only.
Sleep Under Comfy Cotton Sheets
So you’re down to a bare bones bedding situation, but what kinds of sheets are the best to use? Fancy silk sheets need not apply here for the clammy summer months.
While they can help soothe you to sleep in cold winter months they will only contribute to the heat issues in the summer. For the coolest sheet option, choose breathable cotton sheets. They promote ventilation, thus help you get more Z’s.
Use CFL Lightbulbs
We all know that an obvious solution to escape more heat in your home is to turn off the lights. But did you know that using the right light bulb can also make a difference in how hot your home gets?
Don’t take this lightly, just having one or two high wattage incandescent light bulbs on in your bedroom can increase room temperature as much as 5 degrees. Even more in small rooms.
Using CFL light bulbs will light up your home as well as a standard light bulb with the use of less energy, less heat, and will save you on energy costs. While you’re at it, make sure to get rid of blue light bulbs in favor of more sleep-friendly lights.
Use a Sound Machine
Trick yourself into thinking you’re cool by using a sound machine that plays the sound of rain, the ocean, or a river stream. Any sound of a body of water will do actually. The soothing sound of water will trick your mind into thinking you’re at a cooler place which will calm you down and get you to sleep.
Cool Hot Summer Night Hacks
Sleep Like an Egyptian: Soak Your Sheets in Water
Try this trick used by ancient Egyptians to get to sleep and soak your sheets in cold water. Placing the sheet on top of you will cool down your body’s temperature similar to sweating. Amp up the effect by circulating air in your room via a fan or an open window.
Hang a Wet Sheet in Front of Your Window
Why stop at soaking the sheets you’re sleeping in? Try this tip next time you decide to sleep with the window open. First soak a sheet in cold water, then hang it in front of your window by your bed.
The hot air coming in through the window will pass through this cool sheet and will lessen the heat that enters your room. Pretty cool, right?
Freezer Burn is Your Friend
Make uber-refreshing sheets and pillow cases by putting them (in freezer bags) in the freezer. Obviously they will not stay this fresh for long but they sure can help keep your core temperature at bay until you doze off.
Push Hot Air Out with Your Fan
Face your fan out, not in. Or make it constantly change direction. While turning on a fan can circulate air around the room, having it constantly change its direction will actually push the air up and out of your home instead of recycling the same hot air and blowing it onto you. If you’re buying a fan, make sure it’s silent and does not have bright lights that will mess with your Z’s.
Install a Bed Fan
A high quality fan in your bedroom means a world of difference. A specialized bed fan does even more. It’s quiet and blows directly under your top sheet. Its breeze touches your legs and feet. On low settings you can’t feel the air circulation while it still cools you.
Make a Low-Tech DIY Air Conditioner
If the idea of paying for a new air conditioner (and the sky high bills it comes with) makes you uneasy, use this hack and make a cheap old fashioned one.
Simply place a bowl of ice in front of the fan and allow the cool air to soothe you into a nice restful sleep. Frozen water bottles will work too.
Wet T-shirt Contest: Who Sleeps First?
Similarly, soak a t-shirt, wring it and wear it before you hit the sack. The dampness evaporating will keep you cool (for a while).
The physics behind the wet tee and Egyptian sheets techniques? Evaporating liquid cools the object in contact with it. When we sweat we feel cooler because the heat needed for this evaporation is taken from our body.
Keep in mind that evaporative cooling is limited in high humidity because the already saturated air cannot take up any more water. Which is why a fan or a breeze from outside helps.
Spray Bottle of Water
One easy way to keep you cool is to keep a spray bottle of cold water handy by your sleeping area. If using some of the above methods aren’t doing enough, spray yourself with some water to lower your body temperature.
Spritzing yourself down a few times before bed can keep you feeling cool and fresh. Let the heat evaporate the water from you and keep you sleeping in the process.
Make Cooling Peppermint Mist
Brew peppermint tea, let it cool off in the fridge, poor into spray bottle and use it as a refreshing body spray.
Drink cold water throughout the night
Put a cold thermos flask on your night stand and take a few sips of ice-cold water throughout the night. You bet these ice cold drops will be appreciated. Sprinkle some drops on your overheated body and that of your partner for extra cooling.
Use a cold wash cloth
You can also place a damp wash cloth on your chest. This way you are cooling the blood that your heart is circulating around your body, cooling your whole body, not just your chest.
The ice pack method
Using an ice pack is a proven way to cool hot skin. Pre-soaked in Liquid Ice solution, a substance that cools instantly when removed from the packet, you’ve got a surefire way to cool off when you’ve forgotten to put ice packs in the freezer. A top-rated cold pack is the Theramed Universal Dual-Temp Cold Pack.
Keep Livin Easy and Avoid Strenuous Activity Before Bed
Ever heard “the Summertime song” lyrics, of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Summertime and the livin is easy”? Keep this in mind and avoid pushing yourself to extreme physical limits right before bedtime in the summer, or places with high temperatures.
Obviously exercising can increase your body’s temperature and will prevent you from cooling down quickly when you want to knock out.
Disconnect Before Bed
Ok, so this may sound a bit dramatic and we can’t expect you to be unplugged all the time, but turning off your electrical appliances from your computers to your TV can save you from some extra heat, and may even lower your electric bill a little too.
Turning off unnecessary appliances when they are not in use even when you’re not at home can keep your home cool while you’re away.
Take a Cold Shower Before Bed
Taking a cold shower right before bed is a popular way of preparing to cool down and getting restful sleep. The cold water not only hits your major pulse points but all areas to cool down your entire body temperature. It rinses of sweat too making you feel refreshed, clean and ready to snooze.
Hydrating throughout the day is essential to surviving summer heat, but did you know that drinking a little water before bed can also help you get the slumber you so desire?
Drink a little water about 30 minutes to hour before you hit the hay, but make sure you don’t drink too much or your sleep will be disrupted by a few bathroom breaks.
Wear Light or Less Clothing to Bed
Adult onesie jammies are probably not the best clothing item during this time of year. Choose light breathable clothing that won’t cling to you like a t-shirt with shorts or just underwear.
If you’re feeling daring you can sleep nude (although you may find that sweating will cause your sheets to stick to you). Whatever you choose when it comes to sleepwear in the hot summer months remember less equals more sleep for you.
Cold Press Your Pulses
Another way to keep you from another sweaty sleepless night is to chill down your pulse points. Sound strange? Apply ice or any other sort of cold compress to your pulse points like your neck, ankles, wrists, behind your knees, and elbows cool you down quickly. An easy DIY way is to keep a knotted sock filled with rice for an hour in the fridge.
The reasoning behind this is because these areas have blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. Putting these points in contact with something cold will cool off your blood and make the rest of your body temperature cooler. While it isn’t a cure all for your heat problem it can help.
Moisturize with Aloe Vera Gel
Ever been sunburned? You’re probably no stranger to using aloe vera gel to cool the sunburn. In the same way that the gel can do miracles to sunburn it can provide the same cooling effect to a heated summer body. Apply this gel as your moisturizer instead of your standard lotion before bed and allow it to work its magic.
It’s Ok to Get Cold Feet…This Time
When it comes to cooling off before a summer slumber, it’s ok to get cold feet. Believe it or not your feet are super sensitive to temperatures because of all the pulse points they contain.
A variation on pulse point cooling. Soaking your toe-sies in cool water will help cool you down to prep you for a night of restful sleep. You may want to keep a bowl next to your bed to dip them in when you’re starting to heat up again. While you’re at it, stick your wrists in too.
Change How You Sleep
Adopt the Spread Eagle Position
Do the opposite of what you do when it’s cold. Instead of snuggling up you spread out like an eagle. A sleeping position with your arms and legs not touching each other helps you keep cool. Try to stay still, movement interferes with your body’s ability to cool down to its potential.
Remember how earlier we talked about ridding yourself of all things on your bed that may contribute extra heat? That goes for people, too (sorry honey).
If you and your bed partner agree to it you can save yourself from some extra heat and a few hours of tossing and turning. Get to sleep and bring them back in the winter months for cuddling.
Sleep in a hammock
Besides offering a much cooler place to sleep during clammy summer nights (even inside), hammocks help you get more restful sleep, are better for your back, and have more benefits. The rocking motion can help you fall asleep much more quickly during the warm nights can.
Become a Sleep Minimalist and Sleep on Straw Mats
Sleeping outside doesn’t appeal? Try sleeping on a straw mat or bamboo mat. Not the softest sleeping surfaces but they won’t retain the heat that your bed normally would and will provide you with a cooler sleeping situation that may help you sleep more soundly. Sleeping on these mats on the floor will also keep you further away from the heat since it generally rises.
Get Down Low
Hot air rises. The lower you get, the cooler it is. If you have a basement at home you have probably already noticed that this area of your house is one of the cooler spots in your home.
Take advantage of the cooler temperature and set up a mat or few sheets to rest on. If you don’t have a basement in your home, get to the lowest possible point that you can whether it be on your bedroom floor or a hammock outside.
Take advantage of the summer heat to camp out under a blanket of stars. Chances are the temperature outside is cooler than your house since hot summer days generally lead to cool summer nights.
Set up a tent and camp out or set up a hammock in your backyard. Not only will this cool you down, but it will free you from the technology and distractions you encounter in your constantly connected life. Sleeping in nature and getting down to the basics will allow you to destress, improve your mood, and allow your body and mind to function better.
Use Some Ice Ice Baby
Bringing an ice pack to your bed or sleeping area, whether it be a tent hammock or straw mat, can keep you chilled and ready to konk out. A standard ice pack can do the trick or you can make your own using a hot water bottle that you freeze or even some rolled up frozen flannel shirts. Get creative, but most importantly get super cool to get to sleeping better.
Use Mentholatum Migraine Ice patches
These patches generally used to help with migraine pain will provide an instant cooling therapy to your body. Buy a pack of these patches, place them around your body’s cooling points and voila an instant cooling effect. Use these as little or as often as you like as a way to escape the summer’s suffocating heat.
Keep a Cool Pillow
The bane of the hot pillow. Your head retains a lot of heat. Which is why your mother always had you wear hats in the winter, to trap in the heat from leaving your body. It’s why the idiom speaks of keeping your head cool.
Research shows that our brain loves the cold when we sleep. Wearing a cooling cap helped insomniacs sleep nearly as well as normal sleepers, found a study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
In the summer we want this heat to escape and sleeping on a standard pillow can only make the problem worse. Instead, use a rice or buckwheat pillow to prevent heat buildup. It’s more compact than your standard fluffy pillow.
If you want something a little softer there are several pillows you can buy that chill its temperatures and forever keep your head on the cool side of the pillow.
The Ice Pack Pillow Hack
Put an ice pack underneath your pillow. Flip it to enjoy the cool side.
Doze Off with a Temperature Control Pillow
Gel-infused memory foam pillows or pillows with other technologies are designed to store and release excess body heat thus preventing hot flushes, night sweats and feeling too hot at night in general.
Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow for instance, uses special materials that absorb heat and feel cool to the touch. This pillow is best for side sleepers. A Chillow is a soft, thin. leather, thermo-regulating leather device that you place into your pillow to cool it down. Studies show that Chillow users, on average, got to sleep 68 per cent faster.
Cool Down with a Cooling Pillow Mat
These gadgets are often used for hot flashes in combination with hot flash spray. They are simply placed on top of your pillow and help prevent you from overheating. The Gel’O Cool Pillow Mat is one of the best reviewed mats you can get.
Get a Waterbase Pillow
Waterbase pillows come in two types, therapeutic, pain relieving water pouch pillows that offer optimal contouring support to the neck and and cooling pillows designed for better sleep.
Cooling waterbase pillows feature a foam layer saturated with water dissipate heat. Keep in mind that waterbase pillows can be heavy when filled, may make sounds and are less durable. Customer satisfaction surveys show that these cooling pillow (mats) reduce sleeping hot problems. About 3% of owners say the pillow sleeps too cold whereas 77% of the users sleep better.
Play with Your Food: Cool as a Cucumber
They’re not only iconic facial skin soothers but cucumbers have a surprisingly cooling effect on your body. Place slices of the water based vegetable on your face and all over your body.
The veggie will absorb your body’s heat while also cooling it off. Use this trick before nighttime but fight off the temptation to nibble them all instead of using them as heat deterrents.
Eat Light Before Bed
Did you know that the heavier the meal, the more metabolic energy your body has to expend to digest it? That’s why during the summer months most of us crave less of the heavy fatty foods that we do in the winter time.
Eating smaller and more frequent meals will keep your metabolism at a stable rate and prevent your body from “overheating” and keeping you awake at night. Eat more raw food such as fruits, salads and veggies to keep your body temp low. Check out this huge list with tips on how to sleep better at night to learn exactly what to eat and what to avoid before bed.
Try a Native American Herbal Remedy
Black Cohosh is a Native American herbal remedy that has been clinically proven to relieve night sweats and hot flushes in menopausal women. Recent research suggests the root extract works on the hypothalamus, thus regulating body temperature.
Summer nights can tempt us all into throwing back a few beers or fruity coolers, but drinking too much can lead to dehydration – and especially during a heatwave, we don’t want that.
The more dehydrated you are the worse you’ll feel during a sweltering hot summer night. Instead reach for more water (or even tea) and avoid the bud, bud.
Chrysanthemum Tea Anyone?
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries for many things that ail the human body. Escaping from heat is no exception. Drinking some cold chrysanthemum tea will not only quench your thirst but also keep your body heat down through the promotion of body fluid secretion (read sweat). Cuppa anyone?
Mattress Toppers, a Topping Way To Sleep Better
Get a Temperature Regulating / Ventilating Mattress Topper
A heat distributing mattress topper can make a world of difference on sweaty summer nights. The best mattress pads ventilate, enhance air flow and regulate temperature, keeping you cool during hot weather.
Or use a Cooling Gel Pad
These are placed on top of your mattress and can initially feel pretty cold but don’t stay cool very long. A cooling gel pad may stay cool long enough for you to enter shuteye. —
Sleep on a Wool Topper
Wool has been valued for thousands of years in both cold and hot climates for its incredible temperature regulating properties. No wonder wool bedding has excellent sleep improving properties and acts like a personal heating-and-cooling system.
A study by The University of Sydney and The Woolmark Company examining various bedding products under different temperature and humidity circumstances concluded that wool bedding the “undoubted winner.”
Wool gets your body to a comfortable sleeping temperature quicker, breathes better than synthetics, and increases periods of deep REM sleep as well as maintains it for a longer period of time.
Breathe Like a Yogi
Curl your tongue making almost a full cylinder and breathe in through your mouth. Exhale via your nose. This ancient breathing technique helps you keep cool.
Become a Daydream Believer
Your mind is a powerful tool. Daydreaming about cooler places (with the help of a sound machine or not) can help take your mind off the heat and even make you feel like your body is cooler.
Believe in your cool and breezy daydreams and you may just fall asleep sooner and more relaxed.
Rid your bedroom of rugs and throws. This visual mind trick works since bare surfaces look cooler which in turn makes you feel cooler. It’s the same principle as red walls making you feel warmer than blue walls.
Mind over Manner – Think Cold Thoughts
Your mind has immense power over the body. Your thoughts can affect our physical state. Next time you’re kept up during a heatwave, try thinking cold thoughts when you feel hot. Not convinced? Adopt the following mantra when heat interferes with your sleep.
“I’m so friggin cold. The icy wind keeps blowing snow in my face. The freezing temperature is numbing my hands, feet, arms, legs and face. They feel like thick blocks of ice. I can clearly see crystals in my breath.I’m shaking because of the merciless bitter cold.”
Or make your own variation. The crux here is to paint a vivid picture in your head.
Ready to get some cool summer sleep?
Use these tips to your benefit and before you know it you will, hum yourself to sleep on the notes of, Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.
Featured image: Shutterstock.