Feeling too warm in bed can trigger an uncomfortably sweaty night of wondering when we’re going to address climate change.
Not only is it unpleasant lying in bed feeling like you’ve just come out of the swimming pool, but it’s the opposite of what our body prefers for sleep: a cool space to sleep in.
Fortunately, there are some practical ways you can keep your body temperature down, even on sweltering summer nights.
Here are some great ways to keep your bedroom, bed, and body cool and get the refreshing sleep you need.
1. Close your windows, blinds and shutters during the day
When it’s blisteringly hot outside, keep all the windows and doors shut during the day (a little opening for ventilation is ok).
If you have curtains, blinds or shutters, keep them drawn all day. This is a trick that those in hot countries have known for centuries, and can reduce the temperature of your home dramatically.
2. Open the windows in the evening
Open the windows when the temperature drops in the evening to allow some (hopefully) cooler air to flow into your house and bedroom.
If you have an upstairs, attic or loft, open any windows or hatches up there to allow rising heat to escape.
3. Use a special bed fan
Fans can work wonders and you have several different options, depending on your budget and need for serious cooling.
You can use a normal fan and point it at your body, install a ceiling fan, or get one of the latest high-tech cooling gadgets, such as a BedJet.
If you use a normal fan, try putting a container of ice in front of it. An effective trick is to fill a couple of two-liter plastic bottles with water and freeze them. Then stand them just in front of the fan to cool the air.
4. Install air conditioning
It can be an expensive investment, but worthwhile if you live in an unbearably hot region. And if you already have it, just not in the bedroom, try moving your bed temporarily in extreme weather to be closer to the unit.
5. Sleep on a cooling mattress pad
There are a few good cooling mattress pads which you can use either for your head or the whole body.
They work by transferring your heat to other parts of the mat which you’re not lying on. Some can be put into the fridge for a while to provide even more cooling.
6. Take a cool shower before bed
Even if you don’t like cold showers, a warm one to freshen up will still help. Avoid hot baths in the couple of hours before bed though, as it takes a long time for your body to cool down.
7. Do exercise earlier
Don’t do intense exercise in the few hours leading up to bedtime. It takes too long for your body to return to its normal temperature, and can keep you feeling hot and sticky in bed.
8. Eat earlier
Don’t eat the biggest meal of the day late in the evening. Digesting food raises your body temperature, so it’s better to eat big at lunch and have a lighter meal or snack in the evening.
9. Choose cotton or linen bedding
Invest in the highest quality cotton or linen bedding you can afford. Sleep only with a sheet covering you instead of any thicker bedding like duvets or blankets.
The material you both sleep on and have covering you can make a huge difference to how cool you feel at night.
And investing in quality bedding will hopefully mean it lasts longer, which is better for the environment than poor quality bedding which is thrown away.
10. Cool your bedding before bed
Put your sheets in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for a while before going to bed. I know it sounds a little odd, but it can really help to keep you cool for just long enough to fall asleep.
11. Wear cotton nightwear
Wear light cotton nightwear rather than synthetic material, no matter how smooth velvet or silk might feel on the skin. Either that or sleep in your birthday suit!
12. Keep hydrated
Make sure you keep hydrated during the day and in the evening. Try not to drink alcohol, tea or coffee before bed. Keep a drink of water by the bed to sip during the night.
13. Keep some space between you and your partner
If you sleep with a partner, keeping some space between you rather than snuggling up will help you keep cool.
It helps if you have a big enough bed, of course. And if necessary, you could try using separate bedding rather than sharing one cover.
14. Use a slatted bed frame
Using a bed frame which has slats might help a little with temperature regulation, rather than a solid divan bed base.
15. Lower your body temperature before bed
Try to lower your body temperature before you go to bed. A falling body temperature is one of the signals your brain uses to produce more melatonin, which then makes you feel sleepy.
That’s one reason a shower before bed helps – even if it warms you initially, your temperature then starts to fall again when you get out.
There have been some great suggestions from readers in the comments below, so I’ve started a separate list of the best ones. Thank you all for taking the time to share your ideas!
- Wet and freeze some socks to then wear in the evening (might result in a wet bed though…)
- Eat a Popsicle or frozen food before going to bed.
- Put a cold towel on the head before and when in bed.
- Move your mattress to the floor because heat rises.
- Put ice inside a wet cloth in a bag, and place it inside the pillow.
- Change your night clothes if you feel too hot.
- Wear as little as possible in bed.
- If you have long hair, tie it up to allow body heat to disperse better.
- If you can, put up a reflective or white shade on the outside walls that get the afternoon sun.
- Put some cold water in a jug or bottle in the fridge. Then put it into a hot water bottle to make a cold water bottle!
- Drape a cold cloth or flannel over a fan pointing at the bed.
- Sleep with your arms and legs stretched out.
- Use Aloe Vera to cool and moisturize the skin.
- Put a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle mixed with cool water. Shake the bottle and mist yourself before going to bed.
- Spray icy water on the sheets before getting into bed.
Do you have any suggestions I haven’t included in this list? Have you tried any of the ideas here and found they did or didn’t work?
I’d love to hear how you cope with hot temperatures and what you think helps keep you cool.