In some ways it’s easier to warm your bed than to cool it. To start with, your own body creates a lot of heat. And while that’s part of the problem in the summer, it’s a key part of the solution in the winter.
So the best way to warm your bed is to use bedding that will effectively insulate your body heat.
As long as you have enough layers of bedding and/or clothes to trap some of your own body heat in, you can keep your bed warm enough to sleep just by being there.
Having said that, it’s not necessarily the most pleasant method on its own. It takes time to warm your bed that way, and nobody likes climbing between icy sheets and shivering for the first few minutes.
If you live in a particularly cold area, it might be worth investing in a decent bed heating system, as well as the right kind of winter bedding.
Let’s take a look at some of the many ways you can keep your bed, and yourself, warm at night.
What’s the ideal bedroom temperature?
First of all, it’s worth pointing out that cooler temperatures are better for sleep than warmer. So heating your bedroom too much can have a negative effect on your sleep quality.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal bedroom temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 and 19.5 degrees Celsius).
So although it’s nice to warm your bed, if the methods below make your overheat, sweat or feel uncomfortable, try experimenting with cooler temperatures.
1. Heat your bedroom, not the whole house
It’s both inefficient and expensive to heat your entire home all night long. But on the coldest of nights, it might be worth heating just the bedroom, and shutting the door to keep the heat in.
2. Use flannel winter bed sheets
Flannel is the best choice of material for bed sheets in the winter. Flannel is cotton that’s been brushed to make it fluffy, rather than smooth like normal cotton sheets. And that extras fluffiness means more air is trapped, which makes it a better insulator.
3. Create layers of top sheets and blankets
Rather than just using one thick blanket, comforter or duvet, create layers instead. The idea is to create layers of insulation, trapping air which is a poor conductor of heat.
Layers also work well because you can remove them if you get too warm in the night. Try alternating between thinner and thicker layers to maximize the insulation effect.
4. Choose a warmer comforter or duvet filling
As long as you don’t mind using animal products, the warmest filling for comforters and duvets is down and/or feathers. Another great choice is wool, which traps air very effectively, while still being more breathable than synthetic fillings.
If you’d prefer to avoid animal-based fillings, then hollowfiber is a good choice of warm material.
Understanding tog values
In some countries, duvets come with a tog value. A tog is a measure of thermal insulation, giving you an idea of how warm you can expect it to be.
As a rule of thumb, aim for these values according to the season:
- Summer: 3.5 – 7.5
- Spring and autumn: 7.5-10.5
- Cold winters: 13.5 – 15
5. Choose warmer blanket materials
If you use a blanket, the warmest materials are wool and cotton fleece. The fibers of these materials are curlier, which creates air pockets that trap your body heat better than flat synthetic fibers.
There are many choices of wool, with sheep and lamb wool being the most common. And if you want the very warmest possible, try a blanket made from Merino, Cashmere, Alpaca, Yak or Qiviut.
6. Use electric heated bedding
Although it’s possible to warm your bed using just your body and bedding, for some people it still might not be enough. And if you really don’t like getting into a cold bed, perhaps it’s time to warm it up before you actually climb in.
The main choices of heated bedding are heated mattress pads and electric blankets. Pads have the benefit of heating from underneath you, so warm the bed more efficiently. They are also safer as the wires are more likely to stay in position.
But electric blankets do suit some people better, especially if you don’t want wires beneath you, or find you get a little too hot when the heat is trapped between the bed and your body.
7. Blow some warm air between the sheets
A great alternative to traditional heated bedding is a new climate control system called the BedJet. This is a personal favorite of mine, which I wrote about recently in my BedJet review.
It works by warming air flowing over a ceramic stone in a separate unit, and then blowing that warm air between your sheets and over your body. It’s fast, effective and has a wide range of temperature settings and features that allow you to warm (and also cool if you prefer!) your bed just right.
And if you suffer badly from cold feet at night, you’ll love the targeted hot air flowing between your toes.
8. Wear some warm PJs
Continuing with the theme of creating insulation for your body heat, try wearing some warm flannel pajamas. They have the added benefit of making getting out of bed in the night a slightly less shivery experience.
9. Cuddle up to a hot water bottle
Another way to introduce an extra source of warmth is the simple rubber hot water bottle.
Fill it with hot water (not boiling though), and place it in your bed before you get in. You can then cuddle up to it, or use it to keep your feet warmer for the first half of the night.
10. Snuggle up to your partner
Finally, one your probably already know if you sleep with a partner. Snuggling up together is a great way to insulate your combined body heat, ensuring you keep even more of it from escaping.
Which techniques do you use to keep warm throughout those long winter nights? Do you have any new suggestions I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments below!