10 Ways To Keep Your Bed Warm In Winter

bedroom radiator

If you tend to shiver your way through the colder nights of the year, the good news is that it’s much easier to warm your bed than to cool it.

To start with, your body is a natural and continuous radiator. And while that can be a problem in the summer, it’s a key part of the solution in the winter.

Essentially, if have enough of the right layers to trap your own body heat in, you can keep your bed warm enough to sleep just by being there.

However, it takes time to warm your bed that way. And nobody likes climbing between icy sheets when they’re supposed to be relaxing at the end of a long day.

So if you live in a particularly cold area, it might help to use a bed heating system, as well as the right kind of winter bedding.

What’s the ideal bedroom temperature?

A falling temperature signals to your body clock that it’s night, and therefore time for sleep. So heating your bedroom too much can have a negative effect on your sleep quality.

Sleep experts recommend a bedroom temperature of between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 and 19.5 degrees Celsius). Some will prefer warmer or cooler, but it’s a useful rule of thumb.

So although it’s nice to warm your bed, if you overheat, sweat or feel uncomfortable, try experimenting with cooler temperatures.

graphic showing the ideal bedroom temperature

1. Heat your bedroom, not the whole house

It’s inefficient and expensive to heat your entire home all night long. So on the coldest of nights, it might be better to just the bedroom and shut the door to keep the heat in.

cat relaxing on bedroom radiator

2. Use flannel winter bed sheets

Flannel is a great choice of material for bedsheets in the winter. Flannel is cotton that’s been brushed to make it fluffy, rather than smooth like normal cotton sheets.

All 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 and trap 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.

If you don’t have the money to pay for expensive bed heating systems or luxury bedding, adding layers of any material can help enormously.


4. Choose a warmer comforter or duvet filling

If you don’t mind using animal products, the warmest filling for comforters and duvets is down and/or feathers.

Another effective filler is wool, which traps air very effectively, while still being more breathable than synthetic fillings. If you’d prefer to avoid animal-based fillings, hollow fiber is a good choice of warm material.

What are 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
white down comforter

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.

alpaca wool blankets

6. Use 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 deplore getting into a cold bed, perhaps it’s time to warm it up before you settle down for the night.

The main choices of heated bedding are heated mattress pads or electric blankets. Mattress pads have the benefit of heating from underneath you, so warm the bed more efficiently.

However, electric blankets might suit some people better. They are a good choice if you don’t want wires beneath you, or find you get too hot when the heat is trapped between the bed and your body.


7. Blow some warm air between the sheets

An effective alternative to heated bedding is a climate control system called the BedJet. My partner and I have used one for a couple of years, and are big fans (pun intended!)

It works by warming air 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 your bed to the exact temperature you enjoy.

bedjet 3

8. Wear warm pajamas

Continuing with the theme of creating insulation for your body heat, try wearing some warm flannel pajamas. They also make 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 with a simple 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 (or your dog)

Finally, one you 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.

And following a couple of comments from readers, the dog idea has finally made it onto the list!

I didn’t add it before as I know that dog trainers typically recommend keeping dogs out of human beds. But the wise words of dog trainers won’t keep you warm when your heating breaks. So if a dog saves the day, why not?

Your ideas

Which techniques do you use to keep warm throughout those long winter nights? Let me know in the comments below!

30 thoughts on “10 Ways To Keep Your Bed Warm In Winter”

  1. I researched a ton of heated blanket options and it seems all of them have their faults, some don’t turn off and you get overheated, some won’t last long or get ruined after washing, etc. Keep it simple, throw on some socks and some PJ’s and get into bed 15 minutes early and you should be good to go.

    1. Hi there
      Unfortunately, heated bedding does have a historical reputation for being problematic. I’ve reviewed several, and read hundreds of other people’s reviews. One of the problems I think is that on customer review sites like Amazon, it’s often people who have a bad experience who feel compelled to write a bad review – especially if they think it was a potentially dangerous problem – such as fault heated bedding, which naturally makes you worried if it happens. I do think it’s an area where it’s worth either spending the money to get the best one possible, and therefore ideally a safe and reliable one. Or as you quite rightly point out – just keep it simple, throw on some extra layers and let your body heat do the work!
      Regards
      Ethan

    1. Hi Kaily
      Multiple layers is always an option if you have extra bedding – if not, an extra layer can be bought inexpensively if necessary.
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. I’ve always found that partners don’t have the same thermostat anyway, and prefer a warmer or colder temperature than me when they fall asleep. Clutching each other only lasts so long, until the need for an appropriately comfortable sleep temperature wins through. Cuddle up with water bottles, PJs, brushed cotton instead. Or a dog, which is notably missing from the list. Perhaps it’s number 11 and didn’t make the cut.

    1. Hi Luna
      Is there any way you can get it fixed, or get a new heater? Do you just have that one heater in the bedroom and no central heating system?
      Regards
      Ethan

    1. How about before you get in bed, warm it a little bit with a hairdryer and then get in afterward and use your partner’s body to warm up.

      1. Hi
        That would work I guess, at least to take the edge of the cold feeling if it’s really bad. How about getting your partner to go to bed 10 minutes earlier on your side of the bed, and then politely ask them to move over so you can enjoy the warm feeling they just made for you? :-)
        Regards
        Ethan

  2. Put hand towel soaked thoroughly with water, wring it out, fold it and put it into a zipper gallon freezer bag open, place in microwave for 2-3 minutes, carefully pull out and zip closed, put in an old pillowcase and tuck into the bed to warm your toes

  3. Thanks for the tips. After freezing last winter, I’m preparing early for the next one and getting a heated pad while the prices are lower!

  4. I got an organic wool mattress topper/pad and it made a big difference in my little sleep place. It feels nice and toasty within moments of getting in bed.

    1. if you don’t have a partner, a dog or cat works too! I’ll get my dog to lay in my spot on the bed before I go to bed, so it’s warm when I go to bed.

  5. Leave a hot water bottle under your bed sheets till you want to get in, and sometimes even put a fluffy blanket as your bottom sheet it makes me feel so much more comfortable and sleepy. I always have a great night sleep when I do these things hope it helps some of you guys have a lovely day xx

      1. I was freezing last night and searched for some suggestions for warming your bed. After reading ur suggestions I added a fleece blanket today as an extra bed sheet on top of my fitted sheet. My bed is so warm and comfy now. Made a huge difference. I so want to add a fleece blanket under my duvet and/ or to add a hot water bottle to warm my feet.

        Thanks everyone!

        1. Hi
          Thanks for your comment, and I’m very happy to hear the article helped you out. Adding layers is so simple, yet so effective!
          Regards
          Ethan

  6. I have a down alternative comforter on my bed these days. This is on top of a faux shearling blanket. It’s like sleeping in a cloud. When I get too warm, I push back the down alternative comforter and find the faux shearling blanket to be “just right”.

    If I feel chilled before getting into bed, I might run warm water on my feet until they’re toasty. Then put on warm socks. I might pop fleece pjs on to climb into bed. I might switch into the cooler pjs in the night, so I stash cooler ones next to my pillow.

    When I lived in a very cold house in grad school, I had a featherbed mattress topper and a down comforter on my bed. In just a few minutes in that bed, I was toasty.

    1. Hi Suz
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your tips. I like the idea of warming your feet with water before getting into bed – it’s actually the opposite of what I do in the summer to keep cool in bed! Being able to change the temperature by removing or adding layers is also great. And I like the idea of having different bed clothes available too!
      Regards
      Ethan

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