With July comes fireworks, cookouts, and the inevitable restless nights spent overheating in bed. Many factors contribute to your overall temperature while you sleep, from sleeping habits to whether you have cotton or silk sheets. While we aren’t able to control how hot it gets outside, there are a few things we can do to make indoor living (and sleeping) more comfortable.
From tricks to cool yourself down to simple changes you can make while the sun is out, here are 15 tips for sleeping in the heat and staying cool this summer.
How to Cool Down Your Body
It doesn’t all come down to how hot or cold your home is. If your core temperature runs hot, it’ll make it more difficult to sleep. For instance, if your average temperature hovers around 99° bringing it down to 98.5 can do wonders for your comfort.
- There are multiple benefits of showering before bedtime. Taking a warm shower (or a bath) can help trick your mind into thinking your room is cooler—and as a bonus, they are proven to help people relax. Word of caution: warm showers and baths will increase humidity so you may want to use the bathroom furthest away from your bedroom.
- Cooldown faster by using your pressure points. Try applying a cold compress to pressure points on your wrists, back of your neck, inner elbows, and behind your knees. No cold compress? Run your wrists under cold water for a few moments and enjoy a little cool down.
- Try ending alcohol consumptions a few hours before bedtime to keep cool. Drinking an ice-cold beer or glass of wine might seem like the perfect way to unwind and cool off, but it can have the opposite effect. Though alcohol can cool down your core temperature, it tends to make you feel warmer. Not an ideal combination when you are already feeling the summer heat.
- Sometimes mother nature calls for lighter nightwear. This summer, treat yourself to pajamas that wick sweat away; this is an ideal option for those suffering hot flashes during sleep!
- Drink water! It might seem obvious, but drinking water is one of the best things you can do to help cool down. So bottoms up!
How to Cool Down Your Bedroom
When the temperatures are rising, it is best to attack the problem from all angles. While you may have cooled down your internal temperature, your environment still has a big part in how/if you can stay cool throughout the night.
- Have you ever considered purchasing a cooling mattress pad? This summer might be the time to do so! Mattress pads made from latex or gel-infused foam are designed to keep your temperature as neutral as possible while you sleep.
- So we’ve already mentioned cold compresses for your body, but what about for your bed? Try filling a hot water bottle with water and stick it in the freezer— creating the ideal mattress-friendly ice pack.
- Did you know your ceiling fan can work against you if it’s going clockwise? A counterclockwise motion will bring the cooler air down towards you. So while it may not make the room colder, it can evaporate the beading sweat on your face, so you can sleep through the night without stirring from the heat.
- Don’t have an air conditioner? Try positioning a shallow pan or bowl full of ice in front of a fan. The air flowing through will pick up the cold water from the ice as it melts, creating the perfect cooling mist.
- In the mood for a basement camp out? We all know heat rises, but for some reason on those hot, sleepless nights, we tend to forget having a bedroom on a higher floor may not be the best option. Try swapping your top floor digs for something on a lower level, nothing like a basement camp out to get you through a 100-degree night!
Prevent the Heat Before it Starts
Sometimes a little extra planning before bed can be the difference between a night of restless sleep and a great nights sleep. Try these before bed hacks to keep cool all night long.
- Try placing your sheets in the fridge or freezer a few minutes before bed. We highly recommend placing them in a freezer bag first (unless you find the smell of frozen french fries relaxing). While this won’t keep your cool for the entire night, it will at the very least help you fall asleep.
- Stick to table lamps after the sun sets. When you keep your overhead lights on for too long before bed, it can heat the room.
- Summer cookouts are great for family time and bedtime. The warmth of the oven can linger in the air for longer than people realize, and the heat can easily rise to the bedrooms. Try cooking things outside on the grill or in the microwave whenever possible.
- While we love to let the sunshine in, sometimes it’s better not to. During the worst of the summer months, we recommend blocking light from the South, West, and East (assuming you live in the Northern hemisphere) facing windows at all times of the day. When it comes to buying treatments, spend a little extra on heavy shades and light-blocking blinds. Anything that’s been carefully constructed to keep out the light will make it easier to sleep during the worst of the summer sizzle.
- When all else fails, there is always the great outdoors! Your fans may not be enough, especially if you don’t have a good cross-breeze. The darkness and shade can be more powerful outside where the breezes can properly circulate the fresh air. Staying cool this summer night may be as simple as embracing your natural surroundings. (Don’t worry— even your CPAP can join the campout)
Regardless of what preparations and tips for sleeping in the heat you try, it is essential to remember that when it is hot outside, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat (especially while you are sleeping). Be sure to stay well hydrated throughout the day and into the night.
What works to cool down your bedroom on hot summer nights? Share with us in the comments below.
Courtney aims to make learning about sleep apnea and sleep apnea therapies as enjoyable as possible. Contact us if you’re interested in sharing your story or have a topic you’d like CPAP.com to investigate!