Summer means longer and brighter days and no jacket weather, but it can also mean restlessly chasing sleep in sweltering nights. Our bodies’ prefer a cooler temperature to doze off to for the optimal night’s rest, but installing an air conditioning unit isn’t always practical or realistic.
That’s why we’ve created a list of our top tips for how to keep cool at night and sleep soundly in the summer. Most of these tips are doable with things that you already have around your house, are efficient and don’t require a complicated set up. Keep reading to find out our quick and easy methods for beating the heat and improving your sleep in the warmer months.
1. Have a shower before bed
For instant relief, take a cool shower before you slip between the sheets. Turn the water temperature down to feel refreshed and wash away the day’s stickiness before getting into bed. It doesn’t even have to be ice cold, lukewarm water will still help to cool you down.
Just try to avoid hot showers too close to bedtime. Some studies have suggested that a rush of warm water can actually help your body to omit and get rid of excess heat, but this means that it’ll take longer for your body to cool down afterwards.
2. Keep the the sun out of your room in the day
Take a leaf from warmer countries and draw your blinds or curtains in the day to keep the sun from heating up your room. Sunlight is great for illuminating your room naturally, but it also raises the temperature drastically - especially when the sun is at its strongest in the afternoon.
If you’re out in the day or are at home but don’t need to be in your bedroom, close your windows and keep the blinds drawn all day. This will keep the space as cool as possible for the evening. If you need the natural light in your bedroom, try to balance which blinds you can draw and which you can keep open.
3. Open the windows in the evening
Have you ever opened your windows in the day for the incoming rush of air to be just as hot as it is inside? Instead, try opening your windows in the evening when the air is cooler and the temperature has dropped.
If your bedroom is upstairs, in an attic or loft, this is especially effective as it allows the heat from the day to escape. To create a cooler flow of air, try hanging a damp sheet in front of your open window. Any breeze that blows in will instantly help to lower the temperature in your bedroom.
4. Use an electric fan
Fans are a popular and effective way of keeping your room cool in the summer. Easy to set up and available in a wide variety of sizes to suit your room, fans are also super accessible and can be stored away when not in use. Set up a fan near your bed and place a bowl or container of ice in front of it. The air from the fan will create a cooling mist as it blows across the ice.
This also helps to add moisture to the room and prevent too much dry air from circulating. Excess dry air in your room as you sleep can cause you to wake up feeling congested and bunged up. If you don’t want the hassle of setting up a bowl of ice, try not to leave your fan on for long periods of time to keep dry air to a minimum.
5. Avoid exercising near bedtime
Working out causes your internal temperature to rise - and it can take a few hours for it to return to normal. Due to this, try to avoid exercising in the two to three hours before bed. If your schedule doesn’t allow for this, a cold shower can help you to feel clean and cool.
6. Opt for lighter and earlier evening meals
Similarly to exercising, the process of digesting food also increases your body temperature, so try to eat earlier in the evening if you can. This gives your body time to cool down before bed. If this isn’t possible, consider eating a larger lunch and having a small meal or snack in the evening.
Another tip for adjusting your evening meal in the summer is to choose light foods like salad, as these are easier to metabolise. Heavier meals that include proteins will require more energy to break down, so swap your meats for vegetables and legumes. Salads also mean that you won’t need to fire up the oven, which adds even more heat to your home.
7. Choose light coloured linen bedding
Not all fabrics are made equal and the bedding you chose can have a big impact on how cool it is to sleep at night. Linen is an excellent choice as it’s breathable and promotes ventilation and air flow better than other fabrics. Lighter coloured fabrics will also keep you cooler as dark colours tend to absorb heat, whereas light colours reflect it.
8. Go for cotton pyjamas
When it comes to nightwear, cotton is always a winner. It might not feel as soft or smooth as other fabrics like polyester or silk, but research has shown that it’ll help you fall asleep faster. It may also help you achieve a deeper and more restorative sleep too.
Light cotton pyjamas that are looser and don’t cling tightly to your body will also keep you cooler in the night.
9. Stay hydrated
Sipping an ice cold drink will provide you with instant relief from higher temperatures, but staying hydrated is essential for helping your body to cool itself down. So, what’s the science behind it?
When you’re not hydrated properly, your internal temperature rises because your body doesn’t have enough water to sweat, and sweating is how we regulate our core temperature.
Remember to drink water all throughout the day and avoid having alcohol, tea or coffee before bed. Keep a glass of water next to your bed to stay hydrated during the night.
10. Freeze your sheets
In summer many people choose to skip the duvet in favour of a thin bed sheet or blanket. Another tip to help you beat the heat is to freeze your sheet before going to bed.
Pop your bed sheet, blanket and even your pillow cases into a plastic bag before placing it into the freezer. Leave for around half an hour to an hour before taking them out to use. This might sound like a strange thing to do, but it’s an easy way to achieve a brief respite on balmy nights - and maybe just long enough to help you drift off to sleep.
11. Use a hot water bottle
Hot water bottles are handy to keep you warm in winter, but likewise, they can also be used to keep you cool in the summer. Fill yours with ice cold water and leave it in the freezer for a few hours before bed. It’ll create a little makeshift ice pack that you can use without the worry of condensated water getting everywhere.
12. Keep the electronic items off
A small tip that can help keep you cool at night is to limit your use of electronic items before bed. This is because they generate heat when used for long periods of time. Swap your laptop or TV for a book and turn off any lights that aren’t necessary. Fortunately, in summer we have more natural light for longer, so take advantage of that and use lighting only when needed. Keep excess heat to a minimum to reduce the overall amount of heat in your home.
13. Sleep lower to the ground
It’s common knowledge that hot air rises, so try to sleep as close to the ground as you can to stay cooler.
If your room is in the attic or loft, consider sleeping downstairs if possible. If you live in a one-story house or apartment, you can try moving your mattress onto the floor instead. This slight change in level will make a difference as you move away from where the hot air is concentrated.
14. Cool your pulse points
One of the best ways to help you sleep in the heat is to try and lower your body temperature before getting into bed. When your body temperature falls, it signals to your brain to produce more melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy.
As well as staying hydrated, having a cold shower and not eating or exercising too close to bed, applying a cold compress to your pulse points is a really effective way to cool down your core temperature. Our pulse points in our wrists, neck, ankles, feet and behind our knees are super sensitive to temperature. Hold an ice pack over these areas to help your body cool down, or dunk your feet into a bucket of cold, icy water.
15. Sleep on a cooling mattress pad or bamboo mat
When the summer is at its peak and the heat becomes unbearable, you may want to take more drastic measures to help you sleep at night (or in the day - the sun makes us drowsy in the afternoon too!).
If you don’t mind purchasing an accessory to keep you cool, we recommend a cooling mattress or pillow pad. These pads are made to transfer heat from your body to other parts of the mat that you’re not lying on. Some can even be put into the fridge before use to increase the cool sensation. While they won’t keep you cool all night, they can definitely relieve some heat build up.
You can even go rustic and trade in your memory foam mattress topper for a straw or bamboo mat. Memory foam is great for comfort, but it’s also known to trap body heat. A straw or bamboo mat might not be the softest thing to sleep on, but they don’t retain heat like plush mattress fabrics.
16. Flip your pillow and covers
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, but one that we can rely on. In the night when you’re searching for respite from the sticky heat, flip your pillow and cover over to relish in the coolness of the other side that your body hasn’t been touching.
Similarly, if you can, try to move over to an empty spot in your bed that you haven’t been lying in. It’s a brief but easy way to find some much needed cool on a hot summer’s eve.