How to Sleep Better in the Summer Heat (With or Without AC)
We’ve all had the sultry nights of summer turn our beds into pits of sweaty tossing and turning, robbing us of the restorative sleep that we need to be at our best. And that’s with the AC cranked up!
Trying to sleep when it’s hot outside can be darn near impossible, thanks to our bodies waking us up when temperatures reach higher levels. So what can you do if you don’t have central air conditioning or want to try and keep your energy costs down during the hottest months of the year?
23 Tips for Sleeping Better in the Summer
Believe it or not, it is possible to get awesome sleep in the summertime, without having to go crazy or move to cooler climes to get it. Check out our top tips for how to sleep better in the summer – whether you have AC or not.
Tip #1: Choose Breathable Bedding
You may love the ooh-la-la feel of silk or satin sheets, but when the temperatures are soaring outside, your best bet is to keep your sheet choice simple. Making up your bed with light-colored cotton sheets will make your bedding nice and breathable, helping to cut down on feeling as if you’re roasting between the sheets.
Tip #2: Stay Loose
And while you’re at it, go ahead and ditch those jammies when you’re making your bed up with light, airy cotton sheets. When it comes to sleepwear in the summer, less is definitely more! Pick loose, comfortable PJs to wear to bed or even consider wearing nothing at all when it’s time to turn in for the night. Some people swear by sleeping in the buff during the summertime, stating that it helps keep them cool and feel less encumbered. Of course, the au naturel option is up to personal choice!
Tip #3: Freshen Your Sheets in the Freezer
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to enjoy some cooling comfort, look no further than the freezer. You can slip your sheets into a plastic bag and pop them into the freezer before leaving for work, and by the time you’re ready to turn in for the night, your bedding will be nice and cool, helping you to drift off to Dream Land faster and easier in the summer months.
Tip #4: Take a Page Out of the Egyptian Book of Sleeping
No, we’re not talking about Egyptian cotton sheets (although, we’re a big fan of those!). This tip is all about using the “Egyptian method” for cool sleep, which involves dampening a towel or sheet with cold water before bedtime and using it as a blanket, helping you to keep a cool head when it’s hotter than Hades outside. Pro tip: If you decide to “sleep like an Egyptian,” be sure to lay down some dry towels to avoid soaking your bed!
Tip #5: Get the Most Out of Your Fans
Don’t just use your fans to push hot air around your bedroom – get creative with your in-home cooling system by pointing box fans out of open windows (pushing the heat outside where it belongs) and setting your ceiling fans to run counter-clockwise (pulling hot air up, instead of just blowing it around).
Tip #6: Create Cooling Cross-Breezes
And while we’re talking about fans, you can also keep yourself cool all night long by setting up multiple fans across from each other, all around your bedroom. Start by making sure that at least one is across from an open window, ensuring that the breeze that’s coming in is nice and refreshing, and then keep going with the flow, setting up several more fans to create an ever-present cross-breeze cooling effect.
Tip #7: Go Old-School Cool
Way back when, refrigerators were simply boxes that held big blocks of ice, allowing folks to chip away what they needed when they needed it. Take a tip from the icebox era by making your own DIY cooling unit with a shallow pan or bowl full of ice and then setting it in front of a fan. This will create a cooling mist as the breeze from the fan picks up the cold water as the ice melts, keeping you happily refreshed for hours.
Tip #8: Cool Down Quick with Pulse Point Pampering
If you’re seriously feeling the burn and you can’t wait for your AC or fans to get you cooled down, head into the kitchen and grab some ice packs (or a couple of bags of frozen vegetables) and place them on the areas of your body where circulation rules – your pulse points. Try placing an ice pack behind your knees, on your ankles, the back of your neck, or at your elbows and wrists.
Tip #9: Just Say No to Spooning
Sorry, all of you romantics out there! When the temperature soars in the summertime, your best bet to stay cool while you sleep is to do it solo. While cuddling is a great way to lower your blood pressure, it’s also a great way to turn up your internal thermostat, which means your bed is far from the cooling oasis that you were hoping it would be. You should also think about removing stuffed animals from your kiddo’s beds too – helping kids sleep in the summer is hard enough without that added fur and stuffing!
Tip #10: Take a Tip from Summer Camps
It’s not just being frugal that makes summer camps use cots or hammocks for their campers – it’s also about increasing the airflow and keeping the kids cool and happy. When you sleep in a hammock or a cot on those super-hot summer nights, you’re allowing air to flow around every single side of your body, helping you to get a cooling breeze from all angles.
Tip #11: Hit the Shower
When it’s hot outside, taking a cold shower comes with a whole new meaning. Taking the time to rinse off under a cooling stream of water before you hit the hay can leave you feeling light and refreshed before slipping in between the sheets. Pro tip: Try not toweling off after your shower, and instead, letting yourself air-dry for an extra cooling boost.
Tip #12: Up Your Focus on Hydration
While drinking plenty of water is good advice any time of year, it becomes even more important during the summer months, thanks to the extra sweating that you do (both in and out of bed). Be sure to fill up your H20 tank throughout the day to cash in on a cooler night’s rest.
Tip #13: Cut Down on Light Exposure
You’ve probably heard that dimming the lights right before bed will help you to get to sleep easier, thanks to reducing the effect that artificial lighting has on your body’s sleep-wake cycle. But did you know that all light bulbs (yes, even the green CFL kinds) give off heat? Take advantage of the extra daylight hours during the summer months by keeping the lights off throughout the day, cutting back on the amount of heat that gets trapped in your home, and dropping the temp in your home pre-bedtime.
Tip #14: Stay Low to Keep Cool
We’ve all heard that warm air rises, so why not put this knowledge to work for you when you’re trying to sleep better during the dog days of summer? Keep your bed, cot, or hammock as low to the ground as possible or if you live in a multi-floor dwelling, move it to the ground level to stay under that accumulated hot air, and revel in the cooling effects of staying low.
Tip #15: Hang Out to Cool Down
You can lower the temperature of an entire room by up to 20 degrees, simply by hanging a wet sheet in front on an open window, allowing the breeze to move through the cooling moisture, and quickly banishing the heat in your bedroom before turning in for the night.
Tip #16: Cold Feet, Cool Body
Thanks to the multiple pulse points in your feet, they are uber-sensitive to extreme temperature, which means that when you’re feet are hot, your entire body feels it. Give yourself a quick, cooling blast before bedtime by dunking your tootsies in cold water and making sure to keep them exposed to the breeze from your fan or AC by keeping those little piggies uncovered throughout the night.
Tip #17: Step Away from the Stove
While whipping up a nice, warm casserole or a tasty baked treat during the winter months is a great way to stay warm and satisfied, just the opposite is true during the summer – spending time in a hot kitchen is a big no-no if you want to keep your body’s core temperature down. Try chowing down on refreshing foods like salad or Jell-O when it’s hot outside, or fire up the grill instead of the oven, if you’re craving something cooked in the flames. Pro tip: During the summer months, swap out big meals for smaller, easier to digest fare to help keep your body from producing extra heat while metabolizing your meals.
Tip #18: Pull the Plug on the Electronics
Much like artificial lighting, you’ve probably been advised to turn off your electronic devices when you’re trying to get to sleep at night, in order to cut down on the negative impact that blue light has on your circadian rhythm. But did you know that they also give off extra heat, just like light bulbs do? To reduce the build-up of hot air in your home (not to mention your power bill!), pull the plugs on all appliances that are not being used at any given time.
Tip #19: Be a Bed Hog
As we mentioned in Tip 9 above, sleeping alone is a great way for cooler nights in the summer, but you should also give yourself permission to make full use of your sleeping space, as well, thanks to snoozing while spread-eagle being the best way to reduce body heat and allow air to circulate over your entire body. If you’re sick of sweating in bed, sleeping sprawled out is an awesome way to stay cool! Pro tip: If you want to make the most of a cooling sleeping space, you might want to consider upgrading to a bigger mattress size – you just might be surprised how much cooler you can be in a Queen vs. a Full.
Tip #20: Consider Camping Out
If your home is just too hot to sleep in, due to a broken AC or fans that are down for the count, you might want to consider sleeping al fresco in the summertime, if you have a safe outdoor space to spread out your tent or sleeping bag. Why not make good use of your rooftop garden, screened-in porch, or even your own backyard? Sleeping under the stars can be a fun (and cooling) way to spend summer nights!
Tip #21: Cool Down with Grains
Believe it or not, you most likely have some great DIY air conditioning units in your pantry right now. Both rice and buckwheat can be a great way to keep you cool as you sleep, if you pour some into a sock or small cloth bag, pop them into the freezer for an hour or so, and then use them as a cold compress at bedtime.
Tip #22: Shut Out the Heat
You can help keep your home cooler during the day (which equals much cooler nights) by shutting off access to areas you don’t use in the hottest part of the day. Once nighttime rolls around, open those rooms back up and let the cool air permeate the areas that were closed off, giving your home’s bedrooms a cooling burst right before bed.
Tip #23: Invest in the Miracle of Gel-Infused Memory Foam
Of course, one of the best ways to make sure that you sleep better during the summer is by focusing on the source of your sweaty tossing and turning – your heat-inducing innerspring, pillow-top mattress. Ditch your old bed and invest in a highly-rated memory foam mattress to experience the miraculous cooling of Lull’s gel-infused memory foam that allows for even weight distribution and your coolest night’s rest yet. Pro tip: Really cash in on the cooling power of memory foam by picking up a pillow made of the miracle material to go with your brand-new heat-reducing mattress.