You’ve probably noticed that you don’t sleep as well during the summer as you do during the winter. But - why is that and what can you do about making sure you’re getting enough sleep, each and every month of the year?Some of the trouble is the oppressive heat that goes hand-in-hand with summertime, and some of it’s the fact that we human beings are hardwired to sleep when it’s dark outside, and the sun sticks around longer in the summer than it does in the winter.That change in the timing of sunrises and sunsets can lead to an impact on our ability to produce Melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep, making it more difficult for us to naturally feel sleepy at our normal bedtimes.And then there’s the fact that higher temperatures make it harder to fall asleep and stay that way. That’s why most sleep experts tell us that the ideal sleeping temperature is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.Of course, keeping cool can be a challenge in the summertime, which is why we’ve gathered up some tips and tricks for a cooling summer night’s slumber, whether you have air conditioning or not!
How to Beat the Summer Heat for Better Sleep
Some of these better sleep tips might be familiar to you, but there are some that are going to be new, and possibly even come across as a bit unorthodox. But we’re serious about helping you go from feeling as if you’re suffering in a sauna to catching some refreshing Zs, dang it!So, stick with us as we cover how to stay cool by sleeping like an Egyptian, make creative use of grains, keep a low (to the ground) profile, and many other unique tips.Keep on reading and discover ways to stay cool during summer slumber…
1. Dim the Lights
Believe it or not, light bulbs can give off some serious heat, even the more environmentally-friendly ones that are on the market today. The good news is you have more hours of daylight in the summer, which allows you to take advantage of natural light, and keep all the rooms in your house cooler after dark by keeping those overhead lights turned off.
2. Hang Something Cool
You can bring the temperature down in any room by simply wetting a sheet and hanging it over an open window. Think of the refreshing breeze coming through as Mother Nature’s AC, which is a great way to cool down if you don’t have an air conditioner, and a chance to lower your electric bill, even if you do have a central AC unit.
3. Get Some Quick Comfort
That hot water bottle isn’t just for keeping toasty in the winter! You can also use it to grab some cooling comfort in the summer by tossing it into the freezer and using it to create your very own bed-friendly ice pack – without worrying about getting your sheets soaking wet, like you would with a Ziploc bag full of melting ice.
4. Freeze Your Sheets (Seriously!)
You might already be thinking about your freezer when it comes to getting some relief on hot summer nights. But it’s not just for ice trays and frozen pizza! You can stick your sheets or pillow into a plastic bag and toss them into the freezer for half an hour or so before bedtime. This will give you a chilly respite from the heat and help you fall asleep faster.
5. Say No to Heavy Meals
Even though you might love a good casserole, the summer months are not the best time to head into the kitchen and make a big meal. Standing over a hot stove will do nothing to keep you (or your house) cool, and heavy meals are harder to metabolize, which usually leads to serious tossing and turning.In the summertime, your best bet is to stick with lighter meals that are easier to digest, faster to make, and don’t require extra time slaving away in a hot kitchen. Try swapping that steak for a salad, and while you’re at it, add some sleep-friendly foods like fish or sweet potatoes to your evening meal for even more quality sack time.
6. Loosen Up a Little
When it comes to sleepwear in the summer, less is definitely more! Put away the heavy flannel PJs and go with a loose shirt and shorts. You can even ditch the pajamas altogether and sleep in the buff, which will help lower your core body temperature and remove any layers between you and the cooling breeze from the AC or ceiling fan.
7. Use Fans the Smart Way
If you’re anything like most of us, you’ve probably been thinking that fans aren’t good for anything other than blowing hot air around. Well, think again! With a couple of smart tweaks, any fan can be turned into a serious cooling machine. Try pointing box fans in the window out, instead of in, and they’ll push the hot air back where it belongs, leaving your house cooler, even without AC. And if you want to pull hot air up and out of the house, make sure your ceiling fans are set to turn counter-clockwise, in order to ensure maximum cooling.
8. Catch a Cross-Breeze
While we’re on the subject of fans, you can create some super cooling results in your home by simply positioning a box fan across from a window, allowing any breeze outside to combine with the one coming from the fan itself. For maximum effect, set up multiple fans in each room for a full house cross-breeze you’ll love.
9. Get Inventive with Grains
If you’ve got some rice or buckwheat in your pantry, you’ve got what it takes to give you an added cooling boost at bedtime. And you don’t have to even turn on the stove! Just put some rice in a sock, tie it off, and toss it in the freezer for a couple of hours. This DIY cold compress will stay chilly for at least 30 minutes, giving you time to drift off to Dreamland. And investing about $50 will get you a first-rate buckwheat pillow, which deflects heat instead of absorbing it like typical pillows do, meaning you won’t have to worry about flipping it over to the “cool side” anymore.
10. Try Some Old-School DIY
Back in the old days, refrigerators weren’t appliances – they were just boxes to hold ice, which is why they were called iceboxes. You can take a page from the old-school book and make your very own DIY air conditioner by setting up a shallow bowl or pan in front of a fan and filling it up with ice. You’ll catch a deliciously icy breeze, and keep your comfort levels high, while allowing your energy costs to stay low.
11. Focus on Pulse Points
If you need to cool down in a hurry, your best bet is to focus on your body’s pulse points, such as the ankles, wrists, neck, elbows, and behind the knees. These areas are where you generate the most heat, and you can feel refreshed in a flash, simply by placing an ice pack on them when you’re feeling overheated.
12. Go it Alone
Sorry to tell the cuddle bugs out there, but when it comes to staying cool at bedtime, going about it solo does the trick. Spooning with your partner increases body heat for both of you, making the bed you share a pit of sweaty misery, instead of the cooling oasis you need to fall asleep and stay that way.
13. Keep Things Separate
If you don’t have the option of sleeping alone, make sure that you and your partner can keep cool heads (and every other part) during the night by sticking to your own sleeping space. Try spreading out your limbs as much as possible to cut down on body heat, and allow the air to circulate more freely while you’re in bed together, keeping you both from getting seriously sweaty.
14. Stick with Cotton Sheets
Pack away those satin or flannel sheets for another day! In the hottest months, you want to refresh your bedroom for summer by using a more breathable fabric like Egyptian cotton. Not only will cotton sheets not feel as heavy as other bed linens, they’re perfect for adding some extra ventilation while you sleep, keeping you comfortably cool.
15. Try the Egyptian Method
Speaking of the Egyptians, it’s not just their cotton that can help you to sleep better in the summer – they also had some great ways to beat the heat. With the “Egyptian method” for cool sleeping, you simply dampen a sheet or towel in chilly water and use it as a blanket. You’ll feel as if you have your own built-in AC right in bed with you! Just be sure to use a waterproof mattress pad to help prevent getting your bed soaked.
16. Suspend the Heat
If you’re living in a notoriously hot part of the world without any AC, you might want to try taking things up a notch by doing some at-home camping or setting up a hammock or cot. Sleeping al fresco in the backyard or in a camp-style bed that allows for airflow from every direction will help keep you cooler and comfier, even when temps soar and you have no central air conditioning unit to rely on.
17. Encourage Airflow in Bed
You can have an awesome AC or a foolproof plan in place for staying cool this summer, but if your mattress is making you hot, none of those efforts will do you much good! You might want to consider trading in your old innerspring mattress for the cooling feel of gel memory foam. You’ll sleep sounder than ever, thanks to the increased airflow and layers of comfort a memory foam mattress provides.
18. Keep the Tank Full
One of the best ways to keep cool in the summer is to make sure that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day. Fill up your tank with some H20 before hitting the hay, but be sure to keep it to no more than 8 ounces, if you want to avoid those irritating late-night runs for the bathroom.
19. Hit the Shower
Want to bring your core temp down before bed? Simply rinsing off in a cool shower and allowing yourself to air dry is a quick and easy way to make sure you’re feeling cool and clean before turning in for the night.
20. Keep a Low Profile
We all know that hot air rises, so you want to make sure your bed is as close to the ground as it can be, even if that means pulling your mattress down onto the floor. If you want to get the best, most undisturbed sleep possible in the summer, you need to make sure the heat that your body creates while you sleep rises up and is blown away by the AC or ceiling fan in your bedroom.
21. Pull Those Plugs
And we mean literally! All of the electronic gadgets and appliances in your home draw power that generates heat. You can save on your electric hill and keep your house cooler by unplugging any electronic devices you won’t be using while you’re asleep. As an added bonus, pulling the plug on gadgets helps you to sleep better by reducing your exposure to harmful blue light.
22. Start at the Bottom
When it comes to temperature, one of the most sensitive areas are down at the very bottom. We’re talking about your feet and ankles, of course! You can keep yourself cool by dunking your piggies in cool water before turning in for the night and making sure to keep them uncovered as you sleep.
23. Add a Touch of Rustic Charm
Both straw and bamboo have been shown to have a cooling effect and can come in mighty handy when temperatures are soaring in the summertime. Pick up a mat or wall covering made from either of these materials and use them to cover open windows while you sleep to help reduce room temps. Not only will you sleep better, you’ll add some rustic charm to any room with the addition of the natural chic these materials provide!