While the summer months mean fun vacations and time at the pool, warm summer nights can often leave you too hot to sleep. Waking up hot and sweaty in the middle of the night isn't anyone's idea of a good time. Unfortunately, keeping cool can sometimes be difficult during the summer months when temperatures soar and daylight hours last longer.
The good news is that you don't necessarily have to turn the thermostat low and blast your air conditioner to get better sleep. These tips and tricks can help you beat the heat and get the high-quality sleep you need.
1. Cool Your Head and Feet
We lose most of our body heat through our head and feet. In winter, that means wearing hats and gloves. During the summer, however, you want to lower your body temperature.
There are numerous ways you can do this: You can soak your feet in cold water for 10 minutes before sleeping or wet your hair with water before bed. Or, you can do both by taking a cool or lukewarm shower before bed. Not only does the shower lower your body's core temperature (which helps you feel ready for sleep), but it leaves the skin moist. As the excess moisture from your shower evaporates, it provides a cooling effect that helps you conk out for the night.
2. Choose Breathable Fabrics
Nothing can trigger a sleepless night like stuffy bed sheets that trap heat and stick to your body. When it comes to choosing bed sheets in a summer heatwave, breathability is an absolute must. Avoid fabrics such as silk, which come with high thread counts. Cooling bed sheet alternatives such as bamboo, Egyptian cotton, and linen are less likely to trap heat. Additionally, look for a cooling weighted blanket that uses glass bead filling to avoid trapping heat.
You should take a similar approach when choosing a pair of pajamas. Light-colored and breathable clothing will prevent sweat from gluing you to the sheets, allowing you to catch some much-needed shut-eye. Of course, some people will even snooze in the buff to avoid overheating. If this helps when you're too hot to sleep, who are we to judge?
3. The ‘Egyptian Method’
The Egyptians knew a thing or two about how to sleep despite the heat. To try the Egyptian cooling method, wet a sheet or bath towel with cool water until it is damp (but not dripping). If your towel is completely soaked, you’ll get your pillows and mattress wet too. Wring the towel or sheet over a sink before placing it over you so it is only somewhat damp.
Place a dry towel or sheet can be placed underneath your body and use the damp sheet as a blanket, helping you stay cool. Turn on your ceiling fan to feel even cooler as the circulating air wicks moisture away from your body. The air circulation will gradually dry out the sheets, ensuring that damp conditions don’t accidentally lead to mold growth.
4. Use Air Flow
If air conditioning is not an option, it can be difficult to get comfortable on a hot night. Fans are a great way of generating a cool air flow throughout the room. During the summer months, box fans are widely available at most drug stores and grocery stores. Try opening multiple windows or doors to help the fan draw fresh air into the room and create better airflow.
Another useful trick to get the most out of your bedroom fan is to place a container of ice cubes or a glass of water in front of a fan. Just make sure the ice is contained so you don’t get melted water on the floor. When the air blows over the ice, it will provide a cooling effect that will hopefully help you fall asleep with minimal tossing and turning.
5. Get Low
It’s a well-known fact: Hot air rises. During extreme heat waves, the difference between sleep deprivation and a restful night could be determined by how close to the ground you are. Avoid elevated sleeping locations such as hammocks or the top of a bunk bed. Loft bedrooms are also a no-go area, and if you live in a two-story house, it may be worthwhile to temporarily relocate to the ground floor to beat the heat. Even moving your mattress onto the floor could help you feel less hot during the night.
6. Block the Light
If the summer heat isn’t enough to make falling asleep a challenge, the extra hours of daylight only make matters worse. At this time of the year in Canada, the sun rises at approximately 6:30 a.m. and doesn't set until 10 p.m.
The extended sunlight disrupts our circadian rhythm by delaying our body's ability to receive the sleep-inducing signals we typically rely on. Combine this with the disruption created by sunlight creeping in through the curtains early in the morning, and the effects can be disastrous on your sleep schedule.
Luckily, blackout curtains are an easy addition to your sleep environment that keep sunlight out of your room. A blackout eye mask can be even more effective, blocking outside light to restore your body's melatonin production.
7. Adjust Your Diet
If you’re consistently too hot to sleep during the summer months, you should avoid certain foods and meals. Summer is not the season for heavy roast dinners or overly spicy dishes, as digesting these foods can increase your body temperature and make it even harder to fall asleep.
To avoid increasing your body's internal temperature, stick to light, room-temperature dishes such as salads made from vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Noodles are a great addition to add new textures to a salad. Better yet, by eating these "cool" foods, you'll avoid using the oven, which can quickly heat up your home and drive up your energy bills.
8. Try Some Solo Sleep
While a snuggle buddy is ideal during the winter months, sharing a bed during the summer will inevitably lead to the transfer of your partner's body heat. Sleeping alone will provide the space you need to spread out and stay cool. You won't have to put up with any snoring, either!
If you want to make the most out of sleeping solo, the spread eagle position is best for staying cool. By spreading your arms and legs far apart from each other, air can better circulate around your limbs so you don't wake up feeling hot and sweaty.
9. Cool Your Pulse Points
Reducing your overall body temperature has been proven to help induce sleep. Your body's pulse points (places where you can easily feel your pulse because arteries are closer to the skin) are especially sensitive to changes in temperature. Cooling these areas can quickly cool the rest of the body.
If an icy cold shower doesn't sound like fun (totally understandable), try applying ice packs, cool compresses, or a cold wash rag to your pulse point areas. The wrists and neck are the most obvious pulse points, but don’t be afraid to try the insides of your elbows and knees. The ice or cold water will chill the body’s blood vessels, lowering your overall body temperature as blood flows to the rest of the body. Doing this for a few minutes before bedtime will help you cool off and feel ready for bed.
10. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential at all times, but many of us may overlook how drinking enough water can affect sleep quality. Tossing and turning can cause you to sweat and lose body moisture. Because you aren’t drinking water while asleep, you naturally get somewhat dehydrated over the course of the night.
When this is combined with extra sweating on a hot night, the need for drinking water before sleeping is obvious. Feeling parched is likely to wake you up, and dehydration can easily cause headaches and other pains that keep you from falling asleep. Just don't drink too much water, or you might need to wake up to go to the bathroom later.
Too Hot to Sleep? Stay Cool With Hush Blankets
If you’re feeling too hot to sleep, switching out your blankets could be the solution you need. Our Hush Iced 2.0 Weighted Blanket is perfect for hot sleepers. Its breathable cover is made from 100% viscose bamboo, while the inner weighted blanket uses microfiber and non-toxic glass sand that won't trap the heat. When paired with our Iced 2.0 Sheets, it's the perfect way to get a good night's sleep even when the temperatures soar.
When you sleep well, you can enjoy your summer so much more. Our cooling blankets and sheets are here to help you stay cool during the night. Combine them with your favorite tricks from this list, and you'll never have to suffer from hot summer nights again.