Even overnight, summertime temperatures can stay too high to ensure high-quality sleep. Experts say the ideal sleeping temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius), give or take a few notches depending on the person.
If you don’t have air conditioning it can be tough to achieve that, even with open windows. Sure, you could go out and purchase a portable AC unit. But if it’s not in the budget — or if you’re merely trying to sleep through an out-of-the-ordinary heat wave — we’ve got some other ideas.
Instead of suffering through the heat, consider the 10 tips below to help you sleep cooler and more comfortably without relying on air conditioning. And while you’re at it, check out these additional tips for sleeping during a heat wave, how to sleep next to a human furnace and why restful sleep is so important in the first place. Plus, the ultimate sleep hack.
Throw your socks in the freezer
Along the same lines as freezing your linens, you can also freeze your socks for cooling relief. Like your fingers, feet and toes are sensitive to temperature changes and play a role in regulating temperature. By keeping your feet cool, you help cool down the rest of your body.
Freeze your sheets and pillowcases
An hour or two before you go to bed, throw your sheets and pillowcases in the freezer. They won’t come out stiff as a board, don’t worry. However, they’ll stay icy long enough that you can easily fall asleep without feeling like you’re overheating.
Use house fans to make your own AC
Fans are much more energy-efficient and wallet-friendly than an air conditioner. They use about 1% of the electricity that AC does. So, take advantage of fans and strategically place them around your room. Place one fan next to your bedside and put a bowl of ice water in front of it. The ice will create cold air that the fan will blow towards you. Next, face a window fan outwards to blow the hot air from your bedroom outside.
Use a wet towel layer
Lay a damp towel down on your bed over your sheets to give your body some cooling relief while you fall asleep. Though, I recommend you lay a dry towel underneath the wet one to avoid soaking your mattress with water which can damage the foam in your mattress. The towel won’t stay cold for the entire night, but it should stay cool enough that you can drift off to sleep.
Don’t sleep in the nude
You may see advice on the internet suggesting that you should sleep in the nude to stay cool. That might work if you sleep cool, but it won’t do much for you if you get sweaty. If you’re hot, it’s beneficial to wear lightweight pajamas (such as cotton) that can wick the moisture away. Otherwise, your body is free to sweat all over your sheets.
Consider cooling sheets, pillows and comforters
If a mattress is out of your realm of budget, you can opt for cooling sheets or pillows for relief. Search for sheets made with breathable fabric like organic cotton, linen or bamboo. Bamboo is great at absorbing sweat and helping you stay cool, and organic cotton does a good job of wicking away moisture.
Consider a cooling mattress
There are a lot of mattresses that retain heat, especially beds made with standard memory foam. A cooling mattress can actually make a big difference in how comfortable you sleep. It can either provide extra airflow and breathability, or it can actively provide your body with a cool-to-the-touch sensation and draw heat away from you like Brooklyn Bedding Aurora.
Block out the sun and heat during the day
Prevent your bedroom from getting too hot during the daytime, especially in the summer, with blackout curtains. Not only do they keep your bedroom dark, but they can also reflect heat and stop it from entering your bedroom through the windows.
Sleep on the first level of your home
Unfortunately for people in two-story homes, hot air rises. That means the top story of your house is going to be warmer than the bottom story. So, beat the heat a little by sleeping on the bottom story of your home when you need relief from the heat.
Drink ice water before bed
Drink a significant amount of water before bed to try and counteract the night sweats. Also, avoid alcohol before bedtime as it can promote dehydration, making it more difficult for your body to regulate temperature and keep you cooler.
For more, check out our guide to natural sleep aids, the best way to take a power nap and how to train yourself to be a back sleeper (and why you should). And if all else fails, these are our picks for best portable AC units.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.