Summer heat can make it tough to sleep when you don't have an air conditioner. Here's how to get the sleep you need despite the heat!
If your bedroom is too cold, you can always add more blankets to help you sleep, but what if it's too hot? If you have a broken or unreliable air conditioner or you happen to sleep in the hottest room of your house or apartment, it may seem nearly impossible to get the room cool enough for you to get a good night's sleep. The following methods will help you sleep soundly when it's hot so you can enjoy all that summer has to offer without feeling sleep-deprived.
1. Why Is Sleeping Soundly Whens It's Hot So Hard?
There's actually a solid, scientific reason that sleeping soundly whens it's hot is almost impossible. Your body has a complex system of cues that let your brain know that it's time to sleep, and one of those cues is temperature. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your body temperature actually drops a bit as you try to fall asleep in order to prepare your body for rest. If your body is struggling to get cool enough for sleep, you'll toss and turn trying to get there.
To make matters worse, even if you do manage to fall asleep in a hot room, it negatively impacts the quality of your sleep; you only hit high-quality REM sleep when your room is cool enough for it. Experts say that "cool enough" is between 60 and 67 degrees. Even if you have a fully functioning air conditioner, however, keeping a room that cool can eat up your utility budget and use up an environmentally unfriendly amount of electricity. Fans can help bridge some of the gap, but in some cases, they may not be able to make you cool enough for comfort.
Nevertheless, people managed to sleep in the days before electricity, and you can, too. Whilst sleeping soundly whens it's hot may seem impossible, you can cool down enough to get that decent night's sleep you've been craving simply by following these top tips:
2. Keep Windows Covered During the Day
Heat seeps into your room through window glass - especially if you have direct sunlight on the window through the day. Keeping your blinds and curtains closed can trap cool air inside and prevent the hot air from sinking in. That way, when you get ready for bed at night, your room won't start out unbearably hot.
3. Use Breathable Sheets and Pillows
Cotton sheets are more breathable than flannel, polyester, or silk. By sleeping on cotton sheets, you allow more air to circulate around your body and keep you cool at night. Similarly, a pillow stuffed with buckwheat retains less heat than a traditional cotton or down pillow.
4. Use Ice Packs
Keeping an ice pack in bed with you can help you to get a better night's sleep. Try putting a hot water bottle in the freezer and sleeping with it next to your feet or under your pillow. Whilst doing so will make your bed sheets slightly damp, this will only serve to cool your further as it evaporates.
5. Take a Cool Shower
Taking a cool shower or bath just before bed will lower your body temperature, setting off the critical signal to your brain that you're getting ready to go to bed. Cool doesn't have to mean freezing; a lukewarm shower will make sleeping soundly more doable as it gets you feeling cool.
6. Unplug Technology
Appliances and electrical devices release heat when they're plugged in; this cumulative heat can make sleeping soundly even harder when it's hot. If you have a charging phone, tablet, or laptop in your bedroom, move it somewhere else so you don't have that bit of heat leaking to toward your bed.
7. Get Rid of Incandescent Light Bulbs
Another tip that will keep your room from getting too hot during the day is to use CFL or LED light bulbs instead of incandescents. Incandescents waste 90 percent of their light as heat, so every time you turn on an incandescent light, you're essentially turning on a miniature heater too.
8. Sleep Solitary
Cuddling your partner may be wonderful in cool weather, but in summer, you're lying next to a 98-degree furnace. If at all possible, sleep in separate beds so you can stay cool. If you can't manage separate beds, at least sleep on separate sides of the bed instead of spooning.
9. Spread Out
On a related note, spreading your body out allows you to disperse your body heat. If you sleep curled in a tight ball, you're holding your warm limbs close to your core; if you sprawl spread-eagle, you're letting your body's warmth dissipate.
10. Dampen Your Sheets
Ancient Egyptians used to sleep under damp towels to keep cool. Soak the towel or sheet in water, squeeze out excess moisture, and run it through your washer's spin cycle so you sleep through the night damp but not dripping.
11. Combine Fans With Moisture
The cool feeling that we get from damp clothing comes from evaporation, and fans speed up evaporation. If you're using damp sheets, you can make it even more effective by blowing a fan on yourself as well. If not, hang a damp sheet in front of your fan so it blows even cooler air on you.
12 . Or Combine Fans With Ice
Another way to maximize the efficiency of your fan is by setting up a bowl of ice water in front of it. The fan will blow chilly, misty air on you for a feeling of heavenly coolness.
13. Refrigerate Sheets and Pajamas
Sticking your sheets, pillow case and pajamas in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before bed will make them feel nice and cool when you sleep in them for the night. Don't do this for damp sheets; they'll freeze solid!
14. Get the Hot Air Out
Adjust your ceiling fan so it spins counter-clockwise, pulling the heat up and out of the room rather than simply moving the warmth around. If you have a box fan, you may be able to adjust it so it blows the hot air out the window.
15. Create a Cross Breeze
Set a fan up across from the window so the breeze and the air from the fan create a cross breeze, or set up multiple fans around the room so you have several different cross breezes. Likewise, don't pull heavy curtains at night - this will prevent cool air from coming in through the windows and will make the room feel hotter as a result. If you struggle with early morning sun, get a cotton sleep mask to help.
16. Don't Use the Stove, and Eat Light
Cooking casseroles, boiling stews, and baking cakes will make your house hotter. Grill your meals outdoors or make salads, hoagies, or other cold meals so that you don't have a stove releasing 400-degree air around your house. Your body releases more heat when it digests large, heavy meals. Smaller, lighter meals, particularly before bed, can help cool you down.
17. Go Down Low
Hot air rises. With many people sleeping in a bedroom on the first floor or in the loft, the chances are your sleeping environment is going to be unnecessarily hot when the temperature are high. If you tend to sleep upstairs, try sleeping downstairs instead!
18. Cool Your Pulse Points
Any part of your body with a pulse has vessels close to the skin, which means you can cool down your whole body by putting cool compresses on your neck, wrists, or temples. Alternatively, splash cold water onto your pulse points prior to going to bed and don't dry yourself afterwards; the evaporation process will cool your further.
19. Focus on Cooling Your Feet
Feet are loaded with pulse points and, unlike your temples, they're easy to soak in cold water. Keep ice water by your bed and dip your toes when you feel too hot to sleep.
20. Not Sleeping Soundly Whens It's Hot? Ditch the Mattress
If all else fails for sleeping soundly whens it's hot, try sleeping on something other than a mattress - they're insulated, after all. A hammock, yoga mat, or bamboo mat may be harder, but they're also cooler.