Ah, summertime. We may love the beer gardens, beach days, and barbecues, but one thing none of us enjoy is trying to sleep in these soaring temperatures. And the simple fact is, air conditioning can only help so much - if you have it at all. That’s why trying to catch some zzz’s on a sweltering summer night might require more creative solutions. We show you how to get to sleep when it’s really hot and, in turn, wake up feeling refreshed.
Why Can't I Sleep When It's Hot?
As you prepare for sleep, your metabolism naturally begins to slow down and, in doing so, your core temperature drops. That’s why so many experts recommend keeping your room temperature on the cool side (between 15 - 19 degrees celsius) to promote better sleep. During a heat wave, it can be difficult to achieve an optimal core temperature, resulting in tossing, turning, and less restorative sleep. That’s why it’s so important to stay cool when sleeping.
How To Get To Sleep When It's Really Hot
Knowing how to sleep when it's hot isn’t as obvious as it seems. The team at Zinus have done a lot of research and experiments to find practical ways to make it happen - but some might seem odd at first glance. We encourage you to give them a try - they might surprise you.
Here’s a list of 10 tips for you to try, either alone, in combination, or all together, to help you stay cool when sleeping.
Use A Cooling Mattress Or Topper
Let your bed do some of the work for you. A cooling mattress or topper with specially formulated cooling gel will help keep your core temperature lower, helping you stay cool when sleeping. This is a very worthy investment that we can’t recommend enough.
If you really want to give yourself a leg up against the heat and sleep cooler, find a mattress that is designed for warm temperatures and combine it with the other tips on this list.
Create Cross Ventilation With Windows And Doors
Opening a window is one thing, but creating a good airflow is another. By creating cross ventilation using the breeze outside, your bedroom will feel naturally cooler. To do this, locate which direction the outside wind is blowing, and open a window or door on the side of the room that will allow it to come straight in. Then, open one on the opposite side of the room. This two-window method ensures that stagnant hot air gets swept up and carried outside, leaving things comfortably cool inside.
What if there’s no breeze? Use pedestal fans to create one!
Place one fan in front of the shadiest window in the room, pointing it towards the inside. Then place another pointed towards the opposite window to carry hot air out.
If you’ve only got one window or doorway to the outside in your room, opening it on a blistering day might not be the best solution. Since cold air is lighter than hot air, it moves more freely around (and out of) a space and might escape once you crack the window. But don’t worry. If you can’t create a cross breeze, there are lots of other ways to keep cool.
It’s also important to remember that on stifling days, your home’s insulation should keep cooler air inside, so opening a window gives it an easier path to escape, which will make it easier to stay cool when sleeping.
Use CFL Or LED Light Bulbs
Believe it or not, your light bulbs could be causing your room temperatures to rise.
Incandescent bulbs give off almost all of their energy as heat (as opposed to actual light), meaning keeping the lights on all day will heat up the house and make it harder to cool things down once they go out.
Switching your lights to more energy efficient CFL or LED bulbs will help you conserve energy and eliminate excess heat. Their longer lifespan makes them well worth the extra initial expense.
When it’s especially hot outside, plan ahead for bedtime by turning your lights off a few hours prior to help you sleep cooler at night.
Block Out Light Before Bedtime
Another way to keep your room temperature low? Draw the shades and close your blinds at least 2 hours before it’s time for lights out. Again, eliminating all light sources will cool down your bedroom significantly, enabling your body to better wind down. This is a great tip when thinking about how to sleep when it's really hot.
Try A Hot Shower
On a sweltering day, a hot bath or shower might not sound too appealing, but research has shown that bathing in hot water before bed can stimulate blood flow to the hands and feet, allowing it to escape and your core temperature to come down.
We know it sounds strange, but this way of shedding heat has been known for a long time, and it acts to cool your body down whenever you get too hot, such as after exercise or intensive activities.
Being In The Right Position
Perhaps one of the simplest ways to stay cool is to sleep in a position that will allow body heat to dissipate. There are two different positions that can help you accomplish this.
In the starfish position, you lie on your back with your arms and legs spread out much like a starfish. This essentially exposes your vital organs to the open air and lets heat escape through the arms and legs.
If you prefer a side-sleeping position, or you share a bed and space is limited, the log position can also help you sleep cooler. To use it, lie on your side with your legs straight down. This will expose a greater portion of your body to the air around you, cooling you down.
Keep Your Bed Low (But Not On The Floor)
As we all know, heat rises, meaning that hot air will collect near your ceiling. Keep this in mind when considering how to sleep when it’s hot and ensuring your bed is low will help you take advantage of the coolest air your room has to offer.
However, it’s best not to put your mattress right on the floor, because this can lead to more dust mites and mould over time. Not to mention, it can be pretty difficult to get up off of the floor every morning.
For the coolest sleeping experience, you’ll want to choose a low profile bed (our Trisha Heavy Duty Bed Frame and Suzanne Metal and Wood Platform Bed Frame are great options) that’ll still allow some air to pass beneath it.
Eat A Light Dinner
A heavy meal will require more energy for your body to digest. So for dinner, make sure that you stick to a lighter meal so your body temperature can more easily come down when it’s time for sleep.
When your body has food to digest, it will take longer for your metabolism to slow down, so avoiding snacking closer to when you plan to sleep will also help.
Drink A Warm Beverage
Although it sounds counterintuitive, a cup of hot tea (caffeine-free, of course) or other warm drink before bed can help you cool off. Ingesting something hot can decrease your body’s heat retention by causing you to sweat.
Since this cooling method requires sweat evaporation, it works best in dryer climates and when you wear light and breathable clothing (or none at all, if that’s how you like to sleep).
Regulate Your Circadian Rhythm
This one takes a little more effort, but it’s well worth it.
Your circadian rhythm is what controls your body’s functions, as they relate to sleeping and waking. If they’re out of whack, it’ll be harder for you to settle down for sleep once the sun goes down and your core temperature may stay elevated past bedtime.
Luckily, you can reset it with some simple lifestyle changes like getting regular sunlight exposure and sticking to a set bedtime and waking up time. Regulating this important bodily function will help you sleep cooler and better through all seasons, summer heat waves included!
Learning How To Sleep When It’s Hot
Whether you try one or all of the tips on this list, you’ll notice an immediate improvement while trying to stay cool while sleeping. During a heatwave, it’s worth trying everything to stay cool when sleeping and have a more restful night.
If you’d like more tips on sleeping better and making the most out of your bedroom, then be sure to visit our blog and see what other tips we have to share!