How to Stay Cool at Night (30 Effective Tips)


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Getting the full recommended 7-8 hours of sleep is almost impossible if your bed is always soaking wet after you’ve slept a few minutes each night. Fortunately, there are lots of smart ways to stay cool at night, with most of them costing nothing!

Here are a few effective ways to stay cool at night:

  • Take a cold bath just before getting in bed.
  • Keep sunlight out during the day.
  • Ensure proper ventilation in the evening.
  • Buy an air conditioner.
  • Buy a bedroom fan.
  • Use cotton bedding.
  • Buy cotton nightwear.
  • Cool your bedding or buy cooling options.
  • Cool your pulse regions.

The article will cover all the strategies listed above in greater detail, and will also cover 20 more useful tips. Read on to learn how to keep cool while you sleep!

1. Take a cold bath before getting in bed.

This is one of the easiest ways to stay cool at night. A cold bath just before bedtime will lower your body temperature and also clear your skin of the sweat and oil that can combine to make your bed feel hotter than it really is.

If a cold shower is not practical for you, consider a warm bath. If the water is too hot, you’ll feel clean, but it will take a long time for your body temperature to get back down. However, if the weather is generally hot, you will only break into sweats a few minutes later instead of cooling down.

2. Keep sunlight out during the day.

The radiation from the sun is transformed into heat when it reaches a surface. If your bed, cushion, or blankets have been baking under the sunlight all day, the heat retained can leave you feeling very hot and uncomfortable when it is time to sleep. This is why you should ensure your bedroom windows and doors are shut during the peak of the day.

If the windows in your home are made of glass, like in most houses, you should ensure your curtains and blinds are drawn during daylight. This way, you can limit the amount of radiation coming into the room.

Is your bedroom your home office? If so, you’ll probably need to let in some natural lighting, and thus, can’t afford to keep your curtains drawn all day. In this case, you should ensure your bed, pillows, and blankets are not under the light from the sun.

3. Ensure you have proper ventilation in the evening.

Once the sun has gone down, open up your windows and doors to release the heat trapped in your room, and ensure proper ventilation.

The proper circulation of fresh air can help keep you cool when you are asleep.

4. Buy a bedroom fan.

A bedroom fan is an excellent gadget that can help you stay cool at night. If you can’t install a ceiling fan in your bedroom, you should weigh your options and buy one of these. 

There are lots of excellent options in the market today. Some of the best include the Honeywell HT-900 and the Lasko 1827. Don’t want any humming noise while sleeping? You should consider getting a Tower Fan.

Remember, fans don’t actually cool the room. The air they move over your skin cools your body temperature by causing your sweat to evaporate faster

If you want the room to get cooler, you can use the trusted ice-bucket trick. Fill a sizable bucket with water and freeze it. At bedtime, put the ice in front of the fan. This will help the air get cooler. If you want a full step-by-step guide on how to do this, read my article on How to Cool a Room With Ice

Another neat trick is to initiate an artificial cross breeze with the fan by placing it directly opposite an open window. This will help ensure better airflow into the room.

5. Buy an air conditioner.

If a bedroom fan doesn’t feel practical for you, you should consider investing in an air conditioner. 

Just like fans, there are lots of options here as well. You can choose to go with the conventional split and window units or invest in a portable option that you can drag to any part of the house you’d like to sleep in.

Some of the best portable air conditioners you should consider include the Shinco 8,000 BTU, Honeywell MN14CCS, and SereneLife 10,000 BTU.

If you already have air conditioning installed elsewhere in the home, like your living room, it may be cheaper for you to get an extra mattress and sleep there at night—at least during the hottest times of the year.

6. Use cotton bedding.

Cotton is the perfect material if you are looking for bedding that can help you stay cool at night. It is light and has sweat-wicking properties, both of which are great reasons to ensure your bedding is made of cotton.

Apart from the fact that they are generally more comfortable, quality cotton bedding can save you money in the long run as it lasts longer.

If you still feel too hot with your cotton beddings, you should consider sleeping without any covers. Whatever you do, don’t sleep under a duvet or blanket.

7. Buy cotton night wear.

Continuing on the cotton topic, you should consider ditching your velvet or silk nightwear for light cotton. You’ll feel more comfortable and less clammy even when you sweat. 

The fabric will keep your body temperature from rising too high, and it is light enough to ensure you can feel the natural air from the windows or artificial air from your fan or AC unit.

8. Sleep naked.

It sounds drastic, but it isn’t. According to this 2018 survey, you’ll be joining 58% of Americans if you do it. That figure is closer to 70% for millennials. The respondents in the survey said it helps stay cool at night and get better sleep, and there is a scientific explanation for it.

Sleeping naked can lower your body temperature as it ensures the air is directly hitting your skin. Even if you use a sheet to cover your body, sleeping without clothes is one less material getting in the way of air trying to reach your skin.

If you must sleep with clothes on, avoid tight clothing. The material will not only ramp up your body temperature, but it will also make you feel like you’re trapped hence making it harder to stay asleep.

9. Cool your bedding or buy cooling options.

This is one trick used by people living in areas that get really hot during the summer or those living in the tropics. It involves wrapping your sheets and pillows in a plastic bag and leaving them in the freezer for a while, ideally taking them out just before bedtime.

It sounds unusual, but it works. The bedding will get warm later on, but you will stay cool long enough to sleep. If this option is not practical for you, you should consider buying cooling pads, pillows, or mattresses.

For cooling pillows, you can consider Comfort Revolution, Serta Stay Cool, and Comfort Hydraluxe. For mattresses, the ViscoSoft 3 Inch is a good option. 

You can also buy cooling sheets made of bamboo and other such breathable material designed to wick sweat. Some of the options you should consider include Bampure 100%, Elegear Revolutionary, and Tafts Bamboo Sheets.

10. Cool your pulse regions.

Your pulse regions (spots in which you can feel your pulse) have a concentration of nerve endings that make them sensitive. Cooling down these areas can help you lower your general body temperature. 

To do this, get some ice packs and place them around your neck, forehead, groin, behind your knees, wrists, elbows, and ankles. You don’t need to cover all these regions. Sometimes just an icepack on your forehead is enough.

Don’t have ice packs? You can use some cold washcloths to the same effect. As these regions cool down, the lower temperature will gradually spread to the rest of your body.

11. Shake up your exercise schedule.

If you engage in evening workouts, you should ensure there’s enough time between the end of the workout and your bedtime. 

Ideally, there should be a three-hour gap in between working out and going to bed. This is because your body temperature can stay spiked long after you have finished your work out. If you go to bed too soon after the workout, you may feel your body temperature rising, even if you’ve just had a cold bath.

Exercise improves sleep, so don’t ditch it entirely. You only need to ensure you are not going to bed straight from the treadmill or from lifting weights.

12. Eat earlier, lighter dinner.

Eating the biggest meal of the day in the evening is a sure way to raise your body temperature when you are trying to sleep. 

Food digestion raises your body’s temperature, so heavier meals will leave you feeling hotter as they digest. If you eat too close to your bedtime, you will find it harder to stay cool and get quality sleep.

So, instead of having a full roast dinner an hour before bedtime, eat a light salad or small meal and ensure you have a few hours between your last meal and your bedtime. Save all your heavy meals for lunch.

13. Stay hydrated before bedtime.

Staying hydrated is a great way to ensure proper thermoregulation for your body. If your body temperature is at optimal levels, you will feel cooler at night. You should drink a cool glass of water a few minutes before bedtime. 

Also, you should consider keeping a cool bottle of water by the side just in case you wake up in the middle of the night and need to cool your body down a bit. If water doesn’t sound enticing, drink some cold natural juice. Don’t take artificial sugars as they can keep you up.

Don’t drink too much water in the hours leading up to your bedtime. This could make you get the urge to urinate too frequently. Also, avoid alcohol tea or coffee when you are about to sleep as they can dehydrate you and raise your body temperature.

14. Avoid body contact.

Do you sleep with your partner or your pet? You need to ensure there’s enough space between your bodies while on the bed. If you are used to snuggling up just before sleeping, you’ll notice that your body temperature tends to calm down when you disentangle from the cuddle.

The friction raises your body temperature because the heat generated from both bodies stays trapped. If you have a big bed, use the full width of it. If you don’t, consider sleeping in separate beds until the weather is conducive enough for cuddles.

15. Switch to a slatted bed frame.

A bed frame with slats comes with holes that can help improve temperature regulation, especially when compared to solid divan bed base options.

You can get your local carpenter to build new bed frames or buy ready-made ones.

16. Use a cool compress.

If you can’t take a cold shower, you should try using a cold compress to stay cool at night. Ice packs to the forehead work, but a frozen bottle wrapped in a towel will yield better results and still retain the ice pack advantage of keeping your beddings dry.

If you don’t have a bottle to use or ice packs, you can use the cold rice sock hack to the same effect. It involves stuffing a clean pair of socks with raw grains of rice and freezing it. Once frozen, it can serve as an ice pack. You can also freeze a gel-filled eye mask and put it on at bedtime. It won’t leak as much water as some of the other cool compress options above. 

However, it’s important you don’t sleep off with the cool compress in your hand. If it falls on the bed and melts completely, you’ll wake up in a pool.

17. Power down electronics.

Any electronics in your bedroom will produce heat, to varying degrees, of course. So, your computer, TV, lamps or overhead lights can add to the high temperature in the room. Power down electronics that don’t need to stay on, and you can lower your body temperature.

If you must keep lights on, ensure they are energy-saving LEDs. These won’t heat up as much as incandescent or halogen bulbs, and you get to save money on energy bills too!

18. Change your sleeping position.

You can stay cool at night by switching up your sleeping position. If you are used to coiling up while sleeping, consider lying on your back and spreading out your arms and legs towards the corners of your bed. 

Of course, this position only works when you’ve got the bed to yourself, but it helps ensure there is enough surface area for thermoregulation to occur. With around 50% of your body exposed to the atmospheric air in the room, you will stay cooler.

Another tip here is to consider sleeping on the floor temporarily with a smaller mattress. Heat rises from the ground up in an enclosure, so you’ll feel cooler on the floor if you have a mattress or even a properly padded blanket you can use. 

Similarly, if your bedroom is upstairs, you should consider sleeping downstairs for a while as the upper rooms tend to feel hotter. However, this solution doesn’t work if your upper rooms have better ventilation.

19. Adopt the wet towel approach.

Some call this the “Egyptian method,” but regardless of who originally owns the idea, it works. 

To use this method, get a large towel and soak it in water. Wring out the water or spin it in the washing machine to stop it from dripping. Once the towel has stopped dripping, spread it across your body as you lay down.

With proper air circulation in the room, natural or artificial, you’ll start to feel your body cooling down gradually. However, you need to ensure there’s some protection for your mattress by putting another dry towel or just some sheets beneath you.

If you don’t like the feeling of a damp towel on you, consider hanging the towel in front of an open window. You can also put it in front of a standing fan, to replicate the same results as the ice trick option described above.

20. Put a bottle of ice water next to your feet.

Just like you’d use a hot water bottle to warm yourself up during the winter, you can also use a cold water bottle to stay cool at night in hot weather. Place it next to your feet as it is super sensitive to temperature. As your feet cool, the rest of your body will gradually cool down.

Be careful with the bottle you choose. You don’t want it bursting open under the weight of your leg and leaking water onto your mattress.

21. Reduce the height of your bed.

As you saw earlier, heat rises from the ground up in an enclosed space. So, the further you are away from the floor, the hotter you’ll feel. Therefore, you should consider making your bed lower during hot weather. You can achieve this by removing the mattress from the bed frame or taking away the bed floor.

However, you need to be sure your mattress type is one that can stay directly on the floor without damage or voiding your warranty. If this step is impractical, sticking with a smaller mattress like we mentioned above may be a better idea.

22. Don’t stay under the sun too long sun during the day.

There’s nothing wrong with getting some sunlight on your skin as long as you don’t overdo it. Too much exposure to the sun will leave that slight tinge of soreness on your skin, especially when you lay on your sheets. If you’ve been under the sun a bit too much during the day, you can stay cool at night by using cooling aloe on your skin before you lie down.

Even if you don’t have a sunburn, you can use cooling aloe to refresh your skin and cool it down. Some good brands you should consider include Australian Gold, Holika Holika Aloe, and Sun Bum.

23. Don’t cook at night.

If you cook at night, you will increase your household temperature. This will make it harder for you to stay cool. The effect of the heat on your body may take a while to dissipate as well. If you must cook indoors, use the microwave. You can use the outdoor grill for any cooking you can’t do in the microwave.

24. Leave your doors open.

If you live in a house where it is okay to leave your bedroom door open, you should consider doing it. 

Anything that can help bring fresh air into the room can help you stay cool. Even if the door doesn’t lead outside directly, just cycling in the air from unoccupied rooms (say your living room) can help reduce the temperature in the room.

25. Use peppermint soap in the shower.

If you choose to go with the option of a cold shower before you retire for the night, you can improve the results even further by using peppermint soap in the shower. The feeling of the peppermint oil will linger long after you’ve had your bath, helping you to stay cool even after you’ve slept off.

You can also make a body scrub for your evening showers by combining coconut oil, Epsom salt, and a few drops of peppermint oil. This is an excellent way to make your cold showers even more refreshing.

26. Switch on the exhaust fans.

Do you have exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom? You should turn them on. Once they remove hot air from your home, you should feel a drop in the temperature.

When you’ve had the hot air sucked out, other techniques on this page will work even better.

27. Install whole house fans.

Whole house fans are no longer common in modern homes today, but you should consider installing one if you live in a generally hot environment and don’t want to pay the cost of installing (and running) air conditioning units all day.

They work like the exhaust fans in your kitchen or bathroom, except they are large and are designed to service the entire building. Once you turn on the switch, the fan will descend from the vent and suck out hot air from your home. They can get pretty noisy, though, and you really need to be sure you won’t be saving more money running air conditioning units before installing one. This is why you should talk to an HVAC expert for guidance before choosing this option.

28. Insulate your wall.

If you live in an area where your walls are always exposed to direct sunlight, you should consider adding an extra layer of insulation, especially around your bedroom. Apart from keeping the heat from the sun out, insulating your wall can also help you keep your room cooler when using air conditioning. It will keep the warmer outside air out.

Insulating your wall doesn’t only ensure you can stay cool at night; it also ensures you don’t waste money on heating during the winter.

29. Create some shade.

Sometimes the reason why you can’t stay cool at night is that your home is directly under the glare of sunlight at all times. In this situation, blocking out sun rays using window blinds and curtains may not be enough to keep your home cool. You’ll practically return to a greenhouse-like environment once you come back home.

To avoid this situation, you should consider installing some shade around your home. Some of the options available to you include awnings and pop-up canopies. You can also consider insulating your roof even further to keep the heat out. 

For the longer term, you should consider planting trees. If you are up for the gardening work it will bring, you should consider planting vines or similar wall climbers. They will give your wall another layer of protection.

With more shade protecting your house during the day, the temperature around your home will be manageable even during the hottest weather. This way, you can stay cool at night.

30. Get a medical checkup.

If you still find that you can’t stay cool after you’ve applied most of the tips above, you should consider seeing your doctor. There are many conditions that can trigger night sweats. Certain medications may also leave you feeling hotter than normal. Talking to your doctor will help uncover any illnesses you need to treat.

If there is no diagnosis, you should perhaps embrace the more expensive methods of staying cool such as buying a higher-powered air conditioning, a bigger fan, etc.

Conclusion

These are some of the best tips you’ll find to stay cool at night. If you don’t want to spend money on installations or products that can keep you cool, you can temporarily use some of the free hacks until the weather gets cooler again. You should combine multiple options for the best results.

If you decide to spend money on installations or other purchases, take the time to weigh your options to ensure you get value for money. Remember, the hot weather is temporary if you are living in a generally cool environment.

Chris Hewitt

Chris is a Texas-based freelance writer who loves the outdoors and working in his garage. When he's not enjoying the Texas sun, he can be found tinkering with all sorts of things in his workshop.

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