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Beating the Heat: Tips for Staying Cool Throughout the Night

Ana Marie Schick Apr 02, 2024

How to keep cool in bed at night

It is common to feel hot while sleeping, as many people experience this on a nightly basis, drastically affecting their ability to get a great night's sleep. Are you one of them? Have you found yourself tossing and turning because of a warm room or bed, struggling to find that perfect cool spot on the bed? 

You're not alone. According to a recent study, 57% of Americans experience sleeping too hot at least occasionally. [1] Many of us have faced the challenge of trying to sleep in less-than-ideal temperatures, particularly during the warm summer months or in naturally warmer climates. 

Various factors can cause you to sleep hot at night. While sleeping in a cold room is nice, leaving the air conditioning on all night in extreme heat can become expensive.

Did You Know: The recommended temperature range is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature goes above the range, it may become difficult to fall asleep.

We are going to provide you with tips on sleeping better at night by keeping cool. We will explain the relationship between temperature, humidity, and quality and help you understand why sleeping in a cool environment is not just a matter of comfort but a necessity for deep and restorative sleep.

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Tips for Lowering Your Body Temperature Before Bed

If you tend to overheat at night, try implementing the following tips to cool down and improve your sleep quality, especially for hot sleepers and individuals who often have hot flashes.

Take a Warm Shower or Bath

A warm shower or bath can help lower your core body temperature. Although warm water initially increases body heat, it eventually triggers the body's natural cooling mechanisms. This can lead to a decrease in the body's internal temperature, which can have various benefits.

It's important to note that the water temperature should be lukewarm instead of hot or cold when taking a bath or shower. If the water is too hot, it can cause your body to overheat, leading to dehydration, dizziness, and other health issues. But, if the water is too cold, it can make your body shiver and constrict your blood vessels, harming your health.

So, to reap the benefits of a warm shower or bath, aim for a comfortable temperature that's not too hot or too cold. This can help to regulate your body's temperature and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, resulting in helping you fall asleep faster. [2]

Research shows that taking a warm shower or relaxing bath, ideally 90 minutes before bedtime, can help you fall asleep an average of 10 minutes faster than usual. [3]

Choose Lighter, Smaller Meals

It's best to avoid eating heavy meals before going to bed. Heavy meals are usually high in spices, carbohydrates, and fats, which require a lot of energy to digest. Your body is not designed to digest food while you are sleeping, and this could lead to potential weight gain, heartburn, and poor sleep.

Consider healthy meals, including salad, fish, or chicken. But if you cannot fall asleep and need a late-night snack, consider healthy options like yogurt, bananas, and almonds. These types of food can help promote better sleep. You can always choose a glass of cold water to cool down and curb hunger before bedtime.

How does alcohol affect your sleep

Avoid Alcohol Before Bedtime

Consuming alcohol before sleep not only disrupts your rest but can also lead to hot flashes and night sweats. Alcohol causes blood vessels to expand and surface near your skin, making you more prone to sweating.

Instead of drinking wine, select a sleep-enhancing drink like warm tea or milk. Check out our blog to discover ten natural drinks that can help improve your sleep quality.

Resource: Reviewing Alcohol’s Effects on Normal Sleep [4 ]

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Exercise in the Morning

When it comes to exercise, it's recommended to do it in the morning or earlier in the day. A study done by Appalachian State University followed three groups exercising at 7 am, 1 pm, or 7 pm 3 days per week. [5]

The study found that the participants who got the deepest, longest sleep exercised in the morning. If your daily routine only provides the evening to exercise, it's best 90 minutes before bedtime.

Early exercise will help your core body temperature and endorphin levels return to favorable levels for a good night's sleep. Exercising in the morning not only helps cool your body temperature but also shifts your circadian rhythm, making your body more alert in the morning and more tired in the evening.

Ceiling Fan: Counterclockwise

A ceiling fan can not only offer a cool breeze but also help cool room-temperature air. During the warmer months, your ceiling fan should be running counterclockwise. How do you know it's in the right direction?

While standing right under the fan, you should feel a breeze of cooler air. The airflow generated creates a wind-chill effect, making you "feel" cooler and helping cool the room over time, resulting in a savings of money.

Sleeping Tip: During the colder months, it's recommended to set your fan to rotate in the opposite direction: clockwise. The fan will push the air upwards so that the heat can circulate and keep you and the room warmer.

Cooking cooler in the kitchen

Cooking Strategy

We all enjoy homemade meals, but cooking indoors can increase the heat. Limiting indoor cooking time can help significantly cool down your rooms during warmer weather.

Instead of the traditional oven or stove, which can increase your kitchen's temperature, consider using alternative cooking appliances like instant pots, crockpots, or even your outdoor grill. Not only do these methods keep your home cooler, but they also add a creative twist to your daily cooking routine.

Window Blinds and Blackout Curtains

Improving the effectiveness of windows, such as including blinds and blackout curtains, can significantly affect your room's temperature, particularly during the hotter months.

Keep your curtains shut, as windows can let in about 25% of the summer heat. During the day, reduce heat exposure by closing window blinds or curtains to reflect and reduce heat radiating through windows.

This simple yet effective measure not only keeps your bedroom cooler but also contributes to energy efficiency by lessening the reliance on air conditioning.

Cube sleep system; bed cooling system

Invest in a Cooling Mattress Pad

If you sleep hot and wake up from sweating during the night, you may want to explore cooling mattress pads. When you sleep hot, your bodies release heat into the bedding and mattress.

Manipulating core body temperature allows quick access to uninterrupted, deep sleep, which enhances overall health and wellness.

At sleepme, we offer two different bed cooling systems: the Chilipad Dock Pro, the best cooling mattress pad and Chilipad Cube, the original cooling pad. If you're not sure which cooling technology is best for you, you can easily compare each system.

Find The Perfect Spot For Your Bed

Enhancing your sleep quality involves more than just a comfortable bed; it's also about where you place it. For a cooler night's sleep, position your bed away from windows and in less sun-exposed areas of the bedroom.

Since hot air rises, if more heat and your bedroom is on the second or third floor of your house, consider moving to a lower level for a cooler environment.

Flip To The Cool Side Of The Pillow

Have trouble finding a pillow that stays cool? We know there's nothing worse than waking up to a hot pillow. When it comes to cooling your pillow, you have a few options.

  • Flip the pillowcase throughout the evening
  • Purchase cooling pillowcases

Having a cooling pillow can be a game-changer. They offer ventilation holes throughout the memory foam pillow to help improve airflow, creating your pillow to be nice and cold.

Freeze the Sheets

It's time to upgrade your bed sheets. Cool bedsheets also help you sleep better during the summer months. Some recommend freezing your bedding for immediate cooling relief when you're getting ready for bed.

Although the sheets won't stay cool for an entire night, they'll at least stay cool during the first 30 - 40 minutes when you're trying to fall asleep.

Did You Know: Silk sheets are recommended for people who tend to sleep warm or who experience night sweats or hot flashes.

Improve Your Sleepwear

The clothing that you select can play a role in body temperature. The secret to staying cool is the fabric you wear. Choosing the right type of clothing materials can help you stay cold sleeping. Shop for loose-fitting cotton, moisture-wicking, silk, or bamboo-based clothing. They tend to be more breathable than other materials.

Freeze a Washcloth

One of the most common places people sweat is on their head and face, so keeping this area cool is important. As we've discussed, sweating can make it difficult to fall asleep as it causes discomfort.

Similar to freezing your sheets, another effective way to keep your head and face cool is by using a cold compress. You can freeze a washcloth for a few hours before bed. Once frozen, wrap the washcloth around your forehead, temples, or any other warm area of your face. Hold it in place for a few minutes to allow the coolness to seep into your skin.

You can repeat this process until you feel comfortable in warmer conditions to help you fall asleep.

Change Your Sleeping Position

Your sleeping position has a significant impact on your body temperature. If you often sleep on your back or snuggle with your partner, it might be time to reconsider your sleeping position. As mattresses tend to retain body heat, it is advisable to sleep on your side. The fewer body parts that come into contact with the mattress, the better.

If sleeping with a partner, it is best to avoid direct contact throughout the night. The transfer of body heat can make you both feel too warm and uncomfortable. To stay cool, try sleeping in a "starfish" position with your arms and legs spread out to the bed's four corners.

Final Thought

Whether it's modifying your bedtime routine, adjusting your room setup, or choosing the right sleepwear, each step you take towards a cooler night can vastly improve your sleep quality. Try out the tips above to transform restless, hot nights into peaceful, cool sleep.

Citations/References

[1] Inc, Gallup. “Sleep Temperature Linked to Overall Sleep Quality, Wellbeing.” Gallup.com, 21 June 2023, View Resource

[2] Sung, E. J., & Tochihara, Y. (2000). Effects of bathing and hot footbath on sleep in winter. Journal of physiological anthropology and applied human science, 19(1), 21–27. View Study

[3] Haghayegh, S., Khoshnevis, S., Smolensky, M. H., Diller, K. R., & Castriotta, R. J. (2019). Before-bedtime passive body heating by warm shower or bath to improve sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 46, 124–135. View Study

[4] Reviewing alcohol’s effects on normal sleep. (2013). ScienceDaily. View Resource

[5] Fairbrother, K. R. (n.d.). The effects of aerobic exercise timing on sleep architecture. Libres.uncg.edu. View Resource

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