If you’re wondering how to sleep when it’s hot at night, you’re in the right place with our tips on how to cool your bedroom and cool down yourself quickly. Warmer weather makes it difficult to fall asleep as your body temperature is raised. So lowering your temperature before bed, in addition to cooling your room, is vital.
If you’re struggling right now and want an easy win, place a freezer block under one of your armpits. This lowers your temperature, so you won’t feel so uncomfortably warm. The icy sting of the freezer block against your skin is also super-refreshing.
Learning how to sleep when it’s hot at night is especially important if you’re a ‘hot sleeper’, or if you're dealing with any hot flashes (flushes) or sweats. Sleeping on the best cooling mattress (opens in new tab) is your friend here, as these are purposefully designed to boost airflow and keep you cool as you snooze.
Another top tip for how to sleep when it’s hot at night: switch rooms. We know you love your comfy bed, but you may find that another room in your house is cooler at night, and therefore easier to sleep in during hot weather.
Top 10 tips for how to sleep when it’s hot at night
1. Close your bedroom drapes when the sun is at its highest to prevent heat build-up
2. Avoid exercising in the three hours before bed as this can raise your temperature
3. Don’t eat a heavy meal before bed, as this can also increase your temperature
4. Sip ice water throughout the evening to lower your body temperature
5. Take a cool shower with mint soap just before bed to feel fresher for sleep
6. Keep your upstairs windows and bedroom doors open to create a cross-breeze
7. Ditch your comforter in favor of a light, breathable bed sheet
8. Consider sleeping in a different room - downstairs might be cooler for you
9. No AC? Place a fan near your bed to trick your body into feeling cool
10. If you feel comfortable doing so, sleeping naked can help prevent overheating
How to cool your bedroom during a heatwave
When figuring out how to sleep when it's hot at night, our biggest tip is to close your bedroom blinds and drapes earlier in the day, before the sun is at its strongest. This stops heat from building up in your bedroom and turning it into a giant oven.
Once the sun has disappeared and the temperature is dropping again, open your blinds, drapes and windows to get fresh, cooler air flowing in.
Choose lightweight bedding
When it’s hot at night, the last thing you need to be battling is a higher tog comforter. Instead, opt for a light and breathable bed sheet. Keep it at the bottom of your bed when going to sleep, then when the temperature drops during the early hours of the morning, you’ll have a breathable layer to cover yourself with.
Cool your bed pillow
Also ensure you have the best pillow (opens in new tab) for keeping you cool as you sleep. Purple is one of the best brands for breathable bed pillows, and they’re often on sale among the best Purple mattress deals (opens in new tab). The Purple Harmony Pillow (opens in new tab) is our top pick for enhanced airflow, but there are plenty of cooling pillows you could try too.
Some people also swear by freezing their pillowcase and popping it on their pillow just before sleep. We've experimented with putting a freezer block in our pillow in the past to mixed success. It worked, but our pillow felt pretty soggy come morning.
Use an air conditioner or tower fan
If you have the budget, investing in the best central air conditioner (opens in new tab) will help you sleep better when it’s hot, as AC keeps your home at a cooler, more comfortable temperature consistently.
If you don’t have central air con but you own a tower fan (opens in new tab) or smaller oscillating fan, you could trick your body into feeling cooler by positioning the fan near your bed. This doesn’t add cold air to the bedroom, but feeling that air flow helps sweat to evaporate on your skin, which in turn tricks you into feeling a little chillier.
How to make a fan work harder
Place freezer blocks (or a bowl of ice water) on a tray in front of the fan. The fan will then blow chilled air directly off the freezer blocks, while the tray is there to catch water when the blocks start thawing out in the heat.
People also have success when placing the freezer blocks behind the fan, as the fan pulls the cooler air coming off the blocks, then pushes that air out into the room. Experiment to see what works best with your fan.
If there's a breeze outside, try safely positioning your table top oscillating fan near a window to blow cooler air into the room. You may need to fasten or tie the fan to another object in your room to ensure it's secure.
How to sleep when it’s hot at night: Tips for cooling yourself down
Drink ice water and take a cool shower before bed
The easiest tip here is to sip ice water throughout the evening. This naturally lowers your body temperature, so you’re cooler going to sleep. Double-down on this effect by having a lukewarm or cold shower just before slipping into bed.
Our top tip here is to use mint soap or shower gel. Mint is naturally refreshing and has a lasting tingling effect on your skin that will trick your body further into feeling cool. Combined with a fan placed nearby, this feels pretty wonderful during hot, sticky nights.
Use cold cloths and ice blocks
Pop a face cloth in the freezer for a few hours before bed, then place it on your forehead when you're lying in bed. Ice packs placed under your armpits for short periods are another way to instantly lower your body temperature if you’re struggling with the heat. Again, have a tray nearby to pop them on once you’re done using them, otherwise you'll end up with soggy sheets.
Ditch your PJs
Sleeping with minimal clothing on is another trick for learning how to sleep when it’s hot at night. Choose breathable clothing fabrics such as bamboo or Tencel, or ditch the lot and sleep naked. We won’t tell anyone!
What makes your sleep worse during a heatwave?
What you don’t do in the three hours before bed can make just as big an impact when it comes to learning how to sleep when it's hot at night. When we spoke to James Wilson, a Sleep Behavior and Environment expert, about how to sleep better (opens in new tab), his advice was to avoid doing anything that raises your body temperature before bed, as this makes getting to sleep trickier.
Don't exercise or eat a heavy meal close to bedtime
According to Wilson, eating a big meal within the three hours before bed means that your body is focused on digestion, not sleep. Also, intense exercise just before bed gets your blood and adrenaline pumping, which stimulates rather than relaxes you.
Focus on relaxing, and not worrying about the heat
Ultimately, try not to dwell on how the heat might be affecting your sleep, as that will only make it worse. Focus instead on cooling down your bedroom and yourself, and trying to feel as relaxed as possible before bedtime.
We’d suggest firing up one of the best meditation apps (opens in new tab) with sleep sounds. Remember, the heatwave won't last forever, and we are built to withstand short periods of sleep disturbances, so healthy, happy sleep will be yours again very soon.
Top 5 products to help you sleep when it's hot
Therapedic Polar Nights Cooling Ice Cube Mattress Topper | From $119.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond (opens in new tab)
If you don’t want to upgrade to a cooling mattress, make your existing one cooler with this 10x cooling bed topper. It’s designed to pull in body heat then quickly get rid of it.