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How to sleep when it’s hot at night

How to sleep when it’s hot at night
(Image credit: Getty)

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 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.

How to sleep when it’s hot at night: Top tips

  • Close your bedroom curtains when the sun is highest to prevent heat build-up
  • Avoid exercising in the three hours before bed as this can raise your temperature
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before bed, as this can also increase your temperature
  • No AC? Place a fan near your bed to trick your body into feeling cool
  • Sip ice water in the evening to lower your body temperature
  • Take a cool shower just before bed to feel fresher for sleep
  • Keep your upstairs windows and doors open to create a cross-breeze
  • Ditch the comforter in favor of a light bed sheet
  • Sleep in a different room - downstairs might be cooler

How to sleep when it’s hot at night: An image showing a fan placed near an open window to boost cooler airflow into the bedroom at night

(Image credit: Getty)

How to cool your bedroom to help you sleep in the heat

When it comes to 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 prevents heat from building up in your bedroom and turning into a giant oven. 

Once the sun has disappeared and the temperature is dropping again, open your blinds, drapes and windows to get fresh 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 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 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. The Purple Harmony Pillow is our top pick for enhanced airflow.

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.

How to sleep when it’s hot at night: An image showing a cooling pillow that boosts breathability beneath your head

(Image credit: Purple)

Use an air conditioner or a tower fan
If you have the budget, investing in the best central air conditioner will help you sleep better when it’s hot, as AC keeps your home at a cooler, more comfortable temperature. A window air conditioner is a fab (and often cheaper) option if you don’t have central AC.

If you don’t have air conditioning but you do own a tower fan or smaller oscillating fan, 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 on your skin helps sweat evaporate on your skin, which in turn tricks you into feeling cooler.

How to make a fan work harder
Place freezer blocks (or a bowl of iced water) on a tray in front of the fan. The fan  will blow chilled air directly off the freezer blocks. 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 cooler 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.

How to sleep when it's hot at night: A woman sleeps next to her freezer

(Image credit: Getty)

How to sleep when it’s hot at night: Cool yourself down

Drink ice water and take a cool shower
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 cooling effect by having a lukewarm or cold shower just before slipping into bed. 

Our top tip here is to use mint shower gel when showering. 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 nights.

Use cold cloths and ice blocks
Also, pop a face cloth in the freezer for a few hours before bed, then place it on your forehead when in bed. Ice packs placed under your armpits for short periods are a great way to instantly lower your body temperature if you’re struggling. Again, have a tray nearby to pop them on once you’re done using them.

Ditch your PJs
Sleeping with minimal clothing on is another way to sleep better when it’s hot at night. Choose breathable clothing fabrics such as bamboo or Tencel, and wear as little as you feel comfortable doing. We won’t tell anyone. 

How to sleep when it’s hot at night: A woman exercises early in the day, instead of nearer to bedtime as that can cause your body temperature to rise, which isn't good for sleep

(Image credit: Getty)

How to sleep when it’s hot at night: What to avoid

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, 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 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 with sleep sounds. And if you’re dealing with anxious thoughts, learning how to manage anxiety or how to stop anxiety ruining your sleep is also worth your time.