10 tips for sleeping when it’s hot at night

Top 10 tips for 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

  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.

Top 10 tips for 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 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-up 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 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, 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 this morning.

Top 10 tips for 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 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 consistently.

If you don’t have a central air-con but you own a tower fan or a 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 airflow 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 and 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 tabletop 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.

Top 10 tips for how to sleep when it’s hot at night: A woman sleeps next to her freezer

(Image credit: Getty)

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!

Top 10 tips for 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)

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, 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 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

Ice Pack Bricks| $12.99 (for five) at Amazon

Ice Pack Bricks | $12.99 (for five) at Amazon
Slim and light, these ice bricks can be nestled under your arms to help you instantly feel cooler if you’re struggling with the heat. Wipe ’em down after use then refreeze for the next night.

Gel Cooling Pillow | From $40 at Allswell

Gel Cooling Pillow | From $40 at Allswell
Keep your cool in bed with this comfy pillow infused with a layer of cooling gel placed close to the surface of the pillow. This should transfer away heat, keeping it cool to the touch.

Therapedic Polar Nights Cooling Ice Cube Mattress Topper | From $119.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond

Therapedic Polar Nights Cooling Ice Cube Mattress Topper | From $119.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond
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 and then quickly get rid of it.

Lasko 20” Air Circulator Fan | $29.94 at Walmart

Lasko 20” Air Circulator Fan | $29.94 at Walmart
Trick your body into feeling cooler with this compact bedside fan. It has three speeds and a pivoting head, so it can direct airflow to where you need it the most.

Purple Original Mattress| From $599 at Purple

Purple Original Mattress | From $599 at Purple
Need a new mattress anyway? 2,800 open-air channels will be working hard here to keep you cool during the night, drawing away excess heat so you won’t overheat. It’s great for relieving pressure on your back, too.

Claire Davies

Claire is Health and Wellness Editor at Top Ten Reviews and covers all aspects of health, wellbeing and personal care. With over 17 years' experience as a qualified journalist, writer and editor, Claire has worked across some of Future's most prestigious, market-leading brands. Due to past struggles with insomnia, she is particularly passionate about the role quality sleep plays in our physical and mental health, and loves helping readers to sleep better. Claire is always keen to hear from brands regarding products and services that can help readers feel healthy, happy and empowered.