Sleeping in the heat

Tips to Sleep Better on Hot Summer Nights

Tips to Sleep Better on Hot Summer Nights

Time to start freezing your sheets
Sleeping in the heat

We love to talk about the perks of summer: longer days, sunshine, vacations to our favorite beach towns… It’s all great. But the season also has its pitfalls, too, like insufferable heat and humidity — especially when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.

The tossing and turning, the sweat and the lack of satisfying sleep can turn even the biggest supporters against their beloved summer. Not everyone can afford an air conditioner, and some people just don’t like them. So here are some ways to keep cool on those hot summer nights so that you don’t have to make the move all the way to Antarctica.

Bet on the right bedding

Cotton is key when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep in the heat. Make sure you have breathable, light-colored sheets and store your satin away for another day. You may not have the money to splurge on an air conditioner, but another option is a mattress cooling pad for around $100.

Check your ceiling fans

Finding some relief from the heat could be as easy as checking the ceiling fan if you have one. Ceiling fans should be turning counterclockwise in warmer months to blow the cooler air straight down. The powerful blades provide a breezy air stream that is welcomed after a long day.

Ditch the hot dinners

While you might find yourself craving a casserole, using your oven and stove could add unwanted warmth to the house when you’re trying to keep it cool. You’re going to have to ditch the mac and cheese for summertime salad recipes, slow cooker dinners and no-bake desserts until the temps drop. The best option of all, of course, would be grilling outside.

Drink lots of water

A hot night usually also means a sweaty night for the no-AC sleepers. Sweat is the body’s natural way of cooling us down, and it’s important to drink enough water and be hydrated for it to work properly. That glass of water before bed will help you to not feel dehydrated in the morning, as well as keep your internal AC cranking. 

Drop it low

This probably isn’t the first time you’re hearing that heat rises. Choose to sleep on a lower level of the house during extra-hot nights if you can. If not, try sleeping on the floor to get a little relief.

Have a fan strategy


If you’re a fan of fans, you have a few options. First you can try facing your box fan out the window, not in. This will push the hot air out to make way for peaceful slumber. You can also try to create a crosswind. Do so by positioning a fan across from a window, or get fancy with multiple air circulators in different directions.

Fashion a DIY AC

This one sounds a little crazy, but it’s worth a try if it keeps you cool at night, right? Fill a shallow pan or bowl with ice and place it in front of a fan. As the ice melts, the fan will blow the cold mist your way. Another thing blowing away? High electricity bills.

Freeze your sheets

We’ve all opened the freezer door and stood in front of it to try to cool off in a heat wave. Well, now it’s time to take that one step further: frozen sheets. This is another wild idea, but bagging up your sheets and putting them in the freezer for a few hours before you get into bed will offer the icy cool-down you needed all day. If that feels too weird, bring a freezer pack or frozen water bottle into bed with you. It won’t feel as silly when you’re cool as a cucumber.

Hit the showers

It sounds counterproductive, but get nice and clean before bed with a cool or warm shower. The instinct is going to be to hop into a freezing-cold shower to drop your body temp, but it may have an adverse effect by putting your body into warm-up mode. It may feel good in the moment, but it’s not going to solve the core issue that is, well, your core. A cool or warm shower will get your blood flowing to help with heat loss in the long run.

Keep it dark

Waking up to the light of day is a lovely sentiment — when it’s not 100 degrees out. If you like to let the light in while you are getting ready for the day, that’s OK, but close the blinds or curtains before you leave the house. This will help block some sunlight that would heat the house or apartment up while you’re away.

Keep your distance

Sorry lovebirds, it’s probably best to cut the cuddling in a scorcher. You’re going to want to say, “Bye-bye, body heat, see you in the fall.” The same should probably go for furry friends who like to sleep in bed with you — that’s just an added heater.

Wear the right pajamas


We know how much you love your favorite pajama pants, but they may be causing your overheating problems at night. The opposite end of the spectrum — your, ahem, birthday suit — is also not the best option, though. Light, loose, airy pajamas will be breathable, and will also be able to absorb a little excess perspiration. Washing your new PJs will be a lot easier than washing your sheets every day.

Pick the right position

OK, so you've already exiled your partner and pets to the couch. Now you're able to live out your wildest dreams of hogging the bed. Spreading out will help the air from your homemade AC or crosswind circulate properly around your body. This will lead you into a deep sleep in which you can visit some of the world's most colorful beaches in your dreams.

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