Do you ever get too hot at night? Maybe you wake up covered in sweat, or you toss and turn and can’t even fall asleep because you’re so warm. Sleeping hot is not just difficult and uncomfortable, it can also mess up your sleep cycles and your body’s clock.
Your body temperature is supposed to go down at night, and that’s part of how your body knows that it’s nighttime. When your temperature can’t or won’t drop, your body can become confused and your circadian rhythms can get messed up, too.
While some mattresses can hold heat, some people will get warm at night no matter what they do. You can’t change your body’s chemistry, but you can change some things about how you sleep. These may seem like small changes, but they can go far towards making you more comfortable at night.
Sleep Under a Damp Sheet
It may sound crazy, but it’s a great way to stay cool. Take a sheet and get it good and wet. Then put it in the dryer for just a few minutes, or run it through the spin cycle in your washing machine. Don’t let it get too dry, but do make sure it’s not dripping wet. Once your sheet is right, put it over you while you’re sleeping. The dampness should help you sleep cooler.
If you don’t like the idea of having something damp right on your skin, hang your damp sheet in front of an open window or place it in front of a blowing fan. The air moving through the dampness will help cool the entire room.
Since hot air rises and cooler air sinks, the lower you can sleep, the cooler you will be. If you have access to a basement bedroom or sofa, sleeping down there will definitely be cooler than sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, or even on the main floor. Basically, get as low as you can go and sleep down there.
Sleep on the Right Pillow
It’s important to keep your head cool if you want the rest of your body to stay cool, too. That’s because brain activity generates quite a bit of heat, so if you can let that dissipate, you’ll be able to cool more effectively.
Some pillows hold more heat than others. Pillows that fold around your head tend to insulate it, holding heat in rather than letting it escape. Smaller, thinner pillows will let more air circulate, which will help your head cool down. These may not be as comfortable to sleep on, but you can get used to them over time and they go far towards helping you stay cool.
Sleep on Cooler Sheets
Some sheets will hold heat in close to your body, where it will only serve to make you warmer. Other sheets let heat escape. Try to find sheets featuring natural fibers like cotton or bamboo. If you’re still too hot at night, look for ones specially designed with cooling technology. These can be more expensive, but it’s worth it when you’re sleeping well.
Sleep with Bedding Straight Out of…the Freezer
Put your pillowcase (or even your whole pillow) and a sheet in the freezer an hour or so before you want to go to bed. When it’s time to sleep, pull them out and sleep on them cold. Sure, they’ll warm up eventually, but they should help lower your body temperature first, so you can fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
If you wake up at night hot but aren’t hot when you go to bed, save your freezer bedding until then. Put it on your bed when you wake in the night, so you can fall back to sleep and rest until morning.
Sleep After a Cool Shower
Right before you go to bed, hop into a cool shower. The colder you can stand to run the water, the cooler you will be. The shower will help lower your body temperature, and you’ll get even cooler when you get out and the water evaporates from your skin. Hop straight into bed, so you don’t have a chance to warm up before you sleep.
If you can’t take a cool shower for whatever reason, try running your hands, wrists, feet, and ankles under cool water. Your blood comes close to the surface in these areas, so it will absorb the coolness from the water. As it circulates, it will cool the rest of your body. Stay under the water for 2-3 minutes. This should give you 10-15 minutes to fall asleep before you warm back up again.
Sleep on a Cooling Mattress Topper
If nothing else works, invest in a mattress topper that will cool you. The Chilipad is one of the highest-tech options out there. It aims to keep your sleeping surface the perfect temperature, whether that means warming or cooling. There are less expensive options out there, too, that aim just to cool you down. While this can still be a significant investment, it’s worth it when you’re not roasting at night!
You don’t have to be too hot in your bed. Finding the solution or combination of solutions that’s right for you may not happen overnight, but there’s always hope. Keep trying different tactics until you find what works for you. It’s worthwhile for the health and happiness benefits you can gain when you’re sleeping well.