I don’t know about you, but these hot summer nights are not great for my sleep.
While summer might bring sunny days, beach outings, and picnics, it also means challenges when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. As temperatures soar, falling and staying asleep can become elusive. The discomfort caused by the sweltering heat can make us toss and turn, leaving us drained and fatigued the next day. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do to improve sleep, even in the heat of summer.
Here are 13 Cool Sleep Tips to Beat the Summer Heat
1. Optimize Your Sleep Environment
Create a sleep-conducive atmosphere by keeping your bedroom dark. Use blackout curtains to block out the sun's rays during the day and open windows in the evening to promote natural airflow. A fan (or if necessary, an air conditioner) can be your best friend on those unbearable nights, helping you maintain a comfortable temperature for better sleep.
2. Choose Lightweight Bedding
Swap out heavy blankets and thick comforters for lightweight, breathable bedding made from natural materials like cotton or bamboo. These fabrics wick away moisture and allow proper ventilation, preventing you from feeling trapped in a stifling cocoon.
3. Embrace Cool Showers
While a warm bath can be relaxing, in the heat of summer, try taking a refreshing cool shower before bedtime. The shower can help you feel fresh and transition into a restful state.
4. Hydration and Temperature Regulation
Stay hydrated throughout the day but, of course, be mindful of your fluid intake closer to bedtime. Limiting liquids before sleep will reduce the likelihood of nighttime awakenings to use the bathroom. Also, consider placing a cool damp towel or a gel pack in the freezer and placing it on your pulse points (wrists, neck, ankles) before bedtime to help regulate your body temperature.
5. Cool down your clothes - and your body
Sit in wet clothes in front of fan or air conditioner to cool down as much as possible before getting into bed to give yourself a better chance of falling asleep sooner than later.
6. Sleep with Damp Sheets
For a natural and budget-friendly alternative to air conditioning, lightly dampen your bed sheets with cool water and enjoy the evaporative cooling effect as you drift off to sleep. Just ensure your mattress is protected with a waterproof cover.
7. Take a wet towel to bed with you
Drape it over your neck to help you feel comfortable enough to fall asleep - or return to sleep in the night. Be sure to use a waterproof pad (such as a soaker pad) under your pillow area to avoid wetting the mattress. Keep a plastic bag on hand in case you want to remove it from your neck in the night. These last 2 tips can help make a fan feel a lot more powerful!
8. Use a cooling pad
They don’t stay cool as they absorb your body heat (yay!), but if you have more than one, you can turn over onto the cool one when the heat wakes you up, giving you a better chance of falling back to sleep. There are some nice big ones made for pets, but they work great for us humans too.
9. Time Your Exercise
Exercise is beneficial, but it can increase your body temperature, making it harder to fall asleep in summer heat. Schedule your workouts during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to avoid disrupting your sleep cycle.
10. Sleep in the basement (if you have one)
If you live in a multi-story home, consider sleeping on a lower floor during hot summer months. Heat tends to rise, so the upper levels are generally warmer. Sleeping on a lower level may offer a cooler sleeping environment.
11. Create DIY Air Conditioning for Cool Sleep
Position a shallow bowl of ice or frozen water bottles in front of your fan to circulate cooler air throughout your bedroom. This simple hack can help create a makeshift air conditioning effect without the high energy costs.
12. Sleep Alone
Sharing a bed can generate extra body heat, making the room feel warmer. If possible, consider sleeping solo during hot nights or opt for separate sheets and blankets to reduce heat transfer. This doesn't have to mean a permanent "sleep divorce". Think of it as just one of 13 cool sleep tips to beat the summer heat.
13. Mind Your Diet
Lastly, be mindful of your diet. Avoid spicy foods too close to bedtime, as they can increase metabolic heat and cause discomfort during sleep. Instead, opt for light, refreshing meals that won't burden your digestive system.
Sleeping well in summer heat may not be perfect (who says sleep must be perfect every night?), but with the right strategies and adjustments, you can improve your chances for a restful and rejuvenating slumber. By optimizing your sleep environment, choosing the right bedding, and incorporating these tips into your routine, you'll be better equipped to beat the heat and enjoy the season to the fullest!
Looking for more help to get your sleep back on track? Send me a message to join the waitlist for one-on-one CBT-I or our new therapist-guided digital CBT-I program. Or get started right away by signing up for my online self-paced program on Effective Natural Strategies for Chronic Insomnia.
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