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Top 12 Hacks for Staying Cool and Sleeping Well in Summer Heat

Lady resting on table in front of a fan

How to keep your cool in the summer heat

The sweltering summer months can make getting a good night's sleep a challenge. With the climate changing and heat waves becoming the new “normal” 😓, I try to use air conditioning as a last resort. Here are some lower energy hacks to help you stay cool and rest well despite the heat.

(Please note: I am not affiliated with any of these products or companies and do not benefit in any way from sales. Just sharing my top 12 hacks for staying cool and sleeping well in summer heat.)

Top 12 Hacks for Staying Cool and Sleeping Well in Summer Heat

Here’s one I just heard about. It’s a vest of pockets to fill with fitted ice packs. Hot tip! If you live in the city of Vancouver and meet certain criteria such as being over age 60, you might be eligible for a free one! The City of Vancouver has partnered with Technology for Living, “the Canadian Red Cross, Vancouver Coastal Health, and C40 to distribute cooling vests as heat supports to people with disabilities and those with limited mobility” to give away 75 of these awesome cooling vests for free. It looks like you can wear it to bed. Though it won’t stay cool the whole night (1-3 hours, apparently), it might let you fall and stay asleep long enough for the temperature to drop.

From Thermapparel, the same company that sells the above cooling vests. Said to keep cool for 45 – 60 minutes.

I bought one recently and mostly love it for that 20 – 30 minutes it keeps me cooler in the summer heat. It definitely makes a difference! And only about $13. Unfortunately, it sprung a leak so I must return it. Maybe I was just unlucky. I’ll give the replacement a chance before deciding whether to delete this recommendation.

I haven’t tried this, but it came highly recommended by a colleague. Might be something to keep you cool long enough to fall asleep.

Lady sitting in front of mini portable fan on the couch

I love it! Not only do I keep it beside my bed to stay cool at night, but I carry it around from room to room in the hot days and even take it with me outside. Along with a spray bottle, it does the trick, allowing me to get some natural outdoor daylight even on some pretty hot days. (Did you know that natural outdoor light is so important for our circadian rhythms – and therefore sleep. Even sitting in the shade under a tree in an open field is approximately 50 times brighter than indoor living room light and about 16 times brighter than most bright offices.)  And this little fan stays charged for about 6 hours, almost long enough to last the night (unless you’re one of those lucky “short sleepers” who only needs 6 or less hours sleep per night. By the way, don’t fall for that myth of the 8 hours sleep. If you need less, trying to sleep longer can lead to worse sleep! But that’s a topic for another day.)

To be honest, I think this comes in the category of “worth a try.” I bought one and found the wind in my eyes to be a bit annoying. And I don’t think I’d want to sleep with it. But it does have a lot of high ratings, so it might be worth a try.

For me, it’s been a summer game-changer. It’s too bad the U.S. $ exchange rate plus shipping and import duties make it so expensive here in Canada. But I personally have found it worth every penny.

A much cheaper – if less effective – option, these pads can be helpful, even if they do warm up as they absorb your body heat. Having more than one allows you to turn over and switch to a fresh, cool pad when you wake up hot during the night, improving your chances of falling back asleep. Large ones designed for pets can work just as well for people.

9. Cool Showers

Woman splashing water on her face

While warm baths are typically better for relaxing, opting for a cool shower before bed can be more refreshing during hot weather. This not only cools you down but also helps you feel fresh and ready for a good night's sleep.

10. Cool Down Before Bed

Spend some time in wet clothes in front of a fan or air conditioner before going to bed. This method helps lower your body temperature, increasing your chances of falling asleep quickly.

11. Exercise Wisely

Regular exercise is great for overall health and sleep quality, but it can also raise your body temperature, making it harder to sleep in the heat. Plan your workouts for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening, to avoid interfering with your sleep cycle. But do avoid vigorous exercise at least 2 hours before bed as it can be sleep-disruptive.

Older woman working out with barbells

12. Cooling Socks

The US military recommends cooling socks, not only for better quality sleep, but to help combat daytime fatigue as well. Interesting.

Got any other “cool” tips to recommend? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Wishing you sweet dreams and a cool night of deep sleep all year round.


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 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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