Whenever summer rolls around, your sleep can take a hit because of the increased temperatures and humidity.
So, how do you stay cool at night to ensure a better sleep?
There are more ways than sleeping with a window open, throwing the blankets off, or plugging in a fan. Some of our suggestions may be considered a little strange, but they do work!
The Mill Shop has picked out 10 of the best ways to stay cool at night throughout summer and prevent you from losing sleep. We’ll also discuss how curtains and blinds can play a part in keeping your home and bedroom cool.
Read on to find out the best ways to stay cool at night and sleep better during summer with The Mill Shop…
1. Close your blinds and curtains
This is something you should do during the daytime when temperatures are highest and the sun is shining. This is something you will often see when you go abroad to warm climates. Keeping the sunlight out of your bedroom will help keep your sleeping area cool, even on very hot days. Draw the curtains or blinds in the morning and do not open them until you go to bed or the sunsets.
Blackout curtains, which are designed to block all outside light, are particularly effective at keeping your bedrooms cool in the summer and insulating them against the cold in cooler seasons. Blinds will do the same thing, and in some homes, you may have both - blinds behind curtains.
2. Improve your bedding
Bedding is another key area to remove heat by making it as light as you can, aside from throwing off your duvet.
You should invest in the highest quality natural bedding, such as cotton or linen, that you can afford. Sleep only with a sheet covering you instead of thicker bedding like duvets, but keep a blanket close by should the temperatures drop and you haven’t got other bedding around.
The material you sleep on and have covering you can make a huge difference to how cool you feel at night and how easily you fall asleep. Investing in quality bedding will also mean it lasts longer, which is better for the environment than low-quality bedding which is often thrown away.
3. Open windows in the evening
Once the temperature drops and the sunsets or is going down, open the windows to allow cooler air to flow into your house and bedroom.
If you have an attic or loft that’s easily accessible, open any windows or hatches to allow rising heat to escape. You should do the same for every room you have upstairs to ensure as much heat escapes as possible. Then, try and get a cross breeze to keep air flowing around your bedroom.
Depending on your floor and window, one experiment worth trying is to hang a cool wet sheet by the window to see if any air blowing in can be made a little cooler. This won’t work for every room though.
4. Wear the right clothing
As with your bedding, you also should also wear lightweight natural clothing when going to bed in warm temperatures.
Some people prefer wearing pajamas to bed, while others prefer to wear as little as possible to be more comfortable. Choose whatever the best sleeping attire that works for you but thick, insulating clothes can increase your body temperature and cause you to overheat in bed - not what you want in summer.
Instead, wear lightweight and natural cotton nightwear. This is actually better than wearing nothing at all, as natural fabrics will absorb any perspiration while being breathable. Make sure the clothing is as loose as possible to encourage heat to escape through the fabric.
5. Don’t exercise close to bedtime
Some of us prefer to exercise and work out in the evening but if you do this close to bedtime, you’ll still feel too hot before sleeping.
Exercise is beneficial to your sleep but it can take a long time for your body to return to its normal temperature afterwards, hours in some cases. Although exercise expends energy and helps you feel more tired in the evening, it will cause your temperature to spike.
This will make it much more difficult to fall asleep as soon as you’d like. However, the positive effect of exercise on sleep, even if you have to go to bed feeling warmer than you’d ideally like to be, is a good trade-off. There are steps you can take to cool down to offset the warmth from exercising.
6. Cool shower or warm bath
If you’ve gotten warm and sweaty during the day, a cool shower or warm bath will freshen you up and cool you down before bed.
Taking a warm shower or bath before bed can lower your core body temperature, not keep you warm as some may think. While your body temperature will initially rise in the shower, once you get out your body will begin to cool down. On top of that, taking a warm bath or shower can also help you fall asleep faster.
However, you need to make sure you’re taking a lukewarm shower as opposed to a cold or hot one. Hot showers can heat up your bathroom and cause warmth to rise around your home, while cold showers can have a stimulating effect, making it harder to fall asleep.
7. Frozen water bottle or cloth
Freezing items can help you cool down while falling asleep, such as a hot water bottle, washcloth or even a pillow.
One of the most common places we all sweat is on our head and face, so it’s important to keep this area cool. You can do that by freezing a washcloth before bed and placing it on your forehead when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Along with a washcloth, place a water bottle in the freezer and let it freeze. Then, take it out before bed and use it as a cold compress to help to lower the temperature in a certain part of the body. You can use it to cool off your face and neck, or you can place it around your bed to cool it down.
8. Sleep alone or have a gap between your partner
If you have a partner, we aren’t saying you should separate in the summer for a better night’s sleep, but ensure there’s a gap.
It makes sense if you have an extra bed to utilise at the peak of summer or keep a gap when sharing the same bed. The extra body temperature from both of you can severely hamper your chances of getting a solid night’s sleep. You could also use separate bedding to avoid sharing one cover.
If you own a dog or cat, and as much as some people might like sleeping with their pet on the bed, they are like a four-legged hot water bottle. It is beneficial in winter but not so much in the summer because they will also prevent any potential cool air from circulating.
9. Cool your joints and pulse points
Your joints are also known as pulse points, where the skin is thinner and your veins are more accessible and can be cooled.
Cooling off your pulse points will expand the cooling effect to the rest of your body, lowering your core temperature. To do this, use ice packs, a cold flannel, or ice cubes to cool off your various pulse points, such as your ankles, wrists, backs of your knees, and your elbows.
Do this for about 20 minutes and you will notice your temperature drop effectively. You can repeat the process for as much as you want to cool yourself down before bed or even try sleeping with a cold flannel on some of your pulse points if you don’t mind getting a little damp.
10. Food and drink changes
Finally, when it’s hot, you need to change your eating and drinking habits, such as diet, alcohol intake and regularly drinking water.
Drinking alcohol before bed is bad for your sleep, but it can also cause temperature spikes and night sweats. This is caused when your blood vessels dilate and move closer to the surface of the skin, causing sweat. It also dehydrates you, which is why regularly drinking cold water is best. You should hydrate during the day and keep water by your bed.
Heavy meals containing fats, carbs, and spices take more energy for your body to break down and spicy meals often make people sweat. Stick to light and healthy meals before bed because the more food your body has to metabolise, the more your temperature is likely to rise and keep you awake.