7 Tips to Help You Get Sleep in the Summer Heat


Regardless of where you live most of us will experience at least one heat wave each year.  If you are fortunate enough to have air conditioning the heat probably doesn’t pose that big of a challenge for you to get a good night’s sleep. However, if you don’t have air conditioning trying to get a good night’s rest can be a very daunting task during those hot days and nights.

To help you manage during these hot times we’ve compiled a list of seven easy things you can do to find relief from the heat when you are trying to sleep at night.

1) Use a Fan

You can do a lot of things with fans to help you sleep better on those hot nights. Depending on your exact sleeping arrangement some of these options might make more sense than others. So let’s cover them.

Window Fans

If the temperature outside gets cooler in the evening, and the window in your bedroom allows for it, you might want to invest in a window fan.

A window fan can allow you to draw in cooler air from the outside inside your bedroom or blow hot air that is inside the home outside. Most window fans have reversible motors and some models even have programmable thermostats and remote controls.

You can see some examples and prices of window fans here.

Bed Fan

If you are not familiar with them bed fans can be a great solution to help you keep cool and sleep a hot night.

Ben fans fit between the top and bottom sheets to blow a cooling breeze on you directly without requiring you to kick off the sheets, blanket(s), or comforter. If you are someone who likes the feeling of sleeping with a sheet or blanket covering you a bed fan might be an excellent option.

You can see some examples and prices of bed fans here.

More Traditional Fans

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Maybe all you want is to have a fan that circulates some air around your sleeping space or to blow some cooling air directly on you or your bed.

You can the following links to see some examples and prices of affordable box fans, oscillating fans, and tower fans.

2) Close your Shades

Keeping your shades and curtains drawn closed during the day is another excellent idea to help you get some sleep on those sultry nights. This is a specially true four rooms that have windows that face the sun.

Blocking out the direct sunlight will dramatically decrease the sun’s ability to raise the temperature in a room. Then when the temperatures have gone down in the evening and you’re ready to go to bed you can open the windows. At that point, you will be able to cool the room if there is a cool breeze or by using a fan.

3) Take a Shower Before Bed

Taking a lukewarm shower or bath right before bed is another good idea. A 1997 study by New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center found that people’s body temperature naturally goes down at night. This means raising your body temperature a degree or two by taking a bath or shower will make it easier to fall asleep immediately afterward as your body relaxes during the cool-down period immediately afterward.

However, if you take too hot of a shower you run the risk of raising your body temperature too much on these hot days, which could make falling asleep more difficult. Conversely, taking too cold of a shower before going to sleep, which would seem to make sense on a hot day, will probably just wake you up and make falling asleep more difficult.

So stick with a lukewarm shower or bath before bed.

4) Sleep on the Lowest Level

We all know that heat rises. In addition, most homes that have more than one level have the bedrooms located on the upper level. So if you live in a multilevel home try sleeping on the lowest level.

Sleeping on the lowest level might mean that you need to sleep on a couch, sleeping bag, or inflatable mattress, but the fact that it will be several degrees cooler should make it worth your while.

5) Choose Your Pajamas Wisely

On these hot nights, you might decide to sleep in your undies or maybe nothing at all. That way you can better feel any cooling breeze that might be coming from your window or fan.

However, some people just can’t sleep if they aren’t wearing their pajamas. If this describes you remember that sweaty pajamas hold heat and make it harder for you to sleep comfortably so be sure to wear light-weight breathable pajamas.

6) Chill Out With Your Pillow

One problem with trying to sleep in hot conditions is that most pillows don’t do that great of a job of dissipating heat and keeping your head and neck cool.

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One option would be to get a cooling gel pillow. Gel pillows help capture and distribute heat to create a cooler sleeping surface on your pillow. Some of these pillows have a pad or panel of a cooling gel material built into the surface of the pillow. Other pillows will have cooling gel beads mixed into the pillow’s fill.

You can see some examples and prices of cooling gel pillows here.

Another option would be to get a cooling pillow mat for your existing pillow. These cooling mats can be placed inside the pillowcase of your existing pillow or they can be placed on top of your existing pillow. You can also place these cooling pillow mats in the refrigerator prior to going to bed if you prefer to start the night with a really cool pillow.

You can see some examples and prices of cooling pillow mats here.

7) Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

Many of us like to go to the beach or pool as we try to escape the heat on a hot day. If you find yourself outside on these hot days don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Suffering from sunburn while you’re trying to go to sleep on a hot night will only make sleeping more difficult.

Image Credit: jean pierre gallot on Flickr