How to keep cool at night

If you’re struggling to sleep in the hot summer months, or if you generally find yourself overheating at night, you don’t have to put up with it. There are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself and your bedroom cool at night, whatever the conditions.

White fan blowing cool air


The first thing to do is to look at ways you can cool your body down before sleep, and remain a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Here are a few essential pointers:

Nightwear

What you wear to sleep can make a big difference to your comfort at night-time. Light pyjamas or nightwear can help to keep you a little cooler. It’s a good idea to have different clothes for each season, so you don’t end up wearing your warm winter woolies in summer because you have no other options.   

A crucial consideration when choosing nightwear is material. Go for natural, breathable materials such as cotton, avoiding synthetic fabrics which could cause you to sweat more. You can even find nightwear specially designed for people who overheat at night, such as women experiencing hot flushes, which wicks away the sweat from your skin to keep you cooler.  

If you’re a woman who normally wears pyjamas, you could make the switch to a nightie to let your legs breathe a little more. And of course, there’s no reason at all why men can’t enjoy the same benefits by trying a nightshirt instead of pyjamas. You could find it much cooler.

Night-time showers

If you normally bathe before bed, consider switching to a cool shower. After you’ve had a bath, your body can retain the heat for a long time. This heat transfers to your duvet and stays within the bed, causing uncomfortably warm conditions. A cool shower, on the other hand, can help lower your body temperature and make you feel pleasantly cool as you get into bed. Sometimes, part of the problem with getting to sleep on warm nights is worrying about overheating. If you start off cool, you’re more likely to be relaxed.

Drink plenty of water

Keep a cold glass of water by the bed and have a drink before you settle down to sleep. Drinking water can help to regulate your body temperature, as well as replacing vital fluids if you do sweat during the night.   

Another important consideration is what else you eat and drink before bed. Alcohol and large, rich meals are best avoided, as they can cause dehydration or overactive digestion, which can make you feel hotter. 

Change your bedding

Just like with your pyjamas, it’s a smart idea to have warmer bedding for winter and a different set for summer. Don’t struggle on with your normal thick duvet - try a lighter option or even a cooling cotton sheet. Have a spare set handy, then you can quickly change the bedding if you do wake up and find that you’ve been sweating and the sheets are wet. There’s nothing like cool, fresh bedding when you’re facing a hot night’s sleep.   

It’s also recommended to try a different pillow if you have trouble sleeping due to heat. Look for pillows specially designed to offer a cooler sleep experience, such as gel-infused memory foam pillows with breathable covers. This could be one of the best investments you ever make, especially if it ensures a great night’s sleep. 

How to keep your room cool at night

Now that you know how to prepare yourself for bed, from lowering your body temperature to choosing the right nightwear, it’s time to think about your sleeping environment. Is your room so hot that even opening all the windows doesn’t cool it down? If so, you need to make some changes to ensure a comfortable sleep.   

The first and most obvious solution is an electric fan. This is an affordable and easy way to provide relief from the heat. Make sure you choose a quiet and good quality fan, as you don’t want to be kept awake by the noise. You’ll also want to be confident that you can leave it running all night without it overheating or wearing out. If you’re concerned about running an electric appliance for that long, look for products which promise greater energy efficiency.   

Need the room even cooler? You can try a classic DIY trick, which is to place a tray or large bowl of ice cubes in front of the fan. This acts as a makeshift air conditioning system, blowing cool air onto you as the ice melts. Lovely.   

If you’ve tried these methods and your room still isn’t cool enough, you could consider investing in an air conditioning system. We don’t tend to use these a lot in the UK as we don’t usually have sustained periods of very hot weather, but they can be a good option for people who find their homes unbearably hot at night.

You can also make other changes to your bedroom before it’s time for sleep. For example, you can prevent excessive heat buildup by keeping the blinds down pr curtains drawn during the daytime, and opening the windows in the evening (provided it’s not hotter outside than indoors).

Other night-time cooling tips and tricks

Everyone has their own methods for staying cool at night. There are lots of little tips and tricks that can provide relief from the heat just when you feel that you’ll never be able to drop off. For example, you can try:   

 -       A cooling mist spray - this is a just a spray bottle of water that’s been cooled down in the fridge or freezer before bed, sprayed onto the face or pulse points for temporary heat relief.

 -       Putting your pillow or pyjamas in the fridge - it may sound silly, but it can be a lovely cooling way to start your night’s sleep.

 -       Filling a hot water bottle with ice water - this can help to cool the temperature under your duvet or sheet.   

Remember that worrying about overheating at night can make you feel worse and start to dread sleep. But if you have a plan, from cooling cotton pyjamas to a homemade air conditioning system, you’ll be fully prepared for a comfortable night’s sleep.

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