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Health & Lifestyle

10 Tips For Getting To Sleep In The Heat

In this article

As summer approaches, we’ve all been feeling the effects of the warm weather. While sunlight has been proven to increase your brain’s production of serotonin (the happy hormone), getting to sleep in the heat can be a nightmare.

Why is it harder to get to sleep in the summer?

Martin Seeley, our CEO and Senior Sleep Expert, explains that it can be harder to sleep during the summer months due to a delay in melatonin release. This hormone helps us sleep, and is usually produced by our brain when it detects a lack of sunlight, indicating it’s bedtime. However, when the sun doesn’t set until 9pm or later, our brain’s production of melatonin becomes later and later, making it harder for us to fall asleep.

When coupled with high body temperature and humidity, this lack of sleepiness and uncomfortableness can make sleep seem impossible. Luckily, Martin offers 10 ways you can sleep more comfortably in the heat, especially when a fan just doesn’t cut it.

Woman laying in bed struggling to sleep in the heat, fanning herself.

Ten tips for getting to sleep in the heat

The recommended ideal sleeping temperature for your room is 18 degrees, however in the heat, this isn’t always possible. Here’s how to get your temperature down before and during bedtime for a cooler night’s sleep.

18°C
is the optimal bedroom temperature for sleep

1. Put a hot water bottle in the freezer

We all use hot water bottles filled with warm water when it’s a cold night, so what about the opposite? Filling your water bottle up and popping it in the freezer will make a super easy ice pack to keep stashed in your bed.

You can rest the iced hot water bottle on your back if you sleep on your front, or cuddle up with it if you sleep on your side to help you get to sleep in the heat.

Remember that ice expands, so leave enough room so your water bottle doesn’t explode! Plus, make sure there's a suitable cover or thick material over it, so you don't get freeze burns.

2. When you brush your teeth, run your wrists under the cold water

As you’re doing your bedtime routine (following our Ultimate Bedtime Routine, of course!) try running your wrists under the cold tap.

The cold water will hit your blood vessels, cooling your body temperature quickly. Reducing your body temperature before you even get into bed will make it much easier to drift off to sleep quickly, rather than trying to cool down in a stuffy room.

3. Keep your curtains and blinds closed during the day

To avoid a hot, stuffy room, keep your curtains drawn throughout the day. This will prevent sunlight getting in and trapped in your bedroom, making it much easier to sleep in hot weather.

You can keep your window open slightly with a little crack in the curtains to encourage air circulation, but don’t let direct sunlight into your room - this will just heat it up and make it super humid.

Sunlight coming through the window, shining onto an unmade bed.

4. Get loads of sunlight during the day

While your bedroom should remain sunlight free, you personally should try to soak up as much sun as possible to help you sleep better at night. The sun plays an integral role in regulating your body’s internal body clock, as it signals to your brain that it’s time to be alert and attentive.

During the day, expose yourself to the sunlight, and then as it gets to evening, reduce your exposure. Begin to transition to ambient lamps and soft lighting, so your brain realises the sunlight has gone, and it’s time to switch to melatonin production instead. This will make it much easier to get to sleep in the heat at night, as your brain will be ready to sleep, encouraging your body to follow.

5. Drink 2 litres of water (at least!) throughout the day

We do go on about it, but staying hydrated seriously benefits your sleep. It boosts not only your energy but also your metabolism. Being properly hydrated and energised during the day will prevent you from feeling lethargic and messing up your sleeping pattern by taking a nap. Essentially, drinking water throughout the day will make it much easier to sleep in hot weather at nighttime.

Drinking enough water in the day means you can better regulate your internal body clock and sleep easier at night.

6. Try to avoid a nap, but if you do, do it right

During a hot day, your body is trying hard to cool you down, such as by sending fluids (like sweat) to the surface of your skin. This takes up a lot of your body’s energy and resources, making you feel tired.

However, taking a nap during a hot day can make it harder to sleep come nighttime. If you sleep for any more than 30 minutes during the day, you’ll feel groggy, as you’ll have entered a deep sleep cycle but not slept for long enough to complete it.

Your natural alertness dips in the afternoon, but try not to be tempted to nap. You can quickly energise yourself by taking a brisk walk, or drink a cold glass of water. Our post with 8 Ways To Feel Awake FAST can give you more advice on boosting your energy during an afternoon slump.

If you do decide to nap, make sure you do it right - our post on How To Take The Perfect Nap will give you a step by step guide, but remember not to nap any less than 8 hours before bed, as this will make it much harder to sleep throughout the night.

7. Finish your last pint 3 hours before bed

A beer garden after work with friends is a lot of people’s favourite summer evening pastime, but if you want to sleep well in the hot weather, stop drinking alcohol at least 3 hours before you intend to sleep.

Alcohol has sedative properties, so you might think it’ll help you get to sleep, but the quality of your sleep will be much lower, causing you to feel groggy in the morning.

Alcohol prevents you from entering the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of your sleep cycle. This is where deep, restorative sleep happens, and often where we dream. Without this essential sleep stage, our body’s aren’t able to properly rest and recuperate, so you’ll still feel tired in the morning.

If you do wish to partake in a tipple in the summer evenings, just remember to switch for a soft drink 3 hours before bedtime!
Group of young people sitting at a table in a summer bar laughing and drinking beer.

8. Optimise your bedding and sleep set-up

You should switch your duvet cover to a lighter coloured one, as this will reflect heat rather than absorb it. A lighter material, too, will help regulate your temperature and reduce the chances of your overheating, or having to throw the covers off.

Remember to switch your duvet out for a lighter tog during the summer months - make sure your duvet is the right thickness for the season! You can also look into innovative cooling pillows, with special cooling gel pads that give you a 'cool side of the pillow' feeling every night.

You should try to wash your bedding once a week during the summer, as you’ll sweat more at night. This will remove bacteria and prevent acne, as well as promote a more hygienic night’s sleep. Read our post on why you should be showering at night for more acne-preventing tips.

You can also invest in a cooling mattress topper, or if you’re a hot sleeper all year round, look into a cooling mattress in general. Memory foam mattresses can sometimes retain heat more than other mattress types - read our Memory Foam Mattress Guide for more information - so consider if that is causing you to get too hot at night.

Cooling gel mattresses are great for regulating your body temperature and ensuring you don’t overheat.

9. Put a bowl of ice in front of your fan

Do you often find that your fan is simply blowing hot air around your room? Try placing a bowl of ice in front of it. As the ice cubes slowly melt, the fan will send a cool breeze around your room.

As the air passes over the ice, it cools, creating a homemade air conditioning unit!

However, having a fan blowing all night can be bad for your health, by causing issues such as a dry throat and triggering allergies. Read our post on 5 reasons you shouldn't run your fan all night for more information.

10. Invest in a breathable bed frame

We’re not just saying it - the right bed frame will seriously help you sleep better in the heat. Some bed frames don’t allow for air circulation as well as others, which can cause heat to become trapped and stagnant.

A good, air circulation enhancing bed frame or divan base can encourage airflow through your mattress, cooling your body down and preventing overheating. If you're worried your memory foam mattress is getting too hot, make sure you have the right bed frame for it - our guide to The Best Bed Bases For Memory Foam Mattresses will help you keep your bed at the right temperature.

Hot dog laying on bed with fan blowing on them.

We have plenty of products available with free next day delivery that can help you get to sleep in the heat. There's no need to spend another night tossing and turning, browse our cooling mattresses and bedding now!

An image of the author, Martin Seeley, Senior Sleep Expert Martin Seeley, Senior Sleep Expert Bio & articles

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