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Too Hot To Sleep? Stay Cool Without AC

Is there anything worse than being too hot to sleep? Probably, but no one likes to feel like they’re fighting sweaty sheets.

Not only is heat uncomfortable, it’s bad for your sleep, too. The ideal temperature for sleep is somewhere in the low to mid-60 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, anything above 75 degrees interferes with the quality of your sleep.

If you live without air conditioning, you no longer have to suffer during sweltering hot summer nights. Just follow our top fifteen tips to stay cool at night without A/C.

1. Switch out your pillow.

Your brain generates a lot of heat while it works, and that holds true even when you’re sleeping. To cool down at night, you’ve got to cool down your head. That means cooling down your pillow. Here are a few options for doing so:

  • Use a foam or buckwheat pillow instead. Both of these types of pillows do a better job at comfortably cradling your head and neck while also sleeping cooler. Memory foam pillows provide superior contour in particular. Look for models made with cooling gel-infused foam or ventilated foam for optimal airflow.
  • Take it to the next level with a pillow specifically designed for a cooler sleep experience. Cooling pillows are typically made from gel-infused memory foam or latex, with breathable fabric covers.  

2. Invest in cooling sheets.

Just as there are cooling pillows, there are cooling sheets. These sheets are made from breathable materials like organic cotton or bamboo. They’re also designed to wick away moisture, so in the off chance you do sweat, you’ll still be comfortable and dry.

If you want the cozy feel of a blanket, but without the heat, you can get a cool comforter, too. Consider trading in your winter flannels for a set of cooling sheets in the summer.

3. Make your own A/C.

It’s time to unleash your inner Macgyver. Build your own A/C by putting cold ice cubes in a large bowl and placing that in front of an electric fan. As the ice melts, the fan will blow a cool breeze throughout the room.

Depending on the size of your fan, you may want to play around with the optimal placement. Even a small personal fan in front of a small bowl on your nightstand will help cool your head at night. Bonus points if you set up multiple fans around the room.

4. Sleep like an Egyptian.

If anyone knows how to stay comfortable while it’s hot, it’s the Egyptians. Follow this sleep hack, known as the “Egyptian method,” to cool down your bedroom at night.

Soak a bedsheet or a large towel in water. Then wring it out or put it in the washing machine on the spin cycle. Once it stops dripping, get into bed and lay the towel or sheet on top of you. As long as you have a breeze going—from a ceiling fan, floor fan, or open window—you’ll feel your body cool down.

Alternatives include hanging the sheet in front of an open window or wearing damp clothes to bed. To prevent any damage to your mattress with this method, you’ll want to put a dry towel underneath you to catch any moisture.

5. Sleep naked.

Here’s an economical tip: save on pajamas and sleep naked. Sleeping naked is actually ideal for your sleep quality, as without pesky clothing on, it’s easier for your body to thermoregulate and maintain a cool body temperature.

If you feel too exposed, you can always throw on a pair of socks.

6. Shut the blinds.

The sun emits a lot of light, and a lot of heat. During the summer, the sun’s rays are even more powerful. Keep your curtains drawn and your blinds shut during especially hot days, to prevent the sun from heating up your home.

For ultimate protection against the sun’s rays, get yourself some blackout curtains. These will keep the light out all day and night, keeping your home cool and helping you sleep more deeply at night.

7. Get a cooler mattress.

Your mattress is yet another source of heat in your sleep environment—especially if you’re sleeping on a mattress known to trap heat. Memory foam mattresses are notorious for trapping body heat, while organic latexinnerspring, and some hybridmattresses are the best mattresses for staying cool.

If you don’t have the budget for a new mattress, you can split the difference with a cooling mattress pad or topper. These are designed to give you extra cushioning, while also neutralizing your mattress’s surface temperature. For an extra cool sleeping experience, look for ones that contain fans or water tanks built-in.

8. Put your sheets in the freezer.

While you’re following your bedtime routine, pop your sheets in the freezer for a few minutes. You want to leave them in there long enough to feel cool to the touch, but not too long that they actually freeze. You’ll love how these feel once you’re ready to go to sleep.

9. Fill a water bottle with ice water.

Hot water bottles may be for warming you up in the winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with them. During hot nights, fill yours up with ice cold water. Tuck it into bed with you, down by your feet. Your feet are particularly sensitive to temperature, so keeping them cool will cool your whole body down.

10. Cool off your pulse points.

You’ll need more room in your freezer for this one. Put some wet washcloths or ice packs in your freezer. Before you go to bed, lay down and place these on pulse points like your neck, wrists, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind your knees. Cooling down these areas will set off a chain reaction that quickly cools down the rest of your body.

Alternately, you can dip your feet in a bowl of cool water.

11. Take a shower.

Even when it’s hot, not everyone can bear to take a cold shower. Good news: you don’t have to for this tip to work. You can even go so far as to take a warm bath.

When you get out of the tub or shower, the water will evaporate from your skin. As this happens, your body cools down, reinforcing your natural circadian rhythms and signaling to your brain that it’s time to sleep.

12. Move your bed closer to the floor.

We all know hot air rises. Get yourself further away from hot bedroom air by lowering your bed closer to the floor. This may mean removing it from your bed frame during the summer.

Most beds are covered to be placed on a solid surface like your floor, but always check your mattress warranty first to ensure you’re covered.

13. Change your sleep position.

It can be tough to train yourself to sleep in a new position, but it is possible. If you’re desperate to cool down at all costs, try changing your sleep position to your back in a spread eagle, with your arms and legs stretched out. Keeping your body parts away from each other prevents them from trapping heat and creating sweaty situations.

If you don’t already sleep on your back, getting a pillow for back sleepers can make this transition easier.

14. Get hydrated.

Staying hydrated helps your body thermoregulate more efficiently, and it also makes your sleep better. Drink a cool glass of water before bed (but not more than that, unless you want to wake up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break).

If water bores you, switch things up with crushed ice or a popsicle. Just make sure your popsicle isn’t too fruity, or the sugar rush may keep you up.


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