10 Tips to Stay Cool While Sleeping
A drop in temperature helps tell your body that it's time to shut down for the night. Here's how to stay cool for a better night of sleep.
Feb 27th, 2023 •
Do you find yourself overheating at night? Or waking up in a pool of your own sweat—no matter how low you turn the AC? While this can sometimes be the result of a medical condition, the truth is that some of us are just doomed to sleep hot.
Not only can it be annoying to wake up feeling sweaty and gross, but it can also affect your sleep quality and leave you feeling sticky and exhausted instead of refreshed and ready to conquer the day.
Luckily, you’re not alone, and brands have begun to invest in products that are specifically designed to help keep you cool through the night. These can range from cooling pillows to cooling mattresses and bedding—basically a cooling version of everything that surrounds you at night.
If you aren’t quite ready to invest in a whole new bedding setup just yet, we also have some tips that will keep you cool without making you spend a dime.
1. Add cooling sheets to your bed
Cooling sheets look and function just like regular sheets except that they are made with materials that actively work to keep you cool. These sheets can either be made from natural materials or synthetic, though they do essentially the same thing—pull heat and moisture away from the body, and allow for maximum breathability so cool air can come in.
When it comes to choosing the material, natural options are generally more expensive, but they’re also usually more eco-friendly—plus they can feel a bit better to the touch if you’re sensitive to texture. The most common materials are generally cotton, linen, Tencel, and bamboo. Synthetics will be more affordable, and can be a bit more durable. They’re also sometimes blended with natural materials to achieve a certain feel, effect, or texture.
You’ll also want to consider the thread count—though probably not in the way you think. Although a higher thread count is usually thought of as a good thing because it can make your sheets luxuriously soft, it can also trap heat because of the close knit. In this case it’s best to stick to sheets with a 450 count or less—unless the sheets are made of microfiber, which is built to be more breathable.
Not sure which sheets to choose? Check out two of our favorites below.
These sheets are made with a 270-thread-count long-staple cotton, which means that they are crisp, smooth, and durable. They are designed to feel like hotel sheets, and are a great upgrade to give your bed a touch of luxury. The set comes in 12 colors, and offers a lifetime warranty.
This microfiber sheet set uses brushed athletic-grade polyester to make you feel warm and cozy but not suffocated. Though soft to the touch, these sheets are highly breathable, moisture-wicking and hypoallergenic. They are also durable, as well as pill-resistant, fade-resistant, and machine-washable—while also being relatively affordable.
2. Use a cooling pillow
Your body temperature can be greatly affected by the temperature of your head, so if your pillows are trapping heat and leaving you feeling like your brain is melting, you may want to invest in a pillow that will keep you cool.
The cooling properties of a pillow are affected by both the exterior and interior materials. For the cover, you want to look for either natural or synthetic fibers that are moisture-wicking and breathable—these are the same materials you also want for your sheets.
As for the interior, foam is the most common and can be the most affordable option. While a solid piece of memory foam can get warm, cooling pillows have some techniques to help make them more breathable. Some will incorporate ventilation or use a gel infusion to make them feel cool to the touch.
If you like a softer, squishier feel and don’t mind spending a bit more, you can choose a natural option made with materials like silk and bamboo, which have natural cooling properties.
This pillow is designed to be ultra-breathable with a polyester exterior and shredded memory foam interior. What really sets it apart, however, is its easily adjustable design. It features two zippers that you can zip or unzip to make the interior of the pillow more or less firm without having to adjust the foam inside.
This pillow is stuffed with the softest mulberry silk, and coated in a bamboo cover. And while it might be on the pricey side, its luxury feel is worth the cost, if you have the money to spend. The pillow is incredibly soft and plush, while its bamboo and silk construction ensures that it’s also naturally moisture-wicking and breathable. Plus it comes with a 10-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial, so you have lots of time to decide if it’s right for you.
3. Invest in a Mattress that will help keep you cool
A mattress can be a pricey investment, but it’s a great option if you can afford it—and it might be necessary if you’ve already tried our other tips and still find yourself overheating. Believe it or not, there are lots of mattresses that are made specifically to keep you cool and are still ultra-comfortable. Whether you prefer a spring mattress, memory foam, or hybrid, there are options for all sleep styles and preferences that can check all of your boxes while keeping you sweat-free during the night.
If you can’t afford to invest in a whole new mattress or are happy with the one you have, a cheap and easy fix is to opt for a cooling mattress pad instead.
This mattress is a great option if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for because it’s designed to be comfortable for all types of sleepers. It’s also incredibly responsive, which means that it adjusts easily to position changes through the night. The Signature 12” is a fully memory foam mattress with a layer of temperature-neutral Airfoam close to its surface and a moisture-wicking topper—both of which work together to keep you cool and dry.
Unlike a fully foam mattress, this hybrid model brings about next-level breathability thanks to its top layer of gel-infused foam and bottom layer of coils. The addition of coils also gives the mattress a bit more spring than a fully foam model, and helps decrease motion transfer, making it a great pick for couples. It also comes in three different firmness options—soft, medium, and firm.
If you suffer from back pain as well as overheating, you will want a mattress that is supportive and won’t trap heat. This one is particularly great at supporting proper spine alignment and has a combo of both pressure-relieving foam and coils for maximum comfort and support. It’s also excellent at cooling thanks to the “ultra-cool”’ pillow top, which absorbs excess heat and pulls it away from the body.
4. Use a bed fan for a light breeze all night long
You can use a box fan or ceiling fan to increase some circulation throughout your bedroom, but these fans can’t change the temperature under your covers. Luckily, there are bed fans for that. Bed fans blow cool air through the covers to give you a constant cooling effect. They’re usually remote-controlled, and can sometimes be set to only cool one side of the bed if your partner runs cold.
This bed fan is relatively small and sleek, and highly effective. It’s able to blow both hot and cold air, so if you find yourself chilly in the winter, it can also help warm you up. The constant breeze helps not only to keep you cool, but also to dry any sweat that forms, while the dual-zone system allows you to have different temperatures on each side of the bed.
If you prefer a more traditional fan, this one is a great option. It’s very quiet, and has 10 airflow settings. It also has a safe, bladeless design, which is great if you have kids or pets. The remote control allows you to change the settings without leaving your bed.
5. Wear light, breathable pajamas
If you prefer to sleep in pajamas as opposed to in the nude, you will want to make sure that they are light, breathable, and nonrestrictive. Look for loose-fitting silhouettes and natural materials like cotton, linen, silk, and bamboo, which are naturally cool to the touch and highly breathable.
Check out our article on pajamas that help you sleep better to learn more.
6. Keep bedroom blinds shut during the day
One of the easiest ways to stay cool at night is by starting with a cool room when you go to bed. If you have blinds in your windows, you’ll want to keep them closed during the day as sunlight coming in can significantly increase the temperature of the room by the time you go to bed. If you don’t already own them, invest in a good pair of blinds or blackout curtains to prevent any sunlight from getting in.
7. Don’t eat or drink alcohol too close to bedtime
Not eating before bedtime is a common suggestion to prevent digestion issues and weight gain, but spacing out your dinner and bedtime can also help keep you cool at night.
If you eat a heavy meal filled with a ton of carbs and fats, your body will have to use more energy to help digest it. This can make you feel warm, and also disrupt your sleep. If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, it’s also best to avoid those before bed, as they can make you sweat even after the initial burn is gone.
Alcohol is also a no-no. While we all indulge in a nightcap from time to time, it’s best to limit alcohol before bed as it can disrupt sleep, as well as cause hot flashes and night sweats. If you are craving a fun drink before bed, opt for a mocktail with ingredients like tart cherry juice, which can help you wind down and sleep deeper.
8. Shower before bed
Though it might seem counterintuitive, taking a warm shower or bath can actually help to keep you cool through the night. While your body temperature does rise while under the water, it drops significantly after you step out—with the added benefit that showering before bed can actually help you fall asleep faster.
If you decide to give this a try, make sure that you are using warm water—not hot or cold—as extreme temperatures can have the adverse effect of waking you up.
9. Keep ice water by your bed
Gulping down some cool water when you wake up in the middle of the night is a great way to cool down quickly. Keep a bottle of water by your bed so you don’t have to walk around in the middle of the night. This will also help you stay hydrated if you tend to sweat in bed.
10. Don’t get too much sun during the day
We all know how hot a bad sunburn can feel. It’s best to avoid frying your skin—or even tanning too long—if you’re trying to keep cool at night. Spending all day in the sun can make your skin feel warmer and leave you sweaty and sore, which contributes to poor sleep.
Why do I get so hot when I sleep?
Although some people just have a higher body temperature, getting hot at night can also be linked to a number of different conditions like menopause, diabetes, or the use of some medications. But the reason you’re overheating at night could also be as simple as having a high metabolism, being an athlete, or having fluctuating hormones. There’s nothing abnormal about experiencing night sweats, but talk to your doctor if you’re concerned what you’re experiencing is excessive.
Do cooling sleep products actually work?
They absolutely do. While not every product will live up to their claims, we chose some that have been personally vetted by our team to make sure that they will actually keep you cool, dry, and sweat-free.
If I have to choose one, what will keep me the coolest?
If you can only afford to invest in one cooling product, it’s best to opt for a pair of sheets. These directly touch your skin and can make a huge impact in breathability both above and below you.
Learn common causes of night sweats for men, women, and those with medical conditions. Read about ways to treat night sweats and tips for staying cool in your sleep. Plus, check out our favorite cooling sleep accessories.
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