It’s summertime, and that means life is great. The bright sunshine and the warm weather are perfect for dips in the pool, cookouts, and walking through long grass on bare feet. But the summer heat is a little less than welcoming when it’s time to lie down to go to sleep. If the nighttime heat is keeping you up more than the crickets and cicadas, check out our tips for staying cool at night in the summer.
Rethink Your Bedtime Routine
A cooler night’s sleep starts before you get near your bed. If you add a few things to your bedtime routine, you can ensure a cooler and more restful night’s sleep.
Wind Down Before Bed
The weather isn’t the only thing that raises our internal body temperature. Physical activity such as exercise or chores also raises your temperature, and that heat will linger for some time. If you’re going to do strenuous work at night, it’s best to stop working at least an hour before bed. This will give your body time to cool down. Winding down before bed also slows your mind down, making it easier to fall asleep.
Watch Out for Heavy Foods
A hearty, down-home meal is enough to make anyone sleepy, but you should think twice before eating a big meal right before you go to bed. Big meals, especially ones that are spicy or have a lot of meat, tend to raise your body’s temperature. If it’s getting close to bedtime, keeping your snack choices light—such as fresh fruit—will keep you cool and help you get a more restful sleep.
Skip the Alcohol
When we’re hot, it’s natural to reach for any drink to cool you down. But not every drink will have the same effect on your body. For example, immediately after you drink alcohol, your circulation increases, making you sweat and flush. Eventually, your body temperature will drop, but the alcohol won’t be finished with you yet, because you’ll also be dehydrated. Drink a little cold water before bed, with an extra glass on your nightstand if you get thirsty in the middle of the night.
You can probably divide the world into two kinds of people: those who prefer to shower at night and those who shower in the morning. Here’s a reason to throw your lot in with the former. Showering helps lower your body temperature and wash all the day’s sweat off your body. Even after you get out of the shower, your temperature will continue to stay cooler, which is perfect for easing you to sleep.
When we think about cooling down to go to sleep, we often think about removing bedding layers. But there’s another layer wrapped around us when we go to sleep: our pajamas. When you’re getting dressed for bed, opt for cool sleepwear options made of light, breathable fabrics.
Keeping Your Room Cool Beyond AC
When the temperatures crack to 80, 90, and 100, our air conditioning units become a lifeline. But sometimes, even our ACs need a little help.
Since the sun isn’t out at night, we don’t typically think of the drapes or blinds as being a way to keep cool at night in the summer. But just because the sun is gone doesn’t mean the sun’s heat doesn’t linger in the room. If you want your bedroom to be cool at night, keep the sun out during the day with light-blocking drapes. Then when night comes, open the drapes and the windows to let cool air in.
Fun With Fans
We’ve all used a fan to keep cool, but with a little strategy, you can make your fans work all the more effectively.
Many people are surprised to learn a ceiling fan can potentially make a room warmer—but a ceiling fan doesn’t necessarily cool the air. It moves it. If the ceiling fan turns counterclockwise, it’ll move the cold air down. If the blades move the other way, it’ll move warm air downward. If your ceiling fan is turning in the wrong direction for the season, look for the directional switch on the center of the fan to change its direction.
Box fans are already pretty good at cooling you off, but if you put them in the right spot in your room, they can become their own AC. Place your fan in front of your window, even sitting inside it if possible. If you place it with the blades facing into the room, it will pull cool outdoor air into the room. If the blades face inside the room, it will help pull warm air out of the room to go outside.
Warm Weather-Ready Bed
Beds are typically a place we associate with warmth, so adjusting them for hot weather can be tricky. But with the right bedding choices, you’ll be able to sink into bed comfortably.
Sheets and Blankets
When you’re in the middle of a heatwave, it can be tempting to forgo blankets altogether. But sleeping without any blanket can make our body temperatures drop too low and then wake us up, even when it’s warm outside. The trick is to find bedding that’s light, breathable, and soaks up sweat. Our solution is to look for cotton bed sheets made in the USA.
Even though pillows don’t cover us the same way blankets do, they can still contribute to warmer nights. If your master bed has a heap of decorative pillows piled on it, consider storing a few of them until autumn rolls around. Additionally, keep an eye out for cooling pillows. These pillows help draw heat away from the body, wick moisture, and are breathable—perfect for giving you a cool night’s sleep.
Most people are familiar with electric heating pads that help warm a bed up in the winter. But not as many realize that the same electric pads often have a cooling function. If an electric pad makes you uncomfortable, you can get a pad that’s made of the same material cooling pillows are made from. And since the material is similar to memory foam, you’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud.