Sleeping Like a Hot Tamale? Get Cool as a Cucumber!
15 tips for “cool” summer sleeping
Summertime fun means vacations, beaches, grilling and tasty iced treats. But hot weather has a gnarly side too. We’re talking those dog days of summer, when insane temperatures and humidity make it impossible to sit comfortably, let alone sleep through the night. The obvious solution for cool, calm, comfortable sleeping is an air conditioner. It will keep your bedroom at an optimal temperature (about 60F – 70F), and provide soothing noise.
But what’s a budget-conscious and environmentally-responsible sleeper to do? This question has been a hot topic in our office – especially when the air conditioner took its own little vacation. With the thinking cap on, instantly I became Sherlock Spallone. Check out my top 15 tips for staying cool during your summer snooze.
How to beat the heat
- Choose cotton— Save the ooh-la-la satin, silk or polyester bed sheets for cooler nights. Bed linens made of cotton are breathable and perfect for promoting ventilation and air flow throughout the night. Choose a lighter color such as peach, yellow or baby blue.
- Push out — Position your fan so it pushes out the hot air. Adjust ceiling fan settings so they spin counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of twirling it around the room. You’ll notice a difference immediately, especially if you sleep near a window.
- Sleep like a Pharaoh — Ancient Nile dwellers knew how to sleep right. The so-called, “Egyptian method” involves dampening a towel or sheet in cool water and using it as a blanket. Put down a dry blanket underneath to keep your mattress from soaking.
- Loosen up — Less is more when it comes to sleeping in the heat. Slip into a loose, soft cotton shirt, shorts or underwear. Going fully nude to bed during a heat wave might feel great but it’s controversial. Some people believe it helps them cool, while others claim going au natural keeps sweat on the body.
- Old school — Remember when refrigerators were iceboxes that held actual blocks of ice? Me neither. This trick is right out the icebox era. Make a home air conditioner by positioning a shallow pan or bowl full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts, creating a cooling mist.
- Lone wolf — Sorry lovebirds, but sleeping alone will keep you cooler than cuddling during the dog days of summer. Spooning with your partner increases body heat, potentially making the bed a sticky, sweaty pit of despair instead of a cool oasis.
- Stay away from the stove — Summer isn’t the best time to cook a pot roast or bake a casserole. Instead, chow down on cool, room-temperature dishes or a cold salad. Go outside and fire up the grill or check out your local park for a cool picnic spot. Swap food coma meals for small lighter ones that are easier to metabolize. The body produces more heat after devouring that huge steak than fruits and veggies. (Foodie tip: Consuming spicy foods during hot weather may seem counterproductive, but according to the Huffington Post, eating foods such as chili peppers and curried dishes enhances your blood circulation and causes you to sweat. As the moisture evaporates, your body temperature decreases and you cool down.)
- Encourage cold feet — Because there are lots of pulse points in your feet, those little piggies are sensitive to temperature. Cool down your whole body by soaking feet into cold water before hitting the hay. Even better, keep a cool bucket or glass of water next to your need and dip your feet in whenever you’re feeling hot throughout the night.
- Unplug — Yes, literally disconnect all electronic devices at night. Gadgets give off heat, even when turned off. Reduce the total heat in the home by keeping plugs out of sockets when appliances are not being used. Facebook updates at 2 a.m. or a cool sleep?
- Spread eagle — Sleeping alone definitely has its perk, including plenty of space to stretch out like Gumby. Snoozing in spread eagle position is best for reducing body heat and letting air circulate around you.
- Grain creativity — Rice isn’t just for eating! Rice and other similar grains can keep you cool on a long hot night. For a cool compress on scorching nights, fill a sock with rice, tie it off and stick in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Use it as a compress on your neck or forehand to cool you down as you doze off.
- Fill on up — Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before going to sleep. Tossing and turning and sweating at night can result in dehydration, so get some H2O in your tank. Just 8 ounces will do the trick – as long as you don’t mind sleep walking to the bathroom at 3 a.m.
- Hang out — Cool down your bedroom by hanging a wet sheet or tapestry in front of an open window. The blowing breeze will quickly bring the temperature down to a comfortable level.
- Pillow talk — Your head is the hottest part of your body and needs to be extra cool. A smaller, softer pillow will allow more air circulation around your head. Try a sofa cushion or buckwheat pillow.
- Plant a tree — Seriously! Though you’ll be waiting several years to reap the benefits. Planting a tree on the south side of your home is the ultimate eco-friendly way to stay cool. Deciduous trees provide the most shade during hot months, resulting in a cooler home throughout the day.
Honestly, the past week has transformed my summer sleeping habits thanks to these great tips. I have felt refreshed, sweat-free and ready to take on the day. Have additional summer sleep tips? I’d love to hear from you and discuss other ways to keep cool!
Stay cool as a cucumber!