Many Australians know the discomfort and restlessness caused by high temperatures at night. While recent research found that it is easiest to fall asleep when the thermostat is set to 18°C, staying at that temperature year-round is easier said than done. It’s neither economical nor environmentally-friendly to run your air conditioning all night, so here are some other tips on how to cool down in bed.
Adjust your environment
Manage light and temperature
Before your leave in the morning, block out the heat of the day by keeping the windows closed and drawing the curtains or blinds. If the temperature drops off towards the later afternoon, opening up the windows can help cool the house down. If your bedroom curtains are made of a lighter sheer material, you may wish to opt for a thicker curtain that can block out the sun’s rays.
Cooking increases warmth
Using an indoor oven increases the temperature inside your house. If you’re baking in the evening, that heat will likely stick around until well into the night. Instead, try cooking outside on the grill, whip up no-cook recipes like salads and sandwiches or cook earlier in the evening. As an extra tip: keep the meals light and mild (not spicy) to help promote better sleep.
Limit light use before bed
We switch off the lights just before going to bed, but try turning them off in the hours leading up to bedtime as well. Lights (incandescent and LED) produce heat as well as light, so if they are on in your bedroom all evening, you are inadvertently heating up your room. To minimise the heat, make an effort to limit the lighting you use no matter which room you are in (i.e. use lamps instead of overhead lights).
Prepare your bed
Choose the right sheets
Do you have different sheets for different seasons? When the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to put away any polyester, silk, or dark coloured sheets. Instead, switch them out for light coloured linens made of lightweight cotton. These allow for better ventilation, letting all that heat escape.
Use fans wisely
Don’t reach for the AC remote — fans are a much cheaper alternative to help you cool down, especially if you engineer them correctly. Many ceiling fans have a Summer/Winter switch; set your ceiling fan to run counter-clockwise so hot air is pulled up instead of just being pushed around the room. If you have a small box fan, place it in the window facing outwards, so it blows all the hot air out (and vice versa). If you’ve got more than one fan on hand, this can help to create a nice cross-breeze that better dispels the heat. To maximise the air flow of a stand fan, keep your bedroom door open and put the fan in the corner of the room facing you.
Check your mattress
The type of mattress you lie on also plays a role in the amount of heat you may experience while sleeping. If you’re feeling hot in bed at night, look out for a mattress that is designed with air flow, quick evaporation and ventilation in mind.
For example, Sealy’s Crown Jewel mattress collection contains a fabric treatment known as Smartex. This allows moisture to disperse as the temperature rises, helping to speed up evaporation and cooling. In addition, Sealy’s Premium and Performance mattress range both contain a Spacer Airflow Gusset for ventilation which circulates airflow in and around the mattress, allowing it to ‘breathe’ and help cool your body down. Furthermore, the comfort level and layers of a mattress also impact the amount of heat you experience during sleep. For example, a firm mattress holds your body higher on the surface than a soft mattress, allowing more airflow between the bed and body which has a cooling effect. Find the right mattress for you on our Mattress Selector.
Control your body temperature
Stay hydrated by drinking cool water before bed. It’s a good idea to avoid drinking alcohol before bed as this can cause your body temperature to rise, making it harder to fall asleep.
Wear light clothing
If you’re wondering how to keep cool at night, your clothes play an important role. The clothing you choose to sleep in should follow the same guidelines as the sheets; light, loose and made of cotton. It will help to wick away sweat from your body while allowing air to circulate and keep you cool.
Take a lukewarm shower
You can also bring down your body temperature before bed by taking a shower or bath. Be careful the water isn’t too cold, though — freezing cold temperatures can cause your body to heat up in an attempt to counteract the coldness. For best results, set the water to a lukewarm temperature.
Avoid exercising at night
While working out might allow you to unwind from the day, be aware that the rise in body temperature means you’ll find yourself feeling a little bit warmer afterward. Instead, opt for a morning exercise routine and your body will have plenty of time to get back to its normal temperature by bedtime.
Use an ice pack
Lastly, if you have an ice pack, you can take it to bed with you. Place it on your head, neck, armpits or back to help cool down the entire body.