How To Stay Cool at Night: Essential Tips For Hot Sleepers

how to stay cool at night: Woman lying in bed while fanning herself

Few things are worse than lying on your back on a hot summer night, tossing and turning because you’re having night sweats or feeling too hot to fall asleep. Sometimes even the help of a ceiling fan or air conditioning blasting don’t quite do it. Figuring out how to stay cool at night is key to feeling well-rested in the morning.

In this article, we'll look into why you might feel so hot at night and how to control your body heat and room temperature for better sleep quality. Did you know, our bodies actually fall asleep faster when they’re in a cool environment?

Why Do Some People Overheat While Sleeping?

how to stay cool at night: Woman holding the air conditioner remote while sleeping in bed

So what makes some people overheat every night?

It's not that you're full of hot air (sorry, we couldn’t resist). Higher body temperatures can occur for a number of reasons.

Physical Factors

Our bodies are naturally supposed to cool off at night to help us fall asleep. In the morning, your internal temperature starts to rise again to prepare you to wake up. Some people are extra sensitive to these changes in their core body temperature. As a result, they wake up earlier than expected, feeling hot and uncomfortable.

Certain prescription medications and illnesses (especially those that bring fevers) can make anyone feel uncomfortably warm at night. Hormonal changes can also factor in. While these may occur for a number of reasons, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause are reliable causes for higher body temperatures that make you feel like it’s the middle of July.

Bedroom Factors

how to stay cool at night: Woman drinking water while sitting on a bed

If you've ever lived through the nightmare of your air conditioning breaking down during a heatwave, you know how impossible it can be to fall asleep on a hot summer night. Warm temperatures, poor airflow, or even certain bedding can make you feel like you’re trying to sleep inside a sauna.

Your room can even get too hot during the winter, especially if you crank up the thermostat to make your home warm and toasty.

A warm room makes it harder for your body to experience that cooling effect that is so important for falling and staying asleep. It also makes it harder to get into deep sleep. If your room temperature is too warm, it will ultimately do more harm than good. 

Without breathable sheets and blankets, your bedding may trap heat and prevent your core temperature from dropping. For example, microfiber sheets may have durability and a soft feel, but they are not ideal for hot sleepers. These sheet sets actually trap heat and make you feel hot at night (especially if they have a high thread count). Even linen sheets can be too hot for some people. However, bamboo sheets and cotton sheets are usually considered a good choice because they are made from breathable materials. 

How To Stay Cool at Night

Woman sleeping with the light on

No matter what causes your high nighttime temperatures, finding a solution isn't as hard as you might expect. Here are some of our best tips for staying cool so you can get a good night's sleep.

​Make Friends With Your Air Conditioner

The Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius) for the ideal sleeping environment.

While these temperatures may sound sub-Arctic to some, it is actually better to have a cooler room temperature and layer blankets, than to keep the room warm and only use a single sheet. This is because exposure to colder temperatures will help you fall asleep, even if it’s just your head poking through.

If you're worried that setting your air conditioner too low will cause your electricity bills to shoot through the roof, run a fan instead. Or, you could always go old school and sleep with an open window. 

Bonus tip: during the summer months, keep your room cool during the day by using blackout curtains.

Use Cooling Sheets

The right sheet set can make a huge difference in your sleep quality. Breathable sheets provide warmth and comfort but still allow for core temperature regulation. The best duvets or bed sheets for hot sleepers are made from light, breathable fabric materials like bamboo, eucalyptus, Egyptian cotton, or wood-pulp-derived Tencel. 

For breathability, cooling sheets use weaves like percale instead of "warm" weaves like sateen. Cool percale weaves use a simple criss-cross pattern and are known for being durable. A cooling pillow can also be soothing (and a good match for your cool pillowcase) if you start overheating at night.

Check Your Mattress

While a lot of people swear by their memory foam mattress, this comfortable sleep solution could actually make it harder for hot sleepers to get the rest they need. Because they contour to your body, memory foam mattresses can trap heat and restrict airflow.

To keep your mattress from becoming a personal sauna, add a mattress topper. Toppers and mattress pads made from wool or cotton offer moisture-wicking and heat-wicking qualities so you can stay cool without giving up your memory foam mattress. 

If it’s in your budget, consider upgrading to a cooling mattress to go along with your cooling sheet sets. And if sleeping too close to your spouse is making you feel hot at night, maybe it's finally time to upgrade to a California king.

Dress for Success

Bundling up in sweatpants and a hoodie before diving under the covers may sound cozy, but it may also result in a hot night's sleep. Instead, wear a light and breathable t-shirt and shorts. If you get too cold, just add an extra blanket. It's a lot easier to toss off an extra top sheet than it is to get changed in the middle of the night.

Cool Your Body

Finding ways to cool off before getting into bed can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. While you might think taking a cold shower before bed is the way to go, the shock of the cold water could actually wake you up. Many sleep experts actually recommend hot showers before bed, because stepping out of a hot shower into a cool room will speed up your body's internal cooling process.

If you could use some extra help cooling off at night, consider freezing a damp washcloth and laying it on your head as you snuggle up to sleep. Sleeping with damp hair or even ice packs can also help your head feel cooler. Some people even use a technique associated with the ancient Egyptians — sleeping with a damp towel or sheet on top of you. As the water evaporates, it will naturally cool your body.

Stay Cool, Sleep Better

Woman sleeping on a couch with a pillow and blanket

Creating a cool sleep environment is a big part of temperature-regulation. At Hush, we have the supplies you need to enjoy cool, comfortable sleep.

It starts with our Hush Iced Cooling Sheet and Pillowcase Set. These breathable cooling sheets are made from 100% organic viscose bamboo for a super-soft, eco-friendly solution. Our wrinkle-resistant sheets use anti-pilling technology to maintain their cooling abilities and ensure a more peaceful sleep.

The Hush Iced 2.0 Weighted Blanket is also designed with hot sleepers in mind. The hypoallergenic, absorbent, and antimicrobial cooling cover gives you all the anxiety-reducing benefits of a weighted blanket with a breathable, cooling design. 

With our high-quality Iced 2.0 cooling bed sheets and blanket, you'll be cozy and cool so you can get rejuvenating sleep every night, year-round. The Hush Iced 2.0 sheets are truly the best cooling sheets you can find.