How to sleep when it's hot: 6 cool tips for beating the heat

Sweating your PJs off? Try these top tips for how to sleep when it's hot

how to sleep when it's hot
(Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

It's a summer heatwave! Which is great news... on the whole. While you might be thrilled at opportunity to don your sunnies and fire up the BBQ in the day, chances are you won't be enjoying it so much when it hits 11pm, it's still a million degrees, and you're sweating your PJs off. 

Your first stop should be to head to our general guide to how to sleep better at night, but if you're looking for ways to combat the higher temperatures specifically, read on. 

There are the obvious solutions for how to sleep when it's hot, of course. The best mattresses nowadays have a cooling top layer (if you've got a cheaper memory foam creation, you'll know how these beasts can trap heat), and choosing breathable cotton sheets, quality summerweight duvet and decent pillow can all help stop things from getting too sweaty.

If your room really heats up, you might want to invest in one of the best fans, or even a portable air conditioner if you really don't want to mess around.

Top tips for how to sleep when it's hot

Got the perfect setup and still a sweaty mess? Read on for some more unexpected tips for how to sleep when it's hot, courtesy of Boiler Plan

1. Keep your socks in the fridge

"Cooling your feet lowers your overall body temperature," says the research. One way to cool your tootsies is to put some (clean) socks in the fridge door and pop them on before going to bed. Strange, yes, but these are desperate times. A less weird way to cool the rest of your body down might be to fill your hot water bottle with cold water before bed.

how to sleep when it's hot

(Image credit: Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash)

2. Put some clothes on

As the weather heats up, it's natural to want to shed those nightclothes. This research suggests that sleeping naked will actually make you feel hotter. As well as those.. er... chilled socks, this research suggests donning a pair of PJs made from a natural fabric such as cotton. "[This] increases the surface area for the sweat to evaporate and will, therefore, make you feel much cooler." 

It's not just cotton that'll keep you cool, either: wool is naturally thermo-regulating (which is why there are wool quilts in our guide to the best duvets).

3. Unplug your phone

Juicing up your gadgets overnight may be convenient, but remember that anything that's plugged it will likely be generating heat. Charge up during the day and claw back a precious degree or two at nighttime. Or if you can live without your phone overnight, plug it in in another room.

4. Approach fans with caution 

Contrary to what we told you in the intro, Boiler Plan's research suggests a fan could make things worse. "Once it gets hot, you may be tempted to put the fan on but surprisingly, they don’t have that much of an effect as the heat is already trapped in the room. Instead, open your window as wide as you feel comfortable." We can't see why you wouldn't have thought of this already, but we'd be tempted to go for the fan-on and window open option.

There's further mysterious advice for those of you in possession of a ceiling fan. Apparently, a clockwise motion could be making you hotter. Switch to the anti-clockwise setting to usher the cooler air towards you.

(Image credit: Meaco)

5. Step away from the cold shower

Think a nice cold shower will help? Get your hands away from that temperature dial, because this research says that a cold shower will actually raise your body temperature. "Instead, shower in tepid water and place cool cotton pads or flannels on your pressure points, such as your wrists – to keep cool."

6. Get out in the sun throughout the day

Exposure to sunlight is one of the ways our bodies regulate our sleeping patterns, so soak up that vitamin D during the day (invest in some of the best sun cream, of course). Then, make sure you make your room nice and dark when it is time to go to bed: "The stark contrast between the two scenarios will remind your body that its bed-time."

Ruth Hamilton

Ruth is a lifestyle journalist specialising in sleep and wellbeing. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle and will talk at length about them to anyone who shows even a passing interest, and has had to implement a one-in-one-out pillow policy for fear of getting smothered in the night. As well as following all the industry trends and advancements in the mattress and bedding world, she regularly speaks to certified experts to delve into the science behind a great night's sleep, and offer you advice to help you get there. She's currently Sleep Editor on Tom's Guide and TechRadar, and prior to that ran the Outdoors and Wellness channels on T3 (now covered by Matt Kollat and Beth Girdler-Maslen respectively).