Struggling to sleep in the heatwave? Try these 8 expert-approved tips

Sleep experts give their tips for getting a good night’s sleep in a heatwave

Heatwave sleep tips
(Image credit: Maddi Bazzocco / Unsplash)

It’s official… the UK heatwave is here and it’s HOT! Even with the best mattress beneath you, sleeping in a heatwave can be tricky. Not only can it be difficult to get to sleep when the temperatures are soaring, but summer nights are typically filled with tossing and turning, sweating profusely and finding it harder to breathe.

Now that we’re into summer, these hot sticky nights will become fairly regular but your sleep doesn’t need to suffer as a result. To solve your sleepless nights in the heat, I spoke to sleep experts from Happy Beds, MattressNextDay, Time4Sleep and Christy, and they’ve given us their best tips for getting a good night’s sleep in a heatwave.

1. Choose a lighter tog duvet

Switching your sheets and duvet is a great way to keep cool and comfortable in the heat. There are many ways you can optimise your bed for the heat and if you’ve invested in a mattress with cooling technology, you’ve already set yourself up for success. A tip that should be followed throughout the season is changing to the best duvet with a different tog rating. According to bedding brand Christy, “during the hotter months, a lighter tog of 4.5 is recommended but if you like something a little heavier but still breathable, try a 10.5 tog.”

2. Consider the colour and material of your bedding

The colour of your duvet cover is another thing to consider. Darker coloured sheets absorb light making them hotter, whereas lighter sheets will reflect the light away. Choosing lighter coloured bed sheets is the best way to shield light from your sleep set-up. Similarly, changing to sheets that are lighter in material will also help you regulate your temperature and prevent you from getting too sweaty. Christy recommends pure cotton sheets as they “have sensory benefits and being naturally breathable, they help regulate moisture levels, preventing that dreaded clamming feeling.” Other recommended materials you can choose include bamboo, silk or linen.

When should I change to a warmer duvet? sleep & wellness tips

(Image credit: Eve Sleep)

3. Choose the right sleep position

Yes, you read that right – your sleep position can contribute to you feeling hot and bothered. According to CEO of Happy Beds, Rex Isap, “during a heatwave, my recommendation is to try falling asleep on your back. This is because it keeps your head elevated, allowing air to circulate your face, and therefore, allows you to feel cooler overall.” If you’re not used to sleeping on your back, you might toss and turn more frequently which can increase your body temperature. If this is you, Isap suggests sleeping on your side “with your stomach facing towards the bed. Make sure to keep your face turned upright so air can circulate your face and keep your feet free from any covers being placed on top of them.”

4. Give your bed the icy treatment

Before you get in between the sheets, give your bed the icy treatment to cool it down. Sleep expert at Time4Sleep, Dr Patel suggests placing a cold water bottle in your bed for an hour before going to sleep. This will help your bedding lower your body temperature, keeping you cool and helping you fall asleep faster. Another suggestion from Martin Seeley, CEO of MattressNextDay is to “put your pillowcase in the freezer for 15 minutes before you plan on hitting the hay.”

5. Place ice in front of your fan

It’s important to invest in the best fan to keep you cool, especially during a heatwave. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can improve your current fan’s air treatment with this simple trick from MattressNextDay. If your fan doesn’t have much reach or it’s not cooling you down enough, you can solve this problem by placing a bowl of ice cubes in front of your fan. The air from the fan will slowly melt the ice which disperses a colder breeze, making your room cooler.

6. Cut light out of your bedroom

To keep your bedroom cool for sleep, try to keep your blinds or curtains shut during the day to prevent light from getting in. The sun is at its hottest during the day so by limiting the amount of light that enters your bedroom, it should be cooler at night when it’s time to go to sleep. If you want to block light from your room entirely, blackout curtains are a good option for this.

Woman sleeping on top of bed in the heat

(Image credit: Tracey Hocking / Unsplash)

7. Eat less before bed

Regardless of whether it’s hot or not, you should be having your last meal or food of the day 2-3 hours before you go to bed. This window gives your body enough time to fully digest your food without disrupting your circadian rhythm. It’s especially important to stick to this during a heatwave as “eating can make you feel hot and uncomfortable as digesting food creates heat which you don’t want if you’re struggling with a hot bedroom”, says Happy Beds.

8. Cool your body down before bed

Did you know that sleeping in a cold room is better for you? According to experts, sleeping in a cold room can help you fall asleep faster, speed up your metabolism and reduce stress. The main reason for this is because the chill lowers your body temperature which is what you need to happen in order for your body to relax and fall asleep. As this can be tricky in a heatwave, cooling your body down will make you feel more comfortable and drift off easier. Do this by having a cold shower before bed or (as suggested by MattressNextDay) running your wrists under cold water for a few minutes.

Want more heatwave sleep advice? Try these 4 weird summer sleep hacks.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!