Try these tricks to cool off at night, even when it’s hot outside

Record high temperatures and heat waves are on the horizon for the US this summer, which means it’s time to prepare for brutal heat and humidity. One of the most important places to prepare is your bedroom. In addition to the obvious discomfort of night sweat and damp sheets, staying cool is crucial for a good night’s sleep.

Your body temperature naturally fluctuates when you sleep – this is called thermoregulation. While the changes aren’t drastic (only about 2 degrees Fahrenheit), it’s essential to fall asleep. When you fall asleep, your body temperature drops. If you go up earlier than you should, you will wake up.

That’s bad news during hot summers. The good news is that there are ways to beat the heat and sleep cooler, even when it’s hot outside. Besides that, you don’t always have to rely on your air conditioner, that will raise your electricity bill. So instead of tossing and turning all night (and repeatedly washing your sheets), try these 13 tips and recommendations for kicking night sweats and sleeping through the night.

Read too: How to regulate your circadian rhythm to sleep better

1. Talk to your doctor about night sweats

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First things first: Rule out an underlying health condition. Night sweats can occur in response to many medical conditions, including anxiety disorders, neuropathy, hyperthyroidism, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and tuberculosis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Certain medications, such as those for diabetes and depression, can also cause night sweats. If you wake up hot and sweaty every night, it’s worth seeing your doctor, regardless of the weather.

2. Add a window unit or case fan

This probably seems obvious – but it works. If you don’t have central air conditioning in your home, consider purchasing a window unit to keep it cool at night. This costs much less than installing a central air conditioning unit and saves on energy costs because you are only cooling one room. Alternatively, a window box fan can push warm air out and circulate cooler air.

3. Try a floor fan or mini bedside fan

No room for a window unit or box fan? Currently, many companies manufacture impressively powerful floor fans and mini fans. O Honeywell QuietSet Whole Room Tower Fan served me well, as did the Honeywell Dreamweaver sleeping fanthat works like white noise machine.

A black Honeywell fan on a nightstand.

This little fan from Honeywell is surprisingly powerful.


4. Use fans to create a cross breeze

Speaking of fans, get two while in the shop. Placing two floor fans facing each other on opposite sides of your room creates a cross breeze, keeping you cool all night long.

5. Take a hot shower a few hours before bed

Your body temperature fluctuates in a cycle. Every night, when the sun starts to set and your eyes perceive darkness, your body starts producing melatonin and triggers your brain to get ready for sleep. At the same time, core body temperature begins to drop and continues to drop during the first two stages of sleep.

Taking a hot bath 1 to 2 hours before bed can simulate this natural process and promote restful sleep. When you sleep, your body temperature drops about 2 degrees below daytime temperature before gradually returning to normal levels just before you wake up.

Bubble bath with the person's feet on the edge

It might seem like the opposite of what you want to do, but it might work.

Jena Ardell/Moment/Getty Images

6. Try bedding made from natural fibers

Synthetic sheets tend to cost less than natural sheets, but investing in some natural cotton, linen, silk or bamboo sheets could be your ticket to staying cooler while you sleep. These fabrics promote breathability and, as a bonus, do not release volatile organic compounds like many synthetic fabrics (we everyone could use less VOCs in our homes).

7. Sleep naked or half-naked

Simply ditching your pajamas can help you stay cool while you sleep. This works for some people, but not for others, however. Many people prefer to wear pajamas even if they get sweaty at night, because some fabrics absorb moisture from the skin.

8. Choose natural fibers and loose clothing for pajamas

If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping naked, be smart with your pajamas. Just as bedding made from natural fibers can help keep you cool, so can clothes. Loose cotton, silk or bamboo pajamas offer more breathability than pajamas made from synthetic fibers.

A person wearing gray Cozy Earth pajamas.

Pajamas made from natural fibers, like this bamboo fabric set from Cozy Earth, can help you stay cool at night.

cozy earth

9. Use blackout or thermal blinds during the day

It’s always good to let sunlight into your home during the day, especially during the winter when days are short and many people struggle with seasonal affective disorder. However, keeping the drapes – specifically blackout or thermal curtains – drawn in your bedroom during the day can keep your bedroom cooler so it’s ready to sleep at night.

10. Do not turn on electronics in your room

Electronics like televisions, radios, and video game consoles emit heat when they work. Avoid using electronics in your bedroom at night if you really struggle to stay cool while you sleep.

See More information: Dim or turn off your devices’ bright LED lights once and for all

11. Freeze your pillowcases and sheets

This sounds weird, but it really works – I can attest to this as someone who has lived in California through several heat waves without air conditioning. This won’t keep you cool all night, but it will keep you cool for 30 minutes at a time, giving you time to fall into a deep sleep.

Just put your pillowcases and sheets in the freezer for a few hours before bed. Put them back on your bed and snuggle up in your own personal igloo.

Two white pillows on a white comforter.

Place your pillowcase in the freezer for a few hours for bedtime bliss.

Images by Abby Kamagate/EyeEm/Getty

12. Turn off the thermostat

This probably seems obvious, but many people are hesitant to turn the thermostat below a certain temperature. After all, turning your home into an arctic tundra via air conditioning definitely increases your electricity bill. But if you feel like you’ve tried everything and you still wake up a sweaty mess, you might need to lower your nighttime temperature a few points.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most experts agree that 65 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature to sleep
because it helps your body maintain its natural core temperature at night. However, the US Department of Energy suggests that the ideal temperature for your thermostat this summer it’s 82 F when sleeping and 85 F when outside to ensure maximum energy savings. So be prepared to spend a little more this summer if you’re changing the thermostat every night.

13. Use technology

OK, what if none of the above has worked for you in the past? There are many products out there that are specifically designed to help people stave off the dreaded night sweats. All of the products below use some sort of cooling technology that should provide uninterrupted rest for hot sleepers.

This mattress topper uses Reactex technology, which draws heat away from your body and channels it through cubes of memory foam and fiberfill.

ChiliBlanket features hydroponic cooling. The control unit cools the water and sends it through channels inside the weighted blanket, so you can get all the anxiety-relieving comfort of a weighted blanket without feeling like you’re drowning in sweat.

The purple products feature a gel grid design that keeps air moving through the internal channels, preventing hot air from building up under your body.

The BedJet system works with existing bedding – simply position the fan arm under the sheet for near-instant cooling.

Read our preview of BedJet v2.

sleep well all night

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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