20 ways to cool down if you are a hot sleeper

Does a feeling of dread come over you as bedtime looms? Do you lie awake, hot and sweaty, silently willing the night away? Well, the good news is you don’t have to put up with being a hot sleeper!

In this article, we examine everything from your workouts to bedding to the humble fan to help you cool down if you are sleeping hot.

1.  Use breathable sheets

Its a no brainer that sheets of natural materials will breathe better than synthetic fabrics and help with air flow.

But also, and I think this is overlooked quite a bit, make sure that they are not tightly woven. Air flow and breathability - that is the overall trick to cool down if you are a hot sleeper.

Linen does this wonderfully - its thicker strands suit a looser weave. The texture of the looser weave is what gives linen that hallmark look. Check out our linen here.

But what about cotton? Well, there are three things to consider. Firstly, consider a lower thread count. We have all been led to believe that we need a higher thread count (TC) to have quality sheets. This isnt true. Anything over 300TC will be a quality that Australians are used to.

Most importantly, 1000TC, if real are actually really tightly woven, to fit all of those threads into a square inch! I make sure I put my 1000TC on my bed in winter sometimes if my flanellette sheets arent available (and Im a hot sleeper, I dont usually use a doona though). These 800TC sheets will give you the look of 1000TC, but are not as tightly woven as the big 1000TC. Check out our 100% cotton sheets here.

Eastwind Textiles Organic Bamboo sheets are particularly thin and soft but big on breathability. I htink of a slinky nightie when I feel these sheets for the first time.

Natural materials can help with air temperature regulation, helping buffer temperature swings by keeping the body cool and dry and absorbing excess heat.

Don’t forget your doona covers too.

2. Use breathable bedding

Like sheets, your pillow and your doona, and even your mattress topper if you use one will also contribute to airflow blockage.

In particular, swap out your down or feather bedding for summer. It is intended for colder climates and will trap air, which will remain hot if against a hot body.

Opt instead for a wool, cotton, bamboo or microfibre quilt. These materials do keep you warm, but regulate airflow rather than trap it. The lighter weight materials also feel lighter against your body, further enhancing airflow.

I personally use a summer weight wool doona all year round and often have an empty doona cover over my top sheet in summer. (Yes, I am one of those hot sleepers, so I feel your pain!)

Pillows should be thinner and firmer rather than the big, soft varieties. A firmer pillow won't wrap around your head as easily. Allowing your head to regulate the body's temperature.

It is recommended to use a pillow of foam or even shredded foam, as these increase air circulation around your head and neck, regulating temperature.

3. The mighty little window

In this day an age, we live in a more built-up environment. There is stranger danger around every corner, and we tend to live in a shut-up, locked-up home environment.

But the night outside our fortress is actually good for sleeping. The best temperature for sleeping is between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. 

In the more populated southern cities such as Sydney, the average evening temperature lies between 8 and 18 degrees – perfect for a hot bod to sleep. So why not take advantage of that?

(Not so great for the bedloves community who live in Darwin!)

If you can’t or are too scared or its too noisy to have your bedroom window open, perhaps leave a smaller bathroom or kitchen window open to take advantage of the cool of the night.

Alternatively, open the windows in the bedrooms before going to bed to start to cool the room off from the heat of the day and then close just before lights out.

Make sure you shade those rooms or draw the curtains of rooms that catch the sun in the afternoon. Match the open window with one that catches the breeze to get a fresh draft through the home.

4. Ensure air circulation around your bed.

Airflow in and around your bed is also essential. Is under your bed stuffed with ‘things’?

Consider clearing the way for air circulation under the bed. Similarly, slat beds and a bed raised higher off the ground will also help with air circulation.

5. Consider wearing clothes

Although it may sound counter-intuitive, clothing may be better than your birthday suit for sleeping. Breathable, lightweight fabric may wick away that perspiration.

Canadian firm Lusome has developed a pyjama material called Xirotex. Founder Laura Smith was inspired by friends and family who had medical problems, including treatment for breast cancer that caused them to overheat at night.

This material has been proven to perform up to 10 times better than its nearest competitor in laboratory conditions.

Her story is pretty inspirational. Ship it from Lusome's Amazon store here.

Any natural material such as linen, or cotton, and bamboo with moisture wicking properties should be favoured over general synthetic materials.

6. Get an ‘old school’ fan

The humble electric fan can work wonders. Firstly, you can tailor its position to whatever takes your fancy that night. Secondly, a fan can help evaporate any excess moisture you have made. 

Consider putting a tray of ice cubes in the breezeway, creating your own mini ice blast.

7. Switch off your electronic devices. 

Many of us have our phones as alarms these days or a TV in the bedroom that we may use on occasion.

These electronics, while turned off are actually on standby or charging, which can all create heat, and not to mention, use electricity.

Turn off at the wall any electronics that are only used on occasion and remove all personal devices to another room.

Also, think about what wall your bed shares in your home. Is it the wall that adjoins the lounge room with all of the electronic devices?

8. Drink water

We have discussed a lot about getting rid of sweat in this article. It isn’t that sweat is bad, but rather the evaporation of sweat dispels heat, cooling you down.

We like sweat. Sweat good!

To sweat well (or to perspire if you must), you will need to be well hydrated in the first place.

Make it a double whammy by having cold water or ice water in the night to give you some instant relief and to hydrate you.

If you are sick of tap water, consider some chilled flavoured water, or frozen fresh fruit like grapes as an alternative. Talking about food...

9. Watch what you eat

Curries and chillies are delicious! And while many of us feel invincible during the meal, the side effects can get to you in more ways than one.

Make sure you don’t eat too late, going to bed on a full stomach can keep you awake. Food with natural heat will also heat you up.

10. Time those meds

Certain prescription medications like antidepressants, or over the counter options like aspirin and acetaminophen can raise your body temperature.

Consider, and only with medical advice, taking medicine a specific time during the day when any change in body temperature will not affect your sleep.

 11. Know your health limitations

I wish I had a hard and fast remedy for all medical conditions. Some are known to raise body temperature.

While you can't always cure the condition, with knowledge comes power, and the health industry may have specific ways to combat your particular issue. If you have a condition, look into a link with your overheating problem.

Medical conditions include low blood sugar, eating disorders, head trauma, and genetic disorders that cause the hypothalamus to malfunction, pregnancy, and menopause are specifically known to have this problem.

12. Condition your aircon

When was the last time you got your air conditioner serviced, or just cleaned the filters yourself?

What a boring, but a very practical option to explore if your air conditioner is just not doing the trick.

13. Cold compress

Cold compresses or cold water on your hands or feet may provide short-term relief to help you drift off to sleep. And would you believe, the opposite can also be true...

14. Hot water bottles

Wait what!!?? Apparently, if you use a heat pack at your feet, your blood vessels will swell, enabling you to cool faster. Counter-intuitive, but true.

Alternatively, fill your hot water bottle and put it in the freezer for a simple ice pack alternative.

15. Hot hubby (or partner)

I am the official 'hot box' in our relationship, which works really well in winter!

Consider a bigger bed to put some space between you and your better half (we have a king).

16. Divide and conquer

If you and your partner are just too hot together (ha!), consider separate bedding. This can be in the form of different linen or try one of these for size

17. Take a cool shower

Take a cool shower to help with heat, and to also stimulate melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Make sure it isn’t too cold, as your body may work to raise your body temperature to a more regular level.

18. Don’t exercise… late at night

Note here – this is not an excuse to drop your work out!

All that work heats up the body. Best to exercise in the cool of the morning, or at least give your body time to cool down.

19. A cooling pad 

A cooling pad is like an electric blanket, but instead of heating, it cools.

Examples are like this “Chillipad”. An alternative to the Chillipad is this dual temperature pad (i.e. it heats and cools - very handy!).

These cooling pads utilise an adjustable, water-based circulation system to regulate the surface temperature of your existing mattress by actively circulating water through silicone micro-tubes in the pad.

The end result is a cooler mattress, and a cooler you.

20. Switch it up

Finally, I will let you into my personal trick that I use when my bed feels really uncomfortable, sticky and just plain yuck.

I just lift the sheets from the end of the bed and flip the pillows and my head down to where my feet usually are.

The sheets are cooler, the mattress is cooler, I’m further away from my partner, and it always seems to work for me.

Sweet dreams people!