How to Stay Cool at Night: 6 Tips

You toss, you turn,and sweat, but no matter how many times you roll over, check your phone, or open the window (or close the window), you can’t seem to cool down in this hot weather. When you wake up exhausted—and let’s be honest, a little sweaty—the next morning, grogginess can cast a tiresome cloud over your day.

Plenty of people have trouble staying cool during hot summer nights, which can affect their ability to get that all-important good night’s rest. 

Fortunately, knowing how to stay cool at night can help keep you comfortable—so you can stop chasing after sleep like a cat after a laser pointer and fall cozily into a peaceful, cool slumber. 

#1 Identify the Root Cause 

People sleep hot for a variety of reasons, ranging from lifestyle and health issues to their climate. Knowing why you feel hot at night can help you figure out how to stay cool at night. 

Raised Heart Rate

An elevated heart rate can increase your body temperature. And engaging in activities that get your heart beating right before bed can often leave you feeling too hot to fall asleep. 

Activities that can raise your heart-rate include:

  • Drinking or eating caffeine – Consuming caffeine can energize your body and make it more difficult to relax or stay cool. To maintain a comfortable temperature as you fall asleep, try to avoid eating or drinking caffeine too close to bedtime. Caffeine-rich items include coffee, black tea, chocolate, and certain energy drinks.1
  • Exercising – Exercising can boost your temperature. That means vigorous physical activity before bed—including sex—can leave you feeling heated as you fall asleep.2 If you exercise at night and have trouble falling asleep, consider moving your exercise routine to the morning or afternoon.
  • Thinking about stressful topics – Research suggests that exposure to stressors can raise your body temperature.3 It’s normal to worry about things we care about, such as work, finances, and the people we love. But if at all possible, try to move those spreadsheet planning sessions or difficult conversations to earlier in the day. Instead, try to build in time to relax before bed. Put the phone away and pick up a book or calming cup of tea. 

Amending your lifestyle choices can do wonders for your nighttime routine and help usher in a night of deep, blissful sleep.

Health Causes

Certain medical conditions may lead to nighttime temperature spikes, followed by drenching sweats.4 That said, night sweats may be caused by:4

  • Infectious diseases, such as the cold, flu, and HIV 
  • Bacterial infections, such as endocarditis and osteomyelitis
  • Hormonal changes, such as menopause and perimenopause
  • Hormonal diseases, such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism
  • Certain cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma
  • Neurologic disorders, such as strokes, autonomic neuropathy, and autonomic dysreflexia
  • Mental health issues, such as anxiety and panic disorders
  • Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion

Sometimes the side effects of certain medical treatments can also include night sweats.4 If you think your night sweating might have a health cause, talk to your healthcare provider to find a solution.

Warm Climate

Sometimes there’s a complicated biological reason why you feel hot at night. Other times, it’s just the weather.

Trying to fall asleep on warm, muggy nights can often lead to hours of tossing, turning, and sweating. Fortunately, you can battle the heat by keeping your room, clothing, and bedding as cool as possible.

#2 Keep Your Room as Cool as Possible

Whether you’re experiencing heat from a raised heartbeat, health condition, or a warm climate, lowering your bedroom temperature can help you feel comfortable when it’s time to fall asleep at night. 

Keep your core body temperature at the optimal temperature for sleep. That means keeping your room around 65°F (18.3°C) give or take. A cool room (not cold) can keep your core body temperature within that range to maintain sleep for the whole night.5

For those with central air conditioning, that’s as easy as lowering the thermostat.

If you don’t have central air conditioning, you can help keep your bedroom cool with the following steps: 

  • Air your room when the temperature drops – When the temperature drops late at night or early in the morning, open your windows, curtains, and doors to get as much fresh, cool air into your bedroom as possible. 
  • Close your room as the temperature rises – Once the temperature starts rising, seal up your bedroom as much as possible, closing windows, curtains, and doors. You want to try to keep the temperature of your room as stable as possible while the temperature rises. 

Looking up the temperature and humidity in your area can help you determine when it’s time to close up your room for the day. While these steps can help you through a heatwave, we recommend investing in a fan or air conditioning unit as a long-term solution. 

#3 Adjust Your Nighttime Wardrobe

Changing what you typically wear to bed can also help you cool down. If you typically fall into bed dressed in cozy flannel pajamas and a matching top, opt for no or more breathable clothes instead. 

When looking for cooler options, consider:

  • Fabric – Try switching to pajamas made of light, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, or rayon.  
  • Cut – Consider swapping out your pajama pants and shirt for pajama shorts and a loose tank top or camisole. Keeping it loose and wearing less fabric can help keep you cooler when you sleep.

It might sound obvious, but it’s amazing how switching to breathable, minimal pajamas—or no pajamas at all—can help you stay comfortable in warmer weather.

You could also switch up your nightly sleep hygiene for a change for a better night sleep.

#4 Refresh With Cold Water

We’ve been using cold water to refresh and cool down for centuries. Why not make a point of using it in your bedtime routine too?

You can cool yourself down with:

  • A cool shower – Try taking a cool shower before your bed to lower your body temperature. If you have longer hair, let it air dry to keep your head cool as you fall asleep.
  • A wet washcloth – Run a washcloth under cold water, then wring out the excess moisture, fold it, and place it over your eyes to help cool you down as you drift to sleep.
  • A cold glass of water – Drinking cold water throughout the night can help you stay hydrated and cool.4 Just make sure to use a water bottle instead of a cup if you share your bedroom with a furry friend who also enjoys refreshing beverages.

#5 Try Cooler Bedding

Many pieces of bedding are designed to hold heat in. That’s wonderful in the winter, but in the summer…not so much. Rethinking your bedding can help you avoid overheating at night, leading to better, deeper sleep. 

Here are four ways to upgrade your bedding: 

  • Remove blankets – If you’re too warm, ditch the extra blankets. For maximum breathability, try sleeping with only a top sheet. If you’re worried about feeling cold late at night, you can leave a spare blanket folded at the foot of your bed. Otherwise, pack your blankets into the closet until the fall winds come in.
  • Add breathable fabrics – Fabrics like wool and flannel hold heat in, while fabrics like linen and cotton let your skin breathe better. If you find yourself tossing and turning because of the heat, try swapping out your sheets and blankets for ones made of more breathable materials, such as cotton, silk, or bamboo.
  • Split blankets for partners – Sharing a bed with someone whose temperature runs colder than yours can leave one (or both) of you feeling uncomfortable. Here’s our hack: Instead of using one queen or king-size blanket, use side-by-side twin-size blankets. That way, one of you can burrow under a mound of blankets while the other can breathe easily under a single cotton blanket. 
  • Incorporate a cooling mattress topper – Sometimes, it can feel like your mattress generates its own heat on hot and muggy nights. If that’s the case, you might want to look into a cooling mattress topper. The designs will vary, but essentially these mattress toppers use materials specifically designed to diffuse your body heat so that you can stay cool all night long. If you’re ready for an even bigger upgrade, you can switch directly to a cooling mattress instead.

Choosing fabrics and bedding that diffuse heat rather than holding it tight against your body can help you feel more comfortable as you fall asleep. 

#6 Add a Cooling Pillow

If your mom ever lectured you about wearing a hat in winter, you know that keeping your head at a comfortable temperature can help keep your body temperature at a comfortable level.

If you’re a warm sleeper, we recommend looking for a pillow with cooling-gel-infused memory foam, like the Eden. It provides softness and support, and, best of all, it can help keep your head and neck cool all night long.

To maximize the benefits of a cooling pillow, consider trying a cooling pillowcase like the Coolside™ Pillowcase. The silky cooling jacquard can help you feel refreshed come morning.

Sleep Better with Coop Home Goods

If you’re prone to waking up in a sweat, you can chill out by adjusting your room temperature, choosing lightweight pajamas, and customizing your bedding with cooling materials. 

Or you can regroup with Coop. From our cooling pillows to our Coolside™ pillowcases, our sleep time accessories are crafted with better sleep in mind.

Because everyone’s bodies are different, we designed our pillows to be fully adjustable. Because we’re practical, we designed them to be fully washable. And because we all deserve a cool, comfortable rest, we’ve designed our fill, pillowcase, and liner using breathable materials and construction to help keep you cool from the moment your head hits the pillow. 

With Coop, better sleep is only a click away.

Sources: 

  1. Journal of Biological Rhythms. Effects of Caffeine on Skin and Core Temperatures, Alertness, and Recovery Sleep During Circadian Misalignment. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0748730414523078 
  2. Sports Medicine. Effects of Evening Exercise on Sleep in Healthy Participants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-018-1015-0 
  3. Physiology and Behavior. Skin temperature reveals the intensity of acute stress. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938415301293?via%3Dihub 
  4. Cleveland Clinic. Night Sweats and Women’s Health. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/16562-night-sweats-and-womens-health 
  5. Healthline. What Is the Best Temperature for Sleep? https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep/best-temperature-to-sleep 
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