Feeling hot this summer? As the heat rises, many people experience difficulty sleeping as a result.
Your body has an ideal temperature for sleep that's between 60º and 67º Fahrenheit. When temperatures soar, it becomes more difficult to fall — and stay — asleep.
Cooling down at night is essential to getting the sleep you need for optimal health and wellness. Here's how to do it.
Ditch the Memory Foam
Still sleeping on a memory foam mattress? Then you are probably used to waking up in a tangle of sweaty sheets in the summertime. “Sleeping hot” is the #1 complaint people have about memory foam mattresses.
Why is memory foam so hot?
Memory foam uses body heat and pressure to mold to your body, distributing body weight. But this same mechanism can leave you feeling hot and sweaty. (Foam is used as an insulator in many industries.) If you sleep with a partner, you can get even hotter — now you have twice the amount of body heat being retained by your mattress.
What is a cooler alternative to memory foam?
Mattresses made from natural latex sleep much cooler than memory foam mattresses. Natural latex is sourced from the sap of rubber trees. This natural material does not retain body heat like a memory foam mattress does. Organic mattresses made from natural latex also encourage more airflow in and around the mattress.
Reach for Wool
Wool in the summertime — are you crazy?!
Wool may leave you thinking of thick socks, sweaters, and gloves to warm you during the cold winter months. But this natural fiber also does double duty as the ideal temperature regulator for hot summer nights.
Wool bedding, such as mattress toppers, comforters, and pillows, actually provides the perfect temperature-controlled sleeping environment.
Wool has been proven in studies to breathe better than synthetic fabrics, increase periods of restorative REM sleep, get the body to a comfortable sleeping temperature more quickly, and maintain it for a longer period of time.
One of wool’s most remarkable qualities is its ability to maintain comfortable body temperature, no matter the season. In the summer, wool keeps you cooler due to its natural moisture-wicking properties.
A wool mattress topper or wool pillow can actually cool your body down while you sleep by dissipating sweat through the wool’s coil-like fibers.
Choose Natural Fabrics
Whether it’s bed sheets or pajamas, the fabrics you sleep in can have an impact on your body temperature.
Sleep experts recommend that you choose breathable fabrics made from natural fibers, such as cotton, silk, linen, wool, hemp, cashmere, and bamboo, for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
One thing to consider when shopping for more breathable sheets is the thread count. Most people tend to think that a higher thread count is better. But a higher thread count means more threads woven per square inch, and these tighter weaves can reduce breathability.
Save the high-thread-count bedding for colder seasons, and choose a modest thread count (around 300) for more breathability in the summer. Or reach for linen — its looser weave makes it an ideal summertime fabric.
Shower Before Bed
A pre-bed bath or shower can be the perfect end to a day.
Not only do you get to wash away the stress — and dirt and environmental toxins — of the day before slipping into your bed, but a nighttime bath can improve your sleep, too.
Body temperature plays a role in your natural circadian rhythm. Normally, your body temperature rises throughout the day and then starts to cool down as you head into the evening, signaling to your brain that it’s time to sleep. When your body temp stays high, your brain doesn’t get that cooling-down, “time-to-settle-in” message.
Taking a warm bath or shower early in the evening can help your body cool down. Take a nice, warm steamy shower or bath to get your body temperature up. Then your body will start to cool itself down, signaling to your brain that sleep time is on its way.
The timing of your pre-bed bath or shower is important. Don’t elevate your body temperature immediately before bedtime. Sleep experts recommend taking your pre-bed shower or bath approximately an hour and a half before you plan on going to bed.
Stay Cool, Sleep Better
If you want to sleep better in the summer, you need to sleep cooler. For some people, that’s as easy as dropping the thermostat to the recommended 60º - 67º F temperature setting and drifting away to dreamland.
But for most people, a more comfortable night’s sleep is more easily obtained by choosing the right materials for sleepwear and bedding. Mattresses and mattress toppers made from natural materials like latex and wool can make a significant difference in your body temperature. Bedding, pillows, and sleepwear made from natural materials such as cotton, wool, linen, and bamboo can also keep you cool and comfortable. And a pre-bedtime bath is a calming ritual with major cooling effects.