Too hot to sleep? Here’s how to keep cool in bed

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- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Do you find it hard to snore when temperatures soar? (Okay, so snoring is never ideal. I mean sleep but it just rhymes better.)

Tired out: Looks like the old 'sheets in the freezer' trick failed here, too

Tired out: Looks like the old 'sheets in the freezer' trick failed here, too - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

From freezing the sheets to sleeping in the garden, it seems we will do almost anything to try to beat the heat at night.

Getting to sleep (and staying asleep) can be very difficult during high summer and roasting under a duvet is not conducive to rest and relaxation.

Sleeping outside can seem like the only option on especially hot nights

Sleeping outside can seem like the only option on especially hot nights - Credit: Getty Images

According to The Sleep Council, almost half of us don’t sleep very well at the best of times, so it’s no wonder we struggle so much when temperatures peak.

We tried and tested a handful of recommended tricks and tips, to see if they work.


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It was, admittedly, a rather unscientific approach because experiences of temperature are partly subjective. However, it was a light-hearted attempt at identifying what helps.

It involved willing participants undergoing different experiments on the same night.

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The Verdict

What worked: soaking hands before bed, sleeping under a damp towel, sleeping in the garden and applying frozen ice to pressure points.

Debbie Dennick, 37, Highfield, said: “I plunged my hands into a sink of cold water prior to going to bed. It helped. I wanted to do my feet but couldn’t get them in the sink without falling over!”

Janet Charles, 54, Cottonmill, said: “I used a damp towel and slept under it. I repositioned it a couple of times during the night. It worked. I only woke properly once to drink some water.”

Dan Bowring, 33, London, said: “It was cooler in the garden so I slept there on a rattan sofa with a sheet. The first night I woke up at 5am as it was quite cold, but the next morning I slept until 7am which is normal for me.”

Laura Douglas, 37, Sopwell Lane, said: “I tried freezing a hot water bottle and applying to pulse points during the night. It did work for about an hour until the ice melted in the heat of the room.”

What didn’t work: sleeping on frozen bed sheets and drinking cold water before bed.

Natalie Patel, 39, Liverpool Road, said: “I tried putting the bed sheets in the freezer before putting them on the bed. It didn’t help at all. The house is like an oven.”

Joanne Hudson, 29, Alma Road, said: “I drank an 8oz glass of cold water before going to bed and I can safely say it made no positive difference. I was up all night weeing though.”

The jury’s out: soaking feet in cold water before bed and during the night and swapping a hot dinner for a cold evening meal.

Catherine Wright, 37, Hertford, said: “I filled a washing up bowl with water and added ice packs. I soaked my feet before bed but didn’t feel much cooler. I woke in the night and tried it again but it wasn’t as cold. I can’t decide if it helped or not but it did reduce the puffiness in my feet.”

Sharon Cross, 39, St Stephen’s, said: “I had a Chinese with chilli the night before, so I was able to make a good comparison. The night I had salad, I was definitely noticeably cooler during the evening but as the night wore on, I don’t think it made any difference.”

Other suggestions, as recommended by sleep experts, include:

Opening the loft hatch to allow heat to escape. Similar to sleeping in the lowest room in the house, the principal is that by opening the loft hatch, the heat rises into the loft and helps you keep cooler.

Avoiding spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol, as these make your body work harder, which can cause you to unnecessarily overheat.

Wearing cotton in bed. Silk, satin or polyester are not wise. Cotton helps your skin breathe and absorbs sweat (nice), so it’s actually better to wear thin loose cotton pyjamas, such as shorts and a vest, than it is to go naked.

Sleeping alone. Ditch your partner for the best chance of keeping cooler on a hot night. Cuddling makes you stickier and sweatier. Save the steamy stuff for another time.

And if you need any help with that, a cold shower before bed will help reduce your core body temperature, which should keep you cooler for longer. Tepid is better than cold, however.

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