How to keep cool in bed during heatwave: Here are 11 top tips to help you stay safe

With temperatures set to hit an astonishing 40 degrees in the UK this week, getting a good night's sleep could be difficult.

By Jon Peake
Monday, 18th July 2022, 2:33 pm

Searches for 'How to Sleep in a Heatwave' have soared by 138% since the Met Office issued its red extreme heat warning

Sleep issues are already a top concern for Brits. Searches for ‘how to improve sleep’ have also increased by 257% increase since the beginning of June

Bed expert Karen Yu from Zinus UK offers her top tips on beating the heatwave to get a good night’s sleep

Are you prepared for the soaring temperatures?

“With temperatures climbing year on year, making our bedrooms cooler and able to handle the heat is something we should all invest in” she cautions

For many of us, getting a good night's sleep during warm summer nights can be difficult. Often there are many factors that can contribute to the issue, including our bedding choice and bedroom layout to our sleeping clothes and more.

Invest in Summer Pyjamas

It’s not just your bedding – the material you wear while going to sleep can also have an impact on how you regulate your temperature when you’re asleep.

When it comes to PJs, you want to opt for natural fabrics like 100% cotton, bamboo and silk. Cotton is very lightweight, soft and breathable, allowing good ventilation while you sleep. Bamboo is great for its sweat-wicking abilities and is also the best choice if you’re looking for something hypo-allergenic. Silk, on the other hand, is a thermoregulator, keeping you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot making it the ideal choice all year round.

Use cotton pyjamas and thin, pure cotton sheets for your bed – high-quality cotton is the ideal bedding material to sleep between to stay cool as it’s most breathable.

Change Your Sheets

The type of bed sheets you use on your bed can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. During the summer months, heavier materials trap heat in and can make you feel weighed down which can make it difficult to get a good night's sleep.

Natural materials such as cotton or linen are a great choice to switch to during warm months. They're more breathable than some synthetic options can wick away moisture if you overheat and can dry quickly. They're also incredibly soft to the touch, making them an excellent touch for all skin types.

Remember to make sure your pillowcases are also made of natural materials as well. Not only are they great to help you cool down, but their wicking ability ensures that they don’t retain sweat as much as other materials which can help keep your face healthier and clear of spots. Always have more than one set of bedding to make sure you can swap them over without hassle, and don’t forget to wash them in line with their recommended care instructions to help make them last longer.

Add a Cooling Mattress Topper

With all the things we need to buy for a bed, mattress toppers are often let out, but they are incredibly beneficial. They can alter the feel of your bed, making it softer or harder depending on your needs. Cooling toppers are a specific type of topper that helps regulate the temperature of your bed to keep things refreshingly cool.

Like normally toppers, cooling toppers come in a variety of different sizes and types. Shop around to find the one that offers the right level of cooling and comfort for you. Since they just fit over your mattress, they’re incredibly easy to remove so you’ll be able to add and take one-off depending on how you want to feel. During the warmer months, they can be a great way to help you cool down that you can use for years to come, making it a cost-effective investment.

Consider Changing Your Mattress

This might seem a bit drastic, but changing your mattress during the summer can be a great solution to help ease troubled sleep during warmer months. Mattress designs have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, offering new options to help sleepers overcome many of the issues they might encounter while trying to get a good night's sleep.

Some designs combine traditional memory foam beds with a cool gel layer. This makes the mattress resistant to absorbing and retaining body heat, ensuring a better night all around. Some mattresses are even infused with green tea to help keep your bed feeling fresh so you can sleep even better.

If you struggle during the summer months, or just run hot throughout the year, changing your mattress could be a great option. This doesn’t mean you’ll be cold when it comes to the winter months - far from it. You’ll be able to combine your cool gel mattress with winter bedding to ensure your bed remains warm and refreshing when the months turn colder.

Windows Open? Keeping Windows Closed Could be a Better Option

Most people think that leaving windows open on hot days will help cool the house - but this isn’t true in all cases. In hotter countries, they block the sun out during the day, so there’s some rhyme and reason to keeping them closed. It comes down to 2 key factors 1) how much natural air circulation your home experiences and 2) if your home is insulated.

If there isn’t a decent breeze outside, having your windows open for a long period can increase the temperature in your bedroom rather than reduce it.

A popular belief is that insulation is only good for keeping heat in. However, what it actually does is slow the transfer of heat. This means that while it can help keep heat in, it can also act to keep heat out. This can also be the case for your windows if they’re double glazed.

To help keep your bedroom feeling cool, open the windows first thing in the morning to encourage fresh air to flow through the house, then close them for the rest of the day. Keep your curtains closed as well.

If your home still feels too warm, now might be a good time to look into home renovation options to help your home stay cool in future.

Freeze a Hot Water Bottle

While hot water bottles, as their name implies, tend to be filled with hot water, freezing them overnight is also a great tactic to help you cool down.

Freeze a hot water bottle overnight, and bring it up to bed with you at night time. From here you can leave it on your pillows to cool down as you prepare for bed. This can leave your pillows feeling refreshingly cool as you settle in for the night. Alternatively, consider putting your pillowcase in the fridge or freezer during the day.

Once you’re under the covers, move the bottle down towards your feet. This might sound weird, but cooling your feet is one of the quickest ways to bring your entire body temperature down.

While some might suggest using a fan instead, current energy prices might make it hard to justify as a purchase, By using a water bottle and your freezer, you’ll be using a reusable container, and a source of energy which is already being used to keep your fridge/freezer cold, so it won’t add to your costs.

Add Some Air-Purifying Houseplants to Your Space

Sometimes it’s not just the heat that can cause sleeping problems. Warm weather can often lead to dry air, which can cause a whole host of problems such as:

Dry throat

Dried out sinuses and nasal irritation

Dry skin and chapped lips

Nosebleeds (in severe cases)

One of the best (and cost-effective) ways to encourage moisture in the air is to add some air-purifying houseplants to your bedroom. Houseplants are amazing. Not only do they add a sense of beauty and harmony to your space, but certain types are well known because of their air-purifying qualities.

Spider Plant - Spider Plants are one of the best air-purifying plants you can add to your home - just ask NASA. A study by the space agency found that Spider Plants are incredibly effective at removing toxins from indoor spaces. They’re incredibly easy to grow and care for, and as a hanging plant, they can add a whole new dynamic to your bedroom decor.

Areca Palm - Palm plants are great for adding humidity to your bedroom. They’re low maintenance and thrive beautifully with moist soil and a lot of natural light. Add them to windowsills or places where they’ll get a lot of sunlight through the day, and they’ll help you get a good night's sleep by keeping the air fresh and clear.

Rubber Plant - Also known as Ficus Elastica, Rubber Plants are very effective in replenishing the moisture in the air. Rubber Plants can grow quite large, which helps them to add humidity to the air at an impressive rate. Less needy than other tropical plants, Rubber Plants are also quite hardy, making them a perfect choice for beginners. Keep them in partial sun to partial shade and they’ll thrive.

Peace Lily - Peace lilies are tropical evergreens that are known for producing stunning white flowers during warm summer months which blend beautifully with their vibrant green leaves. Don’t worry if you forget to water it on occasion - they’re a lot hardier than they look. They love low to bright, indirect sunlight and are a perfect addition to perfect plant to darker rooms and corner spaces.

Golden Pothos - Golden Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy, is well known because it’s virtually impossible to kill. It’s an incredibly forgiving plant so don’t worry if you forget to water it for days or even weeks on end. It’s another great hanging plant that can help clear the air in your bedroom. Add it to corners or shelves where it can dangle down to add a pop of colour.

You can never really have too many houseplants, consider adding just a few of these air-purifying friends to your bedroom to help make sleeping easier.

Always Try and Lay Low

Hot air rises, so a good tactic to stay cool is to keep your bed as low to the floor as possible.

If you’ve got room, moving your mattress off the bed frame and onto the floor can be a big help. If you’re feeling up to it, why not move your mattress downstairs? The sofa may not be ideal, but sleeping in your living room is generally going to be cooler than sleeping upstairs. This can be a fun activity, especially if you have children - it’s a great excuse to have a slumber party or camp out.

If you want to make a bold change to your interiors, consider investing in a futon or a low bed frame. There are a wide array of interesting designs out there to fit any trend or style you’d like to go for. From Mediterranean to Japandi and everything in between, there is something out there for everyone.

Resist Afternoon Naps

Another myth we often hear is that naps can be a good way to while away the warmest hours of the day is to take nap. There is some merit in it - since we use more energy to regulate our internal body temperature, warm weather can make us tired and lethargic during the day, so taking a nap might sound like a great idea. This can be really enticing, especially on sunny, sleepy weekends.

However, it can often leave us feeling worse, not better. Sleeping during the day can often make it harder for us to sleep at night, and make it especially harder if our sleep is already disturbed by the lingering heat. When it's hot, sleepiness can be precious - save it for bedtime.

As a result instead of napping, try to explore other methods to help stay cool. Treat yourself to a cold drink or ice cream, or find an activity that can keep you engaged instead. Save those precious hours sleeping for nighttime as much as possible. sleeping in the day will take away the night and if you struggle sleeping on warm evenings, you need to be as tired as possible before you go to bed.

Find Ways to Distract Yourself

If you’re lying in bed and struggling to sleep, don’t be afraid of getting up for a short time to find something to distract yourself. While staying in bed and scrolling on your phone might seem like a good idea to help you drift off, you can easily lose hours to endless scrolling and still be wide awake hours later.

If you're struggling to settle down, get up and find a low-key activity you can do. This can be anything from collecting the washing ready for the next day, making a quick snack or even doing 15 minutes of reading. Sometimes engaging in a simple activity can take your mind off trying to sleep - which can help you fall asleep.

Watch What You Drink

Staying hydrated when it’s warm is vital for us to stay happy and healthy. However, what we’re drinking, and how much we're drinking of it, can also have an impact on how we sleep.

To help aid sleep, avoid caffeine at least 10 hours before sleep. This includes hot drinks such as tea and coffee, and cold like energy drinks or cold brew. A cold beer or drink might seem like a good idea, but alcoholic drinks (and any mixers) can also have an impact - if you manage to get to sleep, these beverages can leave you feeling restless, increasing your chances of waking up throughout the night.

Drink water and low-sugar drinks regularly during the day, but not too much at night. About ½ pints before bed will be enough to keep you hydrated and prevent you from having to get up and go to the loo.

Finally, Karen also cautions that preparing our bedrooms to deal with rising temperatures is quickly becoming a necessity rather than a once in a few years issue.

“With temperatures climbing year on year, making our bedrooms cooler and able to handle the heat is something we should all consider. Based on what we've seen in previous years, heatwaves are no longer a once-in-a-few-years concern - they are quickly becoming a yearly challenge. As a result, Taking steps towards preparing our bedrooms to deal with hot temperatures is definitely worth investing in.”