Summer is all fun and games until you’re trying to get to sleep on a hot, humid night and you can’t shake the mugginess. Instead, you’re tossing and turning under your comforter and starting to panic. It’s only natural. The hotter it gets, the more challenging it can be to fall asleep (and stay asleep). That’s because rising temperatures interfere with our body's natural thermoregulation progress and make it feel impossible to get comfortable enough to fully relax.
Of course, the easiest and most obvious solution for cool, calm, and REM-ful sleep is pumping the air conditioner on full-blast. But, in reality, your AC uses tons of energy and jacks up your monthly electric bill. Plus, there’s such a thing as being uncomfortably cold—which is frustrating in its own right. So what’s an environmentally responsible guy to do? Don’t sweat it—literally. There are tried-and-true methods to unglue yourself from those sticky sheets and get a great (and by great, we mean cool) night’s sleep. Here are just a few of the Olivers team’s go-to moves to kick the night sweats and sleep more soundly.
Rethink Your Fans
Sure, you could stick a box fan in the window, but there are smarter ways to utilize a fan. For a low-tech way to cool down a room, place a shallow pan or bowl (a roasting pan works nicely) full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts, creating a cooling mist that will lower the temperature of a room. This is the same technology that kept iceboxes cold. Another option is to buy a small fan to place on your nightstand. Keeping your head cool can help lower your overall body temperature and the Honeywell Dreamweaver pulls double duty as a fan and sound machine to help lull you to sleep.
Prep Your Place Before Bed
If the bright daytime sun tends to turn your home into a toaster oven, that heat will likely linger at night. So it’s a good idea to keep your drapes and blinds closed during the day—at least in the bedroom—to keep your place cool. If you want to get really serious, consider blackout or thermal-blocking shades.
Spritz Your Sheets
Let evaporation work for you. Fill a small spray bottle with water (and maybe a cooling or relaxing essential oil (eucalyptus, peppermint or lavender) and mist your sheets lightly before you get into bed. You don’t need much—you don’t want them soaking—but a little will help keep you cool throughout the night. Not only does this make the sheets cooler to the touch, but the act of evaporation will help absorb heat and pull it away from the body.
As an active guy, you already know that you should do your best to keep as hydrated as possible—especially over the summer. But ensuring that you’re not overly thirsty can keep your body temperature in check. Plus, having an insulated bottle of ice-cold water close to your bed will make it easy to take a refreshing swig or two before you sleep and it’s there in case you need it. Our favorite is double-walled and vacuum-sealed.
Take a Hot Bath or Shower
This one may seem counterproductive but trust us, it works. Your body temperature fluctuates according to your natural circadian rhythm. That means that as the sun sets and your eyes adjust to less light, your body starts to produce melatonin and triggers your brain to prepare for sleep. At the same time, your core body temperature begins to dip and continues to drop throughout your first two stages of sleep. Taking a hot bath or a long, hot shower an hour or two before bed has been proven to simulate this natural process, which will help cool you down and promote restful sleep.
Upgrade Your Pillow
You probably need a new pillow anyway, right? Why not upgrade to one that’s specifically designed to keep you cool? What was once perhaps a simple infomercial gimmick has now become a full-fledged cottage industry. The market is full of options and innovations in order to help us keep cool and fall asleep. Malouf is among the most-recommended options today. Instead of simply being stuffed with filling, Malouf's pillows are actually made from a proprietary "ActiveDough" foam. Designed with zoned technology to relieve pressure points, it has larger holes in the center of the pillow to cradle your head and smaller holes around the perimeter to support your neck. Hot sleepers will appreciate that the foam is infused with a temperature-regulating gel that draws heat away from your body. And the silky Tencel cover also helps regulate temperature for all-season comfort.
* FYI: According to the National Sleep Foundation, most experts agree that 65 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal sleeping temperature because it helps your body maintain its natural core temperature overnight.