Beat the Heat: Sleepy Time Tricks for Hot Summer Nights

When the temperature soars from morning until nighttime, you have no choice but to hit the sack in the humid, sticky environment of your bedroom. You’re lucky if you have air conditioning, but in the dog days (and nights) of summer, many folks are forced to try to catch some much-needed winks in intense heat and mugginess that make it impossible to sleep through the night.

Here are eight ways to stay cool and environmentally responsible when the sleepy time temperatures soar…


1. Cross-Breeze to the Rescue

To beat the hot summer heat so you can actually sleep through the night may require from re-arrangement of your box fans.

For instance, hang fans cross-ways from one another—or alternately arrange fans directly across from a window—so the breeze from inside (from your fan) and the breeze from outside (from your window) will create better airflow and a much-soothing cross-breeze.

2. Sleep Solo

“I sleep alone, with nobody else.” I know that’s not exactly how the George Thorogood song goes (it’s “I drink alone’) but poor George would probably rewrite his little ditty on a hot summer night when he was forced to hog the bed in order to get some shut-eye.

When you sleep solo you’re able to sleep without touching anyone else’s limbs, which significantly lowers body heat in the bed. You can also spread out, and sleeping in a spread eagle position, with limbs askew, will reduce the body heat you produce and allow air to circulate more fully around your sleeping form.

3. Let Loose

What do you normally wear to bed? Well, those flannel pajamas aren’t going to cut it on a hot, humid summer night. Instead, stick to summertime jammies make of loose fabrics—such as soft cotton.

Or, even though you might be shy, sleep in the nude if it helps you sweat less. Although, many people swear by a soft cotton layer to help them wick away sweat from the body.

4. Chill Out

For a fast cool-down method, concentrate coolness at your various pulse points—namely the radial artery (wrists), carotid artery (neck), femoral artery (groin), brachial artery (elbow), dorsalis pedis artery (feet), posterial tibial artery (ankles) and popliteal arteries (directly behind the knees).

That means applying a cold compress or cold packs directly to the areas that will cool the body down the fastest. So chill some cold packs before bed and make sure to apply behind the knees, at the back of the neck, ankles, groin, wrists, and elbows before you hit the hay.

5. Tap Into Your Wild Side

How do you think Tarzan, the King of the Jungle, stayed so calm, cool, and collected? He slept suspended in the trees and got a good night’s sleep!

A trick to banishing heat is to set up a hammock suspended cot to sleep on. The suspension will increase airflow on all sides and underneath your sleeping surface.

6. Soak your Sheets

No, I’m not referring to sweating through your sheets, but rather the opposite. Dampen your sheets with cool water to create a cool layer for sleeping.

You can alternately use a towel. In ancient Egypt, folks used this method to beat the heat during hot, steamy nights, which is why it’s often referred to as the “Egyptian method” or “sleeping like an Egyptian,” according to the outdoor blog,

7. Hit the Showers

There’s nothing like a crisp, cool shower to put you in the mood for a hot, summer night of sleeping. Seriously, a cold shower will bring your core body temperature down just enough so you can fall asleep.

Even if you just rinse off using cool water before bedtime, you’ll rinse away any excess sweat on your body and hit the sheets feeling much cleaner and more comfortable.

8. Unplug and Disconnect

Did you know that every piece of electronics—your smartphone, laptop, night light—gives off a small amount of heat? When you sleep in a bedroom surrounded by connected electronics (even if they’re turned off), you’re basically sleeping in a furnace.

Do yourself a favor by unplugging and disconnecting as many electronics as possible. Not only will you save an impressive amount of energy, you’ll help bring the temperatures down to comfortable levels for sleeping.


Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.