How can I sleep cooler at night?
November 12, 2013 9:29 AM   Subscribe

I sleep hot. My body creates a lot of heat at night, which is good for me but bad for my partners. My ex-wife used to complain, and my current girlfriend doesn't enjoy cuddling because I'm warm and often sweaty. I sleep hotter when I drink alcohol, I know that, and memory foam seems to be a problem (so I'm replacing my memory foam mattress with an expensive mattress that's supposed to be cooler). What other things can I do to be cooler at night? I want my girlfriend to cuddle more!
posted by jdroth to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Fan in the bedroom (ceiling fan if possible?)

Cotton/natural-fiber sheets, bedding and PJs

If it's chilly enough for you to need blankets, maybe try sleeping with one (bare) foot outside the covers? That can sometimes help bleed off excess body heat.
posted by Bardolph at 9:33 AM on November 12, 2013

Make sure your sheets are cotton and your comforter is down, to allow for air circulation.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:33 AM on November 12, 2013

I warm right on up when I sleep. One thing I've found that helps my own comfort is sleeping barefoot and putting my feet outside the covers.
posted by gauche at 9:35 AM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

Linen sheets are supposed to be the coolest and crisp cotton percale (not sateen) a close second.

I third the exposed foot thing. It can cool me right down.
posted by Ouisch at 9:37 AM on November 12, 2013

I sleep hot. My husband continues to be staggered by how much heat my body gives off during the night. We don't have the heat on in our bedroom in the wintertime, that is how much heat I throw off. And we live in Canada.

Things that help me:
1. keeping the "slack" on his side so that I can easily put my foot outside the covers. Similarly, being able to lift the covers up for a few seconds to help vent out some of the heat helps.
2. I have a fan on the floor beside the bed, aimed right at me. Since it is on the floor and aimed UP at me it only cools me off, not my husband (which is a good thing)
3. Sleep nekked
4. My husband and I like to snuggle, but he tries not to snuggle during the night too much because it makes me that much worse. Snuggles happen just before we fall asleep and first thing in the morning when the alarm goes off.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Make sure your sheets are cotton and your comforter is down, to allow for air circulation.

Yes to the cotton sheets but YMMV on the down comforter. Whenever I sleep under one, I wake up in the middle of the night in a puddle of sweat, I feel like it doesn't breathe AT ALL so I much prefer a synthetic comforter. The ones they sell at Macy's, for example, have different levels of density for hotter/cooler preferences.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:47 AM on November 12, 2013

One blanket for you and one for your girlfriend. You can still snuggle but you won't be under her blanket heating her up.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:58 AM on November 12, 2013 [14 favorites]

I sleep SUPER HOT too, I always have and it's not very comfortable. I'm currently using a buckwheat pillow - it stays a little cooler than a regular pillow, but doesn't make a big difference. I always stick my feel out of the blanket.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:02 AM on November 12, 2013

Yea, I would second separate sheet and blanket for you and her. If she gets hot, she has her own cooler bedding to retreat to, while still sharing the bed with you.
posted by sweetkid at 10:05 AM on November 12, 2013

The answers to an old question of mine might help. Windows cracked open a bit is delicious, and feet exposed helps.
posted by headnsouth at 10:10 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I realize how crazy this sounds, but consider putting more clothing on. My body doesn't go into "portable heater" mode unless I'm very cold, so if I get out of the shower and then put on medical scrubs (which are insanely thin), I'll get it. However, if I put on thicker pants, and a shirt with sleeves, I never get to that point and remain cool. Bonus: I don't get that burning feeling when getting into bed either. It changes as the seasons change, so I negotiate that with a separate blanket, but beyond that all is well. Avoid sugary drinks from dinner on too, BTW. Insulin is a vasodilator.

Also, for me, pure heaven is defined by sticking my feat to one side so they can get out of the blankets and be on the outside, and then moving them back while still on the outside. There's enough give where they can remain out while my body and arms stay covered. Pure heaven.
posted by jwells at 10:11 AM on November 12, 2013

My boyfriend gets very warm at night too and he's gotten a lot of relief from just putting a cool, wet washcloth on his forehead. Also, nthing separate blankets...
posted by lovableiago at 10:14 AM on November 12, 2013

Keep the room cold and the blankets light so you're the only source of heat. Guatenteed cuddles ;)

We sleep under 2 cotton sheets and, if particularly cool in the evening, an extra blanket thrown on top until it gets kicked off overnight. Sides of the bed untucked so toes can be stuck out. Keeps the bed from combusting when occupied by two space heaters disguised as people.
posted by rpbtm at 10:14 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree that wearing clothes makes me less hot. Also, this may not apply to you, but I sleep consistently hotter since I started zoloft. I get night sweats regardless of how much clothing I have and how many blankets I use, and the temperature of the room. So, if you're on that or something similar, you might not be able to help it much.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:16 AM on November 12, 2013

As a partner of a hot sleeper, I can tell you that cracking the window and running a fan can create more problems than they solve. Both are great for the overheated person, but they can be agony for the other person.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2013

I'm also a super-hot sleeper, and I wouldn't trade this* pillow for any other type of bedding. I have Sheex pillowcases, but on their own I wasn't convinced to splurge on the sheets.

I also recently bought a set of cheap microfiber sheets and I'm never, ever going back. In the past I'd even eschew a top sheet, but I love the microfiber top sheet.

*I bought mine at Costco for about $30.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:26 AM on November 12, 2013

There are couples comforters made with the left and right halves in two different weights, as well as ways to make your own.
posted by aimedwander at 10:26 AM on November 12, 2013

I'm a hot sleeper and what's worked best for me is a super-light summer weight duvet, and good cotton (no polyester) duvet cover, bottom sheet, and pillow cases – and no sheet on top. In other words, Euro/UK-style duvet use: you wash the duvet cover instead of the top sheet.

A top sheet under a blanket or bedspread or comforter creates heat via layers, so this was big for me: lightweight duvet (with cotton duvet cover on top), no sheet in between. Much better! I can use the nice light duvet I have year-round, and just add a blanket in the unlikely event I get too cold in winter.

I also do the foot out, and no heat on in the bedroom. I'll also often leave a window partly open even when it's cold, and we have a discrete AC in the bedroom, so in warmer temperatures we can cool just the bedroom instead of the whole house. Plus a floor fan.
posted by taz at 10:31 AM on November 12, 2013

There have been some recent studies that show humans regulate temperature to a surprising degree through their palms and soles (of course, I can't find the studies now...). So, not just feet sticking out, but hands, too.

In the winter, when feet sticking out is too cold, I pull up the comforter so there's only a sheet over my feet. And leave my hands out.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:51 PM on November 12, 2013

Definitely separate blankets, for many reasons, including less cover-stealing.

OTOH, I always thought that sleeping cuddled up was only something that animals do in real life, not people (except in movies). I have never been able to get comfortable doing so, heat-wise or otherwise.
posted by radioamy at 1:51 PM on November 12, 2013

Get a Chillow!
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:10 PM on November 12, 2013

I sweat a lot when I sleep. I hate it.

Paradoxically, a colder room makes you want to bury underneath your covers more which traps more heat which makes you sweat more. So if you heat up the room you're more likely to sleep with your chest or feet exposed which vents a lot of excess heat. In the same vein wearing thicker clothes helps.

Sleeping with my arms outside the covers and my upper chest exposed helps, but I have trouble sleeping unless my entire body is underneath covers so this typically doesn't last long.
posted by rq at 2:16 PM on November 12, 2013

You can buy wicking pajamas, or just sleep in wicking gym clothes. (That's more for sweating than heat, but should help with both.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:08 PM on November 12, 2013

I'm a girl and had this problem with my partner as well. Things that helped:

Moisture wicking sheets. They have some that are really expensive online, but really all you have to do is go on amazon and get microfiber sheets. Microfiber is really absorbant and it's also pretty cheap. It helps to put a layer or two of this type of fabric between you while cuddling instead of skin on skin.

Moisture wicking PJ's. I got mine on a site called and I love them.

keeping the room cool. If it's freezing inside the room it feels really good to have my SO next to me in bed and he manages to stay warm without sweating if it's cool enough in the room. Sometimes this means leaving the window a crack open in the winter even. The only problem is that whenever I have to leave the bed to the bathroom it suddenly hits me how FREEZING COLD it is in the room. He's like a human bed heater.
posted by manderin at 4:21 PM on November 12, 2013

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