A cool night's rest
April 3, 2015 5:08 AM   Subscribe

Please share your bedding (or other) recommendations for staying cool while you sleep.

Bliss is sleeping under a heavy blanket/comforter when it’s 50-55 degrees. But I’m a warm, sometimes sweaty sleeper, and can never sleep well in the summer. Last night it was in the low 60s outside, and I slept with my windows open, and oh god here we go summer night sweats.

How can I keep my bed and room cool without setting the thermostat very low? What kinds of fabrics, blankets, mattress covers, sheets, pillows, etc should I be looking for? What should I completely avoid?

Any other adjustments I can make to stay cool while I sleep?
posted by raztaj to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
A ceiling fan works for us.
posted by donpardo at 5:22 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Try this: Just before you lay down, take a thin top sheet made of cotton, mist it generously with a water bottle, and turn on a fan pointed at you/the sheet. It should cool you down enough to help you fall asleep. It won't last all night, but it can be pretty easy to repeat.

If you're comfortable sleeping naked, the fewer bits of cloth between your skin and the air is the best way to keep cool. I'm not comfortable that way, so I sleep in a cotton nightgown and the aforementioned sheet. I also keep a thin fleece blanket on the bed if I do happen to get cold.
posted by royalsong at 5:24 AM on April 3, 2015

Linen sheets. They're expensive but I do find them to make a difference.
posted by metasarah at 5:26 AM on April 3, 2015 [5 favorites]

What do you do with your feet? If you keep them under the covers, that makes it a lot harder for your body to lose heat.
posted by littlegreen at 5:27 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Buckwheat hull pillow. I am a hot sleeper. I started using one of these 7 or 8 years ago, and it makes a huge difference. No more need to flip the pillow to the cool side every hour!
posted by The Deej at 5:29 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Take a cool shower before bed - as cold as you can stand it. It washes off the sweat and cools down the body better than anything else I've found.
posted by DrGail at 5:31 AM on April 3, 2015

You could try a Chillow, I liked mine okay although it's kind of crinkly/hard.
posted by ftm at 5:54 AM on April 3, 2015

Similar to the Chillow, I got the gel memory foam pillow at Costco - I LOVE it. The gel keeps that "cold side of the pillow" feeling all night and the actual pillow is very comfortable. Although memory foam can be hot and generally not what you'd look to for cool bedding, it works beautifully with the gel so you get the best of both worlds.
posted by gatorae at 6:15 AM on April 3, 2015

Think lighter layers and natural fabrics that can breathe. I actually use one of those Indian-paisley-print tapestry things as the coverlet for my bed in summer; that and a top sheet and that's it.

On really hot nights I actually sleep on top of the coverlet, but I get a second top sheet and wet it down and sleep under that. It cools me down long enough for me to actually get to sleep, and by the time it's dried off it's usually the cooler part of the night so I stay asleep.

Also: a cool shower with Dr. Bronner's liquid castille soap in peppermint works wonders. That stuff has so much menthol it actually cools your skin. (Go for the liquid; the bar soap doesn't seem to have enough.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

A very quiet fan that blows near my face helps me more than a ceiling fan. I sleep with just a sheet for cover, never tuck it in, stick my feet not only out of the sheet but over the side or end of the bed.
posted by mareli at 7:16 AM on April 3, 2015

I have a fan on, plus possibly a window open or A/C in summer, plus I recently bought this bamboo mattress topper and I think it helped cool down the bed a lot. It's pricey but really comfy! (We have a spring mattress but the top has some memory foam mixed in as do most modern mattresses and it runs a bit hot.) Another thing is having a sheet or thin blanket between you and the thick blanket. That always makes me feel cooler but I still get to feel the weight of the big blanket. (I use a fleece blanket.)
posted by Crystalinne at 7:17 AM on April 3, 2015

I love being cozy with a blanket or comforter pulled up to my chin. My pet peeve with hotels is that they insist on tucking the bedding under the mattress because that normally means it won't come up high enough....However even in winter I use a summer weight comforter because I get too hot. In summer I have realised that a cotton sheet alone won't do. But a thin cotton throw for example is just a bit heavier and gives me the coziness I want, it makes me feel covered in the way a cotton sheet doesn't, but is light enough to keep me comfortably cool. I use the same pillows and sheets throughout.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:20 AM on April 3, 2015

I got myself a cooling mattress pad. I think it's mostly advertised for women having hot flashes. It wasn't miraculous but it did help a little bit.
posted by town of cats at 7:46 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I use a duvet cover and comforter rather than a top sheet and comforter. It's only a very small difference, but it makes enough of a difference to me. I have a spring/summer duvet cover and fall/winter one--both of different heaviness. I also sleep without any bottoms.
posted by kbennett289 at 10:29 AM on April 3, 2015

A ceiling fan is helpful, but what really does it for me is a huge, old, loud box fan. The bigger the better. Ours is powerful enough that we can't turn it up past "low" unless we want to risk everything made of paper in the bedroom to fly around. It's outstanding.

If you're in a dry climate, you can also make a swamp cooler (or buy a swamp cooler). Setup your fan to blow across a shallow pool of water and the evaporative cooling will drop the temperature considerably. Our house doesn't have a/c but a swamp cooler keeps it comfortable all summer. But it won't work in humid environments -- the evaporation isn't fast enough to cool things down much.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:19 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been sleeping on a 2-foot-high inflatable mattress and have found it VERY cool -- no mass to retain my body heat.
posted by ecsh at 12:11 PM on April 3, 2015

Freeze full water bottles. Wrap them in a thin layer of cloth - a hand towel or something - place them next to parts of you that get hot (for me it's my feet and back). A poor man's AC. Combined with a fan, I find that works wonders.
posted by microcarpetus at 4:54 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm also a hot sleeper and cotton jersey sheets ("t-shirt") and a bamboo blanket have worked well for me. Satiny or higher end sheets have been awful - the jersey sheets were about $30 at Target. I also only wear cotton pajamas; sleeping in the nude seems to cue my body that it needs to generate even more heat. Here's my previous question on the same topic.
posted by desjardins at 9:19 AM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

We use a combo of modal sheets from BB&B, wool mattress pad, and a new (to us) egg-carton style foam topper to keep air pockets under us. (We have a hot as hell memory foam mattress).
posted by getawaysticks at 11:38 AM on April 6, 2015

Seconding linen sheets, so much better than cotton. Since they're so expensive, keep the cotton fitted sheet and splurge on linen for the top sheet. You can often find them on eBay.
posted by timepiece at 2:03 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is why I love duvet covers with a separate comforter. This is the time of year when I bag up that comforter and put it away for the summer. The duvet cover on top of the sheet is the perfect weight for summer.
posted by aabbbiee at 2:24 PM on April 9, 2015

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