Too hot to ZZZZzzz
July 19, 2007 2:41 AM   Subscribe

My mattress gets too hot, I have to move to a cooler part and wake up, repeat every 10 minutes or so. What to do?

Are there mattress toppers that transfer body heat away from me? Any other tricks? Special pajamas? Body temperature reducing habits? Help me sleep without tossing and turning, please!

The bedroom is not that hot (although, I don't have air condition), it's just the part of the mattress I'm on.
posted by meijusa to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Try a fan blowing directly on you while you sleep.
posted by shallowcenter at 3:13 AM on July 19, 2007

Try misting the mattress with a sprayer.

Its probably an obvious question, but have you tried a thinner top and bottom sheet?
posted by Solomon at 3:32 AM on July 19, 2007

In the bedding section of Ikea stores, there's a product called Sommaraster. Right on the packaging of this and other similar products, Ikea lists what seasonal weather it's good for. I bought it to keep me cool in the summer - the pillow especially is a godsend to prevent middle-of-the-night hot face flashes.

You also might consider the fan already suggested, keeping some water to drink by the bed, sleeping with less clothing or just washing your face with cold water. Hope that helps!
posted by blueorchids at 3:41 AM on July 19, 2007

posted by wile e at 4:18 AM on July 19, 2007

Do you have one of those Tempur Pedic (or however you spell it) mattress toppers? They store heat like crazy. I always take mine off in the summer months.
posted by sephira at 4:19 AM on July 19, 2007

Sleep naked, for better air circulation, or if you just can't then sleep in a light form-fitting tank top and underpants. Just don't wear pants, it makes it so much worse. If you have a hefty pillowtop mattress, this won't help, but I find that a thin cheap lightly-padded polyester mattress pad (not so cheap that it's ill-fitting, so go up one price point from cheapest) and a snug fitted sheet make a big difference. I've got one fitted sheet that stretches and gets baggy after 1-2 nights and it's much hotter when it gets like that.

If you don't live in a very humid climate, run an ultrasonic humidifier (also available in cute) so that the mist is blowing into your airspace.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:27 AM on July 19, 2007

This is a bit more radical, but have you considered a hammock? That's how I sleep as often as I can, and this is how many people in hot climates sleep (partly to avoid bugs, partly for coolness).

If you can't attach anything to your walls you might try googling for hammock stands. The hammock should be what is usually called a Mayan hammock... the kind with a tight, soft weave that wraps around you comfortably, not the American kind with a wide, knotted weave and spreader bars.

In summer, my savior is the X Chair, which is way more comfortable on hot nights than my regular mattress. (It's hard to tell from that picture but you can put your feet straight out in front of you, lean back and lie almost flat in that chair as well as sitting upright... you can google "x chair" for other pictures.)
posted by lorimer at 5:53 AM on July 19, 2007

I use a fleece wool mattress topper under all cotton sheets. It seems counter-intuitive but the the thick fleece allows for air flow and makes all the difference.
posted by readery at 6:14 AM on July 19, 2007

A water spraying bottle would probably be best - the kind you'd use to spray plants.
posted by reklaw at 6:49 AM on July 19, 2007

You could try a buckwheat husk pillow or mattress topper. They are more comfortable than they sound, and the spaces between the husks allow air to flow through the pillow and keep you cool. I'm not sure about all the other claims they make on this site, but you could look here:
posted by rmless at 6:59 AM on July 19, 2007

2nd readery, but it doesn't even have to be a mattress topper or particularly thick. Any old wool blanket between the mattress and sheet will make a huge difference; just make sure it's 100% wool.

If you haven't inherited any wool blankets you'd rather not look at, I've seen the uglier and more moth-appreciated kind on FreeCycle and in thrift stores.

A quick Google brings up a lot of "You think it will be too hot? Think again. Wool has self regulating properties that keep the sheep warm in winter, cool in summer – that’s what nature designed it to do. A perfect insulation material, pure wool breathes better than synthetic bedding..."-style stuff.
posted by kmennie at 7:02 AM on July 19, 2007

Get high-count thread sheets. It's amazing how much better I sleep. They just feel 'cooler' and breathe better too. I got some from Bed Bath & Beyond for pretty cheap....not the highest count, but somewhere in the can just feel them in the store.

Oh, you can always try sleep meds. Just pop a Xanax, Ambien, Klonopin, or whatever. Insomnia is insomnia, right?

And I totally agree with sephira. If you have a memory foam mattress or pad....GET RID OF IT. My ex had one and I left what appeared to be a murder scene image of my body in sweat every morning. It's gross. I kept having to say, "no, really, it's your mattress....I don't sweat!"
posted by philrj at 7:08 AM on July 19, 2007

I struggled with this and tried a few of the above. The fan dried me out so I kept getting bloody noses, and the chillow has a plastic surface you almost need direct contact with to feel the cold, which means your sweat was a nice surface to build up on and become hot. If you're reading that and thinking you don't sweat, you do, just not so much that you get beads of it so this still applies.

In the end I solved this problem by wearing more clothing. My body was getting too cold before bed (shorts and a t-shirt) so my metabolism was racing and when I climbed into bed the heat just built up and stayed in the bed. So I made more of an effort to keep warm clothing on me before bed (long sleeve t-shirt, thick pants), lowering my metabolism, and hence staying cool in bed.

Sometime in spring I switch to thin pants and take a blanket off the bed, and switch back in the fall. Here's my attempt at foolproof sleep routine. There may be another variable you aren't accounting for. Good luck!
posted by jwells at 7:09 AM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Some Asian people sleep on such a mat in the summer. They put it on top of their mattress. I have not tried it myself but since it costs only a few bucks it may be worth a try.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 9:14 AM on July 19, 2007

I second the buckwheat mattress topper if you can find such a thing, or buckwheat body pillow if you can't. It sounds like it would be, uh, crunchy or sharp, but don't be fooled; the pillows are very comfortable, and they're a godsend in the summer for preventing buildup of body heat.
posted by Elsa at 11:35 AM on July 19, 2007

Rig up a plastic funnel and tube on a floor fan, connect the tube to one of the vents on the side of the mattress. If the mattress isn't too old and filled with kilograms of dead mites, you'll get a nice cool clear airflow up through the fabric.

I made this up, and haven't tried it myself, because I'm good with just having a fan on me while I sleep. YMMV.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:01 PM on July 19, 2007

How about a waterbed? If you set the temperature low (or unplug the heater) you're sleeping millimeters away from a large mass of material that will conduct your body heat away efficiently. (Perhaps a bit too efficiently!)
posted by harkin banks at 5:49 PM on July 20, 2007

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