How to stay cool at night

When we set out to create the world’s best bedding, we started by researching what makes for a great night’s sleep. This led us to discover what prohibits quality sleep as well. Sadly, there are a multitude of reasons, physical and psychological, that people from getting a solid night’s sleep.

Struggling to sleep

Luckily, there is help to be had for most concerns. Some are easy fixes, such as creating a bedtime routine, or optimising your bed, whilst others require the assistance of medical professionals. If you find yourself struggling to sleep or can’t fall asleep, you need to start by pinpointing what you perceive to be the problem.

Why can’t I get a good night’s sleep?

Over the years, when interviewing our customers, we have found that the reasons people are struggling to sleep are as varied as they are. That said, one complaint has stood out more than others. So, we think it is time to talk about… night sweats.

Overheating at night

We heard it over and over and over again, overheating disrupts sleep, makes it difficult to fall asleep, and leads to unrestful sleep. In this post, we will have a quick look at what the reasons for overheating might be, but more importantly, share ideas on how to stay cool at night.

Why do we get hot at night?

Nocturnal hyperhidrosis (a fancy, medical term for excessive sweating at night), more commonly referred to as night sweats, is when someone repeatedly and excessively sweats during sleep. There are a range of reasons why you may be experiencing night sweats: from as simple as your environment being too warm, through to medical conditions.

Night sweats during menopause

For women, one of the most common causes of night sweats are the hormonal changes that occur when they reach menopause and perimenopause. During the menopausal transition years, over 80% of women experience hot flashes, which often includes excessive sweating during the night.

Other underlying medical conditions

Night sweats could, in some cases, be a sign of a clinical condition that needs treatment. In order to establish this, you should start by optimising your sleep environment to rule out the risk that your bedroom is too warm, or your bedding is causing you to overheat. Find our top tips on how to do this below. If you take the steps outlined below, yet find yourself having persistent, unexplained night sweats, you should consult your GP.

Top tips to stay cool at night.

1. Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature

Experts say the ideal temperature for a bedroom is between 15-20 degrees Celsius. Anything below that and you will be cold, which, in turn, will prompt your body to try to heat up. So avoid the temptation to go colder – most people find that 16-17 degrees is ideal.

How to cool down a room

Your thermostat is your first point of call. As air conditioners are relatively uncommon in the UK, lowering the temperature of a room can be tricky. There are some simple steps you can take though: keep curtains and blinds shut during the day. This is especially important in the warmer, sunnier, summer months. This simple trick will stop excess heat from coming in. Consider investing in blackout blinds – the added benefit being that you sleep better in a completely dark room.

Fans can also be very helpful. Circulating the air in the room will immediately lower the temperature. If you get strategic with positioning (pushing hot air out & sucking cold air in), you will feel a noticeable difference. Many modern fans come with ideas & instructions on how to achieve this.

2. Be mindful of your activity, eating, and drinking in the evening

What you do in the hours before going to bed will impact your body temperature through the night. Eating heavy meals: fats and carbs for example, will require your body to work hard to digest, and that ‘work’ will cause your body temperature to increase. Sugar has the same impact. Spicy meals can also cause people to sweat. So, stick to something light and healthy before bed. Try not to eat too late or close to bed time, and if you are craving a snack, try foods that help you sleep such as popcorn or dark chocolate (how fabulous is that?!).

Many people think that drinking alcohol before bed will help them sleep. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Whilst you may feel sleepy after a few glasses of red wine, your body is in full-on battle mode breaking down the alcohol. And that process, is a common cause of hot flashes and night sweats. Furthermore, when you drink alcohol, your blood vessels dilate and move closer to the surface of the skin, causing you to sweat.

A final point about evening activity: we all know exercise is good for us. One of the many benefits is getting the blood pumping & body sweating, and this continues after your training session is over. In other words, if you are prone to sweating in the night, keep your exercising to the morning hours.

3. Cool down before going to bed

This could be the single most important tip to reducing night sweats: and it applies both physically & mentally. Create a bedtime routine that will help you wind down and cool down before turning in. Your successful bedtime routine will be as unique as you are, so spend some time testing different components. The only rule is that you should aim to have a similar routine each evening, so the body ‘learns’ to recognise the signs that it is time for bed.

A warm shower or bath to cool you down (yes you read that right!)

It may sound counterintuitive, but having a warm shower or bath before bed can lower your body temperature. To begin with your body temperature will rise, but once you get out you will begin to cool down. In addition, adding a bath or shower to your night time routine can be calming and help you fall asleep quicker. Just make sure the water is lukewarm, hot showers can heat up your bathroom and already warm rooms, whilst cold showers can have a stimulating effect — making you heat up & making it harder to fall asleep.

4. How to keep your bed cool

The number one rule here is ditch any non-breathable synthetic materials! The key to staying cool is allowing air to circulate and moisture to be wicked away. This applies to bedlinen as well as bedding. Stick to natural materials to allow for breathability, and look for materials that naturally regulate temperature – like wool, silk & cotton – these are the materials cooling bedding are made of. The same goes for your attire – stick to thin, natural materials when choosing what to wear. Click here to view our ultra-breathable cooling sheets, the Crisp & Cool Organic bedlinen recommended for hot sleepers, or here to view our temperature regulating, British, 100% Organic Wool range of pillows & duvets.

Switch your duvet in Summer

Having a summer duvet is a great solution for some. However, if you suffer overheating throughout the year, you are better off sticking to a truly temperature regulating solution, such as wool. A temperature regulating duvet, sometimes called a cooling duvet, works by keeping you at the right temperature, regardless of your surroundings. In other words, cool when it's hot and comfortably warm (never hot!) when it's cold. This way you only need to buy one duvet. If you are prone to night sweats, you should stick to less filling - look for around a 4.5 tog equivalent.

5. How to cool down from night sweats

And finally, some practical tips if you still find yourself waking up sweaty at night.

Stock your freezer!

Night sweats are different for everyone. Figure out where you are most prone to sweating & treat that area. A frozen washcloth can provide immediate relief on the forehead and face. Another idea is to take the classic hot water bottle fill it & freeze it. Then move it around the bed to cool the sheets down.

Small icepacks can also be very useful when placed strategically. Cooling pulse points such as your ankles, wrists, the backs of your knees, and the insides of your elbows, & the neck area will help the rest of your body cool down too.

Change your sleeping position

Your body temperature has a lot to do with your sleeping position. Since mattresses, bedding, & bedlinen absorb body heat, changing the area of contact will provide some relief. If you can, try to train yourself to sleep on your side, as this minimises the area of your body touching the mattress. If this is uncomfortable for you, the next best thing is to try to sleep with legs and arms stretched out, away from the body – either on your back or stomach – the point of the exercise is to make sure you are allowing air to circulate freely around you.

To sum it all up:

Why do we get so hot when we sleep?

Provided there is no medical condition in play, the most common reason people get too hot is the sleeping environment and the bedding they sleep on. This is because your core temperature drops a couple of degrees during the night and sheds heat into your surrounding environment. If your bedding & bedlinen can’t ‘breath’ and/or wick away the moisture, you will overheat.

How do you create a bedroom environment to help hot sleepers?

Keep your bedroom at a temperature between 15-20 degrees. During the hot, sunny, summer months, use fans & keep the sunshine out using blinds.

How do you make your bed cooler?

Keep your bed cool by keeping it natural! Use 100% natural materials such as cotton, silk, & wool – this means bedding, bedlinen and any apparel! This will allow for air to circulate, and moisture to be wicked away.

How do you avoid getting too hot at night?

Sadly, there is no single answer. It’s a combination of getting the environment (bedroom), and the bed & bedding right. The, setting yourself up physically & mentally for a good night’s sleep by being mindful what you do, eat, & drink in the hours leading up to bedtime.

How do you cool down if you wake up too hot?

Again, there is no single answer, but for immediate relief, you can use icepacks, frozen (hot) water bottles, and fans. Reposition yourself to allow air to circulate & try to relax (though any of us who suffer with this issue knows that the frustration makes it tough).

At Rise & Fall, all our materials are 100% natural, and suitable for hot sleepers. We use only the highest quality cotton for our bedlinen, 100% natural, British, Organic Wool in our duvets & pillows, and ultra-high quality natural silk in our sleep accessories.