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How to Sleep Cooler in a Hot and Stuffy Bedroom (31 Ways)

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Stephanie-Abi-Zeid.
  • This article has been written, researched, and medically reviewed by Stephanie Abi Zeid (Embryologist, Andrologist, B.S, MSc) for maximum factual accuracy and to ensure unique content.

Trying to get to sleep in a hot and stuffy bedroom can be difficult because not only will you be sweating too much, but you will feel like you are sticking to the covers and be very restless – so getting into a deep sleep can be close to impossible.

I personally tend to sleep hot at night anyway – so I feel any increase in the room temperature or decrease in ventilation quite acutely.

This means that I have tried many different ways over the years to try and cool down in a hot and stuffy room.

So how do you sleep better in a hot and stuffy room?

The most effective ways to sleep cooler in a hot and stuffy room include sleeping on a cooling mattress; blocking out the sun during the day with vertical blinds; creating a throughflow of air; utilizing air conditioning; creating a cross breeze with fans; and cooling yourself with ice packs/cold water.

These are just a handful of the most successful techniques that I’ve used, but there are plenty more that work.

So I’ve put together this complete guide that gives you 31 ways to sleep cooler when your bedroom is too hot and stuffy.

It’s based on my own personal experience and my professional experience from working as a research scientist.

Related: discover 13 ways to sleep cooler and more comfortably if you have sunburn here.

31 Ways to Sleep Cooler in a Hot and Stuffy Room

Here are 31 techniques that you can try to help you cool down and get to sleep faster in a hot and stuffy room:

1: Buy a Cooling Mattress or Mattress Topper

DreamCloud Mattress Review (2021 – Get $200 OFF Here) – UK v US Versions

If you find yourself tossing, turning, and sweating while trying to sleep, your mattress may be to blame. 

The worst mattresses for causing overheating are cheap polyfoam and memory foam ones because they tend to retain heat and lack breathability.

That’s why it is so important to upgrade your mattress to one with cooling or temperature-regulating properties if you tend to sleep hot like me.

Look for mattresses with the following qualities to help you sleep cool:

  • Moisture-wicking cover to get rid of sweat.
  • Breathable foam core to allow for heat dissipation.
  • Memory foam with gel infusion to offset heat retention.
  • Hybrid coil cores for better airflow.
  • Natural fillings such as natural latex, wool, cotton, or bamboo for better breathability.

I personally recommend the DreamCloud hybrid mattress if you sleep hot because the springs and foam allow for maximum heat dissipation and aeration.

Click here to read my first-hand DreamCloud mattress review and save $200 now.

2: Block Out the Sun During the Day With Vertical Blinds

The best preventative measure to stop your bedroom from becoming too hot at night is to block out the sun during the day with vertical blinds or blackout blinds/fabrics.

More specifically, if your room catches a lot of direct sunlight, I recommend dark or blackout blinds to fit perfectly on your windows, curtain glass, or balcony doors. 

Blackout fabrics offer thermal insulation to a room – keeping it darker and cooler especially during summer days, which is a benefit to anyone who has difficulty sleeping in a hot and stuffy room. 

You can choose roller blinds, roman blinds, or vertical blinds to block out light and decrease the amount of heat that seeps into the room. 

Some people like to install Venetian blinds made from horizontal slats that won’t close tight enough because they’re a great form of decoration.

However, I personally recommend vertical blinds because, unlike Venetian blinds, the slats overlap each other so that you can’t see any beams of light.

Click here to discover 19 ways to darken your bedroom for better sleep.

3: Open and Close Your Windows and Doors Strategically

In the past, I used to open the windows on warm days if it felt cooler outside than inside. 

To my surprise, I found that many times while the breeze feels nice, I was actually letting loads of hotter air into my room. 

Therefore, I recommend getting an indoor thermometer to make a distinction between how hot the air feels and how hot the air actually is to help you decide when to keep your windows open or shut. 

Consequentially, I’ve actually found myself keeping the windows shut for longer hours during hot days, which has made my room much more comfortable and a couple of degrees cooler on the thermostat at bedtime. 

If your house is not well insulated, your bedroom can get quite hot if the door and windows are closed. 

So if you’re trying to cool down before bed, keep your bedroom door open to increase ventilation from one room to the next, ensuring that the air in your bedroom is not stagnant.

Click here if you want to make your bedroom door look more stylish (19 ideas).

4: Create a Throughflow of Air at Night

If there is a breeze outside at night then you may be able to sleep cooler by opening a window and your bedroom door to create a throughflow of air.

If your bedroom is very hot, then the comparatively cooler night air blowing in will quickly bring down the room’s temperature and increase ventilation to stop the room from feeling stuffy.

However, I think that open windows can bring security concerns in some cases.

Therefore, you will need to gauge which windows are safe to leave open in the evening and night – if at all.

Click here to learn how to sleep when scared for some home safety tips.

5: Set the Room Thermostat to 68°F

Sleeping in a room that is too hot can disrupt your sleep cycle. 

Set your thermostat to 68°F for good health, optimal sleep, and lower bills. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum room temperature of 64°F for healthy people [1]. 

The ideal temperature setting depends on the ages of the residents in the house, and on the type of insulating system in the house.

So use 68°F as a baseline and then adjust accordingly depending on your preferences.

Find out if a memory foam mattress can make you feel too sweaty here.

6: Seal Cracks Around the Windows to Stop Cool Air Escaping

Sealing gaps around your doors and windows and using draught excluders can ensure the cool air doesn’t escape and stays inside the room. 

I personally upgraded my windows to energy-efficient windows, which are designed to increase insulation by preventing the cooled air from escaping out of the room. 

Upgrading to energy-saving windows can make your stuffy room more comfortable while also reducing your home’s energy usage, and therefore your bills. 

However, if replacing your old windows isn’t in the budget, you can seal the gaps with caulk or apply weather stripping to prevent the cool air from escaping out of the windows.

You may also wish to replace your bedroom door if it has a lot of gaps due to warping.

Follow these 6 steps to paint your bedroom door so it doesn’t stick.

7: Clean Your Air Conditioner’s Filter for Better Functioning

A dirty or clogged AC filter forces your system to work harder and use more energy to cool you off. 

By contrast, a clean filter helps your system work better and last longer, and provides greater comfort within your bedroom when it gets uncomfortably warm.  

So make sure to inspect your air conditioning system and to regularly clean or replace its filter, so that you sleep cooler throughout the night.

8: Install Multiple Fans to Create a Cross Breeze

Install multiple fans around your room to keep the air circulating continuously.

If you are using a ceiling fan, adjust its settings so the blades move counterclockwise at a high speed to push air straight down, helping to create a cooling effect. 

If you are using a box fan, place it across a window so it pushes hot air out.

The wind from outside will also combine with the fan to create a cooling cross-breeze, which might help you sleep cooler and more comfortably.

9: Place Ice In Front of a Fan to Create a Cooling Mist

If it’s really hot, put a shallow bowl or a pan filled with ice in front of the fan while it’s on to create a cooling mist, similar to that of an air conditioning unit. 

As the ice melts, it generates cold air around it. 

The breeze from the fan picks up the cold water from the ice’s surface and blows it around to cool off the room. 

Alternatively, a wet flannel or small damp towel placed over a fan can work just as well.

10: Use a Dehumidifier to Make the Room Cooler

Having personally lived near the beach, where the level of humidity was high, I found that running a dehumidifier before bedtime made my room cooler and more comfortable. 

Unlike an air conditioner, a dehumidifier does not reduce the temperature but instead removes moisture from the air in the room – therefore creating less humid air, which in turn makes the room feel cooler and less stuffy [2].

To dehumidify the air properly and get a cooler feel in your room: 

  • Choose a sufficient capacity dehumidifier that adequately matches the size and temperature of your room.
  • Set up the dehumidifier in the middle of your room if possible.
  • Ensure that the room is well insulated from other rooms by closing all doors and windows.
  • Run the dehumidifier, preferably in your absence, because it can cause the skin to dry up. 

I also found a dehumidifier useful when sleeping in a basement that was too hot and stuffy.

Click here to find out if it’s safe to sleep in an unfinished basement.

11: Fit Energy Saving Lightbulbs to Reduce Heat Output

All types of lightbulbs – especially incandescent light bulbs – can generate a lot of heat, which can increase the room’s temperature, causing discomfort and restlessness. 

However, LED bulbs consume far less energy compared to other kinds of bulbs, so they generate far less heat.

Therefore, I recommend switching to energy-saving bulbs such as LED lights and CFLs to cool your room and reduce your energy costs.

12: Turn Off Electronics to Reduce the Room Temperature

The use of electronics and gadgets in the bedroom such as your running laptop, your phone, iPad, and the TV you left on, not only have damaging effects on your sleep habits but also contribute to the temperature of your room. 

Those electronics generate heat, which makes it hard to keep the room cool.

The blue light emitted by those gadgets can also suppress the production of melatonin, making it even more difficult to sleep [3]. 

I personally recommend blue light blocking glasses to retain melatonin when reading on your phone while in bed. 

Therefore, it is best to avoid any sort of extra light or heat sources and turn off or unplug all electronic devices when the temperature is already scorching in your room.

Click here to find out if it’s safe to sleep with an Apple watch on.

13: Switch Off the Lights to Cool the Room

As mentioned above, the heat from the lighting will warm your room, but it is greatly reduced when using LED lighting.

However, if you can’t upgrade all your lightbulbs, keep the heat at bay by turning off the lights and taking advantage of the natural daylight around your house. 

This will keep your room cool for the night. 

Having the lights off in your bedroom – or using them minimally – at bedtime can help your brain make enough sleep-inducing melatonin, reduce the amount of energy you consume, and keep your room cool for easy sleep. 

14: Use Breathable Bed Sheets to Dissipate Body Heat

Lighter and more breathable sheets can help you to avoid feeling stuffy and sweaty during sleep. 

Choose bed sheets made out of natural fibers like cotton, linen, or percale to conduct heat away from your body and prevent the clammy feeling you might experience with synthetic fabrics. 

I usually tell my patients who suffer from night sweats to use 100% cotton sheets because they are light and soft against the skin, and they promote ventilation and airflow. 

Placing damp sheets in the freezer and using them before bed may help keep you cool at night. 

You should also make sure you have the right duvet. 

Change your regular comforter to a much lighter version to stay cool and comfortable when temperatures soar. 

I personally recommend wool-filled bedding, as wool wicks moisture away from the body and helps keep you cool at night due to its heat-regulating properties. 

Click here to see the best cooling bed sheets to buy now.

15: Wear Loose Fitting Clothing to Avoid Feeling Clammy

Wear light, loose nightwear or pajamas that let your skin breathe and absorb any perspiration so that you don’t find yourself feeling glued to the sheets. 

Avoid synthetic materials like silk, satin, nylon, and polyester, as they don’t absorb moisture and can leave you feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. 

According to research, cotton bed-wear is the best because it helps you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper than when wearing bulkier materials like wool [4].

16: Sleep Naked for Maximum Freedom

Tight sleepwear can sometimes increase your core body temperature, which isn’t ideal for good quality sleep. 

If you sleep overheated, your cortisol levels tend to increase and stay high even after you wake up, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders. 

Sleeping in the nude helps keep your body temperature at the optimal range so your body can better regulate its melatonin and cortisol levels so you can sleep better.

17: Sleep With Your Feet Outside The Covers

Putting one foot out from under the cover is an effective way to cool off your entire body, making it easier to induce sleep and stay comfortable. 

Your feet contain blood vessels that are designed to help dissipate body heat. 

When you’re warm during sleep, those vessels in your feet – known as arteriovenous anastomoses – dilate, which allows more blood to get to the skin’s surface where heat is lost to the air through a process called vasodilation [5]. 

So sticking your foot out can keep your skin’s temperature down, allowing for a night of more restorative and deeper sleep.

18: Sleep Alone to Reduce Body Heat

If you sleep with your partner or your pet, try to avoid contact during sleep, so you don’t wake up dripping in sweat. 

You don’t want their body heat to transfer to you and vice versa.

Also, rather than sharing the same bedsheet, it can be beneficial for you to each have your own blanket or sheet. 

If you and your partner are struggling to share the bed in a hot and stuffy space, consider sleeping (temporarily) alone because two bodies means twice the heat.

Try to sleep in the “starfish” position with your arms and legs spread out to the four corners of the bed to stay cool.

Click here to learn how to sleep better alone if you don’t like it.

19: Try the Egyptian Method to Cool Your Body Down

Back in ancient Egypt, people used wet bed sheets to find relief in the scorching weather conditions. 

This method mimics a swamp cooler, which helps deliver cool air.  

So in order to sleep cooler at night, get your sheets or a towel and soak it in cold water right before bed. 

Use a washing machine, then squeeze out as much water as you can to come out with damp sheets that aren’t dripping on the bed all night.

20: Sleep Closer to the Floor

You can try sleeping as close to the ground as possible by taking your mattress off the bed and putting it on the floor. 

Warm air is less dense than cold air, so the air at the floor is less hot than at the ceiling of the room.  

Therefore, I think that sleeping close to the floor may be a good way to beat the heat in the short term.

If you don’t mind hard surfaces, you can sleep directly on the floor – especially if your floor is made up of tiles. 

Tiles usually feel cool and will make sleeping more comfortable during very hot nights.

Click here to find out if it’s safe to sleep on a mattress directly on the floor (long term).

21: Choose White Bedding Over Black to Reflect Light

Dark-colored items can absorb more light in comparison to white and neutral-colored objects.

This means that dark-colored bedding may make you feel too hot.

So use plain white bed sheets on the bed and incorporate light accessories around the room to ensure that your room doesn’t heat up much during the day.

Click here to see the best bed sheets to buy online now.

22: Invest in Indoor Plants to Absorb Sunlight

House plants and greenery can keep your bedroom cooler throughout the day.

They tend to capture some of the sunlight that enters your room and release excess water into the air from their leaves when the atmosphere heats up.

As a result, indoor plants can cool themselves and the surrounding environment, making you sleep better in warm conditions. 

Plants make great decorative items to place on the wall opposite your bed.

Click here to discover 8 ways to decorate the wall opposite your bed now.

23: Cool Off Your Pulse-Points With Ice Packs

Keeping your skin and various pulse-points cool is an effective way to decrease body heat. 

To do this, apply ice packs on your forehead, neck, wrists, ankles, the backs of your knees, and the crooks of your elbows to cool off. 

You can also apply a cooling gel such as aloe vera or some types of body wipes to create a cooling sensation. 

Make sure the wipes contain alcohol, as it helps remove heat and sweat from the body. 

Discover how ice can be used to treat tennis elbow for better sleep here.

24: Take a Warm Shower to Dilate Blood Vessels

It might sound counterintuitive, but taking a warm shower or bath before bed can lower your core body temperature and help you fall asleep faster [6].

The warmth of the water sends a rush of blood to your hands and feet, where your blood vessels dilate and move closer to the surface of the skin, causing you to sweat and cool your bloodstream. 

I suggest you take a moderately warm shower a few hours before bed because hot showers can heat up your bathroom and your room, making it harder to sleep. 

If you are too sticky to sleep, shower with cold water to feel cool and refreshed before going to bed and slipping between the sheets.

25: Cool Down in the Night With a Water Spray

Keep a spray bottle filled with cold water on your night table near your bed, so you can grab the bottle and spray water on any part of your body to cool down when you overheat.  

Spritzing a mist of water on your skin will help reduce the temperature of your body, and get you back to sleep.  

You can also give your bedsheets and curtains a light spray to create a light breeze that will float around your room to keep you cool and chilled throughout the night.

26: Drink Cold Water to Cool Down Internally

If you’re dehydrated or drinking warm water before bedtime, you will feel more affected by the heat. 

Conversely, drinking cold water before bedtime will keep you cool, hydrated, and comfortable. 

Although drinking plenty of cool water leads to increased bathroom trips during the night, it also helps lower your core body temperature. 

Sweating during sleep can also result in dehydration, so keep a cold glass of water to hand on your bedside table to sip when you wake up too hot and thirsty.

27: Flip the Pillow Over for Refreshing Coolness

When you feel it’s gotten too toasty and you don’t have a pillow that stays cool all night long, flip your current pillow over to the cold side for some temporary relief. 

When you put your head on a pillow, the pillow tends to retain heat and prevent it from escaping. 

That’s why it is important to look for pillows that are lighter, less dense, and have temperature regulating properties.  

You can even purchase cooling gel inserts for your existing pillow. 

A cooling gel pillow can absorb and dissipate heat away from your head and neck, so you can have a restful night.

It can also alleviate migraines, headaches, and stress, and protect you from cold and flu symptoms.

Click here to see how to sleep better when you have a fever.

28: Avoid Heavy Foods that are Hard to Metabolize

Avoid heavy meals full of proteins, fats, carbs, and spices before bedtime, as they are difficult to metabolize and can make you feel too hot in the middle of the night.

Spicy meals also have the tendency to make you sweat.

Therefore, stick to small, lighter dinners such as salad or fish for optimal cool potential. 

If you’re craving a late-night snack, consider options that help you sleep such as raw honey.

Also, avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol for 3 hours before bedtime. 

Drinking alcohol and caffeine can prompt your blood vessels to dilate, causing hot flashes and night sweats, which can interfere with your sleeping patterns. 

Instead, stick to warm milk, chamomile tea, and tart cherry juice before bedtime, all of which can reduce your core body temperature, support melatonin production and a healthy sleep cycle.  

Click here to try 6 ways to get to sleep after you’ve consumed too much caffeine.

29: Avoid Using the Stove to Reduce the Ambient Temperature

The hot air from cooking a meal on the stove or in the oven can raise the temperature of your home up a notch.

This influx of heat might cause discomfort and interfere with your body’s thermoregulation abilities. 

Therefore, you should close the doors connecting your kitchen to the rest of the rooms and open the door or window connecting the kitchen to the outside to get rid of the hot air. 

If you have an open kitchen space, turn the exhaust fan to pull the steam up and away while you cook. 

I personally don’t recommend cooking on hot days or nights, but to order in (healthy!) ready-meals instead.

30: Exercise in the Morning

Exercising regularly has many benefits including the ability to increase deep sleep. 

However, it’s important to avoid exercising too late into the evening, as it can make it harder for your core body temperature to cool down before bedtime. 

So if you’re having trouble sleeping, try to move your workouts away from bedtime to avoid leaving your body temperature at a higher level during sleep. 

Early morning workout sessions are better for optimal cooling potential in order to improve your overall quality of sleep. 

See how rehab exercises can help you sleep better with knee pain here.

31: Use Natural Sleep Remedies to Drift Off Faster

When you’re suffering from poor sleep quality in a hot and stuffy room, you can try natural fixes with minimal side effects to improve your sleep. 

Non-prescription sleep aids are an effective and fast way to support your body’s transition to sleep. 

Here are a few natural sleep remedies for you to try:

  • Melatonin: Supplemental melatonin can help unwind your body to get you to sleep faster. They are particularly beneficial if you have jet lag or are doing shift work. 
  • Lavender: Lavender aromatherapy or/and supplements have a soothing effect especially in postpartum women, which is believed to improve sleep quality. 
  • Chamomile: It can be taken in a capsule form, a tea, a tincture, or an essential oil. Chamomile relieves abdominal discomfort, relaxes the muscles, and helps you feel more prepared for bedtime. 
  • Passionflower: It reduces anxiety, relieves pain, aids with digestion, and helps enhance sleep in some individuals. Passionflower can be taken in a tea or in a capsule form.
  • Valerian: Valerian is an herbal sedative made from the root of a plant. It reduces sleep latency – the amount of time people need to fall asleep – and hence, helps in managing anxiety and insomnia in some people. 

I usually recommend valerian to my patients – women who are pregnant or going through menopause – as it works best in people with sleep disturbances, often related to hot flashes and night sweats.

I have also used valerian root extract successfully to get to sleep faster myself.

If you have a fever then read this safety guide before taking melatonin.

Conclusion: Start by Preparing the Room in the Day

If you know that your room is going to be in direct sunlight during the day then the most effective measure that you can take to preemptively cool down the room is to block out the sun with vertical blinds and switch to white bedding over dark bedding to avoid heat retention.

The next step is to do everything you can to cool down the room by opening doors and windows strategically to create a throughflow of air, using air conditioning, setting the room thermostat to 68°F or lower; using fans, a dehumidifier, and sealing cracks where cool air can escape.

Finally, you should then try to cool yourself down by using breathable bed sheets, wearing loose-fitting clothing; applying ice packs, cold flannels, cool water from a spray, and drinking cold water.

Sleeping on a cooling mattress like the DreamCloud (click here for the review) can also help.

Up next: how to warm up a north-facing bedroom.


Sources and References

[1] Koop, Fermin. “Not too hot, not too cold. What’s the ideal room temperature?” ZME science, 2021, https://www.zmescience.com/other/feature-post/not-too-hot-not-too-cold-whats-the-ideal-room-temperature/  Accessed 30 June 2021.

[2] Stec, Barbara. “HOW TO USE A DEHUMIDIFIER TO COOL A ROOM.” The Ozone Hole, 2020, https://theozonehole.com/how-to-use-a-dehumidifier-to-cool-a-room.htm  Accessed 30 June 2021.

[3] Cherney, Kristeen. “Is Sleeping with the Lights On Good or Bad for You?” Healthline, 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/sleeping-with-the-lights-on Accessed 30 June 2021.

[4] Sandwood, Jane. “How Do Your Night Clothes Affect Your Sleep?” Alaska sleep, 2019, https://www.alaskasleep.com/blog/how-do-your-night-clothes-affect-your-sleep  Accessed 30 June 2021.

[5] Dominguez, Trace. “Why Do I Sleep Better With My Feet Uncovered?” Seeker, 2015, https://www.seeker.com/why-do-i-sleep-better-with-my-feet-uncovered-1792673360.html Accessed 30 june 2021.

[6] Cushner, Keith. “Should you shower before bed.” Tuck, 2021, https://www.tuck.com/sleep/shower-before-bed/#:~:text=Research%20shows%20that%20taking%20a,help%20you%20fall%20asleep%20faster.&text=Then%2C%20when%20you%20get%20out,that%20it%27s%20time%20to%20sleep  Accessed 30 June 2021.

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