Sweat-free solutions: How to sleep in hot weather


Heatwaves are the best for beach days, but the worst for bedtimes. It’s uncomfortable, sticky and just too hot to sleep, but you don’t need to spend hundreds on air-con units and fans to cool down. In this article, we’re going to look at how to sleep in hot weather and ways you can make your bed cooler and more comfortable:

  • Cooling pillows: fact or fiction
  • Low-tog duvets: are they worth it?
  • Other ways to improve your sleep

Don’t let the heat get you down, let’s explore the best bedding for cool, comfy sleep…

Cooling pillows: fact or fiction

There’s an old myth that says we lose a lot of our body heat through our heads, but scientists debunked that years ago and found out it actually came from a (scientifically-wrong) 1970’s US army manual. The simple truth is that the head, neck and chest are just more sensitive to temperature changes than other parts of the body. They have more sensory vessels than others, and significantly more arteries and veins than your arm for instance, so they feel the temperature more. So, while the myth is wrong, it stands to reason that cooling down your head and neck may make you feel more comfortable in the heat.

Enter cooling pillows.

There are several types, but we’re going to look at Gel Memory Foam Cooling pillows (like this one) first. These pillows come with a unique gel memory foam interior which is super-supportive and also reduces heat retention. They also feature an innovative cooling and moisture-wicking cover to improve air circulation.

Another kind of cooling pillow is the breathable cooling pillow. Some have sections of fabric which allow for increased airflow throughout the fibres to cool you down and keep your temperature level. No as supportive as gel foam, but good for those who prefer a more affordable, cushioned cooling pillow.

One style which seems to be a perfect mix of the two is the Phase Changing Fabric and shredded gel foam Pillow. It is the more expensive option, but this kind of ergonomic pillow with its dual techniques and the cool-to-the-touch cover is ideal for any restless and warm sleeper.

Low-tog duvets: are they worth it?

Duvet tog ratings go from the cosy and thick 15 tog, all the way down to the cool, almost blanket-thin 1 tog. According to Dunelm, “The tog rating denotes the duvet filling’s ability to trap air and therefore provide more warmth.” Well, that sounds simple and straightforward, huh? Just get the lowest tog for the coolest, lightest option. But hold on. Do you go natural or synthetic? And how do you maintain it? Do you get more than one? Let’s break it down.

There are two kinds of duvet – natural and synthetic:

Synthetic duvets use man-made fibres to create a squishy, comfy duvet. And because they’re made with these hollowfibre and microfibre materials, they’re ideal for those who have allergies. They’re also incredibly lightweight meaning they can be used for all tog levels.

Natural duvets are generally made with Feathers or Down. You all know what a feather looks like – they’re large and soft and heavier than man-made fibres. Down is a kind of feather too, but they’re smaller and are usually found in clusters underneath larger feathers – these are what keep the birds (and you) warm at night. But they can affect those with allergies, and they may not be ideal for lower togs.

From this, we can gather that natural materials aren’t best for keeping you cool – so we suggest you go for any synthetic duvet between 1 and 4.5tog. It’ll keep you cool and allergy-free on those sticky summer nights. Plus, most microfibre and hollowfibre duvets can be machine washed!

TOP TIP: The ideal temperature for sleep is between 16 and 18°C, so try and get your room to that temperature through open windows air circulation.

Other ways to improve your sleep

Do you know how much deep sleep should you have in a night? We’re not talking overall time asleep, but time in the deepest part of the REM cycle – NREM3 according to the Sleep Council. It’s about 1.5 – 2 hours normally, but research says you need to experience all 4 stages of the cycle to feel fully rested and refreshed, which is why warm, restless summer nights can leave us so groggy and tired.

Choosing some of the product above should help to some extent, but in regular weather, here are a few things you can do to sleep tight:

  • Improve your sleep hygiene – The Sleep Foundation has some brilliant tips you can follow throughout the day
  • Try alternative remedies – Items like CBD Pillows advertise themselves as ‘The world’s most relaxing pillow’ and Anti-Snore pillows are popular too to improve sleep quality
  • Stick to a schedule – The NHS recommends that you sleep t regular times and keep in your routine so your internal body clock gets used to it
  • Invest in a higher tog duvet for the colder months (and vacuum bag your summer one for storage)
  • Block out the light with blackout curtains or try a weighted eye mask

Restful sleep and rejuvenation can be hard on a warm night, but it’s never too hot to sleep. Try one or two of our suggestions above and see if you can learn how to sleep in hot weather and create a more comfortable sleep routine too.

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