Stories & Features

Five tips to try sleeping better this summer

Image of a window open on a hot summer night
It's not all about air conditioning: everything from your bedsheets to your pyjamas can affect how well you sleep when temperatures spike in the summer months. Try these simple tips and rest up.

Yes, it's possible to get a good night's sleep without air conditioning

As anyone with a south-facing window could tell you, sleeping in the summer months can be an exercise of frustration more than relaxation. Although more British Columbians than ever are opting for air conditioning, the fact remains that many of us are tossing and turning all night when the days get longer and warmer.

If you opt for an extra coffee every morning to make up for your lack of sleep, we've got a few suggestions that might make it easier to slumber for the rest of the summer.

Here are five tips you can try for a better summer sleep:

Unmake your bed: stick your bed sheets in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes

Who hasn't flipped over their pillow in the middle of the night to rest their head on the "cool" side?

Well, we've got a new one to add to your going-to-bed routine: unmake your bed.

Just for a few minutes, mind you.

Try placing your bedsheets and pillowcases into a large plastic bag and putting them in your freezer for 15-20 minutes before bed. While you're brushing your teeth, your sheets are getting nice and chilled. You can also fill a hot water bottle and pop that into the freezer for an ice pack that won't release condensation all night long.

When you're ready, remake your bed and you can slip under the covers into a much more refreshing temperature, which can make it easier to fall asleep quickly.

Get low: sleep lower to the ground

If you have a basement or lower floor to your home, it can be tempting to relocate for a night or two when things get really warm, particularly if there's a guest bedroom or comfy sofa bed on offer. If your bedroom has consistently high temperatures and you're able to temporarily move your mattress to a lower floor of your home, it can make a big difference in temperatures.

But even moving your mattress to your floor of the bedroom (especially if you have a loft bed or a particularly high bedframe) can make things a bit cooler.

Regulate your body temperature: hydration is key

Being properly hydrated can play an important role in regulating your body temperature, and in hot weather, you're at higher risk for dehydration as you sweat it out.

Try drinking water and non-caffeinated drinks throughout the day (pounding water just before bed can mean lots of late-night trips to the bathroom), and keeping cold water next to your bed so you have a refreshing drink handy when needed.

Insulated stainless steel water bottles are a great spillproof option that will keep your drinks cool well into the next morning.

Take a cool shower

Some people swear by a hot shower or a hot drink to make them feel cooler in the summer months, but whatever temperature works for you, a shower or quick bath can help you achieve a more restful sleep.

If you can handle the bedhead, having wet hair when you go to sleep can be particularly helpful, as evaporating water can deliver a cooling effect.

If your nighttime routine doesn't offer time for a shower, try sleeping with cool washcloths on your neck or wrists. Placing your feet in cool water before bed can also help you feel cooler before you tuck in for the night.

Count on cotton

When it comes to bedsheets opt for 100% cotton, bamboo, or specially-designed cooling sheets that wick moisture and keep you feeling cool.

The key is to look for fabrics that promise breathability and generally speaking (but not always), that means a higher thread count. If you tend to prefer the softer jersey-style sheets, you may want to opt for a summer set that will be more comfortable in warmer temperatures.

Check online listings and reviews for ones that sound like the best fit for you and your bed.