Mind these five strategies for sleeping soundly even during the dog days of summer.
It's best to sleep in a dark room that's ideally between 60 and 67 degrees. Unfortunately, the long daylight hours and steamy temperatures of summer can make that goal hard to achieve. Find restful nights—even during the hottest season of the year—with these summer sleeping tips.
Move the Air
Best-case scenario: You can flick on an air conditioner to get even the hottest nights under control. But if AC isn’t an option for you, fans can go a long way to help make you more comfortable. Try to make a path for air to flow by opening several windows, and consider placing a bowl of ice cubes in front of the fan for a cooling boost.
Shower Before Bed
A quick rinse before bed can be similar to your body’s natural cooling mechanism: sweat. Even after you towel off, your skin is moist, and the evaporation has a chilling effect, setting the stage for sleep. It doesn’t have to be a cold shower, either. Some people find a hot shower or bath can help, too—as long as you do it about an hour before bed and allow your body temperature time to cool. (Just be careful not to steam up the bathroom too much, which can worsen the heat and humidity.)
Keep Your Pajamas and Sheets Breathable
Less is more when it comes to dressing for sleep in a summer heat wave. Avoid pajamas in fabrics like silk that can trap heat and instead consider wicking materials. The right fabric can also help when it comes to your sheets. Look for natural materials like cotton, bamboo, or linen, and avoid high thread counts, which can trap body heat. A thread count between 200 and 400 may provide a happy medium of softness and breathability.
Black Out Your Windows
Depending on where you live, the sun can bleed into your night on either end—staying light past bedtime or rising before your alarm. Since darkness is an important body cue for sleep, putting a blackout curtains over your bedroom window(s) can be a great investment in your rest.
Mind Your Inner Party Animal
Vacations, barbecues, block parties, concerts—there are plenty of fun things in the summer that can throw your routine off track and keep you up past your bedtime. Staying up late every once in a while isn’t a big deal, but if the spontaneity of summer is leaving you dragging by day, it may be time to reconsider your sleep habits. Try to stick to consistent bedtimes and wake times as often as possible, avoid excessive drinking, and make sure to allow time to wind down (ideally at least 30 to 60 minutes) before you turn in.