Could the Egyptian Method Improve Your Sleep?

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation.

Forget walking like an Egyptian. For a more restful night, try sleeping like one instead. The so-called Egyptian method is a nighttime technique that involves stretching out between damp, cool sheets in an effort to lower the body’s temperature and provide a cool, relaxing environment. (While there is some debate over whether ancient Egyptians actually practiced this style of sleeping, it has gained popularity on the internet as a way to stay cool on hot nights.) Learn more about the unusual technique, and how to try it at home.

How It Works

The Egyptian method requires holding the top and fitted sheets (or just the top sheet) under running water in the shower or tossing them in the washing machine’s spin cycle until saturated. Next step: Wring the sheets out so they are damp but not soaking. Then make your bed as you would usually do. The moist sheets provide a cooling sensation while sleeping. Another option is to use damp towels.

The Sleep Benefits

Whether or not this method results in a better night’s sleep depends on whom you ask. Some people swear by it on hot nights. If you enjoy the sensation of water or live in a very warm climate without air conditioning, you may find the Egyptian method improves you ability to drift off at night. Others, however, may find sleeping on a damp bed uncomfortable. With this method, it truly is a case of try it and see for yourself.

A More Modern Approach

There are other ways to keep cool when the temperature rises. Cooling mattresses, which regulate your body temperature while sleeping, are designed to achieve the same result of the Egyptian method with less mess. Wicking sheets and pillowcases that pull sweat away from your body to keep you dry and cool can also help you sleep better on warm nights. Or, try the straightforward approach of cranking up the air conditioner and turning on a fan.


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