Whether you’re in Florida in August or Arizona any time of year, or whether you’re just one of those people who is always too hot when they sleep, you know how miserable it is to go to bed knowing that you’re not going to get a good rest. You want to sleep--you’ve tried everything, it seems, but you just sweat and toss and turn and wake up sticky. So how can you tackle being a hot sleeper? What does it mean to be a hot sleeper, and is there something you can do about it? We’re going to go through a lot of options, because we know that you’re desperate for just one night that you don’t have to kick off the blankets and strip down to your underwear to get comfortable.
Why Am I a Hot Sleeper?
There are many reasons that you’re a hot sleeper. Some have to do with your environment and some have to do with your body. In some cases there’s not a lot that can be done to help you if your body just sleeps hot, but in many, many situations there are a lot of steps you can take to get a better night’s rest.
Here are a few of the reasons why you’re a hot sleeper:
The Bedroom is Too Warm
In an ideal world, the bedroom would have its own thermostat--and the temperature is something that you and your partner can agree on--but often that’s not the case. There are things you can do, though. If you live in a cooler area, open your windows while you sleep; you can cool down a bit without blasting your air conditioner all night. But you also can turn down the temperature at night. The air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard at night because things are cool. It’s a good idea to lower the thermostat about an hour before bed.
You Have Too Many Blankets
This may seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many people are so concerned with having a nice-looking bedroom with elaborate bedding and comforters and think that they just have to deal with sleeping under all of that bedding when they go to bed. If you’re in this camp, don’t be afraid to pull the nice duvet or quilt off the bed at night and fold it on the floor. It’ll cause you to spend an extra minute or two making the bed in the morning, but that will be worth it for a good night’s sleep.
Perhaps the most well-known symptom of going through menopause is the hot flashes, and you can have natural night sweats. Changes that your doctor can make, such as you diet and approved hormone therapy can combat these night sweats.
This is super rare, but we thought we’d include it: this is a condition that causes the sufferer to sweat excessively with no known cause. There’s no treatment for this condition, so you may just have to learn to live with it (but very few people have it).
Exercising Before Bed
Some people work out in the morning and some work out at night. Exercising before bed can be a great way to wind down, but even after a cool shower you can continue to sweat and have higher-than-usual metabolism. If you want to work out before bed, try an exercise that is more suitable to calming down, such as yoga, stretching, or meditation.
We’ll get into this more down below, but there are some sheets, pillows, and mattresses that are better than others at keeping you cool. Perhaps one of the best known mattresses, the memory foam, is the biggest culprit here. But there are solutions.
Several cancers, most notably lymphoma, can cause night sweats. This isn’t to scare every hot sleeper into thinking they have cancer, but if you have cancer and have rough nights, know that it’s a normal symptom.
Any number of hormone disorders can cause night sweats. For these conditions, watch for flushed or red skin.
Low Blood Sugar
Diabetic patients can experience more sweating while taking insulin.
Best Sheets for Hot Sleepers
We said we were going to talk about bad bedding, so let’s get into it. Some bedding is far better than others for getting a good night’s cool sleep.
Sheets are the starting point, and the key is to get sheets that are breathable. It may sound nice to sleep on satin or even flannel, but they are warm and don’t let air through. Most sleep experts agree that the best types of sheets for hot sleepers are breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Specifically, percale cotton is recommended highest. Percale is crisp and light, a polyester and cotton blend. To be more detailed, a single-ply percale cotton sheet is best (single ply refers to the thread count; single ply is only one thread used in the sheets instead of two.
Other sheets that are winners are specifically-made moisture-wicking sheets. They can be expensive, but worth it if you’re a night sweater. There’s also breathable microfiber sheets which are extra-soft and are more reasonably priced.
For an even more expensive option, bamboo sheets are becoming popular, with some claiming to keep you “3 degrees cooler than cotton,” though that may be marketing material. One benefit of bamboo sheets is that they’re generally hypoallergenic and durable.
Best Mattresses for Hot Sleepers
For mattresses, springs can be cool, but aren’t very comfortable. Memory foam is comfortable, but it conforms to your body like a cocoon and is a breeding ground for sweat.
The clear winner here is the gel memory foam mattress. The best gel memory foam mattresses combine the benefits of gel and memory foam to create a mattress that form-fits, but also has the cooling characteristics of gel. You won’t have pain in the morning from the nasty pressure points, but you also won’t be sweating buckets all night.
Best Comforters for Hot Sleepers
When it comes to blankets, you don’t need to kick them off of you every night while you try to sleep. You can swap out your comforter for something that is more light and breathable, and just like the sheets, the leading contenders are cotton, bamboo, or linen. Microfiber is also making a strong showing, and is very durable and washable.