Photo: Yuris Alhumaydy (Unsplash)

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off of summer, and while summer doesn’t officially start for a month, depending on where you are in the country, you might have already experienced one of summer’s less pleasant calling cards: hot, sleepless nights.

The causes vary from wimpy window AC units to roommates or significant others who prefer to sleep in warmer conditions, but the result can be lost sleep, grouchy mornings, and an increase in googling “how to immigrate to Iceland.” If you already know your pre-bed cold shower will only do so much, here are some ways you can make your hot nights more bearable.

That trendy foam mattress that you bought online in the last few years retains heat more than a traditional innerspring mattress. Even the most cooling sheets won’t help a ton beneath you if its on a dense, hot mattress. Adding a mattress topper that is better at ventilating heat, like this cotton and down alternative one, can help save a foam mattress from a smmer of sweat. Latex foam toppers, which feels closer to memory foam than more traditional pillowtop-style mattress toppers, are also good for keeping your mattress from absorbing your body heat as the night progresses.

There are plenty of pillows that claim to keep you cool, but two stand-outs really get the job done. Columbia’s cooling pillow actually has a base layer that stays cool all night and a top layer that circulates heat away from your face. If that’s not enough, consider the Chillow. This cooling relief pad goes straight from your freezer to the inside of your pillow case, or under your sheets. But unlike most ice packs, when Chillow gets cold, its gel stays soft.

Natural fibers, like cotton or linen, are more breathable than many synthetic fibers. But if you find that’s not enough, PeachSkin, based in Atlanta, GA, sells sheets that are specifically designed for night sweats. Like synthetic fabric in athletic clothes, it actually wicks away moisture and heat. If you go to bed hot already, you may find that these sheets don’t provide that instant relief feeling, but they help regulate your temperature as the night progresses. If you want cool as soon as your head hits the pillow, consider having a cold pack with you.

Keeping something cold on pressure points, like your neck, can help cool your body overall. But just using ice cubes or frozen peas can get messy (and mushy.) A hot/cold pack that won’t have you wake up in a puddle of condensation can help you cool down. Keep it in the fridge or freezer until bedtime, then pop it in bed next to you when its time to sleep. In the winter, you can microwave it as a way to soothe shoulder pain. Or, if you’re really unlucky and sleep hot in the summer and cold in the winter, you heat it up and sleep with it year round.

It’s pricey, but people love it for a reason. Bedjet circulates air under the covers, allowing heat to then circulate off you and your mattress. The latest version even heats beds in the winter. It even allows you to cool one half of the bed and heat the other. An app and remote control let you set timers if you just want it to help you get to sleep (or need it to stay asleep).


For the rest of us not ready to blow nearly $400, a really powerful fan on your feet or upper body can do a lot for a lot less. For just $13, this tabletop Honeywell fan can live nicely on a bedside table, and be turned on at night. And that tiny fan will do way more than the somewhat tepid, larger rotating fans. If your house even has noticably cooler air by the floor, you can use the 90 degree pivot to point the fan towards the ceiling and increase overall room circulation.

Sleep habits are a funny thing. Even on the hottest nights, I can’t comfortably fall asleep unless there is something on top of me. That said, I’ll gladly go nude to decrease heat-causing layers. But maybe you just can’t comfortably make the switch, in which case, these highly-rated PJs on Amazon are for you. (And by “you” I mean women and femme-presenting people. Gentlemen, I assume you’ll be fine in generally any pair of boxers). The super lightweight material is made from bamboo and is wicking, keeping you cool and cozy.

If you need something else to take the edge off after you’ve powered up your fan or taken a cold shower, add some relief that feels a little indulgent. Whether or not facial sprays work is a hotly contested subject, but there is something soothing about that little moment of self-care. Plus, Mario Badescu’s old-school sprays will set you back all of $12. The cucumber, aloe, and green tea one gives a cooling, relaxing mist wherever you spray it. Keep it by your bed (or even in the fridge), spritz your face and decolletage, and the gusts of the fan will feel even better. Gel eye masks, which are great for taming puffy eyes, can also be a pre-bed ritual that allows you to cool down pre-sleep.