Summer is here, and if you don’t have AC, you might find yourself struggling to fall asleep.
Those super-hot nights don’t just feel uncomfortable; they also alter your body’s circadian rhythm, making it much harder to drift off and get the sleep you need. As a result, you wake up feeling tired and irritable, making it much harder to enjoy the summer sun and feel at your best.
But don’t worry; help is at hand. If you’re battling with a bedroom that feels too warm, there are plenty of ways to cool down yourself, and your sleep environment, without cranking up the air conditioning.
Staying Cool at Night Without AC
In this post, I’ll explain the importance of keeping your bedroom cool at night. Then, I’ll give you some AC-free methods to help you dial down the temperature so that you can enjoy a long and restful night’s sleep, even at the height of summer.
Why is Keeping Cool at Night So Important?
We all know how difficult it can be to fall asleep in a warm room. You spend the night tossing, turning, and wrestling with the sheets, longing for a cool breeze that never comes.
But while a hot bedroom is obviously uncomfortable, there’s another reason we find it hard to drift off when the temperature rises, and it all comes down to circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms regulate the body’s core temperature, which tells the brain when it’s time to switch off and head into slumberland and when it’s time to wake up and face the day.
Scientific research has shown that the ideal bedroom temperature is between 60-67°F (15-19° C), and our circadian rhythms are disrupted when the mercury rises above that threshold.
This has an instant knock-on effect on the body’s core temperature and sleep cycles.
During the day, your core temperature stays around 98.2°F (37°C), but as the sun sets and the lights are dimmed, your circadian rhythm lowers your internal thermostat by a few degrees triggering the release of melatonin.
Without that drop in core temperature, melatonin production is stifled, and the result is a restless night’s sleep.
So, as you can see, hot summer nights can play havoc on our slumber. If you want to learn more about the effects of temperature on sleep, and the ideal thermostat setting for your bedroom, here’s an in-depth guide that explains it all.
But now that you know how cool your bedroom should be, how do you achieve it without using AC?
After all, while cranking up the air conditioning can make us feel more comfortable in the short term, it’s not an ideal solution.
Sleeping continuously next to an AC unit has been linked to various health issues. Plus, it’s expensive to run and depending on where you live, you might not even have an air conditioning unit to begin with.
But thankfully, there are plenty of ways to cool down at night without AC. Continue reading to know the ways to stay cool at night without AC.
11 Ways to Stay Cool at Night Without AC
Below, I’ll list the most popular tried and tested methods to naturally lower the temperature of your body and your bedroom, so you can drift off into a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.
1. Switch to Cooling Sheets and Pillows
On a super hot night, you might find it more comfortable to get rid of your bedsheets entirely. But many people prefer the feeling of sleeping under a cover, just without the extra warmth it brings.
If this is you, try to avoid using sheets made from synthetic fibres that can trap heat and moisture, making sleeping in a hot room even more uncomfortable.
Instead, opt for natural materials such as cotton and bamboo that work to increase air circulation and wick away moisture, keeping you cooler and drier.
Also, consider switching out your old pillows for specially designed cooling ones. There are plenty of options on the market, from breathable buckwheat pillows that increase ventilation to gel-infused memory foam pillows that feel deliciously cool against your skin.
2. Freeze Your Sheets
Speaking of sheets and pillows, you can take their cooling effects one step further by placing your linens in the freezer for an hour or two before you plan to go to bed.
While the feeling of ice-cold freshness won’t last all night, this method can make it much easier to drift off to sleep quickly when the room feels oppressively hot.
3. Use a Cooling Mattress
A mattress is a big investment, so if you only have to suffer through a handful of warm nights every summer, it might not be worth shelling out a ton of money on a new one.
But if you live in a warm climate where the mercury soars for months on end, then a breathable, cooling mattress designed to help air circulate is well worth considering.
Traditional memory foam mattresses might be super comfortable, but they’re notorious for trapping heat and moisture. Instead, consider gel-infused memory foam designs, which feel cooler to the touch and prevent a build-up of heat.
Another great option is a mattress made from breathable materials such as graphite and copper, which are proven to help lower your core temperature while you sleep.
If you can’t afford to splash out on a brand-new mattress, you can still get some of the cooling effects of these materials by purchasing a mattress topper or pad.
4. Make a DIY AC Unit
You can fashion your own super cooling AC unit that is safe, effective, and cheap to run; all you need is an electric fan and some ice cubes.
Simply fill a deep container (a metal saucepan is ideal) with ice, place it directly in front of the fan, and crank it up. The blades push the warm air over the ice, cooling it down and circulating it around the room. And with a good fan and enough ice, this can replicate that cool breeze you so desperately crave.
5. Try The Egyptian Method
If you’ve never tried it before, the ‘Egyptian method’ may sound a little strange, but it’s actually surprisingly effective.
It involves soaking a sheet or a large bath towel in cold water and wringing it out until it’s no longer dripping (you can use the spin cycle on your washing machine to save time.) Then, when you’re ready to go to bed, use the cold, damp fabric as a cooling cover against your skin.
The Egyptian method works especially well if you have air circulating around the room, so point an electric fan in your direction to help amplify the effects.
Also Read: The 5 Most Relaxing Sounds to Help You Sleep
6. Snuggle Up to An Ice Bottle
Hot water bottles are perfect for keeping warm during the winter, but they can also be used to cool you off in summer, too. Simply fill it three-quarters full with ice water, and lay it against you in bed as you drift off to sleep.
If you don’t have a hot water bottle to hand, you can use regular plastic bottles, too. To prolong the cooling effect, try placing them in the freezer for a few hours first till they’re frozen solid. The ice inside will slowly melt over a couple of hours. Just be sure to only fill it three-quarters full and screw the lid on tight; otherwise, you could wake up to a soaking wet mattress.
7. Chill Your Pulse Points
Running your wrists under a cold faucet can work wonders for temporarily cooling you down, but for a longer-lasting effect that you can take to bed with you, try using small ice packs. Lay several of them against your pulse points, not just your wrists, but your elbows, ankles, neck, groin, and behind your knees, too. As the blood flows past these areas, it has a cooling effect that spreads across your whole body.
If you don’t have ice packs to hand, you can use washcloths or an old towel cut into smaller pieces. Wet them, freeze them, and place them against your pulse points like the ice pack method above.
And for an extra cooling, soothing feeling, lay a strip of the frozen fabric across your forehead and temples, too.
8. Keep Your Bedroom Dark During The Day
When the hot sun shines through your windows, it creates a greenhouse effect, warming the room to temperatures even hotter than outside.
So, try to keep your bedroom as dark as possible during the day by using blackout blinds or curtains or hanging extra thick fabric across your windows to prevent the sun’s rays from entering.
Then, once the sun has set, you can remove the coverings and open up your windows to let the breeze circulate around the room.
9. Drink Plenty of Water
When you’re properly hydrated, your body has a much easier time regulating your core temperature. So, be sure to drink plenty of fluid during the day.
That being said, avoid over-hydrating too close to bedtime, as you’re more likely to need a midnight visit to the bathroom.
10. Trick Your Circadian Rhythm With a Warm Bath or Shower
On a hot night, taking a warm bath or shower is probably the last thing you want to do. But research has shown that doing this an hour before bedtime actually helps body heat to dissipate, lowering your core temperature.
Not only does this make you feel cooler and more comfortable when you hit the hay, but it also triggers the release of melatonin, helping you to fall asleep faster.
11. Sleep Naked
Sleeping in your birthday suit is a great way to stay cool on a hot night. Pajamas will only trap heat and moisture, so consider ditching the clothes entirely to get the best night’s sleep.
Staying cool on those long hot summer nights can be a serious challenge, but you don’t necessarily need AC to get a good sleep.
Of course, none of the methods listed above are 100% fool proof, and you’ll probably want to use several in conjunction with each other to get the best results.
But hopefully, these tips and tricks will help to keep you and your bedroom cool, so you can drift off into a deep sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.