How to Sleep in Hot Weather

Ducks Cooling off in Hot Weather by photo by Steve Smith on Unsplash

How to sleep in hot weather is a problem we face in the UK every few years. If you have to sleep in the heat, it’s important to know how to cool the house, even without a fan or air-con. It’s just as important to know how to cool down using the best cooling drinks, the right bedding, and techniques to help you sleep and stay reasonably cool in hot weather. I have put together some do’s and don’ts on how to sleep in hot weather. There are also three breathing techniques designed to help you relax, cool down and sleep in the heat.

How to Cool the House without a Fan

You can cool the house using through draughts and understanding when to open the windows curtains and blinds. Using these suggestions will help you sleep in hot weather.

  • In the hottest part of the day, draw the curtains and blinds and shut the windows. Open the windows in the morning and evening to let in the cool air and so cool the house.
  • If possible, cover the exterior of windows getting full sun. In Europe, shutters are on the outside – once they were fitted in the UK too.
  • Cool the house by creating a cool through-draught. Start by opening the window in the room you want to cool. Then open a window in a room on the other side of the house – ideally diagonal to the first window, so that the air can flow between the two windows. The air cools the house as it travels between the windows. This may not work so well when the sun is shining directly onto the window of the room you want to cool, so use this as part of your plan for how to cool the house in the evening.

Adding a Fan

  • You can use the fan to make the through-draught stronger by putting the fan in the open window of the second room, facing outwards. It will push the hot air out, so pull in the cooler evening air to the room you want to cool.
  • Dust and clean the fan before you do that – it will work better and be much more effective in cooling the house.
  • Put a tray of ice cubes in front of the fan to cool the air blown around the room.


Cooling Drinks to Help You Sleep in Hot Weather

  • Drink lots of water with a slice of lemon or lime or fruit – dehydration is a common cause of insomnia
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee / caffeinated drinks as they increase dehydration
  • Make your own cooling drink with fruit or try a vegetable smoothie.
  • I asked Kate Parker from Horsechestnut Herbals in Winchester to suggest some cooling drinks that will help you sleep in hot weather. She recommended making an infusion with a cooling herb such as mint, sage, or lemon balm. You can then drink it hot or cold with ice. This is a great way to cool down and will help you sleep in hot weather.


How to Sleep in Hot Weather

  • To sleep in very hot weather, consider abandoning your bedroom. Find the coolest room in the house and sleep there – even if just on cushions. Downstairs is often the coolest.
  • Remember sharing a room will make it hotter and so harder to sleep in the heat.
  • Sleep with just a sheet made of natural fibres – lyocell and bamboo are more absorbent than cotton.
  • Sleep with your feet uncovered, as this helps you cool and stay cool.

Before you go to Bed in Hot Weather

  • Have a cool/lukewarm (not cold) shower, bath or just wet your skin
  • Stand in front of the fan, or a breeze from a window, while damp
  • Soak your feet in cool water for 10 minutes – your feet have thousands of nerve endings so cooling your feet is very helpful when you have to sleep in the heat.

Keep By the Bed in Hot Weather

  • If you wake, it can be lovely to have a water mister by the bed – perhaps with a few drops of lavender oil.
  • A flask of cold, not icy water. Ice will be too big a temperature change and is likely to wake you up.
  • Use a traditional paper fan as it is silent. Get a gentle, soothing rhythm going as you use it
  • Relaxing cooling sounds – like rain or the sea


Three Breathing Techniques to Help You Sleep in the Heat

Finally, try these gently relaxing breathing techniques to calm and cool you down.

Slow, Gentle Nasal Breathing

  • As you go through the day, become conscious of how you breathe.
  • Breath through your nose – slow, silent and gently.
  • Pause after each out-breath and aim to take in much less air.
  • You will feel cooler, calmer and expend less energy.

Shitali Pranayama Breathing

This is a yoga technique that helps cool the air in your mouth.

  • First, stand or sit comfortably, with your back straight.
  • Then take a few slow deep breaths,
  • Next, roll the sides of your tongue and/or purse your lips in an “O” shape.
  • Follow that with a few inhalations through your mouth and then exhale through your nose. Do this ten or so times until you feel the cooling effects.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate Nostril Breathing works as a reset button. You can use it day or night.

  • First, practice using your thumb and finger to close off one nostril and then the other.
  • Now close your right nostril and breathe OUT and IN, slowly and gently through your left nostril.
  • Next, close your left nostril and breathe OUT and IN, slowly and gently through your right nostril.
  • Do this for a couple of minutes.

Left or Right Nostril Breathing

This may make you light-headed so only do this about ten times and while sitting down.

  • First, close off the right nostril.
  • Then breath IN through the LEFT nostril and OUT through the RIGHT.
  • Reverse this if you want to increase daytime energy.

When you’re fed up

with counting sheep,

Talk to me,

I’ll help you sleep! 

Further ideas and information

Natural Ventilation Tricks to Cool Off your Summer
This explains how to create through-drafts
Kate is a brilliant herbalist and suggested the infusions above

What’s the Best Sleeping Position for You?
Finding the best sleeping position will help you sleep in hot weather
Are you struggling to stop snoring?
If you snore, you are more likely to struggle to sleep in the heat. Find out how to stop snoring
How to Reduce Hot Flushes and Night Sweats
This video gives you suggestions on how to reduce hot flushes and night sweats
Morning Energy
If you have had a bad night’s sleep, this video has some tips for restoring your energy and patience after struggling to sleep in the heat
How to Get Back To Sleep if You Wake in the Night
How to get back to sleep

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