How to Keep Cool During Hot Summer Nights

Seven accessories that will keep you comfortable

The joys of summertime are many: family vacations, outdoor activities, ice cream cones, and days spent frolicking at the beach, to name just a few. But those clear, blue skies can ring in a downside once the sun goes down: steamy hot nights that make it hard to sleep. Sure, you can turn the thermostat down to arctic blast, but then you’ll pay the price on your utility bills. Take advantage of the following tips to stay cool, and you’ll sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.

  • 01 of 07

    Use Lightweight Blankets

    Summer ideas for the bedroom.

    When winter winds howl, few things are as pleasant as curling up in bed under a heavy, warm blanket; but when summer temperatures swelter, heavy bedding is the last thing that you need. Instead, make a seasonal switch to a light, open-weave, 100% cotton blanket. The cotton and the open weave make such a blanket far more breathable than a microfiber, plush or tightly woven blanket, while the weight is just enough so you feel covered, yet remain comfortable. In the warmest zones, this is all the blanket you’ll need. Choosing white or a soft pastel adds a bit of psychological coolness to the space. 

  • 02 of 07

    Switch to Light Cotton Sheets

    Cotton sheets are cool for summer.
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    By the time spring rolls around, your flannel sheets are stored away, but once summer sends the mercury soaring, it’s time to put away any synthetic bedding, as well. Instead, treat yourself to the lightest weight 100% cotton sheets. That doesn’t mean the thread count has to be high: in fact, super-high thread counts can be overly warm. Look for extra-long staple cotton, such as Egyptian or Pima, as this produces the coolest and softest sheets. You’ll find 400 thread count sheets are perfect for summer sleep. As with your lightweight blanket, choose white or another pale color for a blast of psychological cooling as well as actual physical relief.

  • 03 of 07

    Cool Down Your Pillow

    Keep your pillow cool.
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     A hot, sweaty pillow… who hasn’t spent an uncomfortably warm night flipping the pillow from side to side in search of a small patch of coolness? Why suffer the discomfort of a sweaty head, when sweet relief is so easily available? Spread a gel-filled cooling mat over your pillow, and you’ll always have a cool spot to lay your head. These thin mats are filled with the squishy, moldable gel found in reusable ice packs, and are sized to fit on top of a standard pillow. Because they are thin and moldable, you’ll hardly notice the pad is there, other than the blessed relief from the heat. You can put a cooling mat in the fridge or freezer before bedtime for arctic-like chill, or just leave the pad at room temperature; the inner gel feels much cooler than the surrounding air and wicks heat away from your body, so you’ll sleep comfortably. As a bonus, these pads are wonderful any time of year if you suffer from hormonal hot flashes. 

  • 04 of 07

    Invest in a Bedside Fan

    A bedside fan keeps you comfortable in the summer.
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    Running the air conditioner overnight feels good, but delivers a powerful punch when your monthly electricity bill arrives. Still, you need a breeze to really feel comfortable on a muggy night. A small bedside fan is the solution. Perched on your nightstand or dresser, a portable fan is the perfect way to direct the breeze right where you need it. But stick with a small fan for bedtime use: you want a pleasant stirring of the air, not a wind tunnel directed at your sleeping face. To keep the constant flow of air from drying out your nose and throat, try setting a bowl of ice cubes and chilled water right in front of the fan, or setting it behind your humidifier.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Humidify the Air

    A humidifier keeps your bedroom comfortable.
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    In many areas, summertime means arid air that sucks away the moisture from your skin, eyes and throat. But even in a moister climate, central air conditioning can greatly reduce indoor humidity, leaving you parched. You can bring back just enough moisture to remain comfortable with a room humidifier. Run it near your bed, and be sure to change the water each day.

  • 06 of 07

    Opt for a Down Duvet

    A lightweight duvet is just enough for summertime.
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    Heavy duvets are cozy in the winter, smothering in the summer. When temperatures get high, you’ll sleep much better underneath a lightweight, low-fill-power, down-filled duvet. Fill power is a measurement of the down’s fluffiness; while 400-to-600 fill power are generally considered year-round duvets, if you really sleep warm or live in a very hot area, you’ll be most comfortable with a duvet sporting a fill power under 400. You’ll also typically find that the lightest weight duvets have a lower percentage of down as compared to feathers – that’s because feathers are less insulating than down, so they are less warm. But still, down and feathers are very breathable, making them an excellent choice of fill for the muggy months. Finish your summer bedding with a duvet cover in soft colors and a simple pattern for an overall airy and light vibe. 

  • 07 of 07

    Turn a Hot Water Bottle Into a Cooling Device

    Use a hot water bottle with COLD water to chase away summer heat.
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    Yes, typically a hot water bottle holds hot water. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be filled with the chilly stuff instead, turning it into a perfectly sized cooling accessory for your bed. Just store your water-filled rubber bottle in the fridge during the day, then slip it under your sheets at bedtime. Now you can use it to cool your feet, tuck it behind your knees, or prop it under your neck – all great spots to apply chill, as your entire body will feel cooler. This is another great way to beat hot flashes, as well.