Living Space

Stay cool on hot summer nights

Tribune Media ServicesJune 21, 2013 

In winter, “warm and cozy” is just right for sleeping. But when summer rolls around, heat and humidity can make sleeping difficult. Of course, certain medicines and health concerns can also cause sleepers to feel hot at night. Whatever the problem, there are ways to get a cool night’s rest.

Cool off the air

One of the first ways to improve sleep in the summer is by reducing the ambient heat in your bedroom. One option is to increase air movement. Ceiling and oscillating fans can be noisy. Although pricey ($300), the Dyson Air Multiplier moves air without the buffeting that makes fans so loud. This device is easy to clean and has no blades to pose a safety risk. (

A portable room air conditioner is another choice. Consider one of these freestanding units if you don’t have a window air conditioner or central air, or if temps are extra hot. Vented out a window and rolled close to the bed, portable air conditioners can provide extra cooling power. Keeping a room cool is easier, too, with shades or curtains that block sunlight. Keep the bedroom as dark as possible and avoid hot showers close to where you’re sleeping. Added humidity makes the room feel warmer.

Try percale sheets

Look carefully at the kind of sheets you’re sleeping on. Stiff percale sheets in 100 percent cotton are the coolest. Percale won’t drape and cling to your body like soft, high-thread-count sheets, which stop the air circulation that keeps you cooler.

Special sheets such as the CoolMax brand can be helpful if you’re prone to night sweats or perspire heavily. The polyester wicks moisture and dries fast . These are not cheap ($300) or easy to find but can be a good choice if perspiration is a serious issue. (

Cooling mattress pads can be placed on the bed to bring down your nighttime temps. Foam-topped beds and some others stay warmer, and these pads could be the answer for a more comfortable night’s sleep. Starting at around $100, the pads go over a traditional mattress and help regulate body heat during sleep. (

The ChiliPad is a water-circulating mattress pad that allows you to set the temperature you find most comfortable. At around $400, it heats and cools, so it might be a good way to keep the thermostat at a lower setting in winter and higher in summer. (

Get a comfy pillow

The last line of defense against heat at night could be your pillow. Frequent pillow flipping to find the cool side can disturb your sleep. Opt for cool pillows like IsoCool ($37, or Serta Cool Gel ($25 for two, Both are designed to dissipate heat and help you sleep better.

Of course, you can always invest in a mattress that’s specially made for cooler sleep. Serta’s iComfort mattress has gel-based memory foam to keep it cool. (

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