Cooling Pads, Hammocks, and More: How To Keep Cool at Night Without Turning on Your AC

Woman sleeping in bed hugging soft white pillow


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Cool as a Cucumber

Do you run hot at night? Welcome to the miserable club. As temperatures continue to rise, trying to stay cool at night and get good sleep can feel like a challenging, if not impossible, ask. But by trying out simple strategies such as using a cooling pad, investing in bamboo sheets, and opting to sleep on a hammock to promote airflow, you can beat the summer heat and get quality sleep. 

Here are 10 tips that savvy Redditors suggest doing to help make bedtime a refreshing escape from the sweltering temperatures outside.

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Daniel de la Hoz/istockphoto

Invest In High-Quality, Breathable Bed Sheets

Investing in high-quality bamboo sheets or bedding made with breathable natural fibers can significantly enhance your sleep quality, Redditors say. "I have bamboo sheets and they’re excellent for staying cool. They weren’t cheap, but they’ve paid for themselves in how comfortable they are," writes one user

"Another vote for making sure sheets are natural fibers, even cotton. When I have polyester sheets, I cannot stay cool and will even sweat during the winter," adds another Redditor

Resting with dog in a hammock outdoors

Opt for a Hammock

Sleeping on a hammock can provide a cooler alternative thanks to the increased airflow around your body. The suspended position and open design of a hammock promote better ventilation, allowing heat to dissipate and helping you stay cool while you sleep. 

"I sleep in a hammock. These run cold due to convection, which is exacerbated by airflow. So to be cold, a fan that hits below you is going to work," writes one Redditor, while another adds, "Mattresses trap heat, but hammocks do not, so in the summer they're great, but in the winter time they will freeze you."

teenager womanwaking up in the bedroom at morning

Consider Buying a Temperature-Controlled Pad

I was today years old when I learned about the Chilipad, which has since been rebranded as part of Sleepme's Cube Sleep System. The water-based, temperature-controlled mattress topper offers a temperature range from 55 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, and is fully customizable. Though definitely a splurge at around $1,000 for a double-sided Queen mattress, Redditors say it's worth every penny, plus it's also easy to use and maintain. 

"I highly recommend the chilipad. I never wake up sweaty anymore. It's like sleeping on a refrigerator. I set it for 65 degrees every night. Its expensive though. But worth every penny. Sleeping hot was the worst," writes one Redditor

Portrait of attractive lovely girl enjoying time in bad after sleeping lying under blanket making stretching keeping eyes closed. Good day life health concept

... Or Opt for Cheaper Cooling Pads

In true Cheapism fashion, we wouldn't leave you hanging with a $1,000 mattress cooler without providing you with more affordable alternatives. Cooling pads, toppers, and blankets, which can be bought on Amazon for around $30-$40 (prices may vary), are designed to provide a refreshing surface that absorbs and dissipates excess body heat to promote a more comfortable and restful night's sleep. 

"Cooling blanket for ~$25 off Amazon. I use it on its own — no sheets or other blankets. It's heavy enough to feel like I have something on me, but it wicks away heat so I stay really cool," says one user. 

Related: Cheapism Favorites: The OmniPillow Is No Pain in the Neck

Green curtain background

Invest in Blackout Curtains

Buying blackout curtains or blinds can help create a cooler sleep environment by blocking out sunlight and preventing hot air from entering your room. To stay cool at night, use the blinds to block sunlight during the day, opening and closing them strategically as the sun moves, says one Redditor. Once it gets dark, open all doors, windows, blinds, and curtains, and position fans strategically for a refreshing breeze, adds the user. 

"From someone who overheats extremely easily in a country that doesn't have air conditioning. [This] is the only way I can get any sleep during a heatwave." Pretty genius stuff!

Related: Redditors Share Genius Tips To Beat the Heat and Slash Your Electric Bill This Summer

Closeup on working electric floor standing fan

Up Your Fan Game

Fans can help cool a room down to create a more comfortable sleep environment. By positioning fans to circulate air, they help promote better airflow, dissipate heat, and enhance overall comfort, Redditors say. "I get a fan and point it at the bed. If you angle it right, you get an occasional breeze through the sheets which feels just lovely," writes one user.

Pro tip: Place one fan in a window blowing outwards and position another fan in an opposite window blowing inwards. This will help keep hot air out, while drawing in cool air to help keep the room cooler. (Who says you need AC to survive? Those who don't know this nifty trick, that's who).

Shot pillows on a bed in a modern hotel

Place an Ice Pack in Your Pillow Case

"I take a big gel ice pack, like the ones they use in physical therapy. Freeze it (duh) and then slip it into my pillow case. Add [another] pillowcase if [it's] too cold. This is in addition to the typical fan/light clothes combo," writes one user as they collectively blow all our minds with this genius hack. 

"Get a freezer block (or several if it's really hot), wrap it in a towel so it doesn't hurt you, and use it like you would a hot water bottle," writes another Redditor. 

If you're worried about the ice pack melting, slip it into a ziplock bag and voila, you've got yourself a leak-proof pouch. Now go ahead and catch those Zs.

Cold Wet Towels

Sleep Under a Damp Towel

Sleeping under a cold, damp towel can help lower your body temperature to help you get a good night's sleep, Redditors say. "When I lived in a humid, very hot climate for a while I slept under a damp thin towel. I hate fans and AC, but the damp towel was glorious," writes one user

Several users agreed with this hack, with one saying this strategy was the only way they could get to sleep during sweltering summer nights when they lived in the South. 

Jets of clean water flowing in the shower cabin.

Take a Warm Shower Before Bed

Contrary to popular belief, taking a warm shower (instead of a cold one) before bed can help bring down your body temperature by causing your blood vessels to dilate to promote heat dissipation and help relieve tension in the body. Taking a warm shower also signals your body that it's time to sleep. 

"It might sound contrary, but taking a warm shower before actually causes your body temp to [drop]," says one Redditor.

Top view of beautiful young woman sleeping while lying in bed

Keep Your Arms and Legs Out of the Comforter

Sleeping with your arms and legs uncovered allows for better heat dissipation from your body — preventing excessive warmth and helping to maintain a cooler temperature throughout the night. "Sleep with your hands and feet uncovered," advises one Redditor, adding, "Hands and feet tend to radiate body heat very easily and allowing them to cool off will keep the rest of you comfortable." 

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