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Sleep Hygiene > Sleep Cooler or Warmer
Unbiased Reviews & Ratings Based on 2,152 Consumer Experiences
Many people have the problem of "sleeping hot" usually because they are naturally warm sleepers. Some people have the opposite problem of "sleeping cold." Both problems can result in poor sleep quality.
Fortunately, there are a variety of products and methods to help a person control temperature when they sleep.
PRODUCTS TO SLEEP COOLER
Gel Memory Foam
Wool Mattress Topper
TIPS TO SLEEP COOLER
Fan and Ice
Get Used To It
Turn Off Heat Sources
Drink Cold Water
Outlast® mattress pads, toppers and linens are designed to regulate body temperature, reduce night sweating, and improve thermal compatibility for couples.
Owner Satisfaction: 82% based on 254 owner experiences.
Pros: Effective at controlling temperature at least somewhat • often washable • quality construction common.
Cons: Initial smell possible • not adequately effective for everyone • pads may reduce contouring ability of memory foam mattress.
Retailers: Several including Brookstone, Amazon, Overstock and JCPenney.
The ChiliPad is a cooling (and heating) poly-cotton mattress pad. It uses medical-grade tubing to circulate water through the pad. Dual-zone models have separate tubing and independent controls for each side. The ChiliPad is adjustable from 46 to 118 degrees F.
Owner Satisfaction: 77% based on 61 owner experiences.
Pros: Cools (and heats) sleep surface fairly effectively • washable.
Cons: Leaking possible • may feel tubes • heat and bright light from controller • considerable time to cool • some noise • questionable value.
Price: Typically $460-$2000+ depending on pad size and retailer.
Retailers: Several including Brookstone, Amazon, Overstock, and Sleepy's.
The Bed Fan circulates air under the sheets to disperse built-up body heat. It comes with a wireless remote.
Owner Satisfaction: 75% based on 89 owner experiences.
Pros: Generally effective at cooling • useful remote • adjustable height • variable speed.
Cons: Noisy • questionable sturdiness and build quality • not powerful enough for some • questionable value.
Retailers: Brookstone, Amazon, perhaps others.
An increasing number of mattresses (like this highly-rated one) and mattress toppers (like this highly-rated one ) now use memory foam that is infused with millions of gel beads. This gel foam is designed to breath better and sleep cooler. And based on consumer experience data, it does reduce heat-trap complaints at least somewhat. Nevertheless, about 6% of owners still find gel foam to sleep hot.
Owner Satisfaction: 81% based on 476 owner experiences.
Pros: Generally effective at reducing heat-related issues at least slightly • above average pain relief • good motion isolation • no noise.
Cons: May offer some resistance to movement • off gassing possible • not cooling for everyone.
Price: Toppers often priced $100-$300 and mattresses $700 to $3,000.
Wool mattress toppers accommodate changing body temperature by helping you to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
During the warm months, the hollow fibers of wool allow the topper to wick moisture which helps to keep your skin dry, not damp and clammy. Consequently, your sleep surface stays cool even if there is high humidity.
Owner Satisfaction: 80% based on 84 owner experiences.
Pros: Fairly cool in summer and warm in winter • generally durable and long lasting.
Cons: May not provide adequate cushioning for some • initial "barnyard" smell possible.
More info: Wool Topper Reviews and Ratings.
The water inside a waterbed tends to keep the bed and sleep surface cool. In fact, if the beds don't have a heater to warm the water, there may be a "sleeping cold" issue or even a hypothermia threat especially in winter months.
Owner Satisfaction: 79% based on 312 owner experiences.
Pros: Temperature control • contours to body for reduced pressure points • good longevity possible • fairly inexpensive • largely dust mite resistant.
Cons: Can be punctured • heavy • set up / assembly and maintenance • noise and initial odor possible • heating cost.
Price: $300-$1700 depending on type and size.
The Mediflow water-based pillow consists of a layer of polyester fiber supported by a multi-quart capacity water pouch. A significant number of owners report that the pillow reduces their sleeping hot problems due to the presence of the water inside. About 3% of owners say the pillow sleeps too cold.
Owner Satisfaction: 78% based on 991 owner experiences.
Pros: Limited or no heat buildup • pain-relieving ability • contouring support • adjustable loft and firmness.
Cons: Heavy when filled • possible noise issues • need to experiment to determine right fill quantity • fair durability.
More info: Water Pillow Reviews and Ratings.
Below are some ways a person can sleep cooler without having to buy any of the "sleep cool" products described above.
When a hot night keeps you from sleeping or sleeping well, try the fan and ice solution.
Find a plastic container of some kind, such as an empty gallon bottle. Fill it with water about 60% full, put the lid or cap on and then freeze it.
Another alternative is to use ice cubes. You will need a container, bowl or tray to place the ice cubes in and to collect the water as they melt.
Then put the frozen bottle or ice cubes right in front of a directional fan and turn the fan on. (A ceiling fan will not work as well.)
As you may have guessed, the air blowing from the fan will be cooled as it passes by the frozen container or ice cubes. For maximum cooling of your body, place the fan close to where you are sleeping and direct the fan toward you, keeping the frozen container or cubes between you and the fan.
If you don't prefer having the air blowing directly on you, then direct the fan elsewhere in the room, but be sure to keep the frozen container or cubes in front of it. This will eventually circulate the ice-cooled air to where you are sleeping. How long it will take for the ice to thaw and melt depends largely on how hot it is in the room, but it should last long enough to allow you to fall asleep comfortably.
When a hot night is keeping you from getting good sleep, remember this: The mind has tremendous power over the body.
Our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs can affect our physical state, for better or worse. For example, by thinking cool or cold thoughts when you are hot, you can actually make yourself more comfortable. And, by contrast, by focusing on how hot you are when you are hot, you can actually make yourself more uncomfortable.
Skeptical? The next time you are struggling to sleep because of heat, say the following passage a few times to yourself.
"I'm so cold. The wind won't stop blowing snow in my face. The freezing temperature leaves my hands, feet, arms, legs and face feeling like thick blocks of ice. I can see my breath so clearly. A burst of frigid wind just blew up under my jacket causing me to gasp in shock. Numbness.
The sky is thick with icy clouds and I feel no warm sunlight. I only feel unending, merciless bitter cold that seems determined to rob me of the little warmth that I have left in my body. I would give anything, anything at all, to be warm for just one minute. I'm so cold."
You get the idea. You can make up your own passage if you wish. The key with using these kinds of thoughts effectively is to make them as specific as possible to paint a vivid picture in your mind. It may take some practice to get good at creating and using these cold thoughts, but the effort will likely result in better sleep on hot nights.
This is the solution for the tough people out there. If having to sleep in warm temperatures is more common than not for you, then you may just want to surrender to the heat. Instead of fighting the heat by using the solutions on this page, you can face the heat head on. By fully exposing yourself to the heat over a period of time when you try to sleep, your body will get used to the heat to to some extent.
In other words, your body will toughen against the heat, and you'll find that you can sleep better in it. How long it can take for a person to get used to the heat varies for each person. The young and healthy, of course, will likely adapt more quickly. Regardless of your age and health, however, expect to have at least a few nights of being uncomfortable before you begin to get used to the heat.
And, of course, there is a limit to how much heat you can get used to. Sleeping in temperatures above 85 degrees can be difficult for anyone, no matter how hardened to the heat one may be.
Evaporative cooling is not just a fancy scientific term. It can save you from misery on a hot night, allowing you to sleep better.
Evaporative cooling is a phenomenon in which evaporation of a liquid, typically into surrounding air, cools an object or a liquid in contact with it. For example, when our bodies sweat and then the sweat evaporates upon contact with air, we feel cooler because the heat needed for this evaporation is taken from our body.
Remember, however, that evaporative cooling cannot occur much, if at all, in high humidity because the air cannot take any more water.
On a hot night, you will often sweat a lot. To make sure that this sweating results in you being as cool as possible, you should have air circulation in the bedroom, either by using a fan or having a breeze coming in through the window.
Even if the air is warm it's important to do this because the air movement will cause your sweat to efficiently evaporate and cool your body as a result. The worse thing to do when you are hot is just lay there with no air circulation.
Sometimes, however, when it's really hot, sweating and air circulation are not enough to keep you comfortable and relaxed enough to sleep well. In these times, you need to create some additional evaporative cooling. To do this you will need, in addition to a fan or breeze from a window, a water adsorbent cloth (a medium-sized cotton towel is suitable) that is soaked with cool water. You don't want the cloth dripping wet, but you do want it saturated with water. Lie on the bed on your back and place the wet cloth on your chest area. Make sure the fan's air or breeze from the window can reach the cloth.
Because of evaporative cooling, the air blowing on the wet cloth will cool the cloth and your chest since it is in contact with it.
By having the cloth on your chest, you are cooling the blood that your heart is circulating all around your body, resulting in a cooler body, not just a cooler chest.
If you have incandescent lights, computers or a TV in your bedroom, or anything that gets warm when it is on, turn it off well before you try to go to sleep. This will give the room a chance to cool down as much as possible.
Incandescent lights give off heat as well as light. The higher the light bulb's wattage, the more heat it will give off. If you have just one or two high wattage incandescent lights on in your bedroom, this can increase room temperature as much as 5 degrees, perhaps more depending on the size of your room. If you must have light on in your bedroom when the weather is warm, consider using a compact fluorescent bulb. It gives off little heat.
Also be sure to close window blinds if the windows allows in direct sunlight. The direct sunlight will heat up whatever it comes into contact with, such as carpeting or furniture. These things will then radiate the heat they have absorbed for possibly hours after the sun has set, leaving your bedroom warmer than it needs to be.
Take a few sips of ice-cold water throughout the night. This will cool your core temperature leaving you more comfortable. (Do not, however, drink an ice-cold caffeinated beverage since this may keep you awake.)
Because cold air is denser than warm air, it sinks to near the
floor or ground. Therefore, you may find that sleeping on the
floor on a hot night is a few degrees cooler than sleeping in
your bed which is higher up. Or for a more dramatic difference,
if your bedroom is upstairs consider sleeping downstairs on
a hot night.
Sleeping warmer is usually not the challenge that sleeping cooler is. Nevertheless, the right blanket or pad can make a big difference in achieving the warmth you seek.
Electric blankets and electric mattress pads are generally effective at warming a bed. They are also adjustable which allows a person to achieve a precise level of warmth.
The right linens and comforter can also provide plenty of warmth while also providing softness and a beautiful appearance to a bed.
More info: Bedding Reviews and Ratings.
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