How to Keep Your Bedroom Cool Without Cranking up the Air Conditioning

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Sleeping cool is essential for comfort. The best temperature for sleep is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. But when it’s warm or downright hot outside, your bedroom may not be able to maintain that temperature without some help.

Sleeping well means feeling well. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re at a greater risk of mental distress, cognitive difficulty, and mental and physical health issues. Functioning at your best requires good sleep, but if it’s too hot to sleep, you may struggle to fall asleep or have a lower quality of sleep.

Turning down your air conditioner is an obvious solution — if you have one — but it can be somewhat wasteful. Consider more sustainable solutions for lowering the temperature of your bedroom without air conditioning, or even simply lowering the temperature so your air conditioning system doesn’t have to work so hard at night.

  • Use blackout curtains. Blackout curtains are helpful for blocking out light when you’re trying to sleep, making it easier to sleep well. But they can also help block out heat. Close your curtains during the day to avoid letting the sunshine in and heat up your room. The thick barrier from blackout curtains may even be able to stop heat from coming in, retaining cooler air in your bedroom.

  • Turn on a fan. Although a fan won’t do much in 100 degree heat, simply moving air around and creating a breeze can be refreshing and cool down the temperature slightly.

  • Choose a mattress that sleeps cool. Although memory foam mattresses are popular, you might be too hot sleeping on one without air conditioning. Some mattresses, including some memory foam mattresses, are known for retaining heat. That means your body heat is absorbed into the material of the bed and redistributed, so it can be difficult to cool off. Consider a mattress that has better circulation and may sleep cooler, such as an innerspring or hybrid mattress.

  • Choose seasonal bedding. Sleeping on flannel sheets or using a fleece blanket can keep you warm during the winter, but that’s not desirable during the summer months when it’s already warm. Look for lighter materials such as cotton or bamboo that are more breathable and won’t retain your body heat. Consider switching your comforter out for a light quilt or avoid using a comforter at all.

  • Turn down your lights. Incandescent light bulbs can emit heat, making your bedroom warmer as you light it. Consider making the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, which are more efficient and cool. Or, simply dim the lights at night.

  • Take a cool shower at night. Taking a hot shower before bed may be relaxing, but it can heat up your bedroom quickly. Turn on your bathroom exhaust fan to avoid letting hot air sit around in your bedroom, or turn down the temperature of the water so it doesn’t create as much steam.

  • Open windows if it’s cool outside. Sometimes, the air outside is cooler than inside. If that’s the case, open your windows before you go to bed so you can let the cooler air in and maybe catch a breeze.

Summer can be uncomfortable for sleep if it’s too hot in your bedroom, but you don’t have to crank up your air conditioning to sleep cool. Focus on preventing heat, keeping cool air in, and managing light to make your bedroom more comfortable at night.

Amy Highland is a sleep expert at She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.

(Image courtesy of – Helping One Veteran at a Time to Sleep Better )

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