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Tips for Sleeping in the Summer Heat

Photo courtesy of Phil and Pam/Flickr

I really try not to complain about the heat — after all, I spend most of the year complaining about the cold — but when it comes to catching some Z’s, the 90-plus-degree days we’ve been having in Missoula are really starting to get to me.

After baking in the sun all day, my apartment is borderline uninhabitable by the time the sun goes down. Opening the windows at night helps, but unless there is a strong wind, it takes hours for my bedroom to return to a comfortable temperature.

Many people have trouble sleeping in hot conditions. This is because the body must lower its internal temperature to fall asleep, which can be difficult in a warm room. Some nights, I feel like it is practically impossible to catch a single wink — let alone 40.

If the heat has you tossing and turning when you should be resting and recharging, here are a few tips for improving your summer slumber:

1. If you have a fan, try placing a tray or bowl full of ice cubes in front of it. The coldness of the ice will help cool the air that the fan is blowing.

2. Take a soft ice pack to bed with you and place it under the covers.

3. Hop in a cold bath or shower before going to bed. This will lower your core temperature, which will help you fall asleep faster. Wet hair will also help keep you cool.

4. Some people swear by the “Egyptian” method — sleeping with a damp top sheet. If the thought of sleeping in wet sheets grosses you out as much as it grosses me out, here’s an alternative: keep a cool, wet washcloth on your forehead or wear damp wristbands.

5. Sleep in a different room. Your bedroom might not be the coolest room in the house, so it might be worth it to camp out somewhere else for the night. Even if you’re not in your bed, you might sleep better in a cooler environment.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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