Sleep experts share their secrets to finding the best sleeping positions to beat the heatwave and stay cool during those hot summer nights.
As temperatures continue to rise, so does the panic of looking for ways to keep a bedroom cool in a manic attempt to beat those especially hot nights during the peak of summertime. Luckily for us, we don’t have to keep suffering while twisting and turning in our beds all night, as sleep experts have provided a handful of sleep positions for us to try so we can keep cool and sleep better, even in the heat.
The best sleeping positions to beat the heatwave
‘Heatwaves can cause a host of problems when it comes to sleep, mainly due to the release of melatonin – the hormone that induces sleepiness in our bodies. For melatonin to be released optimally, our body temperature needs to sit around 37°C, and so having a cool room at around 16-18°C when it’s hot outside can help facilitate this,’ explains Sammy Margo, sleep expert at Dreams.
While opting for the best mattress or duvet best suited for the heat, as well as a cooling mattress topper can help curb the discomfort, Sammy explains that ‘when temperatures rise, it’s crucial to [also] adapt your sleeping position to enhance airflow and promote body cooling.’
Here are her recommended sleeping positions to beat the heatwave, alongside other sleep experts’ top tips.
Sammy Margo has been a Chartered Physiotherapist for 32 years and specialises in sleep. She completed her Chartered Physiotherapy training and a Masters in Physiotherapy (MSc) at University College and Middlesex Hospital. Now as the founder of The Good Sleep Expert, she brings her expertise to The Dreams Sleep Matters Club.
1. The ‘starfish’ position
‘Lying on your back with your limbs spread out can assist in cooling the body, as it maximises the surface area exposed to the air. Additionally, using a lighter duvet or even using just the sheet or duvet cover can further enhance comfort.’
2. The ‘spoon’ position
‘Some people find sleeping on their back tricky so sleeping on your side with a pillow placed between your knees can help align the spine and allow for better airflow. This position can also be particularly beneficial for individuals who suffer from snoring or sleep apnoea, as it helps keep airways open.’
3. The ‘freefall’ position
‘While lying on your stomach may not be ideal for everyone, this position can be advantageous during hot weather. Placing a cool towel beneath yourself, or using a cooling pillow, can help regulate body temperature and prevent overheating, and can also be used to cool yourself before getting into your usual sleepy position.’
4. The ‘back sleeper’ position
‘Lie on your back with a thin pillow or no pillow at all to keep your head slightly elevated. By keeping your head slightly elevated, you can prevent excessive heat build-up, as heat tends to rise,’ explains Sammy Margo at Dreams.
Rex Isap, CEO and sleep expert at Happy Beds agrees saying, ‘My personal recommendation is to try falling asleep on your back. This is because it keeps your head elevated, allowing air to circulate around your face and, therefore, allows you to feel cooler overall.’
5. The ‘legs up’ position
‘Lie on your back and elevate your legs by placing a pillow or cushion under your knees. This position may help to improve circulation and reduces tired, achey, and puffy legs, allowing for better blood flow and heat dissipation,’ says Sammy Margo at Dreams.
6. The ‘side-back combo’ position
‘Begin by lying on your side with a pillow between your knees for spinal alignment. After some time, switch to lying on your back, keeping a thin pillow under your head. This alternating position helps prevent pressure points and allows air to circulate around your body.’
However, if you choose to simply sleep on your side, that also receives a yes from the experts. Chris Tattersall, sleep expert and MD of Woolroom says, ‘When trying to get to sleep in a heat wave, it’s best to sleep on your side to minimise the surface area of your body against the mattress and the bedding. This, in turn, will help you from feeling too hot in the night and avoid any subsequent sweating.’
Chris Tattersall is a Sleep Environment Expert and has been developing and selling sleep-related products since 1997. Since 2012, Chris has been Managing Director of Woolroom. Focused on the often-forgotten area of the sleep environment, Chris is passionate about highlighting the holistic sleep environment and the importance of what we sleep on, under and in, by raising awareness about how certain fibre types can impact our sleep.
Additionally, as we touched on earlier, your mattress, bedding material, and sleep environment also have a big impact on your comfort throughout a hot night.
Chris Tattersall at Woolroom says, ‘It’s important to create a holistic sleep environment when trying to sleep in a heatwave. Your room temperature should be kept as close to 18 degrees where possible, and choosing the right materials for your bedding and mattress will ensure less overheating and waking in the night.’
‘By cocooning yourself with wool bedding, and choosing another breathable outer layer such as linen, will help you achieve a better and cleaner night’s sleep this summer,’ adds Chris.
Regardless of whichever position you opt for, Happy Beds’ Rex Isap’s final word of advice is to always ‘sleep with your feet free from any covers or duvets being placed on top of them as this will help regulate your body temperature, too.’