21 Clever Ways to Keep Your Bedroom Cool
It's time to make those sweaty, sleepless nights a thing of the past.
As temperatures rise this summer, getting a good night's sleep may seem like an increasingly impossible task. According to a 2019 study published in PLoS One, people tend to get the shortest amount of sleep in the summertime, a phenomenon researchers suggested could be linked to the heat. In addition, SleepScore Labs' applied sleep scientist Elie Gottlieb, PhD, said that increased hours of daylight can affect our circadian rhythms, making sleep even harder. Thankfully, all it may take to get your sleep back on track is making your bedroom cool.
The obvious answer is to crank your AC up, but if that's not an option—or if you don't want to shell out tons of extra cash on your electric bill—experts say there are plenty of clever ways to create a calm and cool bedroom. Keep reading for their 21 best tips to make those sweaty, sleepless nights a thing of the past.
How to Keep Your Bedroom Cool
1. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan.
You don't need to rack up major air conditioning bills to keep your bedroom cooler. Instead, just turn on your ceiling fan—but make sure you're using it right.
"The wind chill effect that ceiling fans create helps you feel comfortable without needing to adjust the thermostat," according to the experts at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning. "Reverse the motor to move the blades in a counterclockwise rotation to create a breeze effect in the summer."
2. Put ice water next to your standing fan.
If you don't have a ceiling fan, a portable fan can work just as well with a few tricks.
"Position the fan in a corner of your room so that it faces the bed," advises Lauri Leadley, founder, president, and clinical sleep educator at Valley Sleep Center. She also recommends keeping the bedroom door open so as not to trap air.
To create a "DIY air conditioner effect," Carlie Gasia, a sleep expert and certified sleep science coach at Sleepopolis, says to "place a bowl of ice or a frozen water bottle in front of a fan."
3. Upgrade your lightbulbs.
Incandescent lightbulbs aren't just increasing your energy costs—they're increasing the temperature in your bedroom, too.
Marla Mock, president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company, notes that these bulbs give off 90 percent of their energy as heat. Therefore, she suggests replacing them with CFLs, which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer, or LEDs, which use 80 percent less energy and last 25 times longer.
4. Install a smart thermostat.
If you have central air and your bedroom is still hot, you might want to upgrade your thermostat. Smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature from anywhere, meaning you can start cooling your bedroom long before you return home.
Mock adds that this technology will save you up to 20 percent on cooling bills over the course of a year and "can help your family reduce its environmental impact, boosting efficiency via energy usage data."
5. Clean your air conditioner filter.
If you find that your bedroom gets uncomfortably warm, cleaning your air conditioner filter might just fix the problem.
"When things clog up, the unit will not cool as well and in fact, work much harder and use more energy," explains Mock, who cautions that this can cause a serious increase in your electric bill.
6. Seal off any cracks around your windows.
Upgrading to energy-efficient windows can help keep cold air in your home for longer. However, if replacing your old windows isn't in the budget, there's still a simple way to keep your bedroom cooler on a dime.
"If you want to fix your old windows, caulking or weather-stripping will be an excellent option to stop the cool air from leaking out of the window," explains Werner Jorgensen, a sales manager at Heatxperts.
Gasia also recommends window or door draft stoppers "to prevent warm air from entering and cool air from escaping."
7. Or fit them with reflective film.
A typical reflective window film rejects 63 percent of the sun's solar energy. Basically, it still allows light to shine through your windows, but filters out just enough so that your room won't overheat (it also prevents your furniture from fading).
Martin Seeley, a sleep expert and founder and CEO of Mattress Next Day, says this is "a good option for blocking out UV rays and providing some insulation without completely obstructing the view."
8. Upgrade your window treatments.
Those sheer curtains may look nice, but they're making your bedroom hotter.
"Installing blinds or heavy curtains can substantially decrease the amount of heat that seeps into the room via the window," explains Dawson, who notes that this is of particular importance if your room gets a lot of light at sunrise or sunset. If this is the case, blackout curtains are a great option.
Artem Kropovinsky, an interior designer and founder of Arsight, adds that "light-hued curtains and blinds not only reflect sunlight, reducing heat, but also add to the cool aesthetic of the room."
9. Add window treatments outside.
An alternative to curtains and shades is actually blocking sunlight from the outside of your home.
Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, interior designer and hosting expert, suggests "adding outside coverage of windows and doors that have direct sunlight such as awnings, porches, and overhangs."
10. Be mindful of when you open windows and doors.
If you're trying to cool off your bedroom with natural airflow from open windows, you'll want to do it strategically.
"Close all the windows during the day to keep out hot air from outside and trap cooler air inside," says Seeley. Then, open windows at night "to let in cool, outside air."
"Additionally, make sure to close any doors leading into other rooms when cooling down your bedroom for maximum efficiency," he adds.
11. And be mindful of where you place furniture.
If you have a wall-unit air conditioner, make sure nothing is obstructing the flow of air from it to your bed. Likewise, if you have central air, "keep furniture away from vents and airflow routes to promote efficient air circulation," advises Yama Jason, an interior designer with Parlun Building.
In addition, Kropovinsky says that a clutter-free space is key to maintaining coolness. "Filling a room with excessive furniture or decor can trap heat."
12. Get houseplants.
Want to keep your bedroom cooler? Try honing your green thumb.
"Houseplants are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also help cool down a room by releasing moisture into the air," explains Seeley. "Certain plants such as ferns, aloe vera, and spider plants are particularly effective at this."
"Plants such as snake plants or areca palms act as natural air cleaners and humidifiers, thereby contributing to a fresher, cooler environment," adds Kropovinsky.
13. Use white accessories.
Just like you shouldn't wear black when it's 90 degrees outside, you should avoid decorating your bedroom with dark accessories during the summer months.
Dark objects absorb more heat than lighter ones, so sticking to light accessories—especially on and around your bed—will ensure that your room doesn't heat up as much during the day.
Kropovinsky recommends calming hues like blues, light greys, and greens.
14. Add insulation to your attic.
Find that your bedroom is getting hotter by the day? It could be your attic.
"An estimated 25 percent of energy is lost due to poor attic insulation," explains Zach Reece, founder of Colony Roofers, who recommends adding new insulation to your attic or filling in any areas where it's starting to look sparse.
15. Or install an attic ventilator.
At their balmiest, attics can reach upwards of 150 degrees in the summer. Due to these unbearable temperatures, Josh McCormick, vice president of operations for Mr. Electric, recommends installing an attic ventilator fan, as it "evacuates the hot air that accumulates and draws air in from the outside."
With this new ventilation system installed in your home, you'll find that less warm air makes its way into your bedroom—especially if it's upstairs.
16. Put down a rug.
Filling insulation gaps in your attic isn't the only way to keep the cool air from escaping your bedroom.
"Adding carpeting to your floor is an often overlooked yet easy way to add insulation to your home," says Michael DiMartino, senior vice president of installations at Power Home Remodeling, who notes that this is a great option for renters who can't necessarily re-insulate their space by other means.
17. Use cotton sheets.
If the thermostat is low but you're still feeling hot in bed, it could be your sheets that are heating you up.
"Lightweight and lightly colored bed linens are more breathable than linens made of silk, satin, or polyester and promote ventilation and airflow in the bedroom," explains Leadley.
Instead, Gasia recommends cotton or bamboo for your sheets, pillowcases, and pajamas. "These materials can help regulate body temperature and promote airflow."
"Another option would be pajamas made from moisture-wicking materials," adds Leadley. "Some bed sheets also come in this material which may be a good bedding option as well."
18. Or freeze your sheets.
Still getting sweaty when you hop into bed? Your freezer might be able to help.
"Place your pillowcases, bedsheets, and blankets in a plastic bag, then put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you plan to go to bed," suggests Leadley. "They should stay cool for around 30 to 40 minutes, long enough for you to fall asleep."
"If this is too chilly for you, maybe just place one or two of the items in the freezer, as opposed to all of them," she adds. "Avoid getting them wet, however, as wet linens will increase the humidity in the room."
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19. Pick a cooling mattress.
If you tend to be hot in bed during the summer, Gasia recommends investing in a mattress topper or mattress that's designed to promote airflow and provide cooling properties. "These options can help regulate your body temperature while you sleep."
20. Sleep outstretched.
If you find yourself tossing and turning thanks to unbearably boiling temperatures, the position in which you sleep can help the whole room feel cooler.
"Avoid balling up at night to reduce body heat and allow air to flow around the body," shares Leadley, saying you should, instead, sleep with your limbs outstretched.
She also recommends keeping your feet uncovered ("Feet are sensitive to temperature because they contain several pulse points") and avoiding cuddling.
21. Don't use the stove.
Your dinner isn't the only thing that your stove is heating up. Unfortunately, cooking on the stove or in the oven takes the temperature of your home up a notch, as does using the dishwasher or dryer.
"Schedule heat-producing activities for early morning or late evening when temperatures are typically cooler," Josh Mitchell, an HVAC technician and owner of AirConditionerLab, previously told Best Life. "This change can make a noticeable difference in your home's overall temperature."