Sleep and heat do not mix! Keeping cool on summer nights can be tough when it is hot out. And oh my it is H-O-T out! I can remember being a child and struggling hard to fall asleep in the summer in my hot bedroom. It was so frustrating! With all the sleep struggles out there, this simple struggle is something I never wanted for my kids or the kids of families that I work with.
Here in Florida, it gets crazy hot in the afternoon that often it heats our homes more than the air conditioning can handle. I was asked in a recent sleep clinic, how to help cool down the kids rooms under these conditions. If you are in Florida, heck if you are almost anywhere in the US right now, you are struggling with a hot house in the evenings.
Here are my thoughts for tips to sleep well in the summer heat.
Ideal Sleep Temperature:
All of us, our kids included, sleep better in dark, cool and quiet conditions. So, the best sleep temp is somewhere between 68-72 degrees. If you live in a hot climate you might think that temperature range is crazy! However, for babies under 12 months of age, for safety we really need to keep the temperature between this range to prevent overheating – which also can help to prevent the risk of SIDS. But this temperature range is where the problem lies, right? My kids rooms face the afternoon sun and boy their rooms can get so hot by the end of the day. You can keep your kids rooms as cool as possible by:
- Keeping the curtains closed in the afternoon – but even better if those curtains are blackout / thermal curtains.
- Keep the doors open post nap until bedtime.
- Start to cool the house down a bit before bedtime.
- Use fans in your child’s room – but be sure not to point them right at your child, but they are great to circulate the air and cool a body down.
Think About Attire:
The right sleep attire is key! I always recommend breathable cotton pajamas with a sleep sack on top. Yes a sleep sack, for your baby and for your toddler. There are two reasons why I love a sleep sack:
- For your baby it is a safe and wearable blanket – just be sure to choose one that is the right size. A baby under 12 months should have nothing in their crib, except them and the clothing they are wearing.
- For your toddler, if they are still in a crib – it can help prevent them from climbing out of the crib. 😉
In the summer you want the sleep sack to be lightweight. When you go shopping for sleep sacks you will see that they have terminology around the weight that may be unfamiliar to you – it was to me, a little ways back. Weight is measured in “Togs.” In the summer you want your kids to wear a 1 tog or .5 tog weighted sack. (Tip: the 1 tog sleep sacks tend to last a bit longer).
If you are unsure of what your child should be wearing under the sleep sack – Smart Night Sleep has a handy chart to guide you:
- I am all for warm baths for relaxation as part of a nice bedtime routine. But in the summer, a warm bath can just heat your child more. A bath of lukewarm or cooler water can help to cool your child off before bed.
- I recommended cotton pyjamas and sleep sack, but cotton sheets can help too! Synthetic materials, they can trap heat instead of releasing it.
- When all else fails, you can cool a room with ice. Yes, I said ice. Freeze a few larger water bottles and put them in your child’s room, in front of the fan before bed. You might want a tray underneath to catch the condensation. 😉
This was meant for keeping kids cool at night, but heck some of these tips might just help you too. Enjoy your summer and stay cool!