How to Fall Asleep When It's a Million Degrees Outside and You're Hating Life

Updated 07/14/17
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How to Sleep Better
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Frankly, when I moved to L.A., I figured that my sleepless summer nights were behind me. I realize that this was probably a misguided notion, but hear me out: I've spent most of my life on the East Coast, which, in addition to peaking at fairly astronomical temperatures in July and August, becomes an actual sauna when you throw in humidity. Combine that with the lack of air conditioning in my Brooklyn apartment, and you might understand why I was hopeful that upon transferring to a bone-dry climate, never again would I have to lie awake at 3 a.m. with sweat beading on my forehead, begging the universe to at least let me drift off. 

This week alone has exemplified how wrong I was—we're in the middle of a scorching heat wave in Southern California, one that has basically rendered my studio apartment into a 600-square-foot oven, even after the mercury dips at night. And while I have certainly employed some tricks to find relief—foregoing pajamas, for one thing, and placing a small-but-powerful fan right by my bed—ultimately, they only make falling asleep slightly more bearable. It was time to put the call out for more pointers—and after polling a group of real women in a popular wellness Facebook group, I already have some fascinating new strategies to try out. (And I do mean fascinating—multiple people advised icing my feet.)

Find out how to sleep better this summer below.

Freeze your pillowcase

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"Put your pillow case in the freezer before you go to bed! Then let it thaw out as you fall asleep. It saves me every night." —Lauren

Keep cold water on hand all night

"Fill a water bottle with ice and keep it by your bed—it'll melt and you'll have a cold beverage if you wake up without having to get out of bed." —Nicole

Dab on some cooling essential oils

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"Take a cool bath and douse the back of your neck with peppermint oil." —Alana

Douse yourself with cold water right before bed

"I grew up in a super-hot city (Hong Kong). I've had this weird habit since I was a kid, which is washing my hands and feet in really cold water immediately before bed time. It makes me feel a lot cooler and calms down any swelling from the walking in the heat all day!" —Tina

(or even while you're sleeping)

"I put a cold, wet cloth on my forehead and go to sleep. It actually helps me!" —Jess

A constant stream of mist works, too

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"A cool mist humidifier helps!" —Lara

Try keeping your feet cool

"London-dweller here, and we, as a rule, don't get AC in our apartments, and it can get so hot in the summer. To combat the heat, I always focus on cooling down my feet. I will fill empty large plastic bottles with water and then freeze them. I keep them placed on my feet when I go to bed. Sounds weird but it works for me!" —Jasmine

Be strategic about where you place your fan

"Having a fan in the window makes a big difference because it is pulling the air from outside, so it makes your room feel less stuffy." —Caroline

Makeshift your own A/C

"Place a container filled with ice in front of your fan. I've heard good things about this technique." —Christine

Rethink your bedding

"Privacy blinds down to protect from the worst of the heat and lightweight bed linens." —Molly

Names have been changed.

Got some pointers of your own? Share them in the comments below, and get more tips for a solid night's sleep here.

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