Even though I'm someone who falls asleep easily and anywhere (I once fell asleep standing up at a Broadway show), I find that it can be really tough to fall asleep if it's too hot. There's something about feeling sticky and sweaty that makes me so uncomfortable that it prevents me from snoozing, even if I'm crazy tired.
1. HAVE AN EVENING SHOWER
The first step to getting comfortable for bed in the summer is a nice cool shower. I'm already a nighttime shower person so this works into my routine smoothly. However, even if I were a morning shower person, I would still hop in the shower, just to quickly rinse off the sweat and grime of the day.
A cool shower can lower your body temperature a bit, which is another step in ensuring a comfortable sleeping experience.
2. COOLING FACE MASK
In keeping with the theme of cooling down my body for bed, I like to use a cooling face mask. I have this watermelon one from Korres, which not only smells super summery and delicious, it actually cools down my skin and makes me feel great. I have cheeks that are prone to redness and they go insanely pink when I'm feeling a little too warm. This mask instantly gets rid of that ugliness.
3. BREEZY NIGHTIE
The third step I take every evening is to wriggle myself into comfy pajamas. When it's hot out, I tend to go for silky, lightweight nighties. They make me feel girly and cute and keep me cool.
4. SLEEP MASK
As much as I love the amount of sunshine we experience in the summer, it can also totally ruin my sleep routine. Even though I wake up pretty early for work (around 6AM), sometimes, the sun starts pouring into my windows at 5 and it wakes me up. Then I'm cranky all morning because I've lost an hour of sleep. So, I prevent all lost-sleep-crankiness by donning a sleep mask.
The mask also blocks light coming in from the street lamps outside and the headlights of late night drivers zooming by.
5. SUMMER PLAYLIST
I love having a little background noise as I get ready for bed. So, I either pop on some of my favorite summer songs on my computer (songs like Tupac's California Love, No Doubt's Spiderwebs, and Nelly's Hot in Herre are so fun) or I turn on a fun summery movie on Netflix (like Dirty Dancing, Wet Hot American Summer, and Adventureland).
6. FAIRY LIGHTS
One of my favorite parts of my evening routine is crawling into bed and reading a book before I fall asleep. (Currently, I'm rereading the Harry Potter series.) I don't care much for the harshness of the bright lamps in my room, so I strung a set of fairy lights on the shelf above my bed. I like the mood lighting it provides whilst I read. Plus, even though I'm sure it's totally psychosomatic, I feel like bright lights give off heat, which is not something I want when it's already hot. So, these dainty bulbs provide a lovely source of light without creating the illusion of a heat source.
There were a few delightful days this summer when the nights were crisp and cool and I could open up my windows to let in a delicious breeze. However, the majority of the nights were clammy and humid and gross. On those gross nights, I would bask in the breeze created by my little oscillating desk fan.
I have central air conditioning in my house, but in an effort to be more environmentally conscious and save on energy bills, the a/c gets turned down in the evenings. So, the fan in my room is definitely my best friend.
8. SUMMER BEDDING
In the winter, I love my flannel sheets and fluffy comforter. In the summer, I swap those out for cool cotton sheets and a linen duvet cover. Yes, just a duvet cover. In the cooler days of spring and autumn, I fill the duvet with a light comforter but once the temperatures get into the 80s, I pull out the comforter and I'm happy with just the light duvet.
9. FUN PILLOWS
I think a pile of pretty pillows and cushions makes my bed look super summery. And because I love to hug pillows to sleep, it's nice to have a selection to choose from when the current one being snuggled gets too warm. Because, you know, in the summer, the "cool side of the pillow" is that elusive best friend.
I also make sure every pillow and cushion cover is made of a soft and cool cotton. No flannel or faux fur in the summer!
10. LEMON WATER
When it's hot, it's easy to get dehydrated so I like to drink a big glass of lemon water before bed. I grab a big glass, pop in some ice, drop in a few lemon slices, and then top it off with water. I love sipping it as I'm reading my book. It's cooling, hydrating, and delicious and it's a great summery alternative to sleepytime tea.
So those are my ten summer sleep essentials. Reading through my own guide and looking at the photos of my bed are making me wish it was bedtime right now!