13 Best Tips for Comfortably Sleeping on a Cold Night


Cold. For many of us, it’s our least favorite four-letter word. The shivering, the goosebumps, risking frostbite every time you leave your home – the whole experience that is winter is enough to make us longing for the days of summer.

During the day, you can be active; running errands, heading to work, or lounging at home with the heat on high can sometimes take your mind off of the coolness in the air. But what happens when night falls, as does the temperature, and you are left wondering how to sleep comfortably while your body can’t seem to stay warm.  If your bedroom has suddenly taken on the qualities of an igloo, here are 13 tips for keeping warm at night.

1. Wear Multiple Layers

When you’re cold, layers are always a good idea. So, the best way to ensure that you maintain a comfortable night of sleep is to layer up. By adding on a few extra layers of clothing, you can be sure to warm your body up, but it also allows you to remove layers if you begin to get too warm. Taking off an unneeded layer means that you will still be protected from the coolness by your base layer.

Here are a few handy tips when it comes to layering:

  • Keep layers even – Try to avoid piling up on the sweaters and wearing less as you go down the body. Your internal thermostat starts at your core and works away toward your extremities. So be sure to keep your legs covered as well as your feet with a good pair of long johns and thick socks.
  • Don’t wear too tight/restrictive clothing – While it may seem like a great way to trap in your body heat with your yoga leggings, tight clothes can limit blood flow to your fingers and toes, making them stay colder. Instead, stick to loose-fitting clothing.
  • Consider your fabric – You want to wear breathable clothes so that you don’t cause yourself to sweat. Wearing moisture-wicking clothing and staying away from heavy flannel is a good idea.

2. Add Layers To the Bed

Not only should you layer your clothing, but you should also layer your bed. Adding a foam mattress topper or a blanket between your mattress and your fitted sheet will give you a reliable, warm base to sleep on. Above you, consider adding an additional blanket as well as a comforter with a heavy blanket on top. The extra weight will leave you feeling like a warm hibernating bear and will also provide comfort and security while you rest.

If you start to feel too warm, you can easily push the top blanket(s) down without worrying about suddenly feeling freezing again. This is due to the double layer under you, which will still help to maintain your body heat around to you.

I personally recommend using a LUCID Memory Foam Mattress Topper (link to Amazon) because it helps to regulate your temperature, ensuring you don’t become too warm or too cold overnight. I’ve had mine for over a year now, and I absolute love how comfortable it is – especially during the colder months.

3. Take A Warm Shower Or Bath

For many of us, a warm bath or shower is an excellent way to wind down and warm up at the same time. As part of your evening bedtime routine, spend 10-15 minutes in the bath or 5-10 in a warm shower. If you decide to take a bath, try adding lavender essential oils for added relaxation.

By allowing yourself to relax in the heat of the warm water, you encourage your circulatory system to keep working. This promotes more blood flow through the veins and throughout the body.

4. Drink Something Warm

Similar to taking a warm bath, drinking warm liquids can help to raise your body’s core temperature. It can also have very soothing effects to help you prepare for bed. On a particularly cold night, try sipping on some tea, hot chocolate, or even just warm water with lemon before heading to bed.

5. Do Some Light Exercise

Any time you feel cold, you’re always told to move your body to get your blood moving to help warm up. Going for a run or doing something simple will also help before you head to bed. In addition to warming up while you run, your warm shower after will help to keep your core temperature level while you wind down.

If you don’t have time or the weather is not in your favor, try following along to a yoga video that will guide you into some stretching poses. No, they make not make you sweat in the way that running would, but the energy that builds while you hold certain stretching positions will warm you up in no time.

6. Snuggle Up

There is nothing more warming (or cheaper) than cuddling into another human body. The colder months are perfect for getting closer to your bed partner and taking advantage of your own personal furnace. If you do decide to use body warmth as your heating system, be sure to make sure there are layers on the bed in case it does get to be too much heat.

No partner? No problem! Pets, namely cuddly puppies and kittens, can be perfect little heat packs and usually love to share their warmth. Not sure about letting your pet sleep with you? Read here to find out why I think it’s an excellent idea.

7. Use An Electric Heating Blanket Or Hot Water Bottle

Not only do electric heating blankets provide a steady stream of heat, but you can often find ones that can be adjustable in temperature as well as being set to a timer. This makes for the most customizable way to ensure that you don’t freeze, and you also don’t overheat.

For extra cold nights, turn the blanket on a few minutes before bed so that you can be sure to climb into a cozy cocoon without having to wait for the blanket to heat up. If you decide to use a heating blanket, it should take the place of one of the additional blankets you add to the bed – you don’t want to cook yourself.

Last year for Christmas I received a heated blanket that I absolutely love. I’ve had my fair share of heated/electric blankets in the past, but the one my husband bought me is by far the best! It has an intuitive adjustable heat setting, ability to be put in the washing machine, and the most comfortable fabric I’ve come across for a heated blanket. Here is a link to the same one that I have from Amazon – Pure Enrichment Plush Heated Throw Blanket.

A cheaper option with less personalization is a hot water bottle. They’re great because you can put them at the bottom of your bed and let the heat be closer to where we’re often the coldest – the feet. What’s nice is that while they hold the heat for quite some time, they also cool down as time goes on, so you aren’t stuck with blazing heat if your body happens to warm up with all those layers.

A quick word of caution: Make sure that you always follow the directions – don’t fill the hot water bottle with boiling water and never place it directly on your skin without a barrier as it can burn you! It’s a hard lesson to learn.

8. Warm the Room

Equally as important as warming your bed is warming your bedroom. Despite being a small space, there are several reasons why your room might stay cold. Here’s how to keep it warm:

  • Close all windows – Even the slightest breeze from the winter wind can be enough to make your room feel like a refrigerator. Make sure all windows are closed to prevent warm air from seeping out. Keeping the windows closed will also help if you have to get out of bed or when you shed layers, making it so that you don’t go from warm to freezing in an instant.
  • Turn on central heat or a portable heating system – If your home has central heating, set the thermostat to somewhere between 65 and 68 degrees. If you don’t have central heating, look into a portable heater for the winter. While 68 degrees isn’t the blazing temperature of the Sahara, the idea is to keep the heat steady and comfortable without waking in the middle of the night from being too hot. (Source)
  • Block any drafts – Keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temp also requires blocking the drafts that may come in from under the doors. If you don’t want to purchase a door blocker, roll a towel the long way and place it in the gap between the bottom of your door and the floor.

9. Use A Humidifier

For some people, part of the problem with the cooler months is that the air becomes drier and can cause dry skin, itchiness, sore throats, cracked lips, and more. A humidifier can not only help to combat cold weather symptoms but can also help keep you warm in the process. By increasing the moisture level in the air, it also adds a level of warmth as well. (Source)

An additional benefit of using a humidifier is that while it’s helping the air to feel warmer, you can keep your thermostat lower. This is ideal for your utility bill, and will also ensure that you don’t set it to 85 degrees “just to be sure.”

If you are looking for the perfect humidifier for your cold room I personally recommend the Pallas Humidifier from Amazon. I have used it extensively in my dry/cold room, and I no longer wake up cold or with a dry throat. From experience, I’ve never realized how much having the correct amount of humidity in the room can affect how you feel waking up in general – let alone the added benefit of saving money on your heating bill. Truly a must if you live in a climate that experiences cold weather.

10. Let Your Body Adjust

Instead of jumping into bed and falling asleep before your head hits the pillow, try to stay awake for a few minutes to let your body adjust to the layers you’ve built as well as the temperature that you have set the room. As we prepare for bed, our bodies may go through fluctuation in internal core temp, so you may find that once you are in bed, you’re actually hotter or colder than you thought you would be.

By letting your body adjust to the surroundings, relax, and calm into sleep mode, you will be able to ensure that you have set yourself up for a comfortable night of rest, rather than a night of constantly adjusting.

11. Wear Fresh Clothing

Even if you don’t feel like you have been sweating, or if you feel like you’re nearly an icicle, put on fresh, completely dry clothing before sliding into bed. The clothes we wear throughout the day and even during our evening activities will begin to take on moisture from our bodies. Taking this moisture to bed with you can actually start to make you feel hot after you layer and crank up the heat. The opposite effect of what we are going for.

Fresh, dry clothes are also especially important if you have done any light exercise or if you have just finished with a warm shower or bath.

12. Don’t Cover Your Head

It’s somewhat of a “natural” reaction to hide under the covers when we’re scared of something, for example, an intruder, or in this case, the frigid weather. Even though blowing hot air down there sounds like a great way to warm under the blankets (kind of like the humidifier), you want to avoid having your face under them at all.

The reason for this is because the moisture from your breath will make the small covered space damp, making your body clammy and sweaty. Once it seeps into your clothing and bedsheets, the discomfort will force you to re-adjust by removing layers, potentially making you cold again, and disrupting your sleep.

13. Eat A Solid Meal

Medieval movies always portray people living in castles and enjoying big feasts while the snow is falling. So when winter is coming, it may be a good idea to take a tip from ye old kings and queens and eat a hearty meal for dinner. The time when your body heats up from the food is during digestion, and the energy that it takes to process your food is what works to warm your body up.

Be sure to eat a good dinner in order to fuel your body’s internal heating system. Foods that are higher in calories or carbs may help in your efforts to stay warm, although it will not be much help for your diet. (Source)

Cold Weather Conclusion

Being able to sleep when you’re cold is always a walk on the wild side. You never know if you will wake up with hypothermia or swimming in your own sweat. Figuring out how to balance your temperature and sleep comfortably is essential for your sleep health, especially for those of us who feel the winter chill easily.

With any combination of the above tips, you should be able to hand-tailer a sleep routine that works for you. But, if all else fails – I hear the Bahamas are lovely this time of year.

Tiara Croft

Tiara is an avid sleeper and fully dedicated to her work and research. Most often this includes, but is not limited to, napping, testing how many hours in one night that she can sleep, trying new sleep methods and constantly changing sleep positions. Tiara's main focuses are on dreams and how we can achieve the best natural sleep possible. As a sufferer of insomnia and other sleep-related disturbances, Tiara loves to dig deep into the subconscious to ask all the questions that can help us better understand what happens when we sleep.

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