How to Keep Warm in Bed


One thing that I have learned over the years is how important sleep is to my overall health. Staying comfortable can make the difference between feeling rested throughout the night or struggling to fall asleep in the first place.

I have never had a problem with becoming too hot as I slept (prior to my time in Thailand!), but there have been plenty of times when I could not get comfortable because I was freezing.

I have been reading about others so it sounds like I am not the only one and I should share my experiences. Figuring out how to keep warm in bed no matter where you might be sleeping will improve your mental and physical well-being.

Keep warm in bed by wearing socks, using extra pillows around your body for insulation, fill 2-liter bottles with warm water and keep under the blankets, use extra blankets under, on top, and to the sides, keep head under the blankets, use a foam mattress, and reduce the room humidity.

How To Keep Warm In Bed

Cover Yourself

No matter what you sleep on or in, adding layers of clothing will keep you warmer. While some people sleep in the nude, I have found that adding even a T-shirt and underwear helps retain body heat when you sleep. Other types of layers can include:

  • Sleepwear
  • Shirt and pants
  • Coats or jackets
  • Hats and socks

Pajamas come in a variety of materials and thicknesses. I have a few pairs that I cycle through, based on how cold it is.

You can always sleep in your clothing. Many people sleep in sweatpants and a T-shirt. Long sleeves will help you stay warm when your arm inevitably slips from under the covers.

If things get very cold, you can add extra clothing layers. I had to put on a jacket before when my heater broke during a storm to keep warm. Whenever I have needed to break a fever or had the chills, wearing a jacket or coat has helped keep me warm in bed.

Another trick I learned over the years is to wear a hat and socks to bed during frigid winter nights. Socks will help you fall asleep faster, too.

Traditional Mattresses

A traditional mattress can consist of several materials, including foams, plastics, rubber, and fabrics. These types of beds hold heat better than mattresses with air pockets. You can stay warmer on a traditional mattress by:

  • Adding layers of sheeting or covers
  • Change to different bedding materials
  • Add additional blankets to create air pockets
  • Pillows for the head and body

In the past, I used extra layers on the mattress itself to stay a bit warmer. The additional layers seemed to retain more heat. Adding layers above you is another option, as they present a thicker layer between your sleeping body and the cold air.

Materials can play a role in retaining heat also. During the summer months, you might use a thin cotton sheet for a mattress cover. When it gets cold outside, you can switch to flannel bed sheets.

Make sure you do not overlook the role of filler materials in things like your comforter. Down and feathers are still considered some of the warmest materials to use for bedding.

A trick that I have learned through experience is that multiple thin blankets can be warmer than one thicket blanket. The reason is that you create layers containing pockets of air. Those air pockets held to hold heat.

One thing I did not consider until I got older was adding extra pillows to the bed. For me, additional pillows for my head keeps my arms under the covers more. Others have told me how a body pillow provides extra warmth as they snuggle up to it.

Foam Mattresses

The foam mattress is probably the warmest bedding around. That is due to the density of the foam, which will fold heat well. In fact, a quick internet search will highlight the fact that some people find a foam mattress is too hot for sleeping.

You can still get cold when the temperature drops, however. The key here is to focus on covering yourself and the mattress.

Add a pair of pajamas and some socks. If that does not help, consider adding additional blankets or a thick comforter to stay warm in a foam bed.

Air Bed

At the opposite end of the foam mattress will be an air bed. The air within the mattress will cool down when the surrounding temperature drops. You might find an air bed cold to the touch if you sleep with your bare skin touching the mattress.

Here, you might consider using mattress sheets. If you already use them, consider upgrading the material to fleece. The puffy cotton presents a thicker layer between you and the air contained in the mattress.

You might want to upgrade to an air mattress with multiple chambers. The interior air pockets will cool more slowly, allowing the mattress to retain heat longer than a single chamber design.

Read my article about the advantages and disadvantages of air beds.

Scott Boyd

No Mattress

For one reason or another, you might be sleeping on the floor or ground. Your best bet here is a heavy-duty sleeping bag to provide a cushioned layer between you and the floor.

Layering clothes is needed here, as it is a simple way to provide warmth without taking up excessive room. A warm hat and socks will stand out for comfort and warmth when you do not have a mattress for sleeping.

Keeping Warm In Bed Anywhere

At Home

Maintaining heat throughout the home is the easiest solution. If you want to keep your bills down, focus on heating your bedroom at night.

Another trick is to use an electric blanket or a blow dryer to warm up a bed before you climb into it. Use the layering tricks I covered previously to stay warm in your bed.

Other Indoor Locations

If you know that the temperature is going to be cold, pack extra sleeping gear. I prefer to sleep in motel beds without a layer of clothing, no matter what time of year it is.

These situations are where a sleeping bag or electric blanket can shine. I never depend upon a motel or hotel to guarantee my warmth, so I pack extra gear unless I fly.

Vehicles

I learned at an early age that you get cold sleeping in your car during the summer. Emergency blankets, sleeping bags, and even space blankets work great.

Clothing layers are a must as space in cars or a small SUV is limited. I have heard of people using sheets rolled up in their windows to help retain heat also.

Read my article about using an air mattress in a car here.

Scott Boyd

Camping

Shelter helps tremendously. No matter what, keeping dry is key to staying warm while camping. Wet gear sucks away heat and brings down your body temperature.

A sleeping bag rated for below-freezing temperatures is a must, along with several layers of winter clothing. Hats and socks are a must to stay warm camping.

Why Is Sleep Important And How Much Do We Need?

Staying warm and comfortable in bed will usually produce better quality sleep. That is important since poor sleep produces things like:

  • A reduction in concentration, social skills, and productivity, while increasing depression
  • Decreases athletic performance and impairs your immune responses
  • Increases appetite and weight gain, chances of heart problems, inflammation throughout the body, as well as issues with glucose and diabetes

So, how much sleep do you need? At one time, I would have told you as much as you can get. I have learned that most adults need 7 to 9 hours a night. Children benefit even more, while seniors can get by with 7 or 8 hours of sleep.

What Temperature Is Good For Sleeping?

I was surprised to learn that 65-degrees Fahrenheit (18.3-degrees Celcius) is considered ideal. When I was younger, I had always set my home thermostat higher than that.

Body cycles, or rhythms, change throughout the day. The Circadian rhythm includes sleeping. Your body begins to naturally cool down when you go to sleep and begins to warm as you awake.

Under optimal circumstances, you can control the temperature in your home to maintain an optimal temperature. One thing I have learned over the years, however, is that life is rarely perfect.

As studies have shown, cold temperatures can affect your Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. That means we have to be ready to manipulate our environment to keep warm, no matter where we might be sleeping.

Scott Boyd

A semi-retired workaholic in Thailand is a challenge. It is too hot to keep building adobe and earthbag buildings so a new project was needed. I became interested in bed frames after purchasing a bamboo bed frame from a local supplier here and I learned there is little information about them on the Internet. So now I spend my days researching, testing, and reporting my findings to help others while having an occasional beer and istening to 60s and 70s B side rock, blues, and much more.

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