The Egyptian Sleep Method: Keeping Cool for Better Sleep

3 Min Read | By Lottie Salako

Last Modified 3 March 2023   First Added 16 February 2023

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

When surveyed, 34% of the British public said their sleep is disturbed by being too hot. With temperatures rising each year, keeping cool at night is an issue many of us have faced – especially as our homes are built to retain heat! After a long day of sunshine, an upstairs bedroom can be one of the warmest parts of the house.

If your home doesn’t have air conditioning and you find yourself tossing and turning, wishing someone would turn the world’s thermostat down, then the Egyptian Sleep Method could bring you some much-needed relief.

What is the Egyptian Sleep Method?

The Egyptian Sleep Method is pretty simple: sleepers wrap themselves in a wet towel when it’s too hot to slumber comfortably. This trick supposedly dates back to ancient Egypt when they didn’t have the modern conveniences to help them with the high temperatures.

The actual method is easy to replicate, if a little unorthodox:

  1. Get a large towel and soak it in cold water
  2. If you have a washing machine, put the towel in for a spin cycle
  3. If not, you can wring the towel out tightly and leave it to drip dry
  4. You want the towel to be damp to the touch but not dripping with water
  5. Place it on your bed
  6. Lay on the damp towel and use a thin sheet to cover yourself. This traps the cool air
  7. Additionally, you can use a fan to circulate cool air
  8. Sleep soundly!
Top tip: Use a mattress protector or top sheet to stop your mattress from getting damp.

Does it work?

Temperature is extremely important when it comes to sleep quality. Science says that between 12-24 degrees celsius is the best range for optimal sleep. Being too cold can stop you from falling asleep and being too hot can prevent you from staying asleep.

The Egyptian method supposedly works as the dampness gives you a cooling sensation, while the evaporating water helps create cool air.

However, for many people, the dampness itself can be a very distracting feeling that will keep them up. If the idea of lying on a cold, wet towel doesn’t sound appealing to you, then you can also try this on a smaller scale: soak a hand towel or flannel and place it on the main points of your body such as your feet, stomach, chest, or face for quick cooling.

Modern tips for staying cool

If this ancient method doesn’t quite convince you, there are plenty of other ways to keep your temperature down while you sleep. Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Wear loose pjs made of natural, breathable materials
  2. Use a spray bottle with cold water to mist yourself
  3. Try a cooling gel mattress and pillows, specially designed to be more breathable with a layer of gel that stays chilled
  4. Take a hot shower! This may seem counterintuitive but making yourself warm activates your natural cooling, so you’ll feel relief
  5. Think cooling thoughts – this kind of self-hypnosis can be very effective. Try picturing icy glaciers and dunking yourself in arctic waters, and even put on the sounds of a snowstorm to up the effects!

Tried these tips? Get more advice here

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