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Alaska Sleep Education Center

Could the Egyptian Sleep Method Improve Your Zzzzz?

Posted by Jennifer Hines

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on Sep 4, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Forget walking like an Egyptian. For a more restful night, try sleeping like one instead.

walkThe so-called Egyptian method is a nighttime technique that involves stretching out between damp, cool sheets in an effort to lower the body’s temperature and provide a cool, relaxing environment.

While there is some debate over whether ancient Egyptians actually practiced this style of sleeping, it has gained popularity on the internet as a way to stay cool on hot nights. Learn more about the unusual technique, and how to try it at home.

How It Works

The Egyptian method requires holding the top and fitted sheets (or just the top sheet) under running water in the shower or tossing them in the washing machine’s spin cycle until saturated.

Next step: Wring the sheets out so they are damp but not soaking. Then make your bed as you would usually do. The moist sheets provide a cooling sensation while sleeping. Another option is to use damp towels.

The Sleep Benefits

Whether or not this method results in a better night’s sleep depends on whom you ask. Some people swear by it on hot nights.

If you enjoy the sensation of water or live in a very warm climate without air conditioning, you may find the Egyptian method improves you ability to drift off at night.

Others, however, may find sleeping on a damp bed uncomfortable. With this method, it truly is a case of try it and see for yourself.

A More Modern Approach

There are other ways to keep cool when the temperature rises. 

Cooling mattresses, which regulate your body temperature while sleeping, are designed to achieve the same result of the Egyptian method with less mess. 

Wicking sheets and pillowcases that pull sweat away from your body to keep you dryegypt and cool can also help you sleep better on warm nights. Or, try the straightforward approach of cranking up the air conditioner and turning on a fan.

Tossing and turning all night because the scorching heat wouldn't let you get your much-needed sleep is most unenviable. Next time the temperature gets too hot to handle, incorporate these tricks to help you sleep comfortably through the night.

How-to web site wikiHow lists 19 ways to help you score your Zzz's. Apart from using the A/C and fans, they recommend incorporating the "Egyptian Method":

  1. Wet a sheet or bath towel that is large enough to cover you with cool or cold water. 
  2. Wring it or run it through the spin cycle on a washing machine until the sheet is quite damp but not dripping wet.
  3. Place the dry towel or sheet on your bed underneath your body.
  4. Use the wet sheet as your blanket. The damp blanket will keep you cool.

You might also try sleeping in a "'spread eagle" position or on your side to keep your body cooler. Or try misting a top sheet and placing it inside a plastic bag in the freezer. Remove it right before bedtime, and don't forget to sleep with your bare feet outside the sheets.

A few other tips:

  • Flip over your pillow as needed so you sleep on the cold side.
  • Don't consume any caffeine close to bedtime.
  • Buy some rubbing alcohol and mix it in a spray bottle with water. (Use a 1:1 ratio.) Spritz on as needed.

Alaska Sleep Clinic is Alaska's premier independent diagnostic testing facility for sleep disorders. Learn more about us here...

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Topics: Sleep, sleep myths

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