Top Tips for Sleeping With Sunburn

Last updated on July 24th, 2023 at 09:41 am

Sleeping with sunburn can be uncomfortable, painful or completely impossible. With sore skin and a raised temperature, drifting off often seems just out of reach – but restful sleep is incredibly important for sunburn recovery, helping to heal your skin and allow you to enjoy the summer days in peace.

What is sunburn and how it effects your sleep

Sunburn is the common name for the radiation burns caused by UV rays from the sun, which cause damage to DNA in the upper layer of skin cells resulting in swelling, redness, and inflammation. The redness and irritation come from the blood vessels dilating in order to heal the damage. Sleeping comfortably with sunburn is difficult because the skin comes into contact with the bedding, and the pressure from lying in bed can often cause discomfort.

How can you prepare your sleep environment?

One of the best tips for sleeping with sunburn is to prepare a sleeping environment which is conducive to a good night’s sleep – start by choosing appropriate bedding that is cool, smooth, and breathable. Bamboo bedding is a fantastic example of this; it is naturally gentle on the skin and helps cool you down. It helps your skin to breathe, which is perfect for sunburn relief at night.

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Ensure your room is at the perfect temperature for sleep. Opening windows, using air conditioning or turning on your fan are other great cooling techniques for sunburned skin at night. Your body temperature will increase when your skin is burned, which helps. And generally, ensuring your bedroom is a calm and relaxing sleep environment is key: turn off any screens and harsh lighting, play soothing music, or spray essential oils around the room.

How can you manage sunburn discomfort before bedtime?

The first step to soothing sunburn for better sleep is to have a cool shower or bath before you head to bed. This helps to relieve the heat and inflammation associated with sunburn – as does applying after-sun or aloe vera. There are various calming lotions for sleeping with sunburn, soothing your skin before you get into bed. Over-the-counter pain relief, if recommended by a healthcare professional, can also act as sleeping aids for sunburn pain.

Sleeping Positions for Sunburn Relief

Depending on where your sunburn is, you might find different sleeping positions more comfortable. For example, if you’ve burned your back, you might find it easier to drift off by lying on your stomach or side. It’s all about minimising the pain – extra pillows or cushions to elevate certain body parts or reduce pressure can also help. Elevation helps to improve your circulation and provides more comfort so you can heal as you snooze.

Utilising cool techniques

Your bedtime remedies for sunburn discomfort should include applying a cool compress, or an ice pack wrapped in a towel, to the affected areas. This will cool and soothe. Choosing cool bedding for sunburn relief is also important – opting for lightweight and breathable fabrics like bamboo is a great way to ensure breathability as you snooze and stop overheating during the night. Thin and breathable pyjamas are key, too. If you’re looking for more sunburned skin care during sleep, look for gels and lotions which are specifically designed to cool and soothe.

Hydrating properly before bedtime

Hydration is key when it comes to overnight sunburn care tips. Drink plenty of cold water, and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption when sunburnt. Try and incorporate some extra hydrating food and beverages before bedtime: herbal teas, fruit, salad and ice pops, for example.

Avoiding irritants and friction

You might need to change your usual skincare routine when suffering from sunburn – avoid heavily fragranced products and opt for really gentle creams and lotions. Bedding and sleepwear should be soft and made of non-irritating fabrics like bamboo; naturally silky smooth as well as being hypoallergenic, bamboo fabric is the ideal choice when sunburnt. Where possible, minimise contact with any rough or abrasive surfaces and materials to avoid irritation.

How can you create a relaxing bedtime routine?

Get yourself in the right headspace to fall asleep and it should come easier despite the sunburn – engage in some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to help you drift off. Soothing and calming activities like reading, listening to slow music or doing a jigsaw can help you relax and feel ready to snooze. Good sleep hygiene is important in general, and by having these habits in place (a set bedtime, a routine you follow each night and so on) you’ll find it easier to fall asleep even if you are experiencing sunburn.

Seeking medical attention if needed

If your sunburn is particularly severe, or you notice complications like infected or weeping skin, then be sure to consult a healthcare professional who can suggest appropriate treatment and guide you through the process. Keep an eye on children with sunburn especially!

How to sleep with sunburned skin?

While you should take every step to avoid sunburn, by covering up and using SPF protection, it can happen – and keeping cool at night with breathable bedding and various cooling techniques will help you sleep. Prioritise restful slumber and ensure you take the necessary measures to recover from your sunburn so you can enjoy summer to the fullest.


How can I relieve the discomfort of sunburn before bedtime?

Last updated on July 24th, 2023 at 09:41 am

Before bedtime, try applying aloe vera or a cooling gel to soothe the sunburned skin. Avoid using petroleum-based products as they trap heat and worsen the burn.

How should I position myself in bed to minimise discomfort?

Last updated on July 24th, 2023 at 09:41 am

Opt for a sleeping position that avoids putting pressure on the sunburned areas. Sleeping on your back or using extra pillows for support can help reduce contact with the affected skin.

Are there specific fabrics or bedding materials I should avoid?

Last updated on July 24th, 2023 at 09:41 am

Yes, avoid rough or abrasive fabrics that may irritate sunburned skin. Instead, use soft, breathable materials like bamboo or cotton for your bedding.

Should I take a lukewarm shower before bedtime to cool down my skin?

Last updated on July 24th, 2023 at 09:41 am

A lukewarm shower can help cool down the skin and remove any residual sunscreen or sweat. Pat your skin dry gently afterwards.

Are there any natural remedies I can try for sunburn relief?

Last updated on July 24th, 2023 at 09:41 am

Yes, besides aloe vera, you can apply cool chamomile tea bags or pure coconut oil to soothe sunburned skin naturally.

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