How To Sleep When Suffering From A Sunburn

Everyone loves a vacation, but no one appreciates dealing with a sunburn after the fact. Unfortunately, if you choose to go on vacation somewhere where you'll be exposed to loads of sunshine, there's a high probability you'll end up with a sunburn without proper precautions. When you're living in the moment, lathering your skin up in sunscreen isn't always the first thing that comes to mind. Wearing long-sleeved tops or pants made of thick materials isn't usually a vacation vibe, either. 


Sometimes, it's more exciting to let loose and strip down into your bathing suit as soon as possible. Preventing a sunburn might come across as boring and monotonous, but you'll be grateful to yourself for taking preventive measures to avoid the pain of sunburns when falling asleep at night. If that ship has sailed and you're already dealing with a serious sunburn issue, here are a few tips to consider to help you fall asleep peacefully.

Set your AC to a cool temperature

if you're the type of person who prefers falling asleep in a room with warmer temperatures, it's time to stay away from that while dealing with your sunburn. A toasty bedroom is perfect on nights when your skin is completely healthy and normal, but not when you're sunburned. Even though cold temperatures don't exactly scream "cozy vibes" at night, it's something to consider if you want any chance of falling asleep with a sunburn. 


Cold air will help you feel way more comfortable as you're trying to doze off. You don't have to drastically turn the temperature down to a lower level than you're used to, though. For example, if you typically fall asleep with your temperature toggled to 78 degrees, try toggling it to 75 degrees instead.

If that still isn't chilly enough to provide any comfort, toggle it down a few more notches and see how you're feeling. The cooler the temperature of your bedroom, the cooler your sunburned skin will feel.

Sleep on cooling bed sheets

Cooling bedsheets will become your best friend while dealing with a sunburn. All sheets aren't created equally, which means it's up to you to do a little research before hopping into bed with your sunburn. Bedsheets made out of polyester should always be avoided since polyester won't do you any favors. It's got a low-quality feel, it offers poor breathability, and it's prone to pilling. To make matters worse, polyester isn't even environmentally friendly. It's a synthetic material made straight out of an ingredient called petroleum. Since petroleum is a nonrenewable resource, it definitely shouldn't be on your shopping list.


Opting for jersey cotton, loosely woven linen, or silk will give you a better chance to fall asleep peacefully. Even without a sunburn, silk is one of the most fabulous fabrics to sleep on since it's hypoallergenic, naturally sourced, non-inflammatory, durable, and incredibly luxurious. Not only will it bring comfort to your sunburned skin, but it will also keep your entire body feeling cooled down.

Apply aloe vera or other topical creams

One of the highest-quality products you can use on your sunburned skin is aloe vera. The cooling gel is known for soothing sunburned skin when you're suffering from pain. Although aloe vera can't fully cure a sunburn after a couple of uses, its soothing properties are still beneficial. Keep in mind that aloe vera won't make your sunburn heal faster, but it's still worth using since it'll help the burn feel much less painful. 


You can purchase aloe vera from your local drugstore, or cut an aloe vera plant leaf to slice into by yourself. Either way, you'll reap the benefits of its soothing properties. If aloe vera isn't something that calls to you, there are other topical creams to apply to your sunburn that'll do just as great of a job helping you feel better. Topical creams that offer hydration and moisture will help you out when it comes to the pain you're enduring.

Take over-the-counter painkiller medication

You don't necessarily need to sit down with a doctor to get a painkiller prescription for a sunburn. Sometimes, all you have to do is visit your local drugstore to find painkillers you can buy over the counter. Many people prefer over-the-counter painkillers since medically prescribed painkillers have a reputation for being wildly addictive. Some of the best over-the-counter painkillers you can purchase include Advil, Motrin, Tylenol, and Excedrin. 


These medications are helpful when it comes to any physical ailment you're suffering from including stomachaches, headaches, muscle aches, and more. When your skin is hurting from a sunburn, though, these over-the-counter medications will do you justice. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging to figure out how many pills or tablets you're supposed to swallow within a certain time frame. The last thing you'd want to do is make yourself sick by improperly taking over-the-counter painkillers while you're already dealing with a sunburn.

Wear loose pajamas or skip them altogether

The idea of wearing pajamas that press tightly against your skin while falling asleep with a sunburn probably sounds terrible. After all, no one wants to experience uncomfortable fabric rubbing against their broken skin. When searching through your closet for the best pajamas to wear with a sunburn, grab the loosest options you've got. A billowy nightgown or flowy matching set will suffice.


If you have enough privacy to do so, skipping your pajamas altogether is actually the best possible option. When you're completely nude, you don't have to worry about pajamas rubbing against your skin at all. Instead, you'll be able to focus more on your bedsheets and blankets. This instantly eliminates a massive fraction of your worries.

Although some folks don't have enough privacy to sleep in the nude due to roommates, friends, or live-in family members, take advantage if privacy is something you actually do have. The less fabric you have draped over your sunburned body, the better.

Take a cool shower or bath before bed

Few people will try to argue with you that cold showers are pleasant or enjoyable. By the same token, they are often exactly what's needed in order to feel better with a sunburn. Some people rely on cold showers to snap themselves out of anxiety attacks or to reset their nervous system. Others know that cold showers come in handy to soothe the pain of sunburn. When you're sunburned, your skin gets totally inflamed. 


Cold water from a shower or a bath fights back against that inflammation in a significant way. You might have to brace yourself for a couple of minutes before dunking your body into a cold shower or a bath, but keep in mind that it will be worth it once all is said and done.

Cold showers and baths don't need to become a regular thing after the skin on your body has returned to normal. They are simply something to consider if you want to experience relief before falling asleep at night.

Prop your pillows to avoid painful sleeping positions

Depending on which part of your body has been sunburned, one of the smartest things could be propping your pillows in ways to help you avoid painful sleeping positions. If your back is the area that was sunburned, sleeping on your belly with pillows propped beneath your head and neck will allow you to leave your back exposed and untouched. If your chest was sunburned, sleeping on your back with two pillows propped on both sides to block you from turning over will allow you to leave your chest in the open air. 


Anyone who sleeps with a partner every evening will have to communicate with that person about sleeping positions to make sure your sunburned skin doesn't rub up against anything in the middle of the night.

Fortunately, pillows come in many different shapes and sizes. You can always find pillows that will suit your needs for any body part that needs the most attention.

Use cool compresses on the affected areas

It's easy to believe that pressing chunks of ice directly to your sunburned skin is the quickest way to solve your issue, but that would be a huge mistake. Pressing chunks of ice to your sunburn will cause vasoconstriction, which means the blood supply headed toward your broken skin will be abruptly cut off. Instead, opt for cold compresses that provide just as much soothing effects. In fact, cold compresses will probably soothe your skin more than solid chunks of ice since the feeling won't be so sharp or intense. 


Find a clean towel and dampen it with cold water. Press the cold compress on your sunburned skin for about 10 minutes at a time, multiple times throughout the day. Every time you feel a flare-up of pain, rely on this method to get some relief. If cold compresses don't feel like enough, sit in a bathtub filled with water and about 2 ounces of baking soda for 10 minutes at a time to achieve a similar feeling.

Stay hydrated with cold water

Drinking cold water while you're sunburned will help you more than you know. Regardless of how much water you love drinking on a regular day, try to beef up that amount during your healing process. Sunburns are known to draw your fluids to the surface of your skin. When fluids are at the surface of your skin, they are no longer in your body. This leads to some serious dehydration. When it comes to water consumption, though, try to spread out your drinks throughout the day. 


It would be a huge blunder to wait until you have an hour before bed to start chugging all the water you owe yourself. When you wait until the end of the day to drink your water, you'll fall asleep with a full bladder! You'll wake up every 30 minutes or so to run to the bathroom, which means you won't be getting solid rest. If you drink water throughout the day, your bathroom trips will be comfortably spread apart in a way that doesn't disrupt your sleep.

Avoid alcohol consumption before bed

Alcohol is the last thing to be drinking while suffering from sunburn. Despite how much fun you could have throwing back a couple of shots with your friends, skipping alcohol while you're sunburned will benefit you greatly. Unfortunately, alcohol is known to dehydrate you and make your sunburn feel much worse. Since alcohol has been linked to other health issues like heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems, and high blood pressure, it already doesn't have the best reputation ever. 


While you might not be worried about any of these other super serious health conditions, healing from your sunburn should be reason enough to take a break from alcohol.

Interestingly, caffeine is also something you might want to take a break from while dealing with your sunburn. Just like alcohol, it can dehydrate you and make your skin feel absolutely terrible. Alcohol and caffeine don't have to be off-limits forever, but it's perfectly fine to put them on the back burner until your skin feels healthy again.

Realize sleeping in increments is better than not sleeping at all

Sleeping in increments is actually much better than not getting any sleep at all. If you continually wake up throughout the night due to pain from your sunburn, don't throw in the towel and give up on your chances of falling back to sleep each time. Do your best to fall back asleep so your body can get the rest it needs in order to heal. Our bodies do the most healing while we're sleeping, so you should be aiming to get as much sleep as you possibly can in order to speed up the recovery process. 


If you usually don't fall asleep until midnight every night, consider changing things up a bit by falling asleep a few hours earlier than you normally would. It doesn't make you a bore to prioritize your sleep schedule while healing from your sunburn. Sleeping for a few hours is better than getting no sleep at all, which means it's up to you to take what you can get throughout the night. If necessary, you can also take naps during the day to make up for any lost sleep at night.

Don't dab any essential oils on your sunburned skin

Essential oils have a great reputation for improving your health and mood. They've been mainstream for a while, helping increase attentiveness, kill bacteria, and reduce nausea. They're even known to help relieve the pain of a headache. Unfortunately, essential oils aren't exactly helpful when it comes to sunburn, though. Dabbing essential oils directly on your sunburned skin will lead to more irritation than before. They can also increase the sensitivity of your skin. 


Next time you're exposed to the sun, keep in mind that essential oils aren't the only fragranced liquid you should keep away from sunburned skin. Most colognes and perfumes are also a no-go. Since colognes and perfumes typically contain alcohol as a main ingredient, they'll dry out your skin.

Anything that irritates and dries out your skin should be avoided while you're sunburned. Allow essential oils to gently mist through the air of your bedroom while you sleep, but try not to dab any of those oils directly on the surfaces of your sunburned skin.

Refrain from picking your blisters

It'll be much harder for you to fall asleep with a sunburn if you've been actively picking out your blisters. Anytime one of your blisters feels itchy or irritated, leave them alone. Resist the urge! In the same way that you've always been taught not to pop your pimples prematurely, avoid picking at your blisters in that same exact manner. If you notice that one of your blisters naturally breaks on its own, feel free to trim any of the dead skin off with a pair of clean scissors before thoroughly cleaning the area with soapy water. 


Be gentle in your approach as you allow your skin to properly heal. When you leave your blisters alone, you allow your body to do what it does best at the right time. As soon as your sunburned skin starts naturally peeling, you'll know your body is ready to move forward in the healing process.

If you get busy picking your blisters during the day, don't be surprised about your struggle to fall asleep at night.

Treat your sleeplessness the same as insomnia

People who deal with insomnia on a nightly basis already know how you feel if you're struggling to fall asleep with sunburned skin. Although your reasons for struggling to fall asleep are much different than an individual with old-fashioned insomnia, you can handle your sleep routine in a similar way as an insomniac to get the rest you desire.


One of the smartest tips to follow when fighting insomnia includes shutting off your technology about an hour before bed. This means tucking away your tablets, cell phones, and anything that emits blue light. 

Another tip revolves around your exercise routine. Make sure you aren't exercising too close to bedtime so your body has a chance to calm down and relax for restful sleep. Your workout should be at least one hour before you lay your head down. Using a white noise app or machine will also come in handy in helping you finally get to bed.

Fall asleep to a guided sleep meditation for healing

Guided sleep meditation videos are easy to find on YouTube. When dealing with a painful sunburn, listening to sleep meditations dedicated to healing your body might be exactly what you need.

There are sleep meditation videos for people trying to lose weight, others trying to heal diseases, and others trying to conceive a pregnancy. There are sleep meditation videos for people trying to manifest a new career path, trying to feel more successful in academia, or trying to attract their soul mate. 


You can find guided meditation videos that will help reprogram your subconscious thinking while you sleep by searching for exactly what you need on YouTube or other video-sharing apps. Guided meditations that are specifically aimed to help your body heal from ailments will give you the peace of mind you need to fall asleep. Any limiting beliefs you have about your healing process and any destructive thoughts you have about your physical pain can be assuaged with the right guided sleep meditation video.