Get the best good night’s sleep of your life with this incredibly simple Scandi sleep hack

Improve your sleep and bedroom air quality with this easy Scandi sleep hack

A minimalist bedroom with a bed and a widnow
(Image credit: Future PLC/Kasia Fiszer)

The Scandinavians seem to have the best ways of life all figured out – from shorter yet more productive working hours to the many Scandi sleep hacks. The latest we’ve come across? The trick of opening bedroom windows before going to sleep – a key to how to sleep better.

This is not the first time we’ve been amazed by a Scandi sleeping hack – whether it’s opting for two separate duvets for couples rather than sharing one large one or airing your duvet outside to improve health and hygiene.

And now, you can add opening your windows for about 15 minutes before going to bed to the list. Even (or perhaps especially) in the midst of winter as the cool temperatures are what makes the difference to the sleep quality according to studies. You can’t argue with science.

A minimalist bedroom with grey walls and a skylight

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mary Wadsworth)

Why you should open your bedroom window before sleep

‘Scandinavians are known for their popular and unique sleep tricks and cracking the window open before bed is in fact one of them,’ says Sammy Margo, sleep expert at Dreams. ‘Cooler bedroom temperatures allow fresh air to circulate and enhance sleep quality.’

But why exactly is opening the windows good for our sleep?

‘When attempting to sleep in a cooler bedroom our core body temperature drops, telling the brain that it's time for sleep. This drop in temperature helps the release of melatonin, which controls how and when we sleep,’ explains Rex Isap, sleep expert and CEO at Happy Beds.

A bedroom with a scalloped mirror above the bed and a patterned table lamp

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

While the Scandis will do this despite their chilly winters, we in the UK tend to instinctively go in the opposite direction and try to keep the heat in our homes as much as possible during winter.

‘For most people, the winter months mean keeping windows in our homes shut to not let any warm air escape, however, this can harm sleep,’ Rex says. ‘When the room temperature is too warm, it can disrupt your body's natural thermoregulation process, leading to discomfort and frequent awakenings. We recommend going against the norm and opening your bedroom window for 15 minutes before bedtime.’

And that’s why you should open the windows every day in winter - also because the cold air is likely to prevent night sweats and discomfort, which will in turn aid in uninterrupted good night’s sleep. 

A minimalist bedroom with a bed and a widnow

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

‘There are a few studies that support this argument, including the “Ventilate your bedroom at night” study by Dr. Pawel Wargocki, senior author of the study from the Technical University of Denmark,’ Sammy says. ‘Over a two-week period, Wargockim monitored the air quality in the participants’ bedrooms, whilst tracking their sleep quality, and the results showed that they slept better when the windows were open, and they were less sleepy in the morning.’

The Nordics go even as far as letting babies nap outside in winter as the cold air results in better and longer sleep according to parents and studies.

‘It’s not unusual to see babies napping in pushchairs outside of homes, cafes and daycare in Scandinavian countries, even in the winter,’ Rex says. ‘Babies who nap outside are exposed to fewer germs compared to napping inside, which could reduce the risk of them catching coughs and colds. It is also thought that napping outside improves a baby's sleep quality and duration.’

A bedroom with a bed with light pink sheets and a skylight

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

‘A study conducted in Finland in 2008 by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information found that parents’ experiences of allowing children to nap outdoors were mainly positive. Highlights of the study include that 66% of parents found their child to be more active after naps taken outdoors compared to indoor naps,' he concludes.

That’s where the trend of garden nap stations, yet another one inspired by the Nordic lifestyle, comes from. Is there anything the Nordic countries can’t do?

Sara Hesikova
News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.