Sweet Relief for MS Night Sweats
Set yourself up for an amazing sleep with one of these cool multiple sclerosis-approved plug-ins.by Jackie Zimmerman Patient Advocate
Summer is on its way and with it comes the heat waves that those of us with multiple sclerosis tend to struggle with...times 10. There are loads of cooling products on the market designed to regulate our temperature when we’re out and about, like vests, neck or wrist wraps, and hat inserts. But what about when we’re right at home? More specifically, what about when we’re not doing much of anything—because we’re asleep?
I struggle year-round to keep my internal thermometer in check while sleeping, but it is especially difficult in the summer. By day I can usually keep cool with the help of air conditioning but at night I still find myself a sweaty, hot mess in my sheets. When I cocoon myself up in my sheet to sleep, the lack of airflow keeps my body temperature higher than what is comfortable. I’m not alone in this either—many of my friends with MS also struggle to regulate their body temperatures while they sleep. According to the National MS Society, this could be caused by lesions on or damage to the hypothalamus, which is responsible for temperature regulation. Poor sleep means more fatigue and ain’t nobody got time for that!
I did some research on various types of temp regulating products designed specifically for sleeping and at a variety of price points. In order to really see the ins and outs of each product, I tested each one individually for two weeks. This gave me a good range of temperatures inside and outside, as well as enough nights to try all the features each one offers. Below are my reviews of three different products—BedJet, the OOLER and Night Bliss. Read on for all the details. And, spoiler alert: I have honestly never slept better!
Price: $369, bedjet.com
Options: Hot or Cold
Remote or App: Both
Set-Up Difficulty: Hard
The BedJet is designed for both cooling and warming of your bed, which makes it unique in the field of sleep-comfort products. Essentially, it’s a fan box that's hooked to a flexible hose with an opening on the end that shoots hot or cool air under your sheets.
It can also hook up directly to the BedJet’s Cloud Sheet ($109 for a queen size), which is like two top sheets sewn together to hold the air inside the sheet. If you’re using the Cloud Sheet you don’t really feel the gust of air because it's distributed evenly throughout the sheet, but if you use the BedJet with your own sheets, you will feel the air rushing out. The fan is adjustable, and the loudness depends on the speed. But even when the fan was running at 100%, I could still hear my TV over it without distraction.
What makes the BedJet unique is its ability to switch between hot and cold instantly and for someone like me who goes to bed cold and wakes up hot, this is a nice feature. The BedJet is also programmable, so you can tell it to automatically fluctuate the temperature (anywhere from 67 to 109 degrees) throughout the night. Pretty cool, huh?
Everything—from temp settings to fan speeds—is controlled by a remote (included) or through an app on your phone. The set up was slightly complicated because the latest BedJet models offer a built-in wifi-enabled chip that you can connect to any smart-home device. While this isn’t an open-it-up-and-go type of tool, once you have everything synced, the possibilities for great sleep are endless.
If you’ve got a pocketful of extra cash laying around, you can get two BedJets for independent climate control on each side of your bed, which is great if you have a partner who prefers a different temp or fan speed.
Pros: Creates airflow under your sheets, helping to keep your body at a more consistent temperature to prevent overheating while sleeping. Offers a large remote with big buttons that are easy to see and press.
Cons: The setup may be difficult for someone with mobility issues because there’s a bracket that needs to be installed under the mattress and there are multiple pieces that need to be fixed together. Difficulty with vision and dexterity may be a problem during the remote/app set up as well.
Price: $699, chilitechnology.com
Options: Hot or Cold
Remote or App: App Only
Set-Up Difficulty: Medium
The OOLER is a hydronic mattress pad that goes under your fitted sheet and connects to a device that is filled with water. The water is warmed or cooled to your desired temp and circulated through the pad. The OOLER offers a wide temperature range, but it does take about 20 to 30 minutes to get there.
The OOLER is controlled by a smartphone app and has a great feature that allows the device to double as a white-noise machine. The hydronic pad itself is thin and soft but might be noticeable to some sensitive sleepers as it sits on top of the mattress itself. The whole system is relatively quick to set up, but with the wait time it takes to temp the water, there is no instant gratification here. You’ll want to remember to set a timer to turn on your OOLER 20 minutes before you get into bed.
Like the BedJet, the OOLER also offers the ability to have dual-climate control if you get two machines. They offer six different sizes, including half bed and full bed pads for queen, king and california king sized mattresses.
Pros: A very quick set up and circulating water creates a very consistent temperature without the feeling of wind blowing on you or inflating your sheets.
Cons: In addition to dexterity issues that may arise from having to use a smartphone to control the OOLER, it can be a hassle to remember to add water to the unit as needed. Also, if you use a mattress pad for night-time incontinence, the OOLER will need to sit on top of that mattress pad running the risk of accidents soaking into the OOLER pad itself.
NightBliss Cool Sleep Model 3
Price: $259, nightbliss.com
Remote or App: On/Off/Power Control Slider
Set-Up Difficulty: Easy
The Night Bliss was designed to help menopausal women deal with night sweats, but I thought that it would work well for MS patients, too. I was right! How it works: You connect the end of your top sheet to the high-powered fan with clamps. When you turn on the fan you’ll see your sheets and blankets instantly inflate like a parachute!
This Night Bliss model is controlled by a wired remote that has an on/off switch that also functions as a slider to control the speed of the fans. You can turn it on for a quick blast of cool air, or let it run at a lower setting all night. When I say they are powerful, I mean it! For those who sleep hot, this fan offers an instant cool down with the flip of the switch. The fan attaches to the end of your bed with a bracket—specific to your mattress and footboard style—that comes with your NightBliss. The team that works at this company is very hands-on and helpful and will guide you to ordering the right items you need to fit it to your bed. Once you have everything you need, you can set up a Night Bliss in a matter of minutes.
Pros: This easy-to-set-up, low-tech solution has very powerful fans that offer instant cooling. It’s also simple to use for those who may have issues with mobility or a hard time handling smartphones.
Cons: You won’t be able to set a specific temperature by degree or set this device to a heat option.
MS Sleep Resource: National MS Society. (2016). “Sleep Disturbance and Multiple Sclerosis.” nationalmssociety.org/NationalMSSociety/media/MSNationalFiles/Documents/Sleep_Hughes_2016.pdf
Temperature and MS: Temperature. (2018). “Temperature sensitivity in multiple sclerosis: An overview of its impact on sensory and cognitive symptoms.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6205043/