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How To Sleep With Sunburn

Girls Back with Sunburn

The Spring and Summer seasons are the times of the year where we are able to sit outside in a tank top with shorts and just relax. Whether that be in our backyard or on the beach, there is nothing like the feeling of absorbing some sun after being cooped up inside our homes for the past three to six months out of the year.

However, when it comes to getting some much needed sun, there can be a few downsides. One specific negative, and a very painful one at that, is a sunburn. They are caused by too much exposure to open sunlight directly onto unprotected skin. They can be very painful to live with and you might even get a sunburn through shirt or sunburn through clothes.

How To Sleep With A Sunburn

Pain medicine

Medication can help relieve you of your pain, swelling, and redness. Ibuprofen or aspirin both work really well to help you get relief for your discomfort to help you fall asleep. While the effects are almost immediate, this treatment for the pain does not last long.


If you prefer not to take oral medication, and your sunburn is itching, we recommend that you use a hydrocortisone treatment to relieve those symptoms. It is never good to scratch at a sunburn because it can break the skin and cause an even worse problem for you later on.

This treatment can also come in various other forms like a spray or lotion, and it will help relieve you of your itchy, swollen, red sunburn.


An easier to get to alternative, that works even better for some people, is aloe vera moisturizer. Specifically, a moisturizer that is a 100% aloe vera gel, because anything less may end up irritating your skin even more.

Aloe has plenty of vitamin A and E to help soothe your burning skin. If you place the bottle in the fridge before applying, it provides another boost of coolness to help your skin.


When you have a sunburn, you become very dehydrated. You will need to drink plenty of water to allow your skin to use that water to heal itself because the sunburn is draining the fluids in your skin.

Loose clothes

Wearing clothes to bed that are tight against your skin can be a bad idea, because the cloth is directly touching the burned areas. If you toss and turn a lot when you’re sleeping, the cloth can rub against your skin and cause you pain throughout the night.

It is best to wear cotton fabrics that are loose and allow your skin to breathe, so that you are able to move as much as you need to.

Avoid ice

Rubbing ice on your skin is another common mistake people make when they have a sunburn. It can cause damage that can lead to your skin breaking, which will cause even more pain.

It is better to just stick with a cool shower or a cold compress if you are unable to get to any of the other relief methods before bedtime.

Understand your mistakes

Now that you understand how awful and exhausting it can be to treat and sleep with a sunburn, it is important to think back to what caused it in the first place. It is always important to wear sunscreen in the Spring and Summer months, even if you don’t expect it to be a lot of sun out that day. This is simply because you never know when you can get a sunburn. No one wants to have to go through a painful night of sleeping with a sunburn.

And for those really hot days, it is possible to get a sunburn through your shirt.

So if you know you are going to be out in the sun all day, and aren’t able to wear a bathing suit or not shirt at all, applying sunblock to at least the tops of your shoulders first can help a lot. It may seem a little ridiculous to do, but your skin will thank you for it later.

Does Sunburn Make You Tired?

Your body is working in overdrive

A quick answer to that is, yes. Spending all day in the sun can pull all of the stamina and energy from your body and leave you feeling fatigued after a couple of hours of sunlight.

As mentioned earlier, when you have a sunburn, it is pulling a lot of necessary fluids out of your skin. Your body is trying it’s hardest to stay cool and drinking water can help that. The extra effort that your body is doing, to control these fluids and normalize your body temperature again after spending hours in the sun, is causing you to feel tired.

Internal chemical changes

When direct sunlight is on your skin, there is a lot that is going on inside of your body.

Those sunrays are causing your skin to wrinkle, your pigmentation to discolor, and, of course, to burn. All of those chemical changes are happening in your body at the same time, so your body is working really hard to keep up, which causes you to feel that exhaustion as well.

Should I Wear Sunscreen at Night?

Let your skin breathe

Wearing sunblock at night isn’t something that a lot of people do. There is barely any sunlight getting to your skin so there is even less of a chance for you to get a sunburn through your clothes or directly onto your skin. It is best to just allow your skin to breathe throughout the night and only apply sunblock when needed to during the day time.

Applying too many layers of sunscreen too often can clog your pores and cause your skin to breakout in pimples or a rash. You want to protect your skin from harm, not cause other issues trying to prevent one.

Other sources of UV rays

Weirdly enough, some electronics with screens emit UV rays. It doesn’t compare in amount, scope, or damage with the sun, so it wouldn’t cause any issues for you. There are a lot of other things too much screen time can do to your body, but if you are concerned about the UV rays, then you can limit the time you use those devices.

Should you sleep with clothes on with a sunburn?

Sleeping naked

How you sleep while you have a sunburn is up to you. There are benefits that come with both, so it just depends on what you prefer. If you enjoy sleeping in the nude, then by all means, do it. If you have a really bad sunburn on your shoulder, then this option might be better for you. It allows your skin to breathe naturally and freely.

With clothes

Isleeping with sunburnf you are more modest in how you sleep, or you have children that like to barge into your room in the middle of the night, you might prefer to wear clothes. If so, as mentioned earlier in the article, cotton-made, loose clothes are your friend. They allow your skin to breathe as well, while also letting you cover up.

Whether it’s in the nude or in a t-shirt, the sheets you have on your bed matter too. If possible, it is best to sleep on silk sheets. This will allow you to toss and turn in your sleep without having to worry about your skin getting irritated by the constant rubbing that you would experience with other sheets.


Sleeping with a sunburn can be a difficult and uncomfortable experience for everyone. These tips are sure to help you relieve your pain and irritation so that you are able to get a good night's rest.

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