How To Keep Cockroaches Away While Sleeping

No one wants to sleep with cockroaches nearby, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you’re dealing with a heavy infestation, it won’t be removed overnight. In the meantime, you’ll lie awake, hoping that cockroaches don’t crawl across you. That’s unless you use temporary measures to protect yourself while sleeping.

When sleeping in a room with cockroaches, use bait traps to lure them to a poisoned food source. Sticky traps and mechanical traps will keep cockroaches contained. Sprinkle boric acid around your bedposts, and don’t leave food or water on your bedside table. Vacuum, remove trash, and use essential oil diffusers as a deterrent.

If possible, sleep on a raised bed frame that’s not directly against the wall. Also, wash your hands and face before bed to remove any food traces. Cockroaches don’t target sleeping people, but they will seek out sustenance.

How to Sleep When You Have Cockroaches

If cockroaches are scurrying throughout your bedroom, sleeping can be impossible. They’ll make fluttering sounds as they fly by or quiet noises as they bump into objects that won’t usually be detected during the daytime.

The mere thought of drifting off while cockroaches roam around your bedroom and walk on your bedsheets can be enough to keep anyone awake.

If your home has cockroaches, and you still need to sleep, then take action by:

Sleeping Elsewhere

You can bunk at a friend’s house or sleep in an area of your home that sees fewer cockroaches. This will allow you to get some shut-eye while administering pest control methods during the day.

However, pest control won’t work right away. Your living room, basement, attic, and other sleeping spots may be just as infested as your bedroom. Likewise, your friends might not want you at their home when you have cockroaches.

Pesticides in Every Room

Cockroaches are smart enough to flee from areas targeted with pesticides. They’ll seek safer hiding places and return when the coast is clear. This is especially common in apartments.

Cockroaches may flee to your bedroom if you’re targeting your kitchen with pesticides. So, you need a more holistic approach. Of course, you must take the right safety precautions.

how to sleep in a room with cockroaches

Clean Behind And Underneath Furniture

A bedroom has several areas where cockroaches can find shelter. There may be a nest:

  • Underneath your dresser
  • Inside a desk
  • Behind cabinets
  • Inside storage boxes, chests, or containers

Move all furniture and check for signs of a colony. If you find cockroaches, vacuum them up, disposing of them in a sealed bag. Then, use contact sprays to kill them.

This will reduce the size of the population and cause the survivors to move to other parts of the home.

Sleep Higher Up

Cockroaches are capable of scaling up walls and furniture. They have little hooks on their legs that give them purchase on smooth surfaces. That means your bed frame doesn’t always protect you from curious cockroaches.

They form pathways that are used by the entire colony to forage and navigate the home. If something is placed in their way, cockroaches will climb over it. For example, if your bed lies flush with the ground or the mattress is placed on the floor, cockroaches are more likely to climb into your bed.

If your bed frame sits off the floor, and the cockroaches can easily walk underneath it, they’re less likely to scale up. This doesn’t fix your cockroach problem, of course.

However, it gives you peace of mind while targeting the infestation. There’s less chance of a wayward cockroach climbing into your sheets or scuttling over your body during the night.

Remove Water Sources

Cockroaches are drawn to moisture and will congregate around it.

If your bedroom has an evaporative cooler, glasses of juice, or table-top fountains, cockroaches will be attracted to it. So, never leave water sources in your bedroom.

Shut the door to your bathroom and place a seal along the bottom of the entryway.

Remove Food

Eating breakfast in bed or snacking on popcorn during a late-night movie are some of life’s little pleasures. Unfortunately, cockroaches feel the same way.

Cockroaches will raid your bedroom late at night for:

  • Scattered crumbs
  • Food containers with trace sauce or leftovers
  • Dropped or discarded food in or around your bed
  • Food at the corners of your mouth or on your hands

Make your bedroom off-limits to food. Keep meals isolated to your dining room, especially if you’re applying pest-control methods.

If you must eat in your bedroom, be sure to:

  • Remove all containers
  • Clean up spills
  • Vacuum the floor for crumbs

Even washing your face before you go to bed can discourage cockroaches from checking you out as a food source.

Check For Eggs

Your wardrobe, closet, bedding, and clothing will serve as ideal hiding places for ootheca (egg cases). If your home is so badly infested that cockroaches target your bedroom, you can be sure they’re reproducing.

Once you kill the main colony, the next generation will hatch, grow, and infest your home. So, it’s crucial to check for unhatched eggs. You’ll find these egg cases:

  • Underneath furniture, such as wardrobes or beds
  • Inside of fabric, such as with clothing or sheets
  • Near sources of heat, such as electronics or in mattresses
  • Inside storage boxes or drawers, especially toward the back

Once you find them, remove and destroy the egg casings. For clothing, this may involve running the items through your washer and dryer at the maximum heat setting.

Vacuuming Thoroughly

Cockroaches will seek out any food source available, even if it isn’t traditional food. This may include:

If you only vacuum once every couple of weeks, your bedroom may appear clean, but cockroaches will remain fed. They can scour your carpets, rugs, and hardwood flooring to find little scraps that will prevent starvation.

How to Sleep in a Room with Cockroaches

There are ways to safeguard yourself when sleeping in a room with cockroaches. These include:

Bait or Traps

Homemade traps include a small plate with poisoned sugar or peanut butter. Professional kinds may have a box that traps cockroaches once they enter. Sticky traps will inhibit the movement of any wayward cockroaches.

A Slow-acting pesticide is recommended for targeting an entire nest.

Boric Acid

As long as you don’t have pets or young children, boric acid can be sprinkled lightly around your bedframe. Any cockroaches climbing up the legs will be forced to walk through the white powder.

Boric acid isn’t immediately deadly but can kill a cockroach within 3 days. During this time, the cockroach will carry the boric acid back to its colony, killing off other members.

Ultraviolet Light

According to the Journal of Economic Entomology, American cockroaches are repelled by ultraviolet radiation.

Not only does it drive away adults, it even slows down the production of their eggs. With that in mind, get an ultraviolet light and place it near your bed.

How to Avoid Cockroaches While Sleeping

The idea of a cockroach scurrying across your face is a nightmare. One going into your ear or mouth is enough to give anyone sleepless nights.

Even if you’re leveraging baits, pesticides, and sleeping off the ground, you may want extra protection. Fortunately, there are cockroach repellents available.

Here are some of the best ones that you can use:

Garlic, Lemongrass, And Pandan Leaves

According to Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, lemongrass is effective against American cockroaches. Others include garlic and pandan leaves. Not only are the smells unpleasant, but the chemical structure is off-putting.

Pandan leaves contain terpenes and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons. These produce a strong aroma that deters cockroaches from the area.

You need only crush these herbs and place them in key areas of your bedroom. Refresh them every 1-2 days.

Essential Oils

Cockroaches use their antennae to detect scents and navigate the world. By using smells that cockroaches dislike, you can drive them away from your bed.

Popular essential oils include:

  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citrus
  • Lavender
  • Cypress
  • Peppermint

Use them in a diffuser placed near your bed. This will spread the odor into the air and mean that cockroaches are less likely to target that area. You can also mix the oils with water and spray them around your room.

how to avoid cockroaches while sleeping

Will Cockroaches Crawl On Me At Night?

Cockroaches rarely bother people who are sleeping. Humans toss and turn during the night. The movement and activity will scare the cockroaches away. Instead, they’ll seek out a quieter, undisturbed hiding place.

However, if you have a large infestation, this raises the chances of a cockroach crawling on you while sleeping. If cockroaches are attracted to crumbs or leftovers in your bed, they may be hungry and curious enough to investigate.

You may wake up to some cockroach bites, but this is uncommon. Any bites will be small, red spots that can sometimes become infected if they aren’t properly sterilized.

Will Cockroaches Crawl In Your Bed?

Cockroaches will want to avoid you, but not your bed and mattress. If you leave your bedroom unoccupied for most of the day, it can become an appealing haven.

Your bed may contain:

  • Dead skin cells
  • Hair
  • Sweaty, salty sheets
  • Food crumbs

If tears or open pockets allow cockroaches inside the mattress, they can benefit from the warmth, tight spaces, and hiding spots. The same benefits apply to blankets and pillows.

Will Keeping Lights On Keep Cockroaches Away?

Cockroaches are nocturnal and seek to avoid light. However, that’s not because light harms them. It’s because cockroaches understand that they can’t hide or evade predators in open sight.

Leaving a night light or lamp on throughout the night won’t drive them away. Instead, they’ll wait to see if the light brings activity and predators. If it doesn’t because you’re sleeping, the cockroaches will start exploring.

Keeping cockroaches away while you’re asleep depends on your actions. By using effective pesticides, traps, and deterrents, you can keep cockroaches out of your bedroom and sleep more easily at night.

Photo of author

Jack Andersen

Hi, I'm Jack. A close friend of mine went through a cockroach infestation about 5 years ago, so I'm here to share what I've learned with everyone. I hope that you find the information useful.

1 thought on “How To Keep Cockroaches Away While Sleeping”

  1. Hi Jack,
    I am vacationing in Orlando, Florida next week and staying at a hotel that one review I read stated there were 3 cockroaches on a bedside table when they turned on a light at night. I am mortified to think about them crawling on my daughter and myself and bringing them home with us. I realize most hotels in this location probably have cockroaches but I anticipate long sleepless nights and it’s ruining the whole idea of “vacation.” Thanks for the advice…I am thinking I need to purchase more pesticide measures.

    Totally Freaked out!!!


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