We all love a sun-filled, warm summer's day in which we can enjoy plenty of outdoor fun.
However, with the wonderful warmer days also come warmer nights, and this can affect how well we sleep.
With over half of the UK (55 per cent) giving heat as the most common reason for sleeplessness Dr Lindsay Browning, psychologist and sleep expert at luxury bed retailer And So To Bed has provided her top tips for sleeping in the heat.
Dr Lindsay Browning explains the reason why we struggle to sleep in the heat, in particular, is all to do with science: “As we fall asleep our body temperature naturally drops. When the room is too hot, or your covers are too thick, you can struggle to reduce your body temperature, which makes falling asleep much harder.”
Opt for natural fibres
Whether you are someone that likes to sleep in cosy PJs or in the nude, it is important that if you want to stay cool you should stick to natural fibres such as cotton. Cotton pyjamas are great for the heat because they can help to wick away moisture- such as sweat. This helps lower your temperature because the vapour is free to transfer through the fibre, lowering the humidity between the fabric and the body, which provides you with a cool feeling.
While sleeping naked can help you feel cool, it will only be beneficial if your bedsheets are made of natural, rather than man-made, fibres. For example, polyester fabrics do not absorb sweat, which can make for a moist and clammy uncomfortable night.
Keep the room dark during the day
Although not practical if you are working from home in a make-do bedroom office, keeping the curtains shut during the day will stop the sun from heating up the room. The sun beaming on your windows creates a greenhouse effect, keeping them closed means that when bedtime comes around the room is a lot cooler than what it would be otherwise.
Avoid Vigorous exercise too close to bedtime
Engaging in vigorous exercise too close to bedtime can impact your ability to cool down and potentially disrupt your sleep.
When you exercise vigorously, your body temperature rises, and it can take some time for it to return to normal levels. This rise in body temperature can interfere with the natural cooling process that occurs during sleep and make it more challenging for you to fall asleep or maintain a restful sleep.
Ideally, it's best to allow a sufficient cool-down period after vigorous exercise before going to bed.
This will give your body enough time to lower its temperature and return to a more relaxed state. The specific duration needed for a cool-down period can vary from person to person, but a general guideline is to avoid exercising vigorously within two to three hours before bedtime.
Place a frozen water bottle in front of your fan
During a heatwave, a fan only seems to push around the warm air. To make the fan more effective, put a large bottle of water (1.5l or 2l plastic bottle) in the freezer until completely frozen. When bedtime rolls around, place the frozen water bottle in front of the fan. This will cool the air the fan is blowing, making the room more comfortable during those unbearably hot nights.
Open the windows overnight
Generally, when it is really hot outside it is a good idea to keep windows closed during the daytime, as you don’t want the hot external air to come into the house warming it up. However, after the sun goes down, the outside air will start to cool down.
At this point, it is a great idea to open the windows to let in a breeze of cool external air into the bedroom, helping cool the room and providing needed air circulation. If you live by a noisy street this may not be advantageous as the noise may make it hard to sleep, but as long as you don’t live next door to a barking dog or a train station, it’s worth a try.
Use a water spray
If you have a clean water spray gun or mister (like the kind you use to spray plants or when ironing), you could gently spray your covers, mattress and pillow with a light mist of water. This will help keep your covers cool.
You could also keep the spray by your bed and use it as a cooling spray for your face, neck and wrists during the night when you get too hot. Don’t forget to stay internally hydrated too by drinking plenty of water and keeping a cool bottle of water by the bed.
Take a cool shower
Right before you go to bed, reduce your body temperature by having a cool shower. Your body temperature needs to drop when you go to sleep, giving it a helping hand by cooling off in a cool shower should help you get to sleep faster.
Note, the shower should be cool or lukewarm. If it is too cold you might wake yourself up, and if too hot you might struggle to cool down in time to sleep.
Ditch your duvet
If you are someone that needs to sleep under the covers at night, instead of your duvet (no matter how low the tog) opt for a straight cotton bedsheet or quilt cotton cover instead- and if there are two of you, have one each. This will ensure moisture wicks away from each individual and bed-sharers don’t end up sticking to each other.
If you can bear it, sleep with your feet outside of the covers as well. We lose heat from our heads and feet, by covering them you are trapping the heat. Set those toes free and feel cooler as a result.
Sorry lovers, if the heat is really too much you may have to sleep apart. The good news is that heat rises, so the person banished to the sofa for the sweaty evening is likely to have a cooler night’s sleep.
If your sofa is made of a synthetic material like velvet or a heavy material like leather, make sure you put a cotton sheet over it to protect the surface from sweat and to ensure you are as cool as possible.
If you both want to sleep downstairs due to it being cooler, take turns with or invest in a blow-up bed and decide who gets to sleep on that and who gets the sofa.
Freeze hot water bottles
Prep your bed with frozen hot water bottles. About 10 minutes before you plan to go to bed, or while you brush your teeth and take your cold shower, place the frozen hot water bottles in your bed. This will cool your sheets and covers, make sure you remove them from the bed before sleeping as bare skin contact with the hot water bottles while frozen could cause an ice burn.
Wash your bed linen more frequently
Washing your bed linens more frequently during hot weather is a good practice to maintain cleanliness and hygiene. When the weather is hot, you're more likely to sweat during sleep, and that sweat can be absorbed by your bedclothes, bedding, and even your mattress over time.
Sweat not only carries moisture but also contains oils, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Allowing these substances to accumulate can create an environment that is less fresh and potentially contribute to unpleasant odours, allergens, or even the growth of mould or mildew.
Keep well hydrated throughout the day
In hot weather, you must keep well hydrated through the day with water. Having a cool glass of water next to your bed at night can be a convenient and helpful way to ensure you can hydrate easily especially if you tend to wake up feeling thirsty or dehydrated.
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