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How To Sleep in Hot Weather
Summer is finally upon us. And it feels SO good! Except when it comes time to get into bed and the temperature outside and in are still HOT. Here are 19 tips for getting your cool on and how to sleep in heatwave weather in the UK.
We get it. We wait all year for our summer to arrive and the last thing we want to do is start complaining about the temperature. But getting the sleep we need all year round is where it's at if we're going to reach our #healthygoals.
If you haven't already, check out The Importance of Sleep and How to Get Good Sleep for everyday tips on helping you and your family get your all-important Zzzz's. In this article, we're specifically focusing on how to beat the heat and stay cool at night while sleeping.
Prepare Your Home During the Day
1. Let the cool air in
After getting up first thing in the morning, fully open up all your windows and garden/balcony doors and let in as much cool air as you have time for. Then close up your home, leaving your internal doors, especially the bedroom ones, open.
The only place you want to keep open to the outside is the hatch to your attic if you have one. This will allow the hot air to circulate and leave instead of building up in the hottest part of the house.
2. Pull down the blinds
Or pull across the curtains during the day, so you're not allowing in excess heat. Especially on the sunny side of your home during heatwave weather.
What To Do During the Day to Sleep Cooler At Night
3. Exercise in the morning, instead of later in the day
Getting our sweat on is essential no matter the time of year or weather. But let's be strategic as to when we do it. Working out in the evening, close to going to bed, will keep your body temperature higher, making it harder to fall asleep during hot weather. Instead work out early in the mornings during the summer when the temperature is lower than what it will be later in the day.
4. Avoid too much sun
As much as vitamin D is wonderful for us, and we all love a summer tan, sunburn is likely to increase your body temperature, have you sweating, and feeling uncomfortable once the lights go out.
Remember the sunscreen and limit taking in the sun during the hottest parts of the day.
5. Stick to routines
This can be particularly important for families with young children. Come summer, we all want to throw routines out the window and enjoy the longer days as much as possible. And hey, if we're all on holiday, why not?
Just know that doing so may affect your and your little one's sleep by throwing off your internal body clock. Making it even more challenging to stay cool and fall asleep in hot weather.
6. Be mindful of what you eat and drink
Spicy food is known to raise your body temperature, so avoid eating it on hot days. Keep spicy meals for cooler weather.
Caffeinated drinks (this includes some soft drinks) can also raise our body temperature, so avoid them after 6pm to enjoy a better night's sleep. Instead, drink plenty of water during the day so that dehydration isn't one of the reasons you struggle to sleep when the weather's hot.
Eat a smaller meal at night. Large, heavy meals need more energy to digest. Make it easier for your body to fall asleep by giving it less work to do with lighter dinner options. Such as fish and salad. If late-night cravings get the better of you, make sure you're at least snacking on foods that help you sleep, such as cherries or dark chocolate.
Curb the alcohol. It can cause hot flashes and night sweats – two things you definitely don't want when the weather's hot.
How to Prepare Yourself for Bedtime
7. Don't Have a Cold Shower
Wait, what? Isn't that what we all crave when we're in the middle of a heatwave? A cold shower will actually have the effect of raising your body temperature and waking you up more. So stick with a tepid-to-warm water temperature in the bath or shower, as once you get out, your body temperature will start to cool itself.
The same goes with preparing a bath for babies and young children – keep the temperature lukewarm to help them stay cool once they're out.
8. Freeze a wet washcloth, a water bottle, and your socks
Yes, your socks too ;-)
Cooling your head, hands, and feet lowers your body temperature overall. So having a washcloth and pair of socks to pop on after they've been placed in the freezer will act like cold compresses as you drift off to sleep.
How? An hour before bedtime, place a wet washcloth and pair of socks into a plastic bag in the freezer. You could also try it with a bandana to then wear around your neck or head.
You can also use a frozen bottle of water you've placed by your bed to cool off your neck and face during the night. Or put it in a towel and then place it next to you in bed to keep you cool. Freezing a hot water bottle full of water also does the trick – an ice-cold hug never felt so good!
Here's another pro-tip: Try a frozen rice sock. Sounds a little strange but might be more effective than all of the above. Fill up a clean sock with raw rice, tie it off with an elastic band, and place it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Then use it in bed to cool down your face and neck.
9. How to Prepare Your Bed & Room For Sleep
Our environment plays a significant role in our body temperature when we sleep. Here's how to cool down your bed and room for better sleep while the temps are high.
10. Get clever with fans
If you have ceiling fans in the bedrooms, adjust them, so they're spinning counter-clockwise. This will have the airflow create a wind-chill breeze to cool down your room.
11. Make your own AC unit
No AC? No problem. There are a couple of ways to get crafty and clever. A simple way to make your own AC unit for a bedroom is to fill a bowl with ice cubes and place it in front of a fan. This will help cool the air inside a room, especially if you've closed the door and windows.
A second way is to cut off the bottom end of two plastic bottles, attach them to the back of a sitting/standing fan and fill those containers with ice cubes. This will also cool the airflow coming from the fan.
12. Purchase a cooling mattress
Depending on how hot you sleep year-round, perhaps it could be worth investing in an upgraded mattress that has cooling features. Imagine a mattress that keeps cool to the touch for the whole night!
13. Upgrade your bedding threads
One of the easiest ways to get a better night's sleep, especially in hot weather, is to dress your bed in breathable, airy fabric. Linen or light cotton sheets and covers have moisture-wicking qualities that will keep you cool in summer.
Check what your bedding and covers are made from. While silk or satin may look and feel sexy, it will turn up your body heat in ways you don't want during the summer. That goes for the pillow you sleep on too. Check that it's made from a fabric that feels cool and breathable. If not, think about upgrading it to a temperature regulating one.
For now, if you don't have such a pillow, remember to flip it over during the night if you wake up hot. This will give you some temporary relief.
14. Freeze your sheets
Just like the washcloth and socks, place your sheets in a bag inside the freezer for an hour before putting them on your bed. While they won't stay cold all night, doing this will have them cool enough to help you drift off no matter how hot the heat is.
Or at least give it a try with your pillowcase ;-)
What You Can Do During the Night to Stay Cool
14. Sleep with your feet and hands out from under your bedding
Keeping your feet and feet out from under the covers will also help lower your body temperature throughout the night and have you stay cool.
15. Sleep in the buff
Sleeping naked is an easy way to lower the temperature of your body. As is laying in the bed away from your partner or furry friend.
16. Keep a thermos of iced water by the bed to sip on during the night
17. Keep a spray bottle in the fridge
Fill it half with water and half with rubbing alcohol bought from the chemist. Spray it onto your or your little one's skin during the night if you wake up too hot. The alcohol helps the water evaporate faster, which then helps your body cool down more quickly.
Or try rubbing a menthol stick on your forehead to help you cool down.
18. Try different sleeping positions
Our body temperature is a reflection of our sleeping position. Since our mattress will absorb our body heat, try sleeping on your side to have fewer body parts touching the mattress and to stay cool.
19. Run your feet and wrists under cold water for a few moments
Great to try if you wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to sleep because of the heat. Just don't go grabbing your phone or laptop at the same time, as the blue light will wake you up even more.
While soaring summer temps can make it challenging to find optimal sleep, the above tips will help J If you’re struggling to sleep at this time of year, the most important thing is staying calm and thinking positively. Remember that luckily for us, the British heat doesn't last for too long. Cooler weather and a good night of sleep are never too far away.
Do you have any sleep tips for beating the summer heat? If so, we'd love to read them in the comments below.
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