Sleep in the summer heat

The school summer holidays (with the warm summer sun) are now upon us. Plus, the country is starting to open up again with a removal of almost all restrictions in many parts of the United Kingdom. These are really positive things, but the warm weather can pose challenges for our sleep. Another heatwave is predicted to hit the UK late August, so read on for advice on how to sleep in the summer heat.

Colourful beach huts on a white sandy beach

Sleeping well in the heat

When it is really hot in the evening, we can struggle to fall asleep. This is because, as we fall asleep, our body temperature drops by a degree or two. However, if the room we are in is too hot, then we can struggle to drop our body temperature and consequently struggle to fall asleep.

There are a number of things that you can do to help keep yourself cool overnight.

1)    Choose natural fabrics for your pyjamas and bedding

Natural fabric such as cotton are an ideal choice for bed linen and nightwear because they wick away sweat leaving you feeling cool. Man-made fibres such as polyester tend to be non-breathable and can leave you feeling hot and sweaty. Rather than a duvet, use just a sheet overnight and you could try sleeping in the buff for maximal coolness. And So To Bed have a selection of natural fibre bedding including Egyptian cotton sheets and duvet covers.

Bald man with sunglasses, hit and sweaty running along a road on a hot day.

2)    Don’t let yourself get too hot before bed

Avoid anything in the evening that will get you physically hot. Exercise near to bedtime can increase your body temperature and you may find it hard to cool down again before bed. Exercise earlier in the day, or if you do have to do exercise in the evening then follow it with a lukewarm or cool shower to help you cool down quicker.

3)    Don’t eat hot, spicy or heavy food near to bedtime

Physically hot and spicy foods will increase your body temperature making cooling down at bedtime even harder. Also, heavy foods can cause your body to spend lots of energy digesting which can also leave you hot and bothered at bedtime. If eating close to bedtime try to choose easily digestible, non-spicy foods.

4)    Have a mattress that allows air to flow through it

It is always a good idea to choose a good quality mattress made of natural fibres. Natural fibres in the mattress will allow air to flow though the mattress, keeping you cool even as you sleep. Also, natural fibres in the mattress will allow moisture to be pulled away from your body. And So To Bed’s range of mattresses are chosen to keep you cool overnight.

5)    Ditch the waterproof mattress protector

If you have a child who regularly wets the bed and they use a waterproof mattress protector, during the heatwave it might be a good idea to remove that otherwise the child will be extremely hot as the waterproof cover will not allow air to circulate during the night. And So To Bed have a number of mattress protectors that are designed to be breathable and keep you cool overnight. You could also consider getting your child to sleep in a night-time pull up nappy on the warmest days.

6)    Keep your curtains and windows closed during the day

As tempting as it is to open the bedroom curtains and windows on a very hot day, the air outside is likely to be hotter than the air inside the house. The open windows will let the hotter outside air in, warming up the room. Also, if you open the curtains, then the bright sunshine will also heat up the room making it even hotter. Instead, keep windows and curtains closed to the bedroom during the daytime and then open them once the sun goes down to let the cooler evening air in.

white fan on a wooden desk

7)    Use a fan

Fans are a great way of moving air around a room, helping you to stay cool. You can even place a frozen bottle of water in front of the fan so that the fan can blow cold air around the room. It can be especially useful to help move the cooler outdoor air into the warmer bedroom and the warmer air out. Make sure that the fan and any cables for it are out of reach of children.

8)    Use a water mist spray

You can use a water mist spray to spray your pillow and bedding with a fine water mist helping the bedding be cooler as you try to sleep. You can also use it to spray your face during the night to help cool yourself down.

9)    Sleep alone

Two bodies produce more heat than one. So, if you are feeling unbearably hot, you might like to sleep in a separate bed from your partner in the short term. Alternately, choose a bed that is big enough to give you both space as you sleep.

10)    Sleep downstairs

Hot air rises, therefore upstairs rooms in your house are likely to be warmer than downstairs rooms. If you are feeling too hot to sleep, then you could sleep downstairs on the sofa on those hottest nights. If your child sleeps in a cabin bed or on the top bunk, then they might want to sleep on the lower bunk or even on the floor when the temperature is very hot overnight.

Dr Lindsay Browning, the sleep ambassador for And So To Bed, was recently asked to give advice on how to sleep during hot weather for GB News. You can watch the full interview here

I hope that you enjoy the summer holidays and the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures. I am off to have an ice cream…!

ice cream

DR LINDSAY BROWNING, the sleep amabasador for And So To Bed has published a new self-help sleep book, NAVIGATING SLEEPLESSNESS. You can get your copy as an ebook on KINDLE, or in print from AMAZON or WATERSTONES.

Posted by Dr Lindsay Browning
3rd August 2021

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