Sleeping well in the summer

During the summer months we can enjoy long warm, sun filled days with plenty of outdoor fun. Picture laughing children at the beach, sunny picnics and outdoor Lidos. However... with the wonderful warmer days also come warmer nights, and this can affect how well we sleep.

To ensure a great night's sleep it is recommended that your bedroom be between 16 to 18°C. This is because, as we fall asleep our body temperature drops and if the room is too warm then our core body temperature cannot drop and we can struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep.

When we are abroad on holiday most hotel bedrooms and apartments come with air-conditioning so that we can ensure the perfect bedroom temperature overnight. However, in the UK it is very rare for people to have air-conditioning in their homes. Therefore, when the warm daytime temperatures continue into the night we can find ourselves tossing and turning, sweating and frustrated, unable to sleep in bedrooms that are too hot.

Summer Beach houses with picnic benches and barbecues

How to sleep in the warm weather

  1. To keep your bedroom cool it is important to make sure the room doesn't warm up to much during the daytime. Therefore, keep curtains closed in the bedroom during hot weather to minimise sunlight warming up the bedroom.
  2. Keep windows closed during the daytime when the outside air will be warmer than the inside air and then open the windows at night when the outside air has cooled down.
  3. Use a fan to move around the bedroom. If you use a fan in child's bedroom make sure that the fan itself and any cables are well out of reach of children. You can even place a frozen water bottle in front of the fan to blow even cooler air around the room.
  4. Use a misting water spray to spray yourself or even your pillow to help you keep cool in the night. Or you could even place a wet flannel on your forehead to help you cool down.
  5. Keep well hydrated through the day with water and keep a cool glass of water next to the bed in case you need to have a drink during the night.
  6. Avoid spicy and heavy food late in the evening so that you are not too hot and uncomfortable digesting the food in bed.
  7. Avoid vigorous exercise too close to bedtime so that you are not so hot from the exercise that you struggle to cool down.
  8. You may like to try a cool shower before bed to help cool your whole cody down.
  9. Minimise clothing in bed or make sure that your pyjamas or night wear are made of natural fibres. Natural fibres, as opposed to man-made fibres like polyester, are better at wicking away moisture and allowing air to flow over your body, keeping you cool during the night.
  10. Use a lighter tog duvet in the summer months, or if there is an exceptional heatwave then you can remove the duvet and just use a sheet on its own. If you are using a duvet then choose one made of natural fibres like feathers for maximum airflow through the duvet itself.
  11. Don't forget to wash your bed linen more frequently in hot weather because you will sweat more, and that sweat will be absorbed into your bedclothes, bedding and eventually into the mattress itself.
  12. Mattresses made of natural fibres will allow air to flow more freely through the mattress, keeping you cool, compared to some man-made materials which can trap heat.
  13. If your child wets the bed and you use a plastic mattress protector on the bed then you may want to remove this in very hot weather because a plastic protector will be trapping heat. You could consider using a natural fires mattress protector, towels or a pull up nappy instead of a plastic mattress protector.

Dr Lindsay Browning is the sleep amabasador for And So To Bed and author of self-help sleep book, Navigating Sleeplessness. which is available as an ebook on kindle, or in print from amazon or waterstones.

Posted by Dr Lindsay Browning
7th July 2022

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