Summer heat does make falling asleep a little bit harder. No matter how hard you try to fall asleep, the humid air keeps you awake. This can cause havoc on your days and weeks ahead as your brain has not received the shut-eye it needs.
There are many elements which effect your sleep during the summer, from what you wear in bed to the temperature of the room – it all takes its toll.
Luckily, Naturalmat’s resident sleep expert, Christabel Majendie has shared her 7 handy tips to ensure you can sleep all summer long.
- Body temperature Your body temperature normally drops before you go to sleep and this is a signal for your brain that it is time to nod off. This process is disrupted if the outside temperature is high. There are a few strategies you can undertake to prevent the outside temperature from being a problem. Take a cool bath or shower before bed (tepid but not cold as this may be counterproductive). You should wear light nightwear made from natural fibres such as cotton and avoid synthetic materials. Tie back long hair before going to bed to avoid your neck getting hot. Another trick is to put a hot water bottle filled with icy water in your bed for instant heat relief. Also, keep a spray bottle by your bed to mist your face and neck in the night if you wake up hot or keep a damp cloth or flannel by your bed.
- Room temperature The ideal room temperature for sleeping is between 16-18 degrees. Anything much higher than this will make it harder for you to drop off to sleep and to stay asleep, giving you restless nights. So take steps to decrease the room temperature. It’s best to keep windows closed and curtains drawn during the day to keep the room cool but an hour before bed, open windows and doors in the house to create a draught. Be sure to sleep with the bedroom door open if possible and if you have a loft room or attic with windows, open them at night to allow the hot air to rise out of the house. You can increase airflow further with a fan. Try putting a tray of ice and water in front of it to cool the air. Or try putting large bottles of frozen water in the bedroom to cool the air as it melts.
- Move around Since heat rises, the bottom of the house will be coolest or you may find that some rooms in the house are cooler than others, depending on the position in relation to the sun. So you could consider relocating to another room to sleep until the heat wave passes. Or if there is room, try putting your mattress lower down on the floor where it will be a little cooler.
- Bedding This one might sound crazy, but it is worth it – put your pillowcases and bed sheets or other bedding (if room!) in the fridge or freezer before bed. If you wake up hot in the night, try turning the pillow over to the cooler side which hasn’t absorbed your body heat. Replace your duvet with a cotton sheet or just the duvet cover. Synthetic materials will not absorb as much moisture leaving you feeling sweaty, so ensure all bedding is made from natural materials.
- Children too The same rules apply to children, ensure all bedding and pyjamas are made from natural fibres and switch to lighter versions. Avoid waterproof mattress protectors as these may cause children to sweat. If you put a fan in the bedroom, don’t point it directly, at children. And a lukewarm bath before bed may help them settle into sleep. For babies, you can check the room temperature with a digital thermometer and adjust bedding accordingly. As a general guide, your baby needs one more layer than what you are sleeping in; if you are sleeping in light clothing and just a sheet, put your baby in the same plus a light, breathable, cotton blanket. In temperatures of 23 degrees and above, babies may just need light clothing and a sheet.
- Don’t stress This is the most important tip of all! When it’s hot and you can’t get to sleep or you wake up hot in the night and you can’t get back to sleep, you start to think about things. And with no other distractions you often focus on worries such as work, tasks you need to do or things that aren’t right in your life. Or you might worry that you won’t be able to cope the next day if you haven’t slept or even that this is the start of insomnia and you’ll never sleep again. If you have worries going around in your head about things you have to do, get up and write them down. Then if your mind returns to them, remind yourself that you have written them down and will deal with them tomorrow.
- Switch it all off
Turn off all of the plug sockets you can to help keep things cool and save energy whilst you’re at it. Electric sockets do let out a surprising amount of heat and they can make a big difference to how you sleep at night. Cut down any chances of extra heat causing problems.