A heat wave can be both a blessing and a curse, as a rise in temperatures often heralds the start of summer, but they also mean sweaty days ahead.
But you don’t just have to worry about the day, the nights can be unbearable too, especially if you sleep in the heat.
If you don’t feel like tossing and turning in the middle of the night, German sleep psychologist Theresa Schnorbach has some advice on sleeping in the heat.
She said the ideal bedroom temperature to fall asleep is between 15.5 and 19?C.
“If we’re too hot, our core temperature can’t drop, making it harder to fall asleep and causing sleep disturbances,” Ms Schnorbach added.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – there are some easy hacks to help you beat the heat. In fact, there are seven. And Ms. Schnorbach has shared them all…
Summer heat waves are on the way, with temperatures expected to climb into the mid-twenties this weekend and beyond
“First, make sure to keep windows and curtains closed during the day to keep your bedroom cool,” Ms. Schnorbach suggests.
At night you can open your windows and curtains to let in a fresh breeze.
“A fan can also help circulate cool air throughout the night, and the white noise it produces can also have the added benefit of helping you drift off.”
Of course, only leave windows open if it’s safe to do so. If that’s not an option, vents and fans might just be your summer hibernation best friend.
Change your bedding if necessary
“In warmer weather, it’s also worth thinking about your mattress and bedding materials,” says Ms. Schnorbach.
‘For example, mattresses with open coil systems can circulate air everywhere.
‘If you don’t want to replace your entire mattress, a top mattress can be a good alternative. When made from the right material, mattress toppers can keep you fresh and cool all night long by adding an extra breathable layer on top of your mattress, regulating your body temperature and helping you sleep comfortably.’
Consider your heart rate points
It can be very frustrating if overheating has you tossing and turning. There may be additional steps you can take to enhance that cooling effect.
“Use the pulse points of your body ? areas where your blood flows closest to the surface of your skin, such as your wrists or the sides of your neck,” Ms. Schnorbach suggests.
“Wrap an ice pack in a cloth or towel ? never apply ice directly to your skin ? hold it against these pulse points to help cool you down quickly.”
Similarly, you can also use a hot water bottle filled with cold water, a cool, damp washcloth, or try splashing cold water on these pulse points.
“Your body’s blood vessels will respond to the feeling of coolness and lower your core temperature immediately.” However, avoid your feet and hands, as they will prevent you from falling asleep.’
Take a lukewarm shower
“While an ice-cold shower before bed may be what you crave to help beat the heat, I suggest opting for a lukewarm one instead,” Ms. Schnorbach adds.
‘A shower that is too cold actually causes the body to warm up again to bring the body temperature back into balance.’
Go naked or wear cotton
If you are someone who cannot sleep without clothes on, then wearing natural cotton pajamas is the best choice.
“The material actually helps your skin breathe while absorbing your sweat at night,” Ms. Schnorbach explains.
Munch on sleep-supporting fruits
A summer fruit that is usually abundant in the warmer months, cherries help increase melatonin – a hormone that helps promote sleep.
“Producing more melatonin helps your body regulate its internal clock better and makes it easier for you to fall asleep at night,” explains Ms. Schnorbach.
Bananas are another fruit that can also help with sleep. Bananas are high in magnesium and potassium, which can help extend your sleep time and promote relaxation.
And Ms. Schnorbach’s last tip? Nice cuddling.
She says, “While it may feel counterintuitive, a cuddle before bed can help lower your core temperature by encouraging your blood vessels to dilate, which helps shed excess body heat.”
11 Jun 2023 12How to sleep in the heat: Expert’s ultimate 7-step guide to help YOU