We all look forward to the summer. The warmer temperatures mean that we can shed layers of clothing and enjoy the warmth of the sun on our skin.
That said, night time can be challenging. We naturally want our sleeping habitat to be cool because this is the better temperature for getting to sleep and waking refreshed, ready to face another summer’s day.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. In the UK, very few domestic homes have air conditioning and that can make for a sticky night’s sleep – IF you can even get to sleep.! A good night’s sleep is essential to our physical and emotional well-being. Over-tiredness makes us tetchy and grumpy. However, with these hints and tips when the next heatwave strikes, you will be sound asleep on your memory foam mattress…
Give your body chance to breathe in cotton PJs and nightclothes. Opt for light coloured bed linen, as some people say the lighter the colour, the lighter the cotton and therefore it is cooler.
- Freeze your sheets
No really, if you have an aversion to heat in the bedroom, wrapping your sheet in a plastic bag and dipping them into the deep freeze for half an hour can make for a comfortably cool surface on which to lower your sleep-deprived body. This is a short-term respite from the scorching night time heat.
- Reverse the hot water bottle
In winter, the hot water bottle is a must for those of us that feel the cold, so why not reverse it at the height of summer? Fill it with water, stick in the freezer and when night time calls, you have a hot-water-bottle-in-reverse, ideal for cooling the bed before you nod off.
Most of us use a fan to ‘cool’ the bedroom, but we are actually just moving hot air around the room. Unless you have a new-fangled cooling fan you will need to be a little more creative. So open the window and position your fan pointing toward the open window so that it pushes the hot air out.
- Copy the ancient Egyptians
People in hot climes have long known how to stay cool during the day and night, so take a leaf out of their book. Protect your memory foam mattress with a towel and then use a sheet or towel lightly soaked in cold water as a cool layer for your body.
- Soft, loose layers
Some people say that sleeping ‘commando’ is the only way in the hot summer months, whilst others say that as we sweat, there is no wicking layer to remove the sweat as we sleep. Who would have thought it would be so controversial? Either way, if you do choose to wear PJs, keep them light and loose fitting.
- DIY air conditioning
No really, try this because it really does work. Freeze water in an empty ice cream container. At night, place the container on a night stand or a chest of drawers and direct the fan to blow across the top of the ice block. This helps to blow cool, moist air around the bedroom.
- More than one fan
With one fan blowing hot air out the window, another blowing cool air from your DIY ice block air conditioning, use a third fan to create more movement in another part of the room. As long as the air is moving, you don’t necessarily need to point a fan at you as you sleep - sleeping in a hurricane can be just as uncomfortable as trying to sleep in an oven!
- Ice packs
Before bed, some people swear by cooling their pulse points. Forget a cool shower and instead use ice packs on wrists, your neck, elbows, groin and behind your knees to help cool you before sleep.
- Sleep alone
The heat of your bed partner and/or cat or dog can causes more body heat in a small space, so it may be a good idea to part ways for a few nights. Frankly, if it makes the difference between a good night’s sleep or tossing and turning (becoming even hotter), we know which side we are on.
- Hammock sleeping
A hammock is the ideal sleeping contraption - they are a common sight in hotter countries. With all that air circulating around and underneath you, a hammock could be ideal in hot weather.
- Drink a little more water
The early morning loo visits may be a nightmare, but in heat wave temperatures, your body is losing moisture faster through increased sweating, and this makes your body hotter. Sip more water through the day, and keep a cool bottle of water on hand for night time thirst.
- A cooling shower
We love a cool shower, but not a cold shower because they can be uncomfortable. Opt for a tepid shower before bed and then hop into bed whilst cool and think calming, sleepy thoughts.
- Sleep downstairs
Hot air rises, so sleeping downstairs can be advantageous. Consider a night or two on the sofa, or use an air bed in a downstairs room if the upstairs rooms are stiflingly hot.
- Cool your feet
You need your feet as cool as possible because your feet help to regulate the rest of your body. Some people swear that by keeping their feet cool this helps to keep the rest of their body cool, too. Frankly, after several nights of no sleep, we would try anything!
Disconnect. Turn off electrical items in the bedroom that you really don’t need. All modern technology from phones to tablets generate heat as they recharge, so leave those gadgets in another room and keep your bedroom as a haven of peace and tranquility.
What tips do you have for falling asleep on hot nights?