TEMPUR® Sleep Expert, Suzy Reading, provides tips on keeping cool in heatwaves this summer.
Summer is upon us, and whilst the British weather can typically be unpredictable, it invariably throws up several heatwaves over the course of the season.
Most of us rejoice at blue skies and brilliant sunshine, however, a few days into a heatwave and our sleep quality can begin to suffer. Balmy temperatures and increased humidity can inhibit our ability to get comfortable in bed, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Poor sleep caused by hot weather can make it harder to concentrate, negatively affect our mood and likely increase relationship rifts between household members.
However, there are several simple tips that can help us stay cool during hot weather. TEMPUR ® sleep expert and chartered psychologist, Suzy Reading, is on hand to help.
“High temperatures and still air at night can be torturous when we’re trying to get to sleep,” says Suzy. “It’s important to prepare and condition the sleeping environment as well as adjust our lifestyle and routine in order to beat the heat.
“From choosing the right bedding and nightwear, to how to make your own cool air without air conditioning, there are a number of ways you can prepare your own and children’s bedrooms ready to sleep. Take note of the following tips for getting a great night’s sleep regardless of how high the mercury climbs.”
Cotton sheets & nightwear
Loose-fitting, cotton nightwear is naturally breathable and cooling – ideal for hot weather conditions. Avoid made-man products like nylon and polyester and swap for cotton for nightwear and bedding. Cotton is lightweight, absorbs moisture which helps us to stop waking up sweaty and sticky, and helps ensure a more comfortable slumber.
A summer duvet
Swap your winter duvet to a lighter tog-rated one and if you’re still kicking off the duvet, strip the bedding down to a just a sheet. If you tend to feel warmer or colder than your partner, try a duvet that adapts to your individual needs, keeping each of you comfortable throughout the night. A TEMPUR-FIT ™ classic quilt optimises body temperature and humidity control and comes with a 3-year guarantee.
Adopt Mediterranean practices by keeping curtains and blinds drawn during the day but keep windows open to allow cool air in. Use light coloured curtains as metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter. Open windows at night to allow air to circulate and create a through-draught together by opening windows and doors in different rooms and wedge doors open.
A fan is a useful solution to cool your environment in warmer weather and is more affordable than air conditioning. Try turning a fan on for 30 minutes before going to bed to cool your bedroom before sleep. There are several ultra-quiet models available today, although some find the humming noise soothing to drift off to sleep to!
Make your own cold air
A bowl of ice placed in front of your fan will help to generate cold air. Rather than moving existing warm air around the room, the ice will cool the air circulated by the fan, working to cool your room down. This is a great tip for children that are having trouble sleeping, you can turn the fan off once they’re asleep.
Drinking plenty of water in warm weather is vital and will help keep you cooler during the day and night. Drink water consistently throughout the day and ensure children are drinking enough water. Sometimes hunger is a sign that you’re thirsty, so be sure to drink up. Cucumbers, salad leaves, melons, strawberries and berries contain lots of water, which also help to increase your hydration levels. Ensure there is water by the bed should you wake up thirsty in the night and add ice to water bottles. Avoid excess alcohol as this is dehydrating.
Before bed routine
Feeling clammy and sticky is guaranteed to prevent you feeling comfortable in bed. Take a cool shower before bed, keep the temperature low, and leave hair damp to keep you cooler for longer. Magnesium lotion with a cooling agent helps to improve rest and recovery – perfect for children before bed to help them nod off.
Sitali breathing is a yoga breathing practice and a way to make cool air yourself. It’s best to be seated. On inhalation only, curl up your tongue like a straw and sip in your breath through your tongue, the air will feel very cool. Then close your mouth and exhale slowly through your nose. This is a soothing and cooling practice to use before bed to help you relax. Just five minutes can be very effective and is a meditative way to prepare for sleep.
Make sure your evening meals are smaller in summer and avoid overly spicy, heavy, fatty meals or proteins high in saturated fats. Our bodies use more energy to digest a large, rich or heavy supper, which means we produce more metabolic heat – not ideal before bed. Lean proteins such as chicken and fish are good substitutes for red meat which has a high fat content. Keep your body temperature consistent by having a light evening meal in summer.
Lights and devices
Plugged in devices and lightbulbs emit heat and contribute to the overall temperature of a room. Turning everything off is better for the environment and prevents stimulating blue light, which can make you feel more awake. Remove all laptops, screens and phones from your bedroom to avoid distraction should you wake in the night.
If you tend to wake up hot and bothered in the night, cool a facial mist or hydration spray in the fridge before bedtime and keep on the nightstand for instant relief. Filling a hot water bottle with crushed ice creates guaranteed cold spots in your bed, and you could also place your pyjamas in an air-tight bag and pop in the fridge or freezer before turning in. A cool flannel or tea towel on your face and neck can provide instant relief.