Summer can often be a difficult time for sleep, as temperature plays such a key role in sleep quality. A warm bedroom can feel oddly unwelcoming at the end of a hot day, and the stifling heat can prevent you from getting off to sleep as quickly as you’d like.
While not all of us have the luxury of air conditioning units, or even fans that operate at a suitably quiet level to sleep through, there are thankfully some simple ways to get the sleep you need even during the hottest heatwaves.
• Make sure your duvet is a suitable tog rating – 4.5 is recognised as a warm weather grade, and is light enough to use throughout the summer months. In cases where it really is just too hot to even think about getting under a duvet, sleep on top of it.
• Use natural sheets – Cotton or linen sheets are best for the summer as they allow for natural ‘breathing’ against the body. Synthetic-based and flannel sheets have powerful insulating properties and as such aren’t a great choice when it’s warm.
• Fill a hot water bottle with cold water – use this in exactly the same way as a hot water bottle, it will help to cool beneath the bed covers.
• Shade the bedroom from the afternoon sun – If your bedroom is south-facing, this will help to keep the temperature at a reasonable level.
• Air out the bedroom – A closed bedroom that is in hot sunlight during the day and evening will be unbearable to sleep in when it comes to bedtime. Keep the window and door open if possible during the day, and definitely during the night. This will help keep air flowing in and out of the room, and prevent overheating.
• Take a cool shower – A long cool shower just before bed will bring your body temperature down to a comfortable level, and it will regulate itself as you go to sleep.
• Keep your hands and feet out – Heat escapes fastest from the body out of the extremities, namely your hands, feet and the top of your head. It’s a safe assumption that the top of your head won’t be covered during a hot night, but your feet and hands may well be under the duvet through habit. Keep them uncovered to help cool your whole body down.