When the temperatures rise, many of us find it very difficult to sleep soundly. Overheating not only makes you feel uncomfortable but keeps you awake when you should be getting sleepy. Our bodies naturally experience a dip in temperature as we drift off, but by being too hot we make it harder for our bodies to do this.
To help you unwind and drift off into a comfortable sleep here are my top 20 tips on how to sleep in the heat and create the ideal summer bedroom. All of these tips can help, however, the main thing to set up from the start is to keep relaxed even if you can’t sleep. Keeping our mindset positive when struggling to get to sleep is a core part of combating the hot and steamy summer nights.
1. Create a draft to keep your bedroom cool
Sleep science has shown that we get the best night’s sleep in a slightly cool room (somewhere around 16 degrees Celsius). Use a fan rather or an open window as long as it’s not too noisy outside. Buy a fan which produces white noise so it can block out other sounds. Put a damp sheet between the fan (or an open window) and the bed so this cools the circulating air. You could even put a tray of ice in front of your fan. Consider the positioning of the fan. Sometimes it can work better to blow the hot air out of the room through your window.
2. Keep out the heat during the day
Another way of making sure your bedroom is as cool as possible is to close the blinds or curtains during the day to keep the sun out. Keep the windows shut too, especially if you suffer from allergies and hay fever. 30% of heat comes in through the windows so this is an important way to prevent overheating at night.
3. Stay hydrated
Have a glass of water by your bed so you don’t have to get out of bed at night. Also, have a drink of water just before you go to bed to top up your hydration. However, this is only as long as it doesn’t encourage a night-time visit to the bathroom. You could use a thermos to keep your water extra cold. If you don’t have a thermos put a water bottle in the fridge first.
4. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
Another way of making sure you stay hydrated is to cut back on caffeine and alcohol both of which actually dehydrate you. In addition caffeine drunk too late disrupts sleep, whilst alcohol also interferes with our brain’s ability to regulate our body temperature, interrupting our sleep in the latter parts of the night.
5. Sleep lower down
Hot air rises! Put your mattress on the bedroom floor or even better sleep on the ground floor.
6. Look after your feet
We lose heat from our extremities. Fill a hot water bottle with ice-cold water and put your feet on it. Even better stick it in the freezer to create an iced water bottle. Try putting your feet in cold water before you get into bed. Make sure you cool down the pulse points in the ankles too. You could even keep a bucket of water by the bed to dip your feet into.
5. Sleep like an Egyptian
Dampen your sheets, which is what the Egyptians use to do. You can wet your top sheet to use as a damp blanket. Wring it out as much as you can or put it in the spin cycle to make it damp but not wet. Dampen the bottom sheets too and place them on paper towels to prevent soaking the mattress.
6. Shower before bed
When showering most would think that a cold shower is best in the hot summer nights. However, a warm shower is often better. Our brain expects our body temperature to drop (as the sun goes down) to encourage sleep. We can trick the brain by having a warm shower – but not too hot as this generates too much humidity. Then after, this encourages a drop in your body temperature as your body cools down.
7. Cut back on your alcohol consumption
Alcohol actually dehydrates you. It also interferes with our brain’s ability to regulate our body temperature and disrupts our sleep in the latter parts of the night.
8. Think ‘Breathability’
Choose sheets which allow breathability and the air to circulate and to remove sweat from your body to keep you cool. Cotton is often recommended, although bamboo and hemp sheets are much more environmentally friendly. Silk and polyester aren’t as breathable. Sleep naked or use loose breathable nightwear.
9. Keep your cool
There are lots of ways to keep your body cool at night. Put cold, or iced face towels on your pulse points to cool your down. These would be on your wrists, backs of knees, neck, groin and ankle. You can try sleeping with wet hair. The water will evaporate as it dries, and this has a cooling effect. Or use a cooling spray using water in an old scent bottle. Add peppermint oil which stimulates your cooling receptors. Put Aloe Vera based after sun cream in the fridge during the day. Leave it on your bedside table at night so you can use it when needed to help to cool the body down.
10. Lighter meals for lighter evenings
Avoid big meals, eat light and avoid late-night meals. All of these will keep you awake during hot summer nights.
11. Fridge or Freezer?
Put your bedding into a sealed plastic bag and place them in your fridge before bedtime. Or, you could even put the sheets in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for a few minutes. Then quickly make your bed up with these super chilled sheets and drift off as the coolness helps you sleep
12. Turn off and unplug
Keep the lights off if you can. They give off heat. So does all electrics even on standby so unplug as much as you can.
13. Get a cooler pillow
Use grains in your pillows. You could try a buckwheat pillow which doesn’t absorb heat. Even fill a sock with rice, tie it off and put it in the freezer. Then once chilled put the sock inside your pillowcase to keep your head cool while you sleep
14. Use separate sheets or even sleep alone
Quite often our shared body heat under a single cover creates a combined heating effect. First, try to use a sheet each. If this fails and things still get too hot, sleeping alone could also help.
15. White noise can help you sleep
Keeping windows open in the summer can keep you awake with the outside noise coming in. One way to limit the effect such noises have on your sleep is listening to “white noise”. This levels off the difference between general ambient noise and sudden, louder sound like doors closing. This constant, low-level sound can come from items like a sound conditioner, fan or air purifier.
16. Try Chrysanthemum Tea
This tea has a reputation for helping to lower your body temperature.
17. Check the light
Make sure it’s not the sunlight which is waking you up. Try an eye mask or get blackout blinds.
18. Remove humidity
A dehumidifier can also help you sleep in the summer if you find your bedroom humid
19. Try Chill pads
These cooling pads are relatively new to the market. They are used to help cool your mattress
20. Wash your sheets
If you suffer from hay fever keep your sheets clean. Wash them regularly to get rid of pollen. You could try a Dyson Hot and Cool, which removes pollen as it cools your air.