Take the heat out of sleep – 16 ways to sleep well when It’s Hot
Well it looks like the hot weather is sticking around for a while which for most of us is great news, but with the long days at this time of year there’s little respite, even at night.
In the UK we’re not famed for our stinking hot summers and whilst the vast majority enjoy it whilst it’s here, we’re inevitably left out of practice and thus ill-prepared for a long, hot spell.
We’ve all experienced those unavoidable nights where we find ourselves tossing and turning amongst the sheets, hot, sticky and restless – it’s not much fun.
Interestingly the temperature of both our bodies and our surroundings can also have an impact on the quality of rest we get each night, too? Heat doesn’t just make it hard to fall asleep – it also impacts on how well we sleep.
Quality sleep is crucial for good health and wellbeing, so it’s important to get the conditions right.
To assist you, we have compiled this blog to provide with some handy tips to keep your cool and rest easier.
16 tips to keep the ideal room temperature
(1) Keep your windows open If your room is warmer than outside, which can often be the case, leave the windows open during the night to let in a fresh breeze. Night air tends to be cooler throughout the early hours of the morning, and the fresh air circulation can help keep the temperature down by preventing your room from becoming stuffy.
(2) Avoid blankets Some people need the comfort of a blanket over them, but a wool blanket or feather duvet can make you sweat throughout the night. This can disrupt your sleep as your body struggles to drop its temperature.
(3) Buy breathable bed linen Light-weight, quality bed linen is breathable and a real bonus in hot weather as it won’t trap your body heat. The less heat that remains, the easier it is to feel cooler and more comfortable as you drift off to sleep.
So save the polyester, silk and satin sheets for colder nights or special occasions!
(4) Freeze your sheets – yes seriously! This takes some planning and may be for the real extremes, but unusual as it may sound, this is our tip number 4: fold your sheets into a plastic bag and pop them in the freezer as you brush your teeth before bed. Don’t leave them there for too long, but long enough to cool them right down and then place them onto your bed to provide you with temporary relief as you try to settle down for the night.
(5) Invest in a good mattress A high-quality mattress often can dissipate your body heat much more effectively than other alternatives, helping your core reach the ideal temperature for the best night’s sleep.
(6) Anti-snuggle zone We’re fans of a cuddle before bedtime, but beware falling asleep in your embrace! Getting too close to each other will share body temperatures and hold the heat between you for much longer, making it harder for your temperatures to drop to the optimal point for a better sleep.
Keeping further apart is probably a better solution when trying to keep cool.
(7) Keep pets off the bed This may be alien to serious pet fans, but the less bodies in a room, the lower the temperature! This especially applies if your dog or cat jumps up and takes a share of the bed. Their added heat can make it harder for your body to cool to the right temperature for the best sleep.
(8) Stay Hydrated You hopefully don’t need reminding, but.. drinking a glass of chilled water before bed keeps your body hydrated and cool, and replenishes any loss of water due to sweating.
(9) Have a cold shower If you’re really roasting hot, before you’ve even hit the hay, getting under a cold shower can take the heat out of your skin, help drop your core body temperature and rinse of any sweat before entering into the sheets, clean and comfortably.
(10) Cold Compress Comfort If you’re still struggling with heat, grab an ice pack from the freezer, wrap it in a tea towel and place it in the bed wherever it feels comfortable. Even better – use your ‘hot’ water bottle! Just fill it with water and pop it in the freezer for a bed-friendly solution.
To get more instant relief, place the pack around your pulse points on your wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles and even behind your knees. The cold will get transported quickly around your body, and you’ll notice the difference almost immediately. Try and avoid falling asleep with it in one position though.
(11) The good old fan Air conditioning is a luxury but fans are an inexpensive alternative. Using them throughout the night to keep circulating the air can draw heat out of the room and even push it out of the open window assuming you adhered to tip 1.
You can go to more extreme measures by placing a bowl full of ice cubes in front of the fan. The breeze will slowly distribute the melting cold vapour from the surface of the ice, generating a cooling mist.
(12) The damp towel An oldie but a goodie to help your body shed some extra degrees at night is to simply moisten a towel or cloth, and either place it on your forehead or body. Just don’t saturate the towel to avoid soaking your mattress and sheets.
(13) Loosen those pyjamas Loose, soft cotton pyjamas can help keep you cooler by dissipating the heat, similar to the way that the cotton sheets do. They allow for air flow and breathability, while absorbing excess sweat from your skin, even better, if you’re one for wearing your birthday suit, then this is one less layer to think about.
(14) Use your lights sparingly It’s not only good for conserving energy, but most if not all light bulbs give off some sort of heat that we just don’t want when trying to get a good night’s sleep. It stays lighter much later during the hotter months, so take advantage and try to keep light usage to a minimum.
(15) Unplug before bed Similar to turning off the lights, it’s equally beneficial to turn off the electronics too. Devices like your smart phone give off heat and light that both aren’t conducive to getting a quality night’s sleep. So put them away and let yourself drift more peacefully.
16) Body position Stretching out across the bed with your arms and legs wide is a really simple and easy way to keep your temperature down by increasing air circulation around your limbs and reducing sweat.
This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice, or other institution with which the authors are affiliated and do not directly reflect the views of ResMed or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.