A heatwave might be good news for evenings spent outside, but the same can’t be said for trying to get some sleep. Our temperature is incredibly important to good quality sleep as a drop in heart rate and drop in core temperature are part of the process the body goes through when readying for sleep; The hot weather impacts on our ability to do both.
The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 16-18C, and anything above 24C causes restlessness, while a cold room (around 12C) will make it difficult to nod off.
Given most people across the UK are likely to be experiencing temperatures way above the optimum of 18C – some by as much as ten degrees – you might want to think about revising your sleeping situation for the foreseeable future.
Below are some tips brought to you by James Wilson AKA The Sleep Geek on how to get the best sleep possible when the nights are hot.
1) Ensure there is a good airflow through the house so open windows on both side to allow the air to pass through.
2) Close blinds and curtains in rooms that are exposed to direct sunlight. The shade will help thee room stay cooler.
It might seem counterintuitive as heavy curtains feel suffocating and keep stuffy air inside, but keeping curtains or blinds drawn during the day too will keep the sunlight out and your room cooler at night. You can always open them when it starts to get dusky.
3) Have lukewarm bath or shower before bed to encourage your core temperature to drop, or alternatively put lukewarm water in a hot water bottle and place the soles of your feet on it. This will raise your temperature slightly and then it will drop, helping your body prepare for sleep.
4) If using a fan place a bowl of chilled water in front of it to cool the stream of air it is pushing round the room.
If you’ve got an attic in your house then try opening the hatch – because hot air rises, this will give it somewhere to go (rather than just getting trapped in your bedroom). Then try to create a fan cross flow by opening a window and positioning a fan alongside it. This can help pull cooling flow through the room.
5) Your hot water bottle might seem like the last thing you want on a night when the mercury is rising, but if you fill it with ice cold water and have it in bed with you it can help cool you down. If you don’t have a hot water bottle then put your pillow case in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes before bed.
6) Invest in bedding that is cool, crisp and breathable. Fabrics like silk and certain polyester blends have limited breathability. Opt instead for low thread count cotton sheets, bamboo twill sheets or linen bedding.
Finally don’t worry too much about it. The biggest thing that prevent us sleeping in hot weather is the thought “I am too hot to sleep” Therefore, a good advice would be to accept that you might not sleep quite as well, but that it will probably be over in a couple of days and your body will more than likely make up for the poor sleep by giving you better quality sleep