While many of us have been enjoying this week’s hot weather, it can make it particularly difficult to get to sleep.
Nights can be spent tossing and turning, opening all the windows and throwing all the sheets to the floor – but sometimes even this won’t make a difference.
Research has confirmed these problems by showing it takes longer to fall asleep when temperatures are very high.
Plenty of people and the internet will offer tips and trips which claim to help, but according to one expert one of the most popular should be avoided at all costs – and it can actually make you hotter, reports the Mirror.
Keep your bedding gear out of the fridge and freezer
James Wilson, aka The Sleep Geek, claims that however hot you get you should never, ever put your pyjamas or bed sheets in the fridge or freezer.
While many people say this can help as it cools you down, James says that while it might make you feel cooler for the first few minutes, the added moisture will quickly heat up and will make you hotter during the night.
He said: “When hot weather comes around there are some tips given out that may sound like they would work when actually they really really don’t.
“An example of this may be put your bedding/pyjamas in the fridge or freezer or to wear wet socks to bed, but they both have the same problem.
“These approaches will add more moisture to your sleep environment and that moisture will heat up during the night.
“This means that although it may cool you down as you go to bed during the night this moisture will heat up and is likely to wake you as you come out of your sleep cycle.
Taking a hot water bottle to bed could do the trick
“An alternative that works would be to have either a lukewarm bath or shower or put lukewarm water in a hot water bottle and rest the soles of your feet on it.
“This helps raise your core temperature slightly which will then lead to a drop in core temperature.
“A drop in core temperature is an important part of the process to your body falling asleep and this approach is basically tricking your body into thinking it is cooler than it is.
“The reason we use lukewarm water rather than ice cold is that ice cold will shock your body, making it feel more active and more than likely prolonging the process of getting sleep.”
James tips for a good night sleep in the heat
- Ensure there is a good airflow through the house. Open windows on both sides to allow the air to pass through
- Close blinds and curtains in rooms that are exposed to direct sunlight. The shade will help the room stay cooler
- Have a 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
If using a fan, place a bowl of chilled water in front of it to cool the stream of air it’s pushing around the room
If you are using a cotton sheet ensure it is as low a thread count as possible as the higher the thread count, the less breathable it is. Cotton is OK in hot weather, although it isn’t that great at wicking the moisture away; I would suggest using bamboo. It has longer fibres so breaths better and doesn’t lint so people with skin conditions are not as aggravated – it is also lighter on the body
Finally don’t worry too much about it. The biggest thing that prevent us sleeping in hot weather is the thought of “I am too hot to sleep”. My advice would be to suck it up, 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 once the temperature drops.