Sleep is one of the three essential pillars for good health alongside exercise and diet. Achieving a good night’s sleep helps with concentration, creativity, learning and memory in the short term whilst also reducing your long-term risk of disease.
The Met office has issued a weather warning of searing temperatures this week over many parts of the UK with temperatures set to soar as high as 34C. As the temperature rises many people will be contemplating one of the biggest struggles in the heat which is getting to sleep.
In order to sleep well you need to create a cool environment with the optimal temperature thought to be between 16C and 21C. Beyond this temperature it has been shown to be more difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep as well as shortening the amount of REM sleep you manage to achieve. Temperature also plays a role in the release of melatonin which is the hormone that that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle through the actions of your circadian rhythm.
Here are fifteen simple ideas to ensure you get a good night’s kip in the heat:
- Take a cool shower before you go to bed. Lowering your body temperature is not only refreshing but an important way to help assist the body in preparation for sleep.
- Try soaking your feet in cold water before you go to bed as most heat is lost through your extremities such as head and feet or fill an ice pack and pop it at the end of the bed.
- Choose 100% cotton bedding as this is more cooling than man-made fibres.
- Ditch the duvet in favour of just a cotton sheet to keep things light and cool during the night.
- Keep your pets off the bed! You would be surprised at the amount of heat they can generate.
- Consider sleeping in the coolest part of the house which may not be the bedroom.
- Try and exercise in the morning as opposed to the evening which can raise your body temperature. It can take a while for your body to cool down especially in high temperatures making it more difficult to nod off.
- Keep your windows, blinds, shutters and curtains closed during the day as this will help to keep your bedroom cool.
- Open the window in the evening as the temperature will drop and hopefully allow some cooler air to flow into your bedroom. If you have an upstairs attic or loft space, then keep these windows open all the time as hot air rises.
- There are a few canny tricks to using a fan that may help make them a little more effective. Firstly, place your fan close to the window to help bring cool air in from outside. Secondly, try freezing two large bottles of water and place them in from of the fan to help cool the air down even more.
- Don’t eat too late as this can raise your body temperature (especially protein foods) so make your evening meal the lightest of the day and consume a few hours before bed.
- A hot water bottle also make a cooling ice pack if you fill it and freeze it.
- This sounds a little weird but place your pyjamas or even your pillowcase in a sealed plastic bag and then take them out when you’re ready for bed.
- Choose light cotton pyjamas when it’s hot. This can actually be more effective than getting back to nature as sleeping naked means the sweat has nowhere to go other than sticking on the body.
- Try a natural sleep aid before bed to help you to nod off such Valerian or Healthspan’s new Super Strength CBD Oil Dropper which is filter-clear purified oil and leaves no 'yucky' taste (480mg £28.95 for 60 capsules).
Other tips could be to maybe have separate beds during very hot nights and keep a little spray bottle by your bed and spritz your face when needed to cool you donw.
It’s important you get enough sleep and the hot weather can prove to be a challenge but try the tips above, so it doesn’t get the better of you.
About the author
Rob Hobson, is Healthspan’s Head of Nutrition and he is also author of a new sleep book called ‘The Art of Sleeping’ which is due out later this year (14th November, published by HQ).Last modified: June 10, 2021