How to sleep in hot weather – eight ‘quick fixes’ to stay cool through the night

Dr Michael Mosley on the importance of routine for sleep

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Hot weather is hard to find in the UK, leaving many of us unprepared for a heatwave when one does arrive. Avoiding the heat outdoors is easily done by seeking out some shade, but it’s not always as easy when it comes to sleeping at night. Luckily there are a few things that can be done before you go to bed to help you stay cool as you fall into a deep slumber.

Getting enough sleep is crucial to keep healthy and focused on day-to-day tasks, but it’s not always the easiest thing to do on a hot, humid night.

Nic Shacklock from Online-Bedrooms, said: “Our houses are super insulated and not many of us will have built in air conditioning in our homes, which means that when we do get warm weather, it can often be a struggle to sleep.

“It can actually be really uncomfortable too but there are ways you can minimise your rooms getting so warm so that come evening, you’ll be able to drift off to sleep.”

The furniture company is urging Britons to “chill their socks” and “spray their beds” to help keep cool this summer, but what else can be done?

How to sleep in hot weather

Reducing the temperature of your bedroom throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to make sleeping more comfortable, and is often the best prevention for a restless night.

Keeping windows open while you’re home is the first step to increase air flow and let a light breeze circulate through your home, but it’s not the only thing you should do.

Keep blinds and curtains closed

The sun tends to be the most piercing in the afternoon, so keep blinds and curtains shut in your room to prevent the sun from coming in and making it hot.

While it may leave your home looking a little dark through the day, it really does work to cool down the room temperature.

Lighten the load on your bed

Cosy blankets and thick duvets are great for the colder months, but they will only make you feel worse when the weather warms up.

Try switching heavier duvets for something more lightweight – a 2.5 tog to 4.5 tog will do.

Heavy sheets should also be swapped for a loose linen or cotton blend.

If you find your bedroom is still too warm at night, even after taking some preventative measures, Mr Shacklock recommended some “quick fixes” to cool down your sleeping space.

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Chill your socks

Sleeping in socks is the last thing you want to do when it’s warm, but putting them in the fridge or freezer beforehand will actually help to regulate the temperature of your body.

Just place some clean socks into a ziplock bag and leave them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Run your wrists under cold water

This is the quickest way to cool yourself down, but it will require a quick trip to the bathroom.

Run your wrists under the coldest water you can find – whether it be from the fridge or the tap.

If you’re looking for an instant fix without leaving your bed, consider taking a bowl of ice and water up to your bedside for quick relief.

This is often recommended for people experiencing anxiety as a way to cool their body down, so it may also help to calm you down if you’re feeling restless.

Put ice in front of the fan

The breeze from a fan isn’t always enough to keep you cool, but adding a few ice cubes to the mix might be the answer.

This method involves putting a tray of ice cubes in front of your fan or window.

As the ice begins to melt, the fan will blow the cool air from the melting ice around the room.

Keep a spray bottle by your bed

A quick spritz of icy cold water will provide instant relief if you’re feeling too warm – just be careful not to drench your sheets.

For an extra boost, add a few drops of soothing lavender essential oil to a spray bottle filled with ice and cold water.

Placing a cold flannel on your forehead will also work if you’re struggling to drift off.

Tire yourself out before bed

Falling asleep is always easier when you’re tired or worn out, and it can definitely help on a humid night.

Exercising is one way to reduce your energy before hitting the pillow, but you should also avoid napping during the day to allow your body to wind down in the evening.

While this won’t always work for people suffering with sleep conditions such as insomnia, it is worth trying if the heat is the main reason for your discomfort.

Stay hydrated

One of the key things to do in warm weather is to keep hydrated as your body is already losing water through sweating.

Avoid downing litres of water before bed, and instead, keep an eye on your intake throughout the day.

The NHS recommended aiming for at least six to eight cups of fluid per day to keep yourself hydrated.

Water, low-fat milk, sugar-free drinks, tea and coffee all count.

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