Almost a third of people (62%) say they struggle to sleep in very hot weather. Even if they use a fan it appears to make very little difference, simply circulating the warm air around.
Here are some tips to help sleep in the heat.
Whilst it’s tempting to leave the windows open in the day it’s far better to keep both windows and curtains closed and only open them in the evening. Maybe drape a damp towel over the curtain rail and let it act as a filter for the air that comes through.
In winter it’s good to be cosy and warm but hot summer feet can prevent us from relaxing and going to sleep. Avoid taking a cold shower as it wakes you up. Instead, let a lukewarm shower rinse away the day’s grime. Once in bed use a cool flannel under your feet or on your forehead.
Sleeping in the nude might seem a good idea but, when the weather’s so hot, it’s better to sleep in cotton pyjamas. They keep you cooler and absorb perspiration. Also, might you prefer to sleep alone in this weather, as having another overheated body too close can be a sleep-inhibitor.
We’re all encouraged to exercise but, whilst it’s so hot, avoid being too energetic for an hour or two before bed. A pleasant evening walk or some gentle yoga is a more beneficial way to wind down.
Keep hydrated; drink plenty of water during the day as dehydration can hinder good quality sleep in the heat. And keep caffeine, alcohol, sugar and refined carbs to a minimum.
When it’s really hot some people like to put their bed sheets in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer. That way they chill without becoming damp.
Essential oils, relaxing music, maybe candles lit safely, all can contribute to a better night’s sleep in the heat.
Babies and young children
They need to be kept out of direct sunlight, certainly between 11am – 3 pm. When young their skin produces only a little melanin, the pigment that gives some protection against sunlight.
Use sunscreen factor 30 and apply it liberally, especially if the children are being supervised whilst playing in the sea or a paddling pool. Use a parasol or sunshade if they’re in a pram or else a wide-brimmed hat with long flap at the back.
Staying hydrated is important for children. Give them plenty of fluids; a little cooled boiled water, ice lollies made from plain boiled water or from well-diluted fruit juice.
Children sleep best when the bedroom temperature’s 16-20 C, so keep their bedroom’s windows and blinds closed during the day and use a fan to circulate the air. Maybe keep nightwear to a minimum; perhaps a nappy and a single well-secured sheet.
Give children a cool bath before bedtime.
All these are ways to support both yourself and your child to have a better night’s sleep in the heat.