Have you been wondering how to sleep in the heat? Check out our tips on how to keep you and your children cool on those hot, sticky summer nights.
Summer’s great, isn’t it? Barbecues, visits to the beach, and, erm, endless nights where it’s impossible to know how to get to sleep in the heat. Yeah, it’s not always easy to know how to sleep on a hot night.
For light sleepers, summer brings a whole host of new challenges. Even those of us who are usually out like a light as soon as our head hits the pillow can struggle to drift off when it’s hot and stuffy in the bedroom, and as temperatures continue to soar, it can leave us feeling grumpy, irritable, and so tired we can’t enjoy the lovely weather in the daytime anyway. Keeping cool for pregnant women is also particularly difficult, as their body temperature is naturally higher and babies also struggle to cool down.
We reckon by now we’ve all had a few disturbed nights where that unbearable tossing and turning has almost driven us completely mad, and when you’re in the midst of it, it just seems like nothing will help you sleep on a hot night, right?
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The problem is especially bad for women, according sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, “We tend to have a higher body temperature than men, usually due to having more body fat, which locks heat in.
“Plus, hormonal changes during the menopause can also trigger greater heat production, which, combined with the naturally hot weather, can disrupt sleep.”
But if you’ve been struggling to get some good shut eye, we’ve put together some genius tips on how to sleep on a hot night that’ll help you to keep cool and sleep through even the stuffiest and stickiest of summer evenings. Just imagine – no more angrily throwing your leg out of the covers, and a full eight hours under your belt. Brilliant!
Some of these ideas you might already know, but others are brand new to us, and have totally revolutionised our sleep problems for the better. From a clever cooling bed sheet hack to one of the most creative uses for rice we’ve seen in a long time (it sounds mad, but trust us!), these tricks will keep you and the space you sleep in a much more comfortable temperature, meaning you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to take on the (beautifully sunny) day.
Here are 18 ideas to help you get a cool night’s slumber on a hot and sticky summer night.
How to sleep in heat
Get your hands on a fan and position it at the end of your bed or on your bedside table. Some troubled sleepers even swear by sleeping with a fan on all year round if you’re prone to overheating during the night.
Not only will it keep your face and head cool, but they gentle humming noise will soothe you to sleep. Something like this one from Argos is perfect, as it’s not too pricey and will just stand in the corner of your room rotating. But you can also buy smaller desk fans if you prefer.
Exercise inevitably increases your core body temperature, which is the last thing you need when trying to get some shut eye on a sweltering night. So rather than exercising in the evening after work, Chief Sleep Officer at Sealy UK, Neil Robinson, suggests that we should: 'exercise first thing in the morning to kick start your metabolism throughout the day, and leave you feeling ready to rest in the evening'.
Your silky sheets may look fabulous in your boudoir, but they're definitely not keeping you cool. For optimum freshness on a balmy summer night, light-coloured cotton is the only way to go.
Cotton sheets work wonders for a stuffy sleep in a number of ways. The material has breathable qualities which cool down your skin in the night, as well as absorbing your sweat and drawing it away from you, helping it evaporate.
When it comes to buying yourself some new cotton bedding, there are some cottons that are better than others. Stick to a light colour as white or cream cotton sheets tend to be in a lighter weight too, plus dark colours absorb heat - and we don't want that! Egyptian cotton is another factor that should be on your checklist as it is especially breathable.
Soak & Sleep do super soft Egyptian cotton sheets that feel silky enough to be luxurious but are made from 100 per cent cotton so will keep you cool and fresh - think hotel bedding. Lush!
Dangling our feet out from under the covers is many people's go-to when it comes to cooling down on a hot night. And Chief Sleep Officer at Sealy UK, Neil Robinson, suggests we've got the right idea. He reveals that while there's a common belief that we lose heat from our heads our 'hands and feet are [actually] key to keeping cool' at night. So it's case of goodbye socks, hello slumber!
'A cold shower or bath before bed will actually have the effect of raising your body temperature, so make sure the water is tepid. ‘
And try running your feet and wrists under cold water before going to bed,’ adds Dr Nerina.
Despite what many people think, you'll be cooler at night wearing something lighter rather than nothing at all. Light, thin, cotton bed clothing is the best option as it will draw sweat away from your body while still letting your skin breathe. This set from John Lewis is especially great, as both pieces are made with over 50% cotton so you'll stay cool a lot more easily.
Also, try to keep hands and feet 'out' of both your clothes and the covers, as we lose most heat through our extremities.
Make the most of the sunny spells and get outside.
Your body will thank you for it, as the more light you’re exposed to in the daytime, the more your body will desensitise itself to the effects of light at night.
‘Exposure to sunlight is one of the main cues for creating regular sleep-wake patterns,’ says Ivy Cheung, from Northwestern University in the US, whose study found you can get 46 extra minutes’ sleep a night this way.
When you go to bed your room should be very dark. Check for all light sources – even the shards that creep from behind curtains.
Who knew that our best friend in winter could also come in handy during summer?
If you're feeling the heat and can't sleep, this tip backed by the Sleep Council will do the trick!
Get you hot bottle out and fill it with ice cold water or if you want to make it even colder, pop in the freezer 10 mins before your bedtime and take it out just before. An ice cold hug never felt so good...
Get your hands on a fan and position it at the end of your bed or on your bedside table. Some troubled sleepers even swear by sleeping with a fan on all year round if you're prone to overheating during the night.
Not only will it keep your face and head cool, but they gentle humming noise will soothe you to sleep. Something like this one from Argos is perfect, as it's not too pricey and will just stand in the corner of your room rotating. But you can also buy smaller desk fans if you prefer.
Turns out sleeping in the buff is said to give you an all-round better night's sleep, especially in the heat.
Opting out of pyjamas will cool down your body's temperature, which will not only help you get a better sleep on a hot night, but will regulate your skin's temperature to stop you waking up throughout the night.
It's also said that snoozing without clothes on is more comfortable and will stop you getting irritated when it's balmy.
What's more, a cooler body temperature can increase your metabolism and help you burn calories while you sleep, as well as stop you getting a yeast infection by limiting the warm, moist areas for bacteria to grow.
Time to get naked!
We know it seems a bit backwards, but according to experts, drinking a cup of tea or similar can actually help you to regulate your body temperature when it's muggy.
Research has shown that hot drinks do initially make you hotter, but they then cause your body to sweat more, releasing warmth from the skin's surface and reducing your overall body heat storage.
So the next time you're tossing and turning, try brewing a cuppa - just make sure it's decaff before you dunk the bag!
Put your bedsheets in the fridge - yes, really! Fold them up, place them in a bag and pop them in the fridge for an hour before bedtime, they'll keep you cool for long enough to help you drift off.
You could also dampen them slightly, which will keep them cooler for even longer. Just don't forget to make sure you're washing your sheets often enough too...
If you usually sleep on your back or front, you should try sleeping on your side when it's too hot to sleep.
This sleep position actually exposes a larger portion of your body to the air, letting the heat from your body escape and regulating your body temperature to a much more comfortable level.
This may seem like a bit of a weird one, so bear with us! Fill up an old sock with raw rice, tie it with an elastic band at the end and pop in the freezer for a few hours.
Take it to bed with you and use it on your face and neck to cool you down on hot nights - strange but true!
Caffeinated drinks and alcohol raise your blood pressure and can make your body temperature rise as well, so avoid these after about 6pm to get a better night's sleep.
Stick to drinking water in the evening, and keep a glass by your bedside to stay hydrated throughout your sleep.
If the hot night air is messing up your little one's routine as well as yours, keep a water spray (like the ones you use on indoor plants or for ironing) in the fridge and spray your little one to help cool them down when they wake up.
You can also keep one by your bed which is made up of half alcohol (bought from the chemist) and half water for
spraying on you in the night. The alcohol helps the water evaporate faster, which helps your body to cool down.
Keeping the windows open will create a through-breeze and cool down the room temperature and help you sleep, but in hot weather, bugs can be a problem.
The worst time for bugs is dusk, so try to keep the windows shut as the sun goes down, or get mosquito nets fitted.
Heat rises, so on really hot nights you might want to consider moving downstairs to sleep.
If you're planning on moving the kids down too you could make a game out of it and pretend they are setting up an indoor camp!
This may seem a little elaborate, but if the fan isn't quite cool enough for you, iced air will do the trick.
Get a tray and fill it with ice
and a some water. Position your fan just behind the tray. As the ice melts it makes the air above the water cooler, and then it gets blown in your direction, helping you get a cooler night's sleep.
If you have an attic, open the hatch to it. This will give the hot air in the house somewhere to escape to and will bring down the room temperature in the bedrooms.
It's also a good idea to keep your bedroom doors open to help hot air escape and to circulate cool air from your
Silentnight's sleep expert, Dr Nerina, says that the secret behind body temperature at night is keeping your body warm but your head cool, so sleeping with a cold flannel on your head is the perfect way to achieve this balance.
"Place a wet flannel in the fridge for an hour or so before getting into bed and lay it on your forehead to help you drift off to sleep."