Ways to stay cool at night and sleep better
11 August 2020
We don’t always get to feel like we’ve had a proper summer in this country, so one or two night’s sleep missed because of muggy heat is bearable for most as compensation. But as the heat wave continues and the night’s offer little respite, not sleeping well because of it can make you feel over the summer novelty pretty quickly.
Here’s a few tips to help you claim back the night:
Heat rises. The lower to the ground you can sleep, is where you will find the cooler air. If you’re upstairs, sleep downstairs (it may be a little uncomfortable but it will be cooler). If your home is all on one level, grab a pillow and sleep on the floor (this will be uncomfortable, but needs must!), or move your mattress to the floor.
Fill a hot water bottle with cold water and freeze it. Once frozen, wrap it in cloth so it doesn’t directly touch your skin to avoid ice burns, and use it where you need it.
Have a cool shower before bed (not cold as this will wake you up too much) and don’t dry off, get straight into bed and let the water evaporate off you while you drift off.
If you have a fan, there are couple of things to try. First, put a bowl of ice in front of the fan so it blows the icy coldness towards you. The second thing to try is facing the fan outside a window, it will help to draw the hot air from inside your room and push it outside.
Fill a spray bottle with cool water and spray your pyjamas (or yourself if you’re going without) and your bed sheets to help keep cool.
Bed coverings and night clothes made from breathable fabrics such as linen and cotton will be lighter and allow for better air circulation between you and the fabric.
Drink plenty of water during the day. The better hydrated you are, the easier it is for your body to function which helps to generate less heat within your own body.
Keep any windows, doors, curtains and blinds on the sunny side of your home closed during the day. Don’t be tempted to open these until the night time, as it will only be hot air that comes in during the day and sticks around at night.
Open all windows and doors inside your home (safely, don’t leave your front or back door to the outside open) after nightfall to let air flow freely throughout.
Avoid napping during the day. A nap may help recharge you during the day but it will also make you less tired when you go to bed. You have a better chance of getting to sleep and staying asleep if you go to bed tired.
No caffeine after 6pm (earlier if you can avoid it) and avoid alcohol too. Having stimulants such as tea, coffee, beer or wine before bed, will not help in your search for a good night’s rest.
Eat less at dinner. Have your biggest meal of the day at lunchtime and have a small meal for dinner. Digesting food raises the body temperature, so having a smaller meal means less heat.
Eat more food that doesn’t involve cooking any of it. There are plenty of recipes out there for delicious no-cook meals for you to try that mean you don’t have to even touch the oven or hob and bring more heat into your space. Here’s a few ideas from BBC Good Food to get you started.
Save the snuggling for cooler nights. Whether you share your bed with a partner or a pet, keep some distance between you otherwise you’re both just a radiator for the other.
Give them a try, and hopefully some of these will help you get a better night’s rest.