Sneaky expert tricks for sleeping during a heatwave

·4-min read
Photo credit: JohnŽr Images/Johan Willner - Getty Images
Photo credit: JohnŽr Images/Johan Willner - Getty Images

Finding it hard to sleep in the heat? You're not alone – many people find that hot weather interferes with their ability to nod off, especially if they don't have a fan to hand (or find them too noisy). We've all been there; those nights where you end up tossing and turning, opening the window, closing it, flinging blankets on the floor and just generally feeling all kinds of uncomfortable.

If the heatwave is affecting you, here are some sleeping tips to try tonight (as recommended by Dreams Sleep Expert, Sammy Margo:

Water is the key

Water is a great cooling agent – both externally and internally. Aim to drink two litres of water (or other liquids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine where possible) during balmly days and, strangely, you might want to consider a warm shower before bedtime too.

"This is great to trick your body into cooling," explains Margo. "This is because when you get out of the warm bath/shower, the surrounding temperature is cooler than your body temperature, which naturally tricks your body to cool down – ultimately helping with the release of melatonin."

Nocturnal leg cramp can strike at any time of year (apparently it affects 13 million British adults) but dehydration is believed to be one of the main causes, meaning it's more likely to occur during the summer months too - just another reason to stay on top your H20 intake. You may even wish to keep a glass of water by your bed and take sips if you wake up during the night.

Some people also find fine mist sprays super helpful, we love the Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray:

Create a cool bedroom

Preventing heat build-up in your bedroom throughout the day is crucial, says Margo. Keep curtains and blinds shut during the day, while at night open your windows and allow air to circulate (unless it is hotter outside than inside). "You will want the bedroom to be somewhere between 16-18 degrees centigrade, which is the optimum temperature for sleeping as it encourages the release of melatonin, the sleepy hormone.

"Try to keep the curtains or blinds closed during the day to keep the room as cool as possible. If you have air conditioning, cool the room before you enter it. In some extreme cases, you may have to relocate to a cooler part of your home if at all possible."

You can also deploy a fan (although ensure it's clean, otherwise you could end up setting any allergies you have off) and although it sounds obvious, wearing lighter sleep wear (or heck, none at all!) will also go some way to ensuring you don't overheat during the night. Ditto, as will swapping a heavy duvet for a cotton sheet or light duvet instead.

The position you sleep in can have an impact as well, explains Margo. "Lying on your back is far cooler than in a foetal ball."

Photo credit: olegbreslavtsev - Getty Images
Photo credit: olegbreslavtsev - Getty Images

Keep your health in mind

When you sweat a lot, you lose not just water, but also electrolytes. This can be dangerous, so ensure you top them up; coconut water is nature's electrolyte replacement drink or try Dioralyte, a medication which replaces electrolytes and treats dehydration.

It sounds obvious, but avoid excessive sun exposure during the day too – and ensure you wear sun cream. Not only as SPF is vital for preventing skin cancer and signs of ageing, but sunburn can dehydrate you further, not to mention makes you feel hot and uncomfortable. "Storing sun cream and after sun in the fridge ensures the lotion stays cool and soothing when you apply it before bed," suggests Margo.

Also on the health front... while no one is suggesting you stop exercising, ensure you take extra care to rehydrate, and stay in the shade if exercising outside, or ask your gym to turn the air-conditioning on in your class.

And if you're still struggling to sleep, after all that? You might want to put some drops of drowsy lavender oil on your pillow, or consider a herbal remedy, such as Kalms Valerian Root tablets, that can help and won't leave you feeling groggy the next morning:

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