The sunny weather has been one of the few positives of coronavirus lockdown, and with weather reports predicting record temperatures this week, it seems we’re in for a socially distanced scorcher.
But all the benefits the sunshine brings for our mood and mental wellbeing come with the thought of hot and sticky nights impacting our already broken sleep.
We want the hot weather to stick around (please stay, sunshine), so we’re just going to have to find a way of coping with the balmy nights.
Thankfully, there are some simple tricks you can use to try to get a good night’s sleep in the heat.
Prep your bedroom
“Hot weather can mean many people struggle to fall asleep, and when they do, they often have a restless night,” says Phil Lawlor, sleep expert at Dormeo.
Lawlor says getting a good night’s sleep in the heat starts with your sleeping environment.
“Plan ahead by prepping your room,” he says. “Things such as shutting your door and closing blinds or curtains during the day can be a huge help.”
Switch to summer bedding
Still sweltering under your winter duvet? Time to give your bedding a cool-over. “Where possible, opt for lighter duvets or even just a sheet,” suggests Lawlor.
Tobin James from Tempur UK suggests ditching the nylon, polyester or silk sheets for a thin cotton alternative.
“Cotton is lightweight, more breathable, and will absorb moisture to stop us waking feeling sweaty and sticky, ensuring a more comfortable slumber,” he says.
Take a pre-bed cold shower
The Sleep Council recommends taking a cool shower or bath before bed to help “lower your core body temperature”.
This can help you get to sleep in hot weather by reducing the sweating and discomfort.
According to Lawlor, it doesn’t even have to be a cool shower either, as long as you leave enough time for your body to cool down afterwards. “A shower in the evening can be a great sleep aid,” he says.
Chill your socks
You might be tempted to ditch the socks during sweltering nights, but the Sleep Council recommends cooling them in the fridge instead. “Cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body,” it advises.
Choose cool PJs
While it may seem tempting to sleep naked, Lawlor says this could actually make you more uncomfortable.
“Pyjamas will soak up sweat, keeping you cooler and more comfortable,” he says. “If you can, avoid synthetic materials and opt for a set made from natural material such as cotton.”
To up the ante, try placing your PJs in an airtight bag and popping them in the fridge or freezer before hitting the sack.
Try a cold water bottle
A great hot weather sleep hack is to fill a hot water bottle with icy water and leave this to cool down your bed. No more searching for the cold spots.
Up the H2O and lower the alcohol
What you eat and drink pre-bed can have a huge impact on your sleep quality. Lawlor suggests paying close attention to your food and drink throughout the day. “Make sure you stay hydrated, and even though it’s hard with the sun shining, stay away from too much alcohol, as this is proven to interfere with deep sleep,” he says.
We should also try to keep track of our liquid intake before we hit the sack. “Be wary of drinking too much water to avoid trips to the bathroom,” Lawlor says.
Throw the windows open
Propping open windows and doors can aid a more restful night’s sleep as this can create a draught through the bedroom.
The Sleep Council also recommends “keeping curtains or blinds drawn during the day to keep the sun out and your room cooler at night”.
The NHS says pulling down blinds when it is hotter outside can keep your bedroom cool. “You can open windows for ventilation when it is cooler,” it says.
Switch off electrics
Believe it or not, lightbulbs and devices that are plugged in all give off heat. “Not only will you benefit from a more comfortable room temperature if you switch devices off completely, but you’ll also improve the quality of your rest having removed all that stimulating blue light,” says James.
Bedside cooling spritz
If you tend to wake up hot and bothered in the night, cool a facial mist or hydration spray in the fridge before bedtime and keep on the nightstand for instant relief, suggests James.