Pop your pillowcase in the freezer
As the scorching summer sun beats down, sleep can often feel like an elusive dream during a heatwave.
Sweltering temperatures can make it challenging to get a good night’s rest, leaving many tossing and turning in discomfort.
The NHS website advises you should “keep your living space cool”. It adds:
“Close windows during the day and open them at night when the temperature outside has gone down.
“Electric fans can help if the temperature is below 35 degrees.
“Check the temperature of rooms, especially where people at higher risk live and sleep.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.
So, it’s essential to have strategies in place to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep, especially in the UK where periods of hot weather are happening unexpectedly.
Here are 10 tips on how to sleep in a heatwave and stay cool during those warm nights.
Keep Your Bedroom Dark
Blocking out external heat sources can help maintain a cooler bedroom.
Invest in blackout curtains or shades to keep sunlight from warming up your room during the day.
Closed blinds are a massively overlooked trick.
It will somewhat alleviate the heat, and more vitally, your house won’t have as much warm air trapped inside.
Ventilation is Key
Ensure proper airflow in your bedroom by opening windows during the evening and positioning a fan near your bed.
Cross-ventilation can help cool down your space and improve sleep quality.
A good tip is to keep the windows closed where the sun is and open the opposing windows.
Then in the evening, open the bedroom or living space windows as the air will be much cooler.
Take a Cool Shower Before Bed
A quick, cool shower before bedtime can lower your body temperature and help you feel refreshed.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, this can aid in falling asleep more comfortably.
Use a Chilled Water Bottle
Fill a hot water bottle with cold water and place it in the freezer for a few hours before bedtime.
Then, wrap it in a thin towel and place it at your feet or on your pulse points (wrists, neck) to cool your body down as you sleep.
You can also put a chilled water bottle or bowl of ice in front of a fan so it blows cold air.
Sleep with Light Clothing
Choose loose-fitting, light-colored pajamas to sleep comfortably in hot weather.
Natural fibers like cotton are ideal, as they allow your skin to breathe.
Select the sleepwear that suits your preferences, but remember that heavy, insulating bedding can raise your body’s temperature and lead to overheating, especially when the nights are hot or humid.
Some people also choose to wear minimal clothing, which is the obvious choice if you find your bedding is too warm.
Stay Hydrated (but not too much)
Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, but be mindful not to overdo it before bedtime to avoid frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.
Dr. Mark Anderson, a sleep researcher, notes:
“Staying properly hydrated can help your body regulate temperature more efficiently.”
Think About What You Drink
Be cautious with soft drinks, as they often contain high levels of caffeine, a stimulant that activates the central nervous system and can increase alertness.
Also, be mindful of excessive alcohol consumption.
While alcohol may assist in falling asleep, it can lead to early morning awakenings and a lower overall sleep quality.
Whilst people love to drink more during hot weather, keep to moderation and don’t overdo it.
Freeze your Pillowcases
Enhance your sleep’s coolness factor by freezing your pillowcases.
To enjoy an extra refreshing slumber, pop your pillowcase in the freezer before bedtime and slip it onto your pillow when you’re ready to hit the sheets.
Likewise, consider adding a cooling mattress topper to your bed.
These toppers are designed with cooling gel or foam technology that can regulate your body temperature and provide a more comfortable sleep surface.
This can also help if you generally feel warm during the night, not just on summer evenings.
Invest in Quality Bedding
Your choice of bedding can make a significant difference in your comfort level during a heatwave.
Opt for lightweight, breathable materials like cotton or linen sheets.
These natural fabrics help wick moisture away from your body, keeping you cool and dry.
Dr. Sarah Johnson, a sleep specialist, recommends:
“Look for sheets with a thread count between 200 and 400 for optimal breathability.”
Take a Warm Bath (Yes, really)
Although the idea of soaking in a bathtub filled with warm water might not seem appealing on a hot night, it can actually aid in cooling you down before bedtime.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends hot baths, especially if taken a little while before heading to bed.
Following your bath, your body temperature will naturally drop as it adjusts to the cooler surroundings.
Additionally, baths offer the bonus of promoting relaxation, facilitating a quicker and more restful transition into sleep.
In summary, sleeping during a heatwave doesn’t have to be a sweaty nightmare.
By making a few adjustments to your sleep environment and bedtime routine, you can beat the heat and enjoy restful nights all summer long.
Remember, staying cool and comfortable is crucial for your overall health and well-being, so don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep in hot weather.