Our body’s core temperature naturally dips before we go to sleep - it’s one of the signals our body gives us to tell us it’s ready for bed – and, once you’re asleep, it should continue to drop during the night until it reaches its slowest point around 3am. But external forces can disrupt that pattern, which in turn can disrupt your sleep. These include what you’ve eaten when and if you’ve done exercise in the evening, as well as more obvious factors, such as heavy blankets and thick pyjamas. In summer, unless you’re one of the lucky ones with air con, our rooms get warmer and our bodies get hotter, which can lead to a bad night’s sleep.
Waking up in the early hours, in sweat-drenched sheets and PJs you could wring out, is the death knell of a restful night of zeds. Switch up your existing bedlinen for sheets that ‘breathe’ well and wick away moisture. Bamboo bedlinen is a game changer in the summer and the latest collections from Urban Collective are as stylish as they are practical. “Not only is it antibacterial and antifungal, it has deodorising properties and is hypoallergenic,” explains Karl Lindhe, brand director of Urban Collective. “Softer than cotton, while light and airy, bamboo is a naturally-sustainable fibre that aids in maintaining body temperature by wicking away moisture without absorbing it into the bedding.” It ticks the eco box too - bamboo is a very fast-growing material that consumes less water during the growing process compared to cotton. Tencel is another environmentally-friendly favourite with equally beneficial cooling properties. “Its cellulose fibres regulate the absorption and release of moisture during the night, while its anti-bacterial qualities help your bed to stay fresh and clean for longer”, explains Miriam Tyrangiel, founder of Undercover.
So, where does all that sweat go if it isn’t wicked away by your sheets? Answer: in the mattress. There are claims that your mattress may double in weight every eight years or so, thanks to dead skin cells, dust, sweat and mites. According to an American study, a typical used mattress may contain 100,000 to 10 million mites. Ten per cent of the weight of a two-year-old pillow can be comprised of dead mites and their droppings. Mites love warm, moist surroundings – your bed in summer – and one of their favourite foods is dead skin.
Memory foam mattresses are notorious for warming up quickly so they’re best avoided in the summer months and replaced with, yes, more natural fibres, such as those in the John Lewis Natural Collection Hemp mattress. Durable and highly absorbent, hemp processes and soft cotton wick away moisture to keep your bed feeling fresh and hygienic. Blended with flax, there’s an extra layer of insulated support between the pocket springs and natural layers, so you don’t compromise on comfort either. Habitat has a cleverly-designed mattress that encourages airflow around the body and, if you don’t want to invest in a new mattress, Dunelm offers a topper made from a gel-infused memory foam - it absorbs and disperses body heat and has ventilation holes through the foam to allow airflow and breathability.
If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night with your hair stuck to your head and had to turn your pillow over because it is so wet, it should come as no surprise that it harbours all sort of nasties too. The thought of these germs coming in to contact with your freshly cleansed skin every time your head hits the pillow is pretty gross. Choose a pillow that’s made of cotton such as Soak & Sleep’s Luxury Cotton Pillow which has natural cooling properties. Or, if you have a particular pillow you can’t sleep without, a cooling pad insert is a great option. The Chillmax Pillow is a gel-packed pad that reacts to your body’s temperature to draw excess heat away from your skin and produce a cooling effect – just pop it inside your bamboo pillowcase to keep a cool and hygienic head all night long.
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