An Expert’s Guide To Sleeping In The Heat

An Expert’s Guide To Sleeping In The Heat

If you’ve been struggling to sleep in recent weeks, you’re not the only one. In fact, research shows up to 65% of us suffer with disrupted sleep once the warmer weather sets in. With a mini heatwave now in full swing, we thought it was a good idea to ask the experts for some help. Here's what they had to say…

Up Your Fan Game

If you haven’t got yourself a fan already, then sorry to say you’re probably a heatwave amateur. Go out and buy yourself one – you can find them almost anywhere and a regular desktop-sized fan is reasonably affordable these days. You might find it only makes only a small difference when it’s just pushing already-stifling air around the room, though. To up its efficiency, place a bowl of ice in front of the fan in order to circulate cool air around the room. Noise is also a consideration, as chances are a loud fan will impact your sleep. Opt for a whisper quiet fan, or one with a timer, natural wind or night modes, which will ensure minimal disruption. Devices operated by a remote or smart app also offer greater control over temperature, and mean there’s no need to get out of bed to reach for the control panel.

Make A DIY Ice Pack

“A comfortable body temperature is a significant factor in getting a good night’s sleep,” says Nectar sleep expert Patrick Ross. “It’s connected to your circadian rhythm – the natural sleep cycle that tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Maintaining a low body temperature at night helps the length and efficacy of your sleep, although when temperatures exceed 25 degrees, this can be tricky.” Patrick recommends making your own ice pack to keep you cool as you sleep. “Put some rice in a sock, tie it up tightly and pop it in the freezer for at least 24 hours. At night, pop it at the foot of your bed and it will keep you feeling cool and refreshed throughout the night.”

Change Your Bed Linen

Consider switching up your existing bed linen for sheets that breathe well and wick away moisture. Bamboo linen is a game-changer in the summer, says Karl Lindhe, brand director at Urban Collective. “Not only is it antibacterial and antifungal, but bamboo linen also has deodorising properties and is hypoallergenic. 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.” Tencel is another environmentally-friendly favourite with equally beneficial cooling properties. “The cellulose fibres regulate the absorption and release of moisture during the night, while its antibacterial qualities help your bed stay fresh and clean for longer,” explains Miriam Tyrangiel, founder of Undercover.

Think About Your Pillow

If you’ve ever woken up in the night with your hair stuck to your head and had to turn your pillow over, it makes sense  to try and keep your head cool. Choose a pillow that’s made from cotton, which has naturally 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 the skin and produce a cooling effect – just pop it inside your pillowcase to keep a cool and hygienic head all night long.

Sleep In Linen

When it comes to the optimal pyjamas to keep you cool on balmy nights, wearing linen is a smart choice. Linen is breathable thanks to naturally long fibres that allow air to circulate through and around the fabric, as well as being temperature-regulating, so it cools you down when you’re warm and warms you up if you’re chilly. Linen is also moisture-absorbent, meaning it’ll keep you dry throughout the night.

Don’t be tempted to have a cold shower before bed – too cold a shower will cause your body to preserve heat, making it harder to fall asleep.

Invest In Blackout Blinds

Making some simple changes to your home can make all the difference, says Harry Cole, founder of Loom & Last, who recommends investing in blackout blinds. “If you want to ensure your bedroom remains cool in warm weather, a blackout blind is non-negotiable. This type of fabric blocks out 100% of direct sunlight, reducing the heat transfer from the window to the room. With the sun rising as early as 4am during the summer, this can be a valuable investment. For the best results, combine an integrated interlining with a blackout lining.”

Fill Your Room With Greenery

House plants may not sound like the most obvious solution for cooling your room, but as plants lose water during transpiration, they cool the air surrounding the plant, leaving it purified and fresh. The more surface area a plant has, the higher amount of oxygen and moisture it releases. The leaves of a peace lily, for example, are particularly efficient at keeping the air cool, while the snake plant releases oxygen during the night. The peacock plant also contributes to a healthier indoor climate, whilst keeping the air around it cool.

Shower Savvy

If you shower in the evening, co-founder of Jasmine Silk, Leon Zhao, recommends avoiding a shower that’s overly hot or cold. “Make sure the water is either tepid or lukewarm,” he advises. “A shower that is too hot will raise your body temperature, meaning you won’t have enough time to cool down before bed. Equally, too cold a shower will cause your body to preserve heat as a reaction to the cold temperature.”

Tackle Allergies

The warmer weather also means the arrival of pollen season, and if you suffer with allergies, you could be suffering with a double whammy of sleep issues. It’s all about preventing pollen from entering your bedroom, says airbone allergens expert Max Wiseberg, who recommends keeping your bedroom windows and door closed to prevent pollen from filtering through. “If this makes your room too hot, consider using an air filter or purifier with a HEPA (high efficiency particle arresting) filter to capture the pollen and dust particles, and to cool and circulate the air. Vacuum your bedroom regularly, including your bed, curtains and other fabrics to remove pollen particles. Also dry your bed clothes indoors rather than on a clothesline to prevent pollen particles being blown onto your laundry.”

Don’t Eat Too Late

Eating can lead to an increase in body temperature – this is because your metabolic rate increases as the energy is needed in order to allow food to digest. The process is known as thermogenesis; as food is digested, it activates brown adipose tissue, a type of fat deposit which contains a special protein known as mitochondria. Once digestion has begun, the mitochondria reacts, causing heat production. Therefore, by eating smaller, more regular meals on hot days will help to digest the food throughout the waking hours, rather than having a big meal in the evening and keeping the body awake as it tries to digest.

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DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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