Sleeping in hot weather – 8 tricks to fall asleep faster ‘move bed to secret spot’
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The human body is hardwired to sleep in cooler temperatures so while Britain has been seeing scorching temperatures this summer well into the nighttime, getting to sleep has proved exceptionally difficult for many. For a comfortable sleeping environment, bedrooms should remain around the 16C to 18C and as this hasn’t generally been too achievable throughout the heatwaves, there are a few tricks you can use to get to sleep despite this.
Cooling yourself down doesn’t just help you fall asleep easier, but it will also improve the quality of your sleep.
High temperatures can put your body in a naturally anxious state, leading to more vivid and distressing nightmares.
Alex Dimitriu, MD, double board certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine told Healthline: “As the body’s temperature drops during sleep, we enter more deep, restorative sleep.
“Cooler temperatures, therefore, may also help us stay asleep and have dreams but forget them, as we are supposed to.”
“Indeed, warmer temperatures can result in more awakenings from sleep, during which dreams may be remembered. However, fragmented sleep is the opposite of ideal.”
A fan is always a useful item to have to hand when trying to cool down, but sometimes it doesn’t quite do the job.
So, with that in mind, here are eight tips to achieve a cooler sleeping environment and help you sleep better during hot weather.
Put your pillowcase in the freezer before bed
If you find yourself struggling to cool down at night, prepare in advance by putting your pillow in the freezer for around 15 minutes before winding down for the day – you can do the same with a pair of socks.
Or, for a longer fix, try filling up a hot water bottle with cold water and freezing it for an hour before bed.
Keep your bedroom’s blinds and curtains shut all-day
Another top tip to prepare for the scorching nights in advance is to keep your blinds and curtains closed all day.
This will dilute the sun’s rays coming through the window to warm up the room. However, it’s advised to avoid doing this if you have darker coloured blinds as they tend to absorb heat, making the room hotter.
In that case, you could make your own sun reflector by sticking up some aluminium foil on the window to bounce the rays back during the day.
Expose yourself to as much daylight as possible throughout the day
While you should keep your bedroom away from light, you should personally try and spend as much time outside throughout the day.
Martin Seeley, CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay said: “Light plays the most integral role in regulating your body’s internal clock, as it signals to your brain when to be alert and when to rest.
“Throughout the day, you should expose yourself to as much light as possible to bring on the feeling of alertness, however, as the day goes on, you should close your curtains to block out the light nights, and instead use ambient lamps.
“By the time you get to bed, your bedroom should be virtually black, so your brain knows that it’s bedtime. If your blind or curtain situation doesn’t allow this, keep an eye mask near your bed to block the light out.”
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Try to avoid napping but if you must, do it the right way
While the sun makes it incredibly easy to have an accidental afternoon nap, this can have a detrimental effect on your sleep that night unless it’s done right.
Mr Seeley said: “If you must nap, you should only sleep for between 10-20 minutes as anything longer than 30 minutes can risk feeling groggy as your body will have entered a deep sleep cycle.”
“Make sure this is more than eight hours before your bedtime though, as it could impact your sleep if not.”
Stop drinking alcohol at least four hours before your bedtime
A glass of wine or a beer is customary for a fair few during a heatwave, but it’s important to stop drinking at the right time to prevent your sleep being disrupted.
Mr Seeley said: “While alcohol can make you fall asleep due to its sedative properties and, therefore, allow you to fall asleep quickly, what’s not common knowledge is that your sleep quality is considerably lower after consuming alcohol.
“You won’t feel recharged the following morning and will suffer from excessive sleepiness throughout the day.
“So, if you do decide to drink (which is fair!), make sure to stop drinking at least four hours before your bedtime so it’s mostly worn off by the time you drift off.”
Switch your duvet cover to a lighter-colour
As mentioned, dark colours absorb heat – but light colours reflect it. So another good tip to help regulate your body temperature at night is to swap your duvet for a lighter coloured one or opt for a bamboo sheet.
Steve Adams, CEO at Mattress Online said: “Bamboo is a breathable and moisture-wicking material, making it one of the best options if you sweat a lot during sleep.
“Bamboo fabrics are also naturally hypoallergenic, which can help reduce allergy symptoms that normally come hand in hand with hot weather. Avoid cotton bedding at all costs, as it’s not moisture-wicking and can make you feel sweatier.”
Move your bed to this secret spot to encourage the highest quality of sleep
If you’re struggling to sleep, you should also consider moving your bed to the best position for sleep, as this can improve your sleep quality beyond the heatwave.
Mr Seeley said: “Placing your bed against the longest wall allows you to fall asleep faster as when it’s alternatively placed near a door or window, you can be kept away from sounds and shadows, which are likely to happen during the hotter periods of the year as people make the most of the weather.”
Tense your toes to reduce tension
If you’ve had a few nights of bad sleep due to the heatwave, chances are that you’ll be feeling more tense than usual.
Try tensing and relaxing your toes for a count of 10 each time. Sleep experts at the University of Maryland found this can draw attention away from the rest of your body, and helps you relax more quickly.
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