Beat the Heat: How to sleep better in hot weather
In the UK, we spend so much of our time wishing it was summer. But when we do finally get a spell of hot weather, we love to complain.
Commutes are stifling, stuffy, and unbearable, the office isn’t made for the heat, and it’s just too hot and uncomfortable to sleep! If you suffer from sleep problems when the warm weather rolls around, here are some essential hacks from our Sleep Expert Stephanie Romiszewski:
Keep the curtains in your bedroom closed during the day to keep your sleeping environment cool.
Think about what you’re sleeping on – certain materials help retain heat and some help regulate temperature – mattresses that you sink into often don’t help regulate temperature.
Cotton sheets and clothing provide good ventilation.
If it’s getting REALLY hot, cool off with a cool shower before bed.
Get low – ever wonder where your pets go to get a good night’s sleep? They are incredibly mindful – if it’s too hot they will go to where it is coolest (sleeping on the kitchen floor anyone?!). Even if it’s unrealistic, it can at least show you where the coolest places in your bedroom/house are.
Sleeping on your own shouldn’t be stigmatised – if you’re able, sleep in separate beds/bedrooms to reduce disruption.
Waking up during the night because of being too hot shouldn’t keep you awake once it’s resolved (i.e throwing the bed covers off). If you consistently wake and can’t get back to sleep, it can be a sign the awakenings have turned into a habit regardless of environment.
The best way to get rid of this is to condense your sleep opportunity (so if you spend 8 hours tossing and turning, try 7 hours in bed instead) and don’t sleep at any other time. Let your sleepiness over a few days on the schedule grow a little bit, which will stop the broken sleep, then gradually increase your sleep opportunity once the awakenings are resolved (be careful NOT to drive if you are feeling sleepy during an approach like this).
Make sure you are super sleepy tired before bed, so you are more likely to fall straight to sleep rather than focusing on the heat. It is far better to get a shorter quality sleep than a longer broken one. Stop worrying about quantity!
If it gets super-hot then you can use a fan with a bowl of ice in front of it to encourage cooler air to flow.
Most importantly, don’t worry about poor sleep due to something fleeting like the weather. It will change eventually and, if you follow step 7, you shouldn’t have any long-term consequences. Don’t let the environment increase your anxiety – it will be the anxiety has that more of an effect on you…not bad sleep!