If the hot weather this week has had you tossing and turning all week, then you’ll no doubt need a good night’s sleep.
To help, Martin Seeley, CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay has explained why people struggle to sleep in the sheet before sharing his top 12 unique hacks to stop being hot and bothered at night.
Sleep expert shares 12 ways to beat the heatwave at night
To create a comfortable sleeping environment, you should keep your bedroom between 16 to 18°C. Naturally, you can use a fan to achieve this lower temperature or if you feel yourself heating up, there are some hacks to achieve a cooler sleeping environment:
Put your pillowcase or in the freezer before your bedtime
If you struggle to cool down at night, fill your hot water bottle up with cold water and put in the freezer an hour before you plan on going to bed. Or, if you don’t own a hot water bottle, put your pillowcase in the freezer for 15 minutes before you plan on hitting the hay.
Run your wrists under cold water
When you brush your teeth before bed, you should also run your wrists under cold water for a few minutes before bedtime, as this quickly cools your body down.
Keep your bedroom’s blinds and curtains shut all day
Naturally, the sun tends to be the hottest throughout the day so a top tip is to keep your blinds and curtains shut throughout the day, to prevent the sun from coming in. This should keep your bedroom cooler a night-time when it’s time to fall asleep.
Expose yourself to as much daylight as possible throughout the day
However, whilst you should keep your bedroom away from the light, you should personally try and spend as much time out in throughout the day. This is because 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.
Sleep naked for deeper sleep, and to release this important hormone in your body
If you start to overheat in bed, even a little bit, you’re likely to wake up in the middle of the night which will disrupt your sleeping pattern. However, sleeping naked is the fastest and easiest way of regulating your body temperature. It also increases your chances of deeper sleep, which is needed to stay alert the following day, which is extra important if you’re at home. Plus, sleeping naked with a partner will also realease more of the hormone oxytocin, otherwise known as the ‘love hormone, which helps you bond better.
Make sure to drink at least two litres of water throughout the day
Not only does keeping hydrated boost your energy but your metabolism too. Even mild dehydration can leave you feeling sleepy and tired, whilst negatively disrupting your mood.
Try to avoid napping but if you must, do it the right way
Whilst 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. 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.
Also, make sure to time your nap right. As your alertness naturally dips in the afternoon, you should pay attention to when you start to feel drowsy and nap straight away (if possible). Make sure this is more than 8 hours before your bedtime though, as it could impact your sleep if not.
Stop drinking alcohol at least four hours before your bedtime
Whilst drinking a glass of wine or a bottle of beer is customary for most during a heatwave, it’s important to stop drinking at the right time so your sleep isn’t disrupted. Whilst 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-coloured one
You should switch your duvet cover to know that is not only lighter in colour but in a lighter material to regulate your body temperature if you tend to sweat at night. It’s important to choose this type of bedding during spring and summer as night sweats can disturb your sleep and significantly impact your mood. Also, remember to wash your bedding once a week in spring and summer to remove any build-up of bacteria if you are prone to sweating
Place a bowl of ice in front of your fan
Ideally, you should sleep with a fan during a heatwave to keep cool. However, did you know that filling a bowl with ice cubes and placing it in front will make your room even cooler? This is because the ice cubes slowly melt away, dispersing a cool breeze.
Move your bed to this secret spot which encourages 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. 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.
Had a couple of nights of bad sleep? Tense your toes to reduce tension in bed
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. If this is the case, try alternately tensing and relaxing your toes for a count of 10 each time. Sleep experts at the University of Maryland found that this draws attention away from the rest of your body, and helps you relax more quickly.
Why do people struggle to sleep during spring and summer?
Martin Seely, the sleep expert at CEO at MattressNextDay, said, “Whilst Spring and summer is a real mood booster, many Brits feel sleepier during this season for several reasons. Firstly, the heat and humidity can make it hard to fall asleep at night, which leads to tossing, turning, sweating and a lack of high-quality sleep.”
“Secondly, you may find that the excitement of longer and warmer days has led to you forgetting to prioritise sleep. When Springtime arrives, there’s a new sense of optimism about the number of things you can complete in a single day, as well as having the mental energy to do it all. However, if you’re not logging seven or eight hours of sleep per night, then you’ll slowly start to feel the consequences of sleep deprivation, which will ironically make you feel anti-social, after socialising so much. Instead, try not to spread yourself too thin and prioritise sleep if you’re feeling an afternoon slump.
“If you also find yourself making the most of a pub garden after work, it may also be impacting your sleep. Whilst heading to a bar for some beers is all fun and well, you should make sure to stop consuming alcohol within two to three hours of your bedtime. Although alcohol can make feel sleepy due to its sedative properties and, therefore, make you fall asleep more quickly, your quality of sleep that night will be lower, and you’ll feel excessive daytime sleepiness the following date.”