As the summer months arrive, many people find their sleep suffers. The heat can cause body temperature to fall more slowly than in cooler months and more exposure to sunlight can upset circadian rhythms.
Sleep experts from Bed Kingdom have compiled a list of eight tips and tricks to help keep cool and well-rested in the hot weather.
1. Sleep Like a Starfish
Side sleeping is best as the amount of contact between the mattress and your body is smaller, however, sleeping with your arms and legs stretched out increases the surface area so that sweat can evaporate and cool you faster. The next best position for a cool night’s sleep is the log. This is a side sleeping position that has the legs straight down and not tucked up. These positions are best because they allow a greater portion of your body to have fresh air as you sleep.
2. Freeze Your Sheets
A slightly unconventional tip, putting sheets and pillowcases in the freezer can make a huge difference at night. To do this and not suffer from wet sheets as they thaw, place the bedding into a plastic bag and then into the freezer. A few minutes are enough to cool the material and it will stay cold long enough for you to fall asleep.
3. Have Space Between You and Your Partner
If you have a partner, it might be worth putting some distance between you and them in bed. Having a bit of space can improve air circulation instead of sharing body heat which may keep you awake. Separate bedding might also be helpful if there isn’t a lot of space to spare and this tip also includes pets. A dog is a wonderful cuddling companion but in the summer it’s best to leave the pets in their own beds.
4. Sleep Downstairs
Heat rises so the coolest part of a room or house is closest to the ground. During hot months it can be better to sleep on the lowest floor of the house. If space is an issue or there isn’t a ground floor, try to move your mattress closer to the floor using slats or something to keep it slightly elevated so that air can still circulate.
5. Keep Your Blinds Closed
Heat can transfer from the sun into a room. During the hottest parts of the day, consider keeping blinds and curtains closed to block any unwanted heat transferring. This is especially important if any windows are facing the sun. If your blinds are dark in colour, consider switching them for a light cream or white to stop them from absorbing the heat. While keeping blinds and windows closed during the hottest parts of the day prevents heat transfer, opening blinds and windows during the early morning or late evening can provide airflow that cools the room before bedtime.
6. Wear Loose Cotton Clothes
Other than sleeping nude, cotton clothing or bedding can keep you cool at night. Cotton is a natural, breathable material that absorbs moisture. Air circulates freely through cotton which can help to dry out any damp patches on the skin and this can cool you down at a faster rate. Loose clothing is also important as it will hang and not cling to the body which will also improve airflow.
7. Freeze A Washcloth
Before going to bed, a frozen washcloth pressed against any pulse points like the wrists can help to cool your body down. A frozen washcloth against the back of the neck or the forehead can also help to make you more comfortable. Placing the cloth directly into the freezer for up to one hour and using it around ninety minutes before sleep is enough to kickstart the body’s own cooling mechanisms and allow for a restful night.
8. Use A Fan to Circulate Air
If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, investing in a tower or desk fan could help. To keep bills low, some fans include a timer function so they’re not running all night. An oscillating fan can move air more effectively than a fixed one and can help to keep the temperature lower throughout the room. The ideal temperature for a bedroom to get a good night’s sleep is 16-18°C (60-64°F) so if it’s very warm, consider placing a small bowl of ice in front of the fan so that cool air will circulate.
A spokesperson for Bed Kingdom commented:
“Summer is a very disruptive time for sleep. With longer daylight hours and elevated temperatures, people are always searching for ways to keep cool. While fans and bedding can be important, keeping cool at night is something everyone can do on a budget. Sleeping in less clothing or keeping blankets and duvets pulled back can be some of the easiest ways to get a good night’s sleep in the summer months. With many countries around the world seeing record-breaking temperatures in the summer months, it will be interesting to see if sleeping habits begin to change during the season.”
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