Although we look forward to our five minutes of summer every year, many of us forget about the discomfort and annoyance that follows once the sun has gone down. It is just so so hard to sleep!
Whether we’re experiencing a heatwave or periods of excruciating humidity, the process is the same: getting tangled in sweat-soaked sheets and throwing off the covers (and clothes) because of the rising temperatures. Drifting off in the summer months can be a mammoth task, and frustratingly interrupted slumber leaves you waking up feeling exhausted, rather than rested.
However, there are some tricks you can use to end this nightmare situation - our guide is packed with top tips to show you how to sleep in the heat. Here’s your essentials to make sure you get some sleep in the summertime (or what’s left of it).
Use a summer duvet
While some people are happy to sleep with no covers at all, the rest of us like to feel wrapped up, just a little bit, even in the acrid heat. Swap that marshmallow-like, thick duvet for a summer alternative. If you don’t already own one, these typically come in tog ratings of about 3.0 to 4.5.
Opt for cotton
Choose bed sheets and duvet covers which are made from natural fibres, rather than manmade ones – and nothing’s better than cotton. Cotton traps the heat while letting cool air pass through; it’s comfortable and durable. If you are looking for something really luxurious, seek out bed linen that’s an Egyptian cotton blend – the premium standard for bedding sets.
Put your sheets in the fridge
Some people swear by putting their sheets in the fridge for a few hours before bedtime. Having recently procured some Egyptian Cotton bedding, you may be loath to store them next to some Stilton or half an onion, but a chilled sheet might just help you fall asleep. The effect is temporary, of course, but providing you wrap your sheets in a bag and only do it on nights when you don’t have any smelly leftovers, it could be worth a go.
Keep the curtains closed during the day
To prevent your bedroom feeling like a claustrophobic greenhouse at night, keep the curtains closed during the day preventing the sun from steadily warming the room. It helps to shut the door, too, so that heat from the rest of your home doesn’t seep in. If you’re able to leave the window open a crack, even better, as this will allow colder air in as night falls.
Hot air rises and in periods of extreme heat there might be nothing else for it but to set up camp downstairs. If you have a sofa bed or an inflatable mattress, then you may be well advised to create a temporary bedroom in the lounge (think of it as an at home sleepover).
Eat something light and skip the wine
Did you know that calories generate heat? Nor did we, but they do and as such, it’s not a good idea to eat a big meal close to bedtime. Instead, opt for a lighter meal and eat it earlier in the evening so that it’s digested and you go to bed free of the bloat. And don’t even think about drinking as it can dehydrate you (we hate to say it, perhaps just a small glass?).
Do some exercise
Yes, we know, exercise isn’t up everyone’s street even in the cooler weather. So why are we suggesting it? Because keeping yourself active will tire you out and hopefully prevent a night full of tossing and turning in the heat. Whether you opt for a gentle walk or an hour’s cycle, exercise is well-known for aiding restful sleep, alleviating stress and promoting those happy hormones, endorphins – all of which will help you drift off a little more easily despite the temperatures.
Take a shower
An easy tip for cooling your body temperature prior to slipping between the sheets is to take a lukewarm, not cold (unless you can handle it), shower. Our go-to post shower body butter is from Cowshed, their entire Sleepy Cow range is dedicated to encouraging your body to get a decent night’s sleep.
Naked or Nightie?
As we discovered when we asked what the UK wears to bed, most people like to sleep in their birthday suits and with good reason in the summertime: you can reduce your body temperature by sleeping in the nude, unencumbered by any additional layers.
That said, opinion is split. Some experts believe that wearing nightclothes can actually make you feel more comfortable as they draw the sweat away from the body. The general consensus seems to be: if you want to wear nightclothes, choose a cooler fabric
Unplug those gadgets
So many of us are guilty of bringing our phones into the bedroom (who can turn down a late night Pinterest splurge?). Even our alarm clocks seem to be substituted for our mobile phones. Having phones plugged in, whether there in use or charging, can emit lots of heat – heat which you really don’t need in the summer months. Go old school and buy an alarm clock; you might even notice those energy bills dropping a little.
Don’t you hate waking up, parched but its 2.47am and you’re far too hot and sticky to even contemplate getting out of bed for a drink. The solution = keep a glass of water on your bedside. Sipping water before the lights go out should keep you well hydrated all night (and a little cooler), so hopefully you won’t wake in the night. A spray mister is also a great idea, allowing you to spritz yourself with water if you get too hot.
Invest in earplugs
Sorry, earplugs? Yes, as having earplugs means that you can sleep with the bedroom window open no matter where you live. It’s fine for those who live in quiet neighbourhoods or out of the way country lanes, but those situated in busy cities or unlucky enough to have noisy neighbours can find that sounds outside the window are more disturbing than the heat itself, so have to keep their windows shut and the breeze out. A good pair of earplugs will keep noise to a minimum, but not enough to block out your alarm in the morning.
Use a fan
Perhaps not the most surprising tip, however if you position your fan in the opposite corner to your open window, you can circulate the cool air. Also, for those that live on the ground floor, where keeping windows open may not be secure, this is the perfect alternative.
Use cold compresses
One very effective trick to cool your body temperature is to run cold water over your wrists, but you can’t do that all night long. Instead keep an ice pack, or ice cubes and a flannel in a bow to cool your temples, wrists, behind the knees or other pulse points that get much hotter than others.
Sleep on your side
It seems obvious now we’re writing it, but sleeping on your side can keep you cooler, as more of your body is exposed to the air. It also helps if - and apologies to all the lovers out there – you don’t sleep curled up against your loved one. If you can bear to be apart, a night in the spare room will increase both your chances of getting some shut-eye.
There are lots of things you can do to keep those warm nights cooler and promote a restful night’s sleep – all of which will make you love the summer again.