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.
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.
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).
Pop 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 beautiful new 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.
Change to 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.
You might want to swap for a lower tog. Togs are just the British way of measuring the warmth of a duvet. The tog has nothing to do with the quality of your duvet, just how warm you can expect it to be. For summer the perfect duvet weight is a super light 2.5 or 4.5 tog, light and lovely to avoid a sweaty and sticky night's sleep.
Alternatively you could opt for an All Seasons duvet. This does just what it says on the tin... provides you with a duvet that is perfect for the entire year.... a 4.5 tog (for summer) and a 9 tog (for spring/autumn) as two separates that can be popped together to create a cosy 13.5 tog duvet (perfect for chilly winter nights). We have All Seasons options in all our duvet fillings, so you're spoilt for choice.
Eat Light Foods and Avoid Drinking
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. Don’t even think about drinking as it can dehydrate you (we hate to say it... perhaps just a small glass?).
Keep Curtains Closed During the Day
To prevent your snooze-space feeling like a claustrophobic greenhouse at night, keep your bedroom 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.
Use Cotton or Linen Bedding
When it comes to choosing your bed linen for summer, choose bed sheets and duvet covers that are made from natural fibres, rather than man-made poly-cotton. We really mean it when we say there's nothing better than sleeping under crisp, cool 100% cotton bedding or lovely and light linen bed sheets.
Cotton is a natural material and it's breathable. This means that it lets the cool air pass through; this makes it comfortable and durable. It feels light on your skin and during summer it's the material that will keep you at your coolest.
100% linen bedding is possibly the best option when it comes to keeping cool on hot summer nights. Linen fabrics are super absorbent making 100% linen bed linen valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness. The weave of linen fabric is different from cotton, it allows the air to flow more freely around your body, keeping you cooler. Being a stiffer fabric than cotton, it is far less likely to cling to your body. Linen bedding is also more comfortable to sleep in if your bed tends to feel damp during very hot weather. Linen can absorb up to a fifth of its weight before feeling damp.
Use Cold Compresses
One very effective trick to cool your body temperature when nothing else works... run cold water over your wrists. Do this just before bed and if you feel like you might need to do the same during the night keep an ice pack nearby to cool your temples, wrists and behind your knees throughout the night. You could even try repurposing your winter hot water bottle.
Get Rid of Gadgets
So many of us are guilty of bringing our phones into the bedroom. Even alarm clocks seems to have been substituted with our mobile phones. Having your phone by your bed will be another distraction stopping you from drifting off. If you have your phone plugged in next to you then that's going to emit heat... this is definitely not needed in summer.
Drink Plenty of Water
There's nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night parched, but you're far too hot and far too tired to even contemplate getting out bed and heading to the kitchen. The solution... keep a glass (or bottle to avoid spillages) by your bedside. Sip on water before bed to keep hydrated all night. A spray mister is also a great idea, allowing you to spritz yourself with water if you get too hot.
Exercise in the hot summer weather is uncomfortable and unappealing, so why are we suggesting it? Keeping active will tire you out, it's proven that exercise helps aid great sleep. Whether you opt for an early evening walk or a full workout in the gym, you will feel the benefits when it comes to bedtime.
Take a Shower
A simple 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. When you shower choose products that have sleep enhancing qualities... read here to find out which scents to use for great sleep.
Should You Sleep Naked?
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 as follows: if you want to wear nightclothes, choose a cooler fabric. All our nightwear is made from the highest quality cotton and linen.
Sorry, earplugs? Yes, as having earplugs means that you can sleep with the bedroom window open no matter where you live. If you live down a lovely country lane then noise might not be a problem, but noise in busy cities can be more disturbing than the heat itself. So earplugs mean you get to keep the windows open, and shut the noise out.
Just make sure you get yourself an extra loud alarm clock!
Turn on 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.
Our top tip: place a bowl of ice just in front of your fan, this will push even cooler air around the room (a cold flannel will have a similar effect).
Sleep on your Side
It seems obvious now we’re writing it, but sleeping on your side can keep you cooler. More of your body is exposed to the air which means you're less likely to get hot and sticky. If you share your bed then keeping a little distance will also help. Our bodies radiate heat (especially at night) so cuddling up to your bed buddy might not be the best idea on a hot night.
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.
Do you have any tried and tested tips and tricks? We'd love to hear them and pop them on our list.