Good sleep is important to health, but when nights warm up sleeping conditions, alter and getting the perfect night's sleep can be trickier.
Research has shown that there is an ideal temperature for sleep and when the temperature is higher than the ideal, it takes longer to fall asleep, and once sleep is achieved, it is broken up or fragmented and there is less dreaming.
What can you do to make sure you still get a great nights sleep on hot summer nights?
- Air conditioning can be a great solution, but not all of us have or can afford aircon in our bedrooms. Even with A/C there can be power issues in summer as demand becomes higher than normal. This can result in power outages and therefore no aircon.
- A fan is also a good option as it keeps the air circulating and you can direct the fan to create air flow. A great idea for floor fans is to place a shallow pan or bowl full of ice in front of the fan and this helps to cool down the air that the fan is blowing, rather like creating a mini A/C unit.
- Do whatever you can to prevent excessive heat build-up in your sleep environment . During the daytime use blinds to keep out sunlight and keep the windows closed if the temperature outside is much hotter than inside. At night time, if the temperature is cooler outside than inside, open your windows.
- Turn off the lights. Light bulbs (even environmentally-friendly ones) give off heat. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible, and keep rooms cool after dark by using lights minimally or not at all.
- Unplug at night. As in, literally disconnect electronics. Gadgets and other small appliances give off heat, even when turned off. Reduce total heat in the house (and save energy!) by keeping plugs out of sockets when the appliances are not in use.
Bedding and nightwear
- Light bedclothes and light pyjamas, or no pyjamas, are an important option.
- Sheets - choose a good quality high thread count cotton. Satin, silk, or polyester sheets will make you hot as they do not breathe. Light-Coloured bed linens made of lightweight cotton, (Egyptian or otherwise), are breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow in the bedroom.
- Wool is great at regulating sleeping temperature and wicking away moisture. A woollen mattress topper or a wool mattress protector are a great option for summer. MiniJumbuk's mattress toppers are fully reversible so you can sleep on the cool cotton side in summer.
- On hot nights when you want more than a sheet but less than a blanket our Light Wool Cotton quilt is perfect for hot summer nights. With a superfine cotton sateen casing making it much lighter than other summer quilts, and with 150gsm of wool and cotton filling, the Light quilt is a great option. The lightweight filling will regulate body temperature ensuring a cool dry and comfortable sleep.
What you can do before going to bed
- Water is a great cooling agent. Showers before bed may help. Strangely enough, some people fair better taking hot showers and hot baths when the room temperature is very high. The problem of course with hot showers is that they increase the humidity, which could make things worse. Rinsing off under a stream of tepid water brings down the core body temperature and rinses off sweat so you can go to bed feeling cool and clean.
- Some people find that spraying themselves with cool water from a plant mister or gadget that creates a fine mist may help.
- Remember that when you sweat a great deal, you lose both water and electrolytes. This can be dangerous. Make sure that you replenish both and do not become dehydrated. Drink lots of cool fluids and make sure you have had a cool drink before going to sleep.
- Stay away from the stove/cooker. Summer is not the time to whip up a hot casserole or roast. Instead, select cool, room-temperature dishes such as salads to avoid generating any more heat in the house. If hot food is in order, fire up the BBQ instead of turning on the oven.
- Swap big meals for smaller, lighter dinners that are easier to metabolize. The body produces more heat after you eat a big steak than a platter of fruits or veggies.
- Avoid excessive and unprotected sun exposure during the day. Sunburn will add to the misery in trying to sleep when it is hot.
- Postpone evening outdoor activities if they are strenvous and the evening is hot.
- To chill out super-fast just before bed, apply ice packs or cold compresses to pulse points at the wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees.
Once in bed
- Freeze a damp face washer to take to bed -- this can be used as a nice, cool compress.
- Be a lone wolf. Sleeping alone is way better than spooning for staying cool. Cuddling with a partner increases body heat, making the bed a sticky and sweaty place instead of a cool, calm oasis.
- If you wake up and you are hot and sticky consider taking a brief shower and change your bed wear.