Radio Sandwell Lifestyle News

How to get to sleep in hot weather

2013-07-16 23:41:11

Sleeping lady

Far be it from us to complain about the summer heat. It's taken long enough to arrive, and we want it to stay! But those with a tendency to insomnia may have found themselves cursing the warm, light nights as they literally lose their cool, lying awake, twisting in sweaty sheets and unable to fall asleep.

Between the heat, the humidity, the light and the general excitement of summer, lots of people report sleep problems during warm weather.

“The optimum room temperature for sleep is 18.3-22°C because the body’s core temperature is lowered by the brain before and during sleep,” says Octaspring sleep expert John Bramm. “It is this decrease in body temperature that initiates a feeling of sleepiness, so a higher body temperature leads to more alertness and therefore a struggle to sleep.”

So, how can you fall asleep in hot weather? We asked Bramm and a spokesperson from the BOC Sleep Centre for their tips.

  • Keep your sleeping environment as cool as possible throughout the day by leaving blinds and curtains shut and the door open, if possible. Once the sun has gone down, open up all the windows to create a breeze that should cool your house down before you go to bed.
  • Before going to sleep have a cool bath or shower to help to lower your body temperature.
  • Use fans to generate a good cross-breeze. If you’re still too hot, fill a wide, shallow container with ice cubes and put the container sit in front of the fan. DIY air con!
  • Wear minimal clothing in bed so that your skin is in contact with the bed sheets only. Do not use your normal duvet, if you want to cover yourself use just the cover or a very lightweight blanket or sheet.
  • Treat yourself to 100% natural cotton fibre sheets. As you perspire during the night natural fibre sheets breathe and absorb the moisture.
  • Dress the bed in white or light coloured bed sheets if possible. Black or dark sheets will attract the heat.
  • Drink lots of water. If you are dehydrated you are more likely to have a headache or body aches, which could disrupt your sleep.
  • Stick to your usual bed time, despite the temptation to stay out late on warm evenings. Staying up late will confuse your body and its circadian rhythm. For insomniacs, keeping to a bedtime routine is vital.
  • Sleep requires the body to lower its internal temperature. If you exercise, your core temperature will rise, so try not to do any sport within the last few hours of the day.
  • Summer night are bright. Keep the room dark by using heavy blinds or curtains that block out any light. Eliminate all other sources of light as well, including LED lights from computers or other electronics. If all else fails, try an eye mask.

Sweet dreams!


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