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15 Simple Tricks To Help You Sleep In The Heat

Is there anything more frustrating than not being able to sleep when it’s sweltering outside? Below, 15 ways you can achieve better sleep in the heat.

sleep in the heat

Vogue Arabia, June 2021. Photo: Carlos Teixeira

A hot bedroom is perhaps sleep’s greatest adversary, with the optimum temperature for drifting off (and staying asleep) somewhere between 16 and 21C. As the heat rises, the amount of time we spend tossing and turning tends to increase too, but where there is a will there is a way. So for those nights when there is absolutely no breeze, the windows are open as wide as they’ll go and your AC refuses to cool things down, here are some clever tips and tricks that can help our bodies (and minds) beat the heat. Consider it your foolproof guide to how to sleep in hot weather.

DO: “Place a cold flannel or ice cubes in a plastic bag on your wrists and neck, you’ll be surprised at how this takes down your body temperature,” says Neil Robinson, who goes by the title of chief sleep officer at Sealy UK. Keeping pulse points cold tricks your brain into thinking you’re feeling cool. Alternatively, up the ante and freeze a water-filled hot water bottle to use instead.

DON’T: Keep windows open all day thinking it will lower the temperature – you’ll actually find rooms stay cooler during the day when both windows and curtains are closed.

DO: Our extremities – our hands and feet – help regulate our temperature, so cooling them down will lower the whole body’s temperature: “Position a bucket filled with cool water next to your bed, then dip your foot in it before and as you drift off,” says Robinson.

DO: Depending on how committed you are to the cause (or how sleep-deprived you feel), putting bed linen into the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes before bed can offer a lot of heat relief: “If you’re pushed for fridge space, just cool your pillow case,” recommends Robinson. Cool side of the pillow it is.

DON’T: Buy a cheap fan. The cheaper the fan, the more likely you are to hear it, which isn’t conducive to good sleep. Dyson’s Purifier Cool is an excellent option as it is quiet, quickly cools the room and removes 99.5 per cent of airborne pollutants – from bacteria and allergens to formaldehyde in the carpet and floors. Fresh air and cool body – sweet dreams.

DO: Invest in good quality bedding with a high cotton count to ensure what you’re sleeping in is as breathable as possible. “The natural fibres allow air to move freely and circulate through the fabric, which helps to keep you cooler through the night,” says Robinson. Linen is even better as it’s ultra breathable.

DO: “A simple trick is to have a cold shower just before bed,” says Robinson, as it lowers body temperature. If icy cold showers don’t do it for you (Kate Winslet is a fan), try lukewarm water, as it will still take body temperature down.

DON’T: Drink alcohol. “You’re only dehydrating yourself before a long hot night,” says Robinson, who recommends drinking half a pint of water not long before bed, to avoid having to get up during the night.

DO: Sleep alone: “Not only can [others] disturb us during the night, but the extra body heat also makes it harder to get to sleep,” says Robinson, who also points out that sleeping alone means you’re able to stretch out, helping body heat to escape.

DON’T: Eat too much protein, because it heightens metabolic rate, which can prompt the body to heat up.

DO: Ensure you have a well-made mattress, because what you sleep on is just as important as what you sleep in. “The mattress you sleep on can affect your temperature throughout the night. Look for mattresses that are made of smart fibres like Purotex and Tencel, because they have great cooling properties,” says Robinson.

DON’T: Exercise late in the evening. “It raises the body’s core temperature, which makes sleeping in hot weather much more difficult. I recommend opting for exercise first thing in the morning to kickstart your metabolism and leave you feeling ready to rest in the evening,” advises Robinson.

DO: Check the TOG rating of your duvet. Never heard of it? A TOG rating denotes the scale of duvet warmth, and while winter duvets, which trap and maintain heat in the cold months, have a rating of 13.5 TOG plus, you should look for lower in summer. “It’s important to have different duvets to help your body adapt to the differing seasons,” says Robinson.

DON’T: Nap during the day. While the hot weather can make us feel void of energy (that’s because our bodies are expending more of it to regulate our temperature), it can make it more difficult to sleep come nighttime.

DO: As applicable when it isn’t hot as when it is, ensure you stick to your normal wake-up and bedtimes – often the hot weather has us staying up later, but this can wreak havoc on your body’s sleep routine.

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