How to sleep during a heatwave, according to experts

Stop suffering during hot summer nights

Ingenious at-home hacks for sleeping during a heatwave

The warmth of summer is usually welcomed with open arms, but we often forget how difficult it can be to get a decent night’s sleep during a heatwave.

A heatwave occurs when temperatures meet or exceed the heatwave temperature threshold for at least three consecutive days, and are common in the summer.

These can lead to very warm nights that many may find very uncomfortable, especially without a fan or air-conditioning.

According to Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a sleep expert at Silentnight, the optimal bedroom temperature for sleeping is between 16C and 21C, and your brain needs to be slightly cooler than the rest of your body.

“A good night’s sleep is important in order to process information throughout the day as well as to repair and re-balance the body physically and mentally,” Ramlakhan tells The Independent.

“Ideally, in order for us to sleep well, there needs to be a fractional temperature difference between our body and our brain – a warm body and a cool head!”

So what can you do to cool yourself down and get some precious shut-eye?

Here are 20 ways to help you get to sleep when it’s hot

1. Put your bedding in the freezer for a couple of minutes (put it in a plastic bag first though). If you don’t have much room in your fridge or freezer, even just your pillowcase or PJs will help.

2. Fill a hot water bottle with iced water and place on the ‘cooling points’ of your body: knees, ankles, wrists, neck, groin and elbows. You can also fill a hot water bottle with cool water, freeze it and take it to bed with you.

3. Moisturise before bed with an aloe vera based aftersun cream, ideally kept in the fridge.

4. Fill an empty perfume bottle with chilled water and keep it by your bedside, spray on your face, back of your neck, and back of your knees to cool down.

5. Use cotton pyjamas and thin, pure cotton sheets for your bed – high quality cotton is the ideal bedding material to sleep between to stay cool as it’s most breathable.

6. Make sure you’re not eating too much protein as this can actually heat your body up by boosting your metabolic rate, according to sleep expert Dave Gibson.

7. Eat spicy food, but at least three hours before bed – it can make you sweat which cools the body down.

8. Exercise in the morning rather than evening to stop your body getting too hot.

9. Keep your evening shower tepid to lower your body temperature. Don’t have a freezing cold one though, as your body will react to the sudden change in temperature by preserving heat.

10. Contrary to popular belief, Gibson says we should keep windows closed during the day to keep the house cooler. Keep the curtains closed too.

11. Turn off all electrical devices in the bedroom as these emit heat. Switch off sockets too.

12. Keep your feet cool, either by keeping them outside the covers or resting on an ice pack.

13. Put a roasting pan full of ice in front of a fan to cool the air.

14. Drink water regularly during the day, but not too much at night. About ½ pint before bed will be enough to keep you hydrated and prevent you from having to get up and go to the loo.

15. Sleep in a separate bed from your partner – two bodies = twice the body heat.

16. Sleep downstairs if you can as heat rises.

17. Sleep in cool, wet socks or even a damp T-shirt.

18. Rinse your wrists and feet with cold water before getting into bed.

19. If you wake up in the night, rub a menthol stick on your forehead to help cool down, Dr Ramlakhan recommends.

20. Place a wet flannel in the fridge for an hour or so before you go to bed, and rest this on your forehead as you drift off.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in