This summer has been one of the hottest on record. August has been no exception, with the Met Office predicting the hot weather will continue. As Britons all over the country look to stay cool at night, experts at Bed Kingdom share their advice to prevent overheating and to get a good night’s sleep throughout the warmer months. If you’re trying – and struggling – to keep your body temperature under control at night, try these tips:
Avoid strenuous exercise, alcohol and spicy food
Strenuous exercise before bed gets your blood pumping and keeps your heart rate and body temperature up. Doing this before bed will keep your body feeling warm and will prevent you from staying cool as you try to nod off. Instead it’s best to exercise in the morning when temperatures tend to be cooler.
Alcohol will make you feel hot. Remember the ‘beer blanket’? It’s the warmth your body feels as it tries to manage alcohol consumption. While your body is not actually heating up, it will feel like it and may prevent you from feeling cool and comfortable at night.
Spicy food often contains capsaicin, which can increase your body temperature and interrupt your sleep. Also, eating spicy food before you go to bed may give you indigestion, making it difficult to feel able to drift off as your body battles discomfort.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Anxiety can cause your fight-or-flight response, which can lead to night sweats in bed, which is a common stress symptom. Setting aside ten minutes for a mindfulness exercise before bed, such as meditation or journalling can relieve some worries and prime your mind for a good night’s sleep, helping you to stay cool throughout.
Turn off unnecessary electronics before bed
Electronic devices such as computers, games consoles and TVs can get hot after use, leaving rooms, especially smaller ones, feeling stuffy and trapped with heat. It’s best to switch these devices off an hour before you go to bed to let the room cool down. This also has the added benefit of preventing the blue light from devices interfering with your sleep cycle, letting you drift off to sleep easier at night.
Switch to breathable bedding – and avoid these
You may be using bedding that is not breathable enough for the summer months. Cooling bed sheets should wick moisture away from you and help you to regulate your core body temperature.
Cotton is one of the more popular fabrics for bedding as it is breathable and versatile. It can keep you cool on hot summer nights and warmer in winter, depending on the weaving and thread count. Cooling cotton sheets are typically between a thread count of 250 and 300, and should not be more than 500. Cotton is also durable enough to last years of use.
Linen fabrics can keep you cool at night. Bed linen can absorb a fifth of its weight before beginning to feel damp, making it an effective choice to keep the fabric fresh if you often get hot at night. This fabric type can be less likely to stick to your body.
Bamboo fabric has become popular over the years as it is an eco-friendly alternative to synthetics. It can be more breathable than cotton, and the natural, soft and durable material is a good choice for those that have allergies.
Eucalyptus sheets, like bamboo, are another eco-friendly option made of natural materials, which can effectively wick moisture and stay breathable all night. It can dry quickly, deter dust mites and is hypoallergenic.
Many people choose microfibre bedding as it is a low-cost option. However, it is made from synthetic fibres that aren’t very breathable. Other fabrics to avoid during the summer are polyester, nylon, rayon and silk.
Have a light meal for dinner – avoid heavy fats and carbs
Eating a meal too close to your bedtime can be harmful to your sleep. The more food you eat, the more uncomfortable you may feel. Heavy meals tend to be high in fats and carbohydrates, which takes more energy for your body to break down. This could lead to feeling bloated and uncomfortable when trying to sleep at night.
The recommended space between your last meal of the day and your bedtime is about three hours, which gives time for your body to process any food eaten. Opting to eat fats and carbohydrates earlier in the day, and eating a light meal at night, will require less from your body while you drift off, as it has done the work to break food down earlier in the day.
Take a shower before bed
It’s a great feeling to wash the day away and then climb into fresh bed sheets at night. Showers can help to regulate our body temperature, which can ease us into a peaceful sleep. When it’s hot, a lukewarm shower can cool your core temperature down. A cool shower can be more beneficial than a hot shower to help you fall asleep faster. However, a hot shower can still help as your body temperature will change as you dry off. Whether you prefer to take a hot or cold shower, try to avoid extreme temperatures, as they can negatively affect how you sleep.
The heat can cause stress both physically and mentally, so make sure you look after your health.
This article was written by a freelance writer and contains a link.