After a long, cold winter, the mercury has finally started to rise in the northern hemisphere. Along with a much needed mood-boosting dose of Vitamin D, however, balmy nights can make it more of a challenge to get the sleep you need to function at your best.
As we’ve written before, when you wind down for bed, your body produces a hormone called melatonin which causes a drop in core body temperature that is needed for sleep. If the ambient temperature is too high, this process is interrupted, so it may take longer to drift off. This can also make it harder to get into a restful, deep sleep, meaning we’re more likely to wake up during the night.
Here are our tried and trusted methods to help you make the most of summer without sacrificing your shut-eye.
Beat the heat, boost your sleep!
- Longer evenings and al fresco socializing might tempt you to ditch your carefully curated sleep routine. Recharge your friendship batteries by all means but try not to abandon your usual bedtime and routines entirely.
- Keep your bedroom cool. In the interests of energy-saving and sustainability, instead blasting the air con, try just using a fan to help air to circulate. Minimize heat gain during the day by using blinds or curtains and shut the windows as soon as it starts to get warm. Then, before you head for bed, open all the windows for a cooling through-breeze.
- Enjoy a relaxing bath or shower – but channel Goldilocks and make sure it’s not too hot, not too cold. While cold water can help lower your body temperature temporarily, it’s not ideal before bed due to its circulation-boosting and stimulating effect.
- Remember to stay hydrated, ideally with caffeine-free beverages or tea so as not to interfere with your sleep.
- Choose breathable bedding and nightwear. Lightweight, natural fabrics like cotton, linen or silk are the most comfortable. These materials promote better airflow and moisture absorption, preventing excessive sweating.
- One of our favourite hacks is to cool a pair of cotton socks in the fridge and pop them on just before bed. Cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body helping you drift off into dreamland. For a complete top-to-toe cooling and relaxing ritual, put your sleep mask in the fridge too!