Essential sleep tips for the hot weather

sleep tipsCC: Annie Spratt at Unsplash

Hot weather certainly comes with its perks. If the allure of the sun makes you want to spend more time outside, you’ll soon reap the benefits of being in nature. But when the sun starts to set, those rising temperatures make sleeping a little trickier than usual.

If you’re a fan of hot weather but you struggle to sleep, you’re not alone. Fortunately, it only takes a few simple sleep tips to put the problem right.

Choose cotton over other materials

The clothes you wear to bed have a significant impact on how well you sleep. While synthetic materials spend the night clinging to your skin, cotton gives it room to breathe.

In addition to keeping your skin well ventilated, cotton will absorb sweat. As a result, you’ll feel cool and comfortable rather than sticky and clammy.

Ditch the heavy duvet

In an ideal world, we’d all be able to sleep without a duvet. But for many of us having a quilt is synonymous with getting a good night’s sleep. Sleeping without one feels alien, which means it’s unlikely to help your heat-related sleep troubles.

At the very least, you need to ditch the heavy duvet and switch to a lighter tog. If you can manage it, opt for a cotton sheet instead. You’ll experience the same sweat-busting benefits that cotton PJs deliver.

Freeze your pillowcases

During a recent heatwave that ravaged Europe, there were reports of people in Athens freezing their pillowcases. Even better still, some were choosing to freeze a hot water bottle and take that to bed with them instead.

Cooler temperatures stimulate melatonin production, which in turn regulates your circadian rhythm. By cooling your pillowcases, you’re signaling to your brain that it’s time to fall asleep regardless of how warm it is outside.

Step away from your smartphone

Maintaining excellent sleep hygiene becomes extra-important when it’s hot outside. Although laying down and scrolling through your social media feeds is tempting, the backlit screen on your phone is confusing your brain. As a result of the screen lighting, your brain may not feel ready for sleep.

To overcome the problem, keep your phone away from your bedroom and switch to a traditional alarm clock instead. You should also avoid looking at it if you wake up, as this can make returning to sleep harder.

Take a hot bath or shower

Although taking a hot bath or shower in the middle of the summer may seem like madness, it can still help you sleep. Your body expends a serious amount of energy as it tries to cool down. As a result, a hot bath or shower may be exactly what you need.

If you want to take the sleep-inducing benefits a step further, try adding a bit of lavender oil to your bath. It’ll induce a state of relaxation that’s ideal for catching some Zs.

If your sleep problems persist, make sure you talk to a medical professional. There are lots of conditions that feature insomnia as a side effect and getting a diagnosis is important.

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About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.