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Sleeping in a heat wave

Summer is finally here, after what was a long and cold spring in Melbourne. This means great sunny days have finally arrived! But sleeping during these hot nights are not so great. If you are without a fantastic air-conditioning system in your household, sleeping in summer can be a difficult task. Restless in bed, waking up sticky and sweaty, its not fun. So here are some handy tips to help you get a better nights sleep during these upcoming hot months.

 

Bedding

  • Freezing

An easy tip to stay cool in bed is to put your pillow cases and bed sheets in the fridge or freezer before heading off to bed. Place these back onto your bed and pillows just before you intend to sleep for a cool surface to doze off on. If you wake up hot in the night, try simply turning your pillow over to the cooler side that hasn’t yet absorbed your body heat.

  • Materials

Replace your doona with a cotton sheet or just the doona cover. Synthetic materials such as these will not absorb as much moisture leaving you feeling sweaty, so ensure all bedding is made from lighter, natural, cotton materials. This applies to pyjamas as well!

  • Mattress protectors

Avoid using waterproof Mattress protectors during the hotter days as these are made from fabrics that can promote sweating.

  • Babies

For babies, it is a good idea to check the room temperature with a digital thermometer and adjust bedding accordingly. Babies generally require one more layer then adults; so if you are sleeping in light clothing and just a sheet, put your baby in the same plus a light, breathable, cotton blanket. In temperatures of 23 degrees and above, babies may just need light clothing and a sheet.

 

Manage the room temperature

Generally the ideal room temperature for sleeping is between 16-18 degrees. Anything much higher than this will make it harder to drop off to sleep and to stay asleep.

  • day routine

It’s a good idea to keep all windows closed and curtains drawn during the day to keep the room cool. About an hour before your usual bed time, open the windows and doors in the house to create a light draught. Be sure to sleep with the bedroom door open if possible and if you have a upstairs rooms open any windows at night to allow the hot air to rise out of the house.

  • Fan

You can use a fan to increase airflow further. Sometimes it helps to put a tray of ice and water in front of it to cool the air. You can also put large bottles of frozen water around the bedroom to cool the air as it melts.

  • Mattress

Heat rises, therefore the bottom of the house tends to be cooler. If possible, try putting your mattress lower down on the floor where it will be a little cooler.

 

Regulate your body temperature

Generally, our body temperature drops before we go to sleep. This acts as a signal for our brains that its time to sleep, but this can be disrupted if the outside temperature is high. So try some of these quick strategies to lower body temperature:

  • Keep hydrated throughout the day with water and keep a glass by the bed at night.
  • Wear light nightwear made from natural fibres such as cotton and avoid synthetic materials.
  • Take a tepid bath or shower before bed.
  • Keep a spray bottle by your bed to mist your face and neck in the night if you wake up hot, or keep a damp cloth or flannel by your bed.
  • Put a hot water bottle filled with icy water in your bed.
  • Cool socks in the freezer then put them on to lower your temperature but take them off before your feet heat up again
  • Tie back long hair before going to bed to avoid your neck getting hot.
  • If you share a bed, make sure there is enough room to sleep without touching each other to avoid extra sweating.

 

With these easy and simple ideas, restless hot nights can become nights with plenty of rest! Be sure to stay as cool as possible during the upcoming hot season, and allow your body to obtain the rest it requires, without the heat being a disruptive factor.