How to sleep in summer heat

We may not always get perfect summer weather here in the UK, but at this time of year the temperature and humidity can often rise enough to make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

“Hot weather can be a nuisance when it comes to bedtime,” says The Sleep Council’s Lisa Artis. “And while we may celebrate the warmth of the sun and the longer, brighter days, heat can cause havoc when it comes to catching the zzzs.”

According to Lisa, the ideal bedroom temperature is around 16 – 18ºC. But if it’s been a hot day, your bedroom may still be too warm at night. And since your body temperature needs to lower slightly before you go to sleep, being too hot can stop you dropping off.

The Sleep Council has lots of tips to help you stay cool and comfortable in bed this summer, including the following:

  • Open windows – and doors – to create a cool draught through your bedroom.
  • Keep curtains or blinds drawn during the day to keep the sun out and your room cooler at night.
  • If you’ve got an attic, try opening the hatch. Hot air rises and this will give it somewhere to go.
  • Get rid of the duvet and blankets and sleep with just a cotton sheet or a duvet with a low tog rating.
  • Wear light cotton nightwear – this is actually better than wearing nothing at all as natural fabric will absorb any perspiration.
  • If you’ve got long hair, tie it back. Hair around your neck can make you feel warmer in bed.
  • Have a cool shower or bath before bedtime to lower your core body temperature.
  • Drink plenty of cold water during the evening and keep a glass by the bed.
  • Pull out your hot water bottle, but fill it with ice cold water and have it in bed with you.
  • Cool a pillow case in the fridge before bedtime. Try putting socks in the fridge and wear them in bed – cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body.

Sleep-better tool

The Sleep Council has also developed a free self-help tool to help you get a better night’s sleep, whatever the weather. According to this year’s Sleep Council Great British Bedtime Report, three quarters of British people sleep for less than seven hours a night and more than one in 10 sleep for less than five hours. So Sleep Council experts have developed The 30 Day Better Sleep Plan to help those who want to improve their sleep and prevent more serious and prolonged sleep problems.

To get your copy of the plan, visit www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/30-day-plan and answer the questions that come up. Once you’ve completed your answers, you’ll receive a downloadable tailored plan to follow for 30 days. You’ll also be encouraged to complete the Sleep Council’s sleep diary to track your improvements – and even if you don’t see much improvement, the diary could be a good tool to help your GP or specialist diagnose any potential problems.

Your local Careway pharmacist can also give you lots of tips on getting a better night’s sleep and recommend gentle over-the-counter sleep aids for temporary use if you need more help. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.

Find more sleep tips in our article Good sleep is like winning the lottery.