Top tips to stay cool while you sleep
My son was too hot last night in bed. His forehead was very sweaty. Time to change his 9 tog scooms duvet to a 4.5 tog! But what else could I do to help him sleep better now that the nights are getting warmer? I've had a good look into how to stay cool in bed. Read our top tips!
- Too hot to sleep
- Keep your bedroom cool
- Lower your body temperature before bed
- Cool down in bed
- What to wear to bed when it's hot
Too hot to sleep
Research shows that we need the right temperature to sleep, around 18°C, and if our bedrooms are hotter than that, it will take us longer to fall asleep. Our sleep may also be disturbed as we toss and turn, wake-up and go back to sleep, which means we won't get enough deep sleep and REM sleep, which is when our bodies and memories restore and repair.
‘Your body temperature needs to drop slightly before you go to bed, which is why you just can’t sleep when you’re too hot. An ideal bedroom temperature should be around 16 to 18°C, so it can be difficult to get comfortable in a hot and stuffy space, which leaves many people suffering from a disturbed night’s sleep,’ according to Simon Williams of the National Bed Federation (NBF).
In hotter countries, many people use air conditioning to keep their bedrooms cool but this isn't very common in the UK. So how can we keep our bedrooms cool without AC?
Keep your bedroom cool
- Relocate to a cooler room - A north-facing bedroom will be cooler. And as heat rises, it may be cooler to sleep downstairs.
- Encourage airflow - Open windows and doors to create a draft that will flow through your room. If you have a hatch to the attic or roof, open this as hot air rises and will travel up towards the hatch.
- Block the sun - Keep your curtains and blinds drawn throughout the day to keep the heat of the sun out of your bedroom. Shutters and blackout blinds are great for the hot weather, preventing light entering but allowing air to circulate.
- Turn off the electrics - All appliances and lights give off heat so switch off anything you don't need on. Although a fan can be handy!
Lower your body temperature before bed
- Have a shower or bath - A warm shower or bath will trigger your body's natural cooling response. A cold shower can also help you feel cooler.
- Drink cold water - And take it to bed with you and sip if you're hot.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and eating late - They can make you dehydrated and hot during the night as your body works to digest food and reacts to the alcohol or caffeine.
- Don't exercise too late - Avoid rising your temperature too close to bedtime.
- Practise mindfulness - Calming yourself before bedtime can help you relax and cool down before going to sleep.
- Cool your pulse points - Use a cold flannel as a compress on your wrists and neck.
- Try lavender oil - Essential oils like lavender can aid sleep. Put a couple of drops on your pillow and breathe it in as you drift off to sleep.
Cool down in bed
- Lower your duvet tog - scooms recommend a tog rating of 7.5 or lower. A 2.5 tog duvet or 4.5 tog duvet is ideal for the summer months.
- Go natural - Naturally breathable duvet fillings like goose down, offer up to four times better air circulation than synthetic duvet fillings. Cotton is temperature regulating and sweat wicking so your duvet casing and bed linen - duvet cover, sheets and pillowcases - should be 100% cotton rather than synthetic.
- Cooling bed products - I haven't tried any but there are various cooling bed products available that you might want to try including a gel insert for your pillow, as well as cooling mattresses, protectors and covers.
- Refrigerate your bedding - If your bedroom is feeling really hot you could try popping your pillowcase or sheet in a freezer bag and sticking it in the fridge for a couple of hours before you go to bed. Or fill a hot water bottle and keep it in the fridge or freezer until you want to tuck in.
- Stay away from a hot partner - If your other half is a hot sleeper, you might want to make sure you both sleep in your bit of the bed rather than snuggling in the middle together!
What to wear to bed when it's hot
- Wear cotton - You may be tempted to go commando but cotton nightwear allows your skin to breathe and absorbs any perspiration, unlike synthetics, satin or silk.
- Tie your hair back - Keeping your hair off your neck can help you stay cooler.
- Cool your feet - Cooling or warming your feet will lower or raise your body temperature. Try cooling your socks in the fridge for a couple of hours before bed.
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