Sleeping in hot weather: a few tips and tricks to beat the heat!
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
This week the U.K has seen rocketing temperatures and as usual it’s become the hottest (sorry) topic of the moment.
As I mentioned last week, I have been struggling with sleep over the last few months as I try to withdraw from the antipsychotic drug quetiapine – more to come on that in the future!
Anyway, today I thought it might be a good idea to share some tips for sleeping in hot weather because none of us are ever geared up for it in the U.K and without air con (virtually all of us), sleep can prove very difficult!
Here are a few top tips and ideas to get you that golden eight hours – Ok some anyway!
Hot weather can make us feel lethargic during the day because we're using more energy to regulate our internal temperature.
But if your sleep is disturbed at night, try to avoid napping during the day because this disrupts your natural sleep drive (your sleeping and waking regulation).
When it's hot, sleepiness can be precious so it’s better to save it for bedtime.
Keep to routines
Hot weather can encourage you to change your habits which is never a good idea!
Try to keep to your usual bedtime and routines and do the things you normally would before going to bed.
Remember the basics
It’s a good idea to take steps to ensure your bedroom is as cool as it can be at night.
During the day, draw the curtains or blinds to keep the sun out and make sure you close the windows on the sunny side of your home, to keep hot air out.
I have also just started blacking out my windows too since reading ‘The Insomnia Diaries’ by Miranda Levy (review coming) and I am already sleeping much better.
This stops the early sun from waking me up and is so far working quite well!
Use thin sheets
Reducing your bedding is a good idea but you need to keep covers handy in case you wake up feeling cold in the night. Thin cotton sheets will absorb sweat better and keep you cooler too.
However hot it is in your bedroom, your body temperature will fall during the night - that's why we sometimes wake up feeling cold - so have a blanket within reach just in case!
Chill your socks
A small fan can be sensible in hot weather, especially when it's humid as it encourages the evaporation of sweat and makes it easier for your body to regulate your internal temperature.
If you don't have a fan, you could try filling your hot water bottle with ice cold liquid instead. I was going to try this but then I realised that I don’t have one! Epic fail…
Alternatively, you could cool socks in the fridge and put those on instead. Cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body apparently – but they don’t stay cold for long enough though!
Drink enough water throughout the day but avoid drinking large amounts before bed because you don’t want to be disturbed in the night!
Not drinking enough is dangerous because it can lead to dehydration and headaches which won’t help you when it comes to bedtime – be the ‘expert of yourself’ and try to find the right balance.
If you're struggling to sleep, try getting up and doing something calming, don’t just lie there sweating and tossing and turning!
Try reading, writing or anything that’s quiet and relaxing.
Avoid the temptation to pick up the phone and start scrawling socials because the blue light makes us feel less sleepy and the activity is stimulating!
Return to bed when you feel sleepy.
Take a hot shower (really?!)
According to psychologist Michael Breus taking a relaxing rinse under hot water increases your core body temperature and can improve your sleep—especially if it’s 90 minutes before bedtime.
“That drop in core body temperature (once you’re out of the shower) is a signal to produce melatonin.”
Known as the “Dracula of hormones,” melatonin makes you sleepy and regulates sleep and wake cycles.
Minimise alcohol before bed
What most people don’t realize is that while alcohol makes you feel sleepy, it also keeps you out of the deeper stages of sleep later in the night.
Most people don’t even regard alcohol as a drug but (like other recreational drugs) for the wrong person it can be lethal.
Alcohol also damages the mitochondria in the brain. If you have a mental health condition (take a deep breath alcohol lovers), you really ought to consider cutting it out altogether.
Cut out (all) caffeine
The same goes for caffeine. It damages the brain and makes sleeping far more difficult because it has a half life of six hours so really you can't drink it at all.
Be careful about soft drinks too as many of them contain large amounts of caffeine, especially fizzy ones.
Chocolate also has caffeine in it so (sorry chocoholics) that’s got to go too!
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and makes us feel more awake so it’s important to cut as much of it out as you possibly can.
Quit smoking! (Ok I empathise but do try!)
Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant and won’t help you when it comes to getting to sleep.
I have managed to get off the pesky things for good because now that I finally want to live, I actually care about what I’m putting into my body again! Also, I don’t feel the need to continually stimulate my stunted brain with another Marlboro light!
The effects of quitting haven’t really been realised for me when it comes to sleep (I do feel liberated) because I’m also trying to get off quetiapine which disrupts everything so badly BUT I do feel healthier, and my bed sheets don’t stink of stale smoke either so that's got to be a bonus!
Smoking can also prevent you from reaching the deeper stages of sleep. There are so many reasons to quit which I will be discussing in a future post!
If you would like to know more about sleeping in hot weather, then you can find more information here.
Thanks for reading,
Speak to you soon,