When there's a heatwave, or even just garden-variety hot summer weather, it can be hard to sleep! We have some tips and suggestions on how to conquer the heat and sleep easy, even if you don't have air conditioning in your bedroom.
Keep in mind that it is more effective - and sometimes more feasible - to cool your body than the space around it. Good sleep comes from your body being at a normal or slightly lower than normal temp at bedtime.
- Move to the living room - If your living room (or another area of the house) has air conditioning, you might want to try sleeping on the couch or on some bedding on the floor. Heatwaves usually only last a few days so try to think of it as gaining comfort, not losing your preferred sleeping arrangements.
- Choose appropriate bed linen - Any sheets that have a sheen to them will be hotter than, say, bamboo or 100% cotton (even linen) sheets. Polyester, silk and satin are a definite no-no in summer! Same goes for pyjamas. Choose fabrics that are moisture-wicking and 'breathable'.
- Use a ceiling or standing fan - Keeping the air circulating helps to evaporate the sweat that gathers on your skin. As it evaporates, it cools you down. You can also place a shallow baking tray of ice in front of the fan so that as it blows over it, it blows cooler air in your direction. Extra tip: Make sure your ceiling fan is set to the summer direction.
- Avoid alcohol before bed - Alcohol has a warming effect on the body, not to mention that it also disrupts normal sleeping patterns.
- Move downstairs - Hot air rises so if all that thermal energy from during the day has caused the upper level of your house to be extra hot, consider sleeping downstairs.
- Cold eye mask - You can buy gel-filled eye masks to wear to bed. Simply put it in the freezer each morning and it'll be perfect for bedtime.
- Damp washer or hand towel - Taking one of these to bed with you and keeping it on your bedside table (on a tray if dampness will be an issue) is handy. When you're having trouble falling asleep, you can wipe your forehead, neck and chest to feel cooler.
- Spray bottle - If your room is really hot, keep a little spray bottle of cool water handy and spritz yourself to cool down.
- Freeze your hot water bottle - Fill it to about three quarters full and place in the freezer throughout the day. You can also freeze your wheat pack or use ice packs (such as those added to lunch boxes) wrapped in a tea towel or face washer. The best areas to apply these to are your armpits, groin and the front of your neck.
- Go solo - If you or your partner radiates a lot of heat in bed, a heatwave is a good time to sleep in separate beds.
- Be cautious about mozzies - If you're going to keep your windows open and you don't have screens, explore some anti-mozzie solutions like plug-ins, wrist bands or personal repellent.
- Sleep under the stars - You may live somewhere that has a lovely evening breeze. There's no reason why you can't sleep on your outdoor lounge or even a camp bed.
- Have a cool shower - Keep the water at room temperature or slightly less. Don't have a cold shower or your body will increase your temperature to fight off the chill. Aim to bring your body temperature down, not shock it.
- Eat a light dinner - A heavy meal requires more energy for digestion and thus, generates more heat.
- Drink cool water - Keep a bottle of cool water by your bed and hydrate if you feel you're sweating a lot.
BONUS TIP: Add a little spritz of our Pillow Spray around your sheets and pillow cases to help you drift off.
It's important that if you have any health conditions that are impacted by hydration or your body over-heating, you talk to your GP.