14.04.2024

Experts share top tips ahead of UK’s heatwave

Summer heatwaves are on the way, with temperatures predicted to jump into the mid-twenties this weekend and beyond. As lovely as scorching weather sounds after what felt like a never-ending winter, it leaves many tossing and turning, says German sleep psychologist Theresa Schnorbach.

The ideal bedroom temperature for nodding-off is between 15.5 and 19C (59.9 and 66.2F), she says.

‘If we are too warm, our core temperature is unable to drop, making it more difficult to fall asleep and causing sleep disturbances,’ Ms Schnorbach adds.

But it’s not all doom and gloom — there are some easy hacks to help you beat the heat. In fact, there’s seven. And Ms Schnorbach has shared them all…

Summer heatwaves are on the way, with temperatures predicted to jump into the mid-twenties this weekend and beyond

Summer heatwaves are on the way, with temperatures predicted to jump into the mid-twenties this weekend and beyond

Ventilate wisely

‘Firstly, you should look to keep windows and curtains closed during the day to help keep your bedroom cool,’ suggests Ms Schnorbach.

‘During the night, you can open your windows and curtains to allow a fresh breeze in.

‘A fan can also help to keep cool air circulating throughout the night, and the white noise produced by this can also have the added benefit of helping you to drift off.’

Of course, only leave windows open if it’s safe and secure to do so. If that’s not an option, vents and fans may be your best friend for summer slumber.

Change your bedding if necessary

‘It’s also worth thinking about your mattress and bedding materials in warmer weather,’ says Ms Schnorbach.

‘Mattresses with open coil systems, for example, can allow air to circulate throughout.

‘If you’re not looking to replace your whole mattress, a mattress topper can be a great alternative. When made from the right material, mattress toppers can keep you fresh and cool throughout the night by providing another breathable layer on top of your mattress, helping to regulate your body’s temperature and give you a comfortable sleep.’

Consider your pulse points

It can be extremely frustrating when you’re tossing and turning due to over-heating. There may be additional steps you can take to boost that cool-down effect.

‘Utilise your body’s pulse points – areas where your blood flows closest to the surface of your skin, such as your wrists or the sides of your neck,’ Ms Schnorbach suggests.

‘Wrap an ice pack in a cloth or a towel – never apply ice directly to your skin – hold it against these pulse points to help you quickly cool off.

‘Similarly, you can also use a hot-water bottle filled with cold water, a cool, damp flannel, or try splashing cold water on these pulse points.

‘Your body’s blood vessels will react to the cool sensation and instantly bring your core temperature down. However, avoid your feet and hands, as this can prevent you from falling asleep.’

Take a lukewarm shower

‘While a freezing cold shower before bed may be what you’re craving to help beat the heat, I suggest opting for one that is lukewarm instead,’ adds Ms Schnorbach.

‘A shower that is too cold will actually cause the body to warm up again to re-balance the body temperature.’

Go nude or wear cotton

If you’re someone that can’t sleep without some kind of clothing on, wearing pyjamas of natural cotton is your best bet.

‘The material actually helps your skin breathe while absorbing your sweat during the night,’ Ms Schnorbach explains.

Munch on sleep-supporting fruits

A summer fruit that’s usually plentiful in the warmer months, cherries help to increase melatonin – a hormone that helps in promoting sleep.

‘By producing more melatonin, your body can help better regulate its internal clock and you can doze off more easily at night,’ Ms Schnorbach explains.

Bananas are another fruit that can also help aid sleep. Bananas are high in magnesium and potassium, which can help to increase your sleep duration and promote relaxation.

Have a cuddle

And Ms Schnorbach’s final tip? Have a snuggle.

She says: ‘While it may feel counterintuitive, a cuddle before bed can help in reducing your core temperature by encouraging your blood vessels to dilate, thus losing excessive body heat.’

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