7 ways to get an extra hour’s sleep despite the heat
The days are longer, the beaches are buzzing and it’s socially acceptable to wear thongs again. And while the warmer months bring a heap of health benefits — such as improved mood, increased vitamin D and more opportunities to get outside to exercise — it can also wreak havoc on your sleep.
“Summer is absolutely the time of year when more people have trouble sleeping, and it has a lot to do with the outside temperature,” says sleep guru Dr Michael Breus.
“Your entire sleep system is based on a daily temperature rhythm where your body temperature climbs throughout the day to reach a peak at around 10.30pm. It then starts to fall, which is what causes the brain to feel sleepy.”
Although the ideal external room temperature for sleep sits between 18C and 22C, summer temps can rise much higher than that. This increased heat can interfere with your natural sleep rhythm and stop you from feeling the urge to nod off.
While controlling your bedroom temperature by opening windows, using a fan or switching on the airconditioning can be helpful, it’s only step one.
Here, we reveal the simple hacks that’ll help you beat the heat — and stay asleep — all night long …
1. SHRED SOME THREADS
Even if your room is sitting at a comfortable temperature, a hot bed will still disrupt your sleep and high-thread-count sheets are to blame.
“To make sheets with a higher thread count, companies have to weave the fabric tighter, which prevents air from circulating in the bed and makes you hotter,” Dr Breus explains.
His perfect summer bedding has a thread count of 350-450 and is made from cotton or bamboo, which are the most breathable fabrics.
2. ADD COOL ACCESSORIES
If you’re really struggling, you might want to invest in some special accessories.
“There’s a device called the Chili Pad [chilitechnology.com], which is kind of like a cold electric blanket, and I’ve been really impressed by it,” Dr Breus says.
It goes on top of the mattress and pumps water through microtubes in the pad to cool you down.
For a more low-tech alternative, fill your hot-water bottle with cold water and stick it in the freezer.
Just before you go to bed, place it between your sheets and it’ll act like a large ice-pack. Popping your pillow case in the freezer can also help, as can dampening your sheets.