How to Sleep Like a Pro, Even in a Heatwave

During the summer, sleeping in high temperatures can be a problem. However, with a few simple tips, you can make your sleep much more pleasant.

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, nothing is more frustrating than lying down awake, thinking about how much you need to get to sleep, but it’s just too warm to settle. It’s not just frustrating, being too warm is scientifically proven to effect your sleep quality. With the warmer summer months being the most enjoyable for your awake hours, they should be accompanied by great sleep.


The effects of temperature on sleep quality and wakefulness

Dr Matthew Walker, professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California and sleep expert, talks with TED Radio Hour on the essentials for getting a good night's sleep. ‘Your body needs to drop its core temperature by about 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit to initiate sleep and then to stay asleep. And it’s the reason you will always find it easier to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold than too hot. So aim for a bedroom temperature of around 65 degrees or about 18 degrees Celsius. That’s going to be optimal for the sleep of most people.’ With poor quality sleep, we can expect impaired decision making and memory, plus being chronically sleep deprived increases the risk for all-cause mortality. If the difference is 2 degrees between poor quality and a great sleep, we can definitely make some home improvements for a more restful night.

Prefer cotton sheets

The material of your bed sheets is an easy fix to being cooler overnight. Most people have the same duvet and sheets year-round, despite the fluctuation in temperature outside the sheets. Opting for breathable materials such as cotton and lyocell, which is a semi-synthetic fibre made from eucalyptus trees. Pair sheets with a lighter-weight summer duvet at 4.5 tog or below for that perfect summer snooze.

Let the air flow

Setting the space for optimal airflow will help with getting bringing heat down. A room with hard flooring rather than carpet will be cooler overnight, this may be a consideration if you’re struggling every year. However, an option with less DIY is to allow airflow by leaving windows ajar or a bedroom door open. Naturally, the air temperature drops outside overnight, and is one of the biological reasons we are adapted to sleep colder, long before the cavemen have a comfy bed to crash in!

Fan or air-conditioning

If you’re concerned about leaving windows or doors open overnight; a security risk will keep you awake even more than being too hot, then buy a good quality fan or air-conditioning.

Air-conditioning is the more expensive option, but a permanent fix meaning you can have optimal temperatures year-round at that perfect 18 degrees. However, a fan will help bring the same result once you have found what settings work best for you. Trial a fan on gently, and as quietly as possible so as to not wake you up with the noise of it. The feel and sound of the cooling air might even help sleep further.

The summer months have no need to be your sleepiest months. Temperature is one of the biggest factors in getting to and staying asleep throughout the night, and some smart investments in your bedroom setup can reap big rewards.

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