Summer heatwaves are on the way, and while they are welcome during the day, sleeping in the hot weather can be challenging. Leading home comforts brand Kudd.ly has teamed up with Suzy Reading, a psychologist specialising in well-being, to provide expert tips on how to get a good night’s sleep in the hot weather.
Choose breathable bedding fabrics
Opting for lightweight natural fibres such as cotton, linen, silk or bamboo which breathe well help keep you cool and wick perspiration away more effectively than synthetic fabrics that can also tend to cling more to your body. Colour can make a difference too – choose lighter shades, neutrals, pastels and whites for their airy, peaceful feel. Lighter shades reflect daylight and stay cooler unlike darker colours that absorb light and heat coming through your windows. Higher thread count of your bed linen can diminish air circulation so opt for lower counts in hotter climates or seasons and choose lowest togs for duvets, if you are using one at all.
Stick to a bedtime routine
Regularity and consistency are the most effective ways to boost the healthy functioning of your body clock. In determining your ideal bed time and rise time consider how much sleep you need to function well – for most adults this is 7–9 hours per night. We need to give ourselves enough time in bed to have a chance of meeting our individual sleep needs. If we need to rise at a certain time, determined by the demands of our day, we can work back from there to determine our bedtime. All of this needs to be tempered with what’s possible and it can be helpful to remember that it’s not just sleep that’s replenishing and healing – rest is just as good! Committing to a pre-bedtime wind down routine will help you rest and relax until we are naturally ready for sleep.”
Avoid eating anything heavy before bed
It’s best to avoid any drink and food that increase your core body temperature which can interfere with us dropping off to sleep – this includes spicy or acidic food, eating heavy (fried/high fat) or large meals, and eating late so your body is busy processing and digesting when you’re trying to sleep. It’s helpful to avoid alcohol which diminishes the quality of sleep and causes micro wake-ups that you might not be aware of but leave you feeling depleted even after a decent number of hours of sleep, and food (like chocolate) and beverages that contain the stimulant caffeine (remembering that de-caf doesn’t mean no caf – in a standard cup of ordinary coffee there is between 80mg–100mg of caffeine, in decaffeinated there is between 2mg–15mg of caffeine).
Be careful with fermented foods like teriyaki or soy sauce, tofu, and miso, also citrus fruit, cured meats and aged cheeses; these contain the amino acid tyramine, which can increase brain activity and make it harder to fall asleep. It’s worth also being aware of foods and carbonated drinks that can make you feel gassy and avoiding those in the evening. Aim to get the bulk of your hydration earlier in the day, rather than guzzling water in the evening resulting in inevitable night time trips to the loo.
Cool yourself down before bedtime
During hot weather, it’s incredibly convenient to have a cooling facial mist readily available. Storing it in the fridge allows you to retrieve it whenever you need a refreshing burst of coolness. Another effective way to cool down is taking a bath before you are about to sleepI. Taking a bath 1–2 hours before bed has been scientifically shown to help you get to sleep – it works by drawing your core heat to your extremities where it is released. While the warmth of the bath is relaxing, it’s the dissipation of core body heat when you get out that actually promotes sleep. I’d also add magnesium flakes to the bath for their anti-inflammatory, relaxation-boosting properties. Ideal practices to wind down before bed include getting into PJ’s you love and calming scent to prime your mind and body for rest, and activities to soothe your mind and body – journaling, face yoga (try this sequence), meditation, yoga nidra, legs up the wall (this is how you get into it), breathing, stretching, self-massage.
Supplement these strategies with calming pre-bedtime activities such as journaling, meditation, or yoga. By integrating these expert recommendations into your nighttime routine, you can create an environment conducive to restful sleep and wake up refreshed, ready to embrace the joys of summer.