Being unable to sleep in the heat is frustrating. With the weather due to hit the highest ever recorded temperatures in the UK, the elderly and individuals with physical disabilities and mobility issues need to regulate their body temperature at night.
Middletons Mobility has found that in the 2019 heatwave, where temperatures soared to 39 degrees celsius, 892 excess deaths of people aged 65 and over were reported. Sleep deprivation can result in tiredness and symptoms related to daytime impairment, such as reduced concentration, slower thinking, and mood changes. In addition, physical issues such as heat stroke, exhaustion, and dehydration can be hazardous.
With this in mind, Middletons Mobility has put together tips to keep calm and stay safe throughout the night this summer.
Cool your Body
- Using cold water to cool your body, either in a cold shower or a wet flannel, can be highly effective at helping lower core body temperatures. Putting something cool on your wrists and ankles is the best bet.
- Avoid excessive heat build-up during the day in your body by not doing vigorous exercise. Exercise increases your internal temperature, so you should allow yourself several hours to cool down before bed.
- In bed, spread your arms and legs, so they’re not touching your body to reduce body heat and sweat, letting air circulate through your body.
- Use a hot water bottle as a bed-friendly ice pack. Fill it with water and stick it in the freezer for sweet heat relief.
- Make sure you drink water before bed to keep hydrated. When you sweat during the night, you lose vital water and electrolytes. Water will replace what is lost as well as cool you down.
- The use of fans, removing excess clothing and hydrating sufficiently are also highly effective ways in which you can keep cool at night, allowing for a peaceful sleep in the heat.
Cool your environment
- Using breathable cotton bedding is an effective way of staying cool at night. Lightweight materials do not trap heat or moisture, meaning you can stay comfortable at night and avoid the risk of overheating.
- Sleeping in a bed closer to the floor is also an excellent way to stay calm. As heat rises, the lower the ground, the cooler we can remain.
- Moving rooms is recommended if your room isn’t the coolest, darkest and quietest place in the house.
- Keep your house cool. If it’s hot during the day, draw the curtains and blinds to help keep your home at the perfect sleeping temperature of 16–18 degrees.
- Keep your lights switched off. Even environmentally friendly light bulbs give off heat.
- Try hanging a wet sheet over your open window. This allows cool air to circulate in your room.
Ricky, director of Middletons, has commented on the matter. Giving his expert insight into how the upcoming high temperatures may impact the elderly and people with mobility issues, he has revealed the best ways in which these individuals can take action to stay safe in the heat:
‘With the hottest Summer in recent history forecast this year, it’s more important than ever to ensure that those who require assistance to align with their levels of mobility keep themselves protected.’
‘The rising temperature can cause issues that don’t feel especially severe, such as headaches, confusion, dizziness, or nausea. Even though these symptoms may initially feel mild, they must be monitored, as any of these could be a sign of a heat-related illness, such as heatstroke.’
To keep heat-related illnesses from becoming dangerous heat stroke, it is recommended that people with disabilities do the following to keep themselves protected against the heat:
- Ensure air conditioning or a cool place is accessible to get out of the sun.
- Hydrate and make sure plenty of fluids are readily available.
- Shower, bathe, or sponge off with cool water.
- Lie down and rest in a cool place.
- Visit your doctor or emergency room if you don’t cool down quickly.
‘Ensuring that people with disabilities that impact their mobility can enjoy their time out just as much as everyone else is one of the key values we at Middletons adhere to.’