How to sleep better during a heatwave 

With heatwaves continuing to affect millions of people, the discomfort of a hot room can lead to restless nights and groggy mornings. 

However, a few adjustments can help you stay cool and sleep soundly, even with soaring temperatures. Here are some practical tips to help you stay cool and rested:

1. Make some changes to your bedroom 

Keep the room cool

Close curtains and blinds: During the day, keep your curtains or blinds closed to block out direct sunlight. This can reduce the heat entering your room.

Use fans wisely: Position fans to create a cross-breeze. A box fan in the window can draw in cooler evening air, while ceiling fans can help circulate air. 

Invest in air conditioning: If possible, use an air conditioner to maintain a comfortable temperature. Portable AC units can be a good alternative if central air isn’t available.

Cool down your bed

Chill your sheets: Place your bed sheets or pillowcases in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer for a few minutes before bedtime. This can give temporary relief as you fall asleep.

Use cooling bedding: Choose breathable, moisture-wicking sheets made of materials like cotton or bamboo. Consider using a cooling mattress pad or gel pillow.

Sleep low: Hot air rises, so try sleeping closer to the floor. If possible, move your mattress or sleeping setup to a lower level in your home.

2. Adjust Your nighttime routine

Stay hydrated

Drink water: Ensure you’re well-hydrated throughout the day, but avoid drinking large amounts right before bed to prevent nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine: Both can dehydrate you and disrupt your sleep patterns, so it’s best to limit these, especially in the evening.

Cool down your body

Take a cool shower: A lukewarm or cool shower before bed can lower your body temperature and make you feel more comfortable.

Use a damp cloth: Drape a damp washcloth over your forehead or other pulse points. You can also try soaking your feet in cool water before bed.

3. Dress in comfortable clothes 

Dress lightly

Choose breathable fabrics: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting pyjamas made from natural fibres like cotton, which allow your skin to breathe.

Sleep naked: If you’re comfortable with it, sleeping naked can help your body stay cool by allowing heat to dissipate more easily.

Find a comfortable position

Spread out: If you sleep alone or have a large bed, spread out to allow air to circulate around your body.

Elevate your head: Use a thinner pillow or none at all to keep your head cooler.

4. Use sleep aids and techniques

Cooling devices

Cold packs: Place cold packs or ice packs wrapped in a cloth under your pillow or at your feet.

Chilled water bottles: Fill a hot water bottle with cold water and place it in your bed.

Relaxation techniques

Breathing exercises: Practice deep breathing or meditation to calm your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep.

Progressive muscle relaxation: This technique involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in your body, which can help reduce tension and promote sleep.

5. Manage external heat sources

Turn off electronics

Unplug devices: Electronics emit heat, so turn off or unplug unnecessary devices in your bedroom.

Limit light sources: Use dim, cool-toned lighting in the evening to avoid adding extra heat to your space.

Cook wisely

Avoid oven use: Cook outside on a grill or prepare no-cook meals to prevent heating up your home.

Eat light: Eat lighter meals in the evening to avoid the metabolic heat generated by digesting heavy foods.

By following these tips, you can create a cooler, more comfortable sleep environment even during the hottest nights of the year. 

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