Often there are many factors that can contribute to the issue, including our bedding choice, bedroom layout, what we wear and what we do before retiring for the night.
To help beat the heat, Karen Yu, from online bedding experts Zinus UK, has shared her ‘sleep hacks’ and the best ways to set up our bedrooms during the warm months.
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Here’s what she had to say.
Invest in summer pyjamas
It’s not just your bedding – the material you wear while going to sleep can also have an impact on how you regulate your temperature when you’re asleep.
When it comes to PJs, you want to opt for natural fabrics like 100 per cent cotton, bamboo and silk. Cotton is very lightweight, soft and breathable, allowing good ventilation while you sleep. Bamboo is great for its sweat-wicking abilities and is also the best choice if you’re looking for something hypo-allergenic. Silk, on the other hand, is a thermoregulator, keeping you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot making it the ideal choice all year round.
Use cotton pyjamas and thin, pure cotton sheets for your bed – high-quality cotton is the ideal bedding material to sleep between to stay cool as it’s most breathable.
Change your sheets
The type of bed sheets you use on your bed can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. During the summer months, heavier materials trap heat in and can make you feel weighed down which can make it difficult to get a good night's sleep.
Natural materials such as cotton or linen are a great choice to switch to during warm months. They're more breathable than some synthetic options can wick away moisture if you overheat and can dry quickly. They're also incredibly soft to the touch, making them an excellent touch for all skin types.
Always have more than one set of bedding to make sure you can swap them over without hassle, and don’t forget to wash them in line with their recommended care instructions to help make them last longer.
Add a cooling mattress topper
With all the things we need to buy for a bed, mattress toppers are often let out, but they are incredibly beneficial. They can alter the feel of your bed, making it softer or harder depending on your needs. Cooling toppers are a specific type of topper that helps regulate the temperature of your bed to keep things refreshingly cool.
Like normally toppers, cooling toppers come in a variety of different sizes and types. Shop around to find the one that offers the right level of cooling and comfort for you. Since they just fit over your mattress, they’re incredibly easy to remove so you’ll be able to add and take one-off depending on how you want to feel. During the warmer months, they can be a great way to help you cool down that you can use for years to come, making it a cost-effective investment.
Consider changing your mattress
This might seem a bit drastic, but changing your mattress during the summer can be a great solution to help ease troubled sleep during warmer months. Mattress designs have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, offering new options to help sleepers overcome many of the issues they might encounter while trying to get a good night's sleep.
Some designs combine traditional memory foam beds with a cool gel layer. This makes the mattress resistant to absorbing and retaining body heat, ensuring a better night all around. Some mattresses are even infused with green tea to help keep your bed feeling fresh so you can sleep even better.
Keeping windows closed could be the better option
Most people think that leaving windows open on hot days will help cool the house - but this isn’t true in all cases. In hotter countries, they block the sun out during the day, so there’s some rhyme and reason to keeping them closed. It comes down to two key factors – how much natural air circulation your home experiences and if your home is insulated.
If there isn’t a decent breeze outside, having your windows open for a long period can increase the temperature in your bedroom rather than reduce it.
A popular belief is that insulation is only good for keeping heat in. However, what it actually does is slow the transfer of heat. This means that while it can help keep heat in, it can also act to keep heat out. This can also be the case for your windows if they’re double glazed.
To help keep your bedroom feeling cool, open the windows first thing in the morning to encourage fresh air to flow through the house, then close them for the rest of the day. Keep your curtains closed as well.
Freeze a hot water bottle
While hot water bottles, as their name implies, tend to be filled with hot water, freezing them overnight is also a great tactic to help you cool down.
Freeze a hot water bottle overnight, and bring it up to bed with you at night time. From here you can leave it on your pillows to cool down as you prepare for bed. This can leave your pillows feeling refreshingly cool as you settle in for the night. Alternatively, consider putting your pillowcase in the fridge or freezer during the day.
Once you’re under the covers, move the bottle down towards your feet. This might sound weird, but cooling your feet is one of the quickest ways to bring your entire body temperature down.
Add some air-purifying houseplants to your space
Sometimes it’s not just the heat that can cause sleeping problems. Warm weather can often lead to dry air, which can cause a whole host of problems such as dry throat, dried out sinuses and nasal irritation, dry skin, chapped lips and nosebleeds (in severe cases)
One of the best (and cost-effective) ways to encourage moisture in the air is to add some air-purifying houseplants to your bedroom. Houseplants are amazing. Not only do they add a sense of beauty and harmony to your space, but certain types are well known because of their air-purifying qualities.
Always try and lay low
Hot air rises, so a good tactic to stay cool is to keep your bed as low to the floor as possible.
If you’ve got room, moving your mattress off the bed frame and onto the floor can be a big help. If you’re feeling up to it, why not move your mattress downstairs? The sofa may not be ideal, but sleeping in your living room is generally going to be cooler than sleeping upstairs. This can be a fun activity, especially if you have children - it’s a great excuse to have a slumber party or camp out.
Resist afternoon naps
Another myth we often hear is that naps can be a good way to while away the warmest hours of the day is to take nap. There is some merit in it - since we use more energy to regulate our internal body temperature, warm weather can make us tired and lethargic during the day, so taking a nap might sound like a great idea. This can be really enticing, especially on sunny, sleepy weekends.
However, it can often leave us feeling worse, not better. Sleeping during the day can often make it harder for us to sleep at night, and make it especially harder if our sleep is already disturbed by the lingering heat. When it's hot, sleepiness can be precious - save it for bedtime.
Find ways to distract yourself
If you’re lying in bed and struggling to sleep, don’t be afraid of getting up for a short time to find something to distract yourself. While staying in bed and scrolling on your phone might seem like a good idea to help you drift off, you can easily lose hours to endless scrolling and still be wide awake hours later.
If you're struggling to settle down, get up and find a low-key activity you can do. This can be anything from collecting the washing ready for the next day, making a quick snack or even doing 15 minutes of reading. Sometimes engaging in a simple activity can take your mind off trying to sleep - which can help you fall asleep.
Watch what you drink
Staying hydrated when it’s warm is vital for us to stay happy and healthy. However, what we’re drinking, and how much we're drinking of it, can also have an impact on how we sleep.
To help aid sleep, avoid caffeine at least 10 hours before sleep. This includes hot drinks such as tea and coffee, and cold like energy drinks or cold brew. A cold beer or drink might seem like a good idea, but alcoholic drinks (and any mixers) can also have an impact - if you manage to get to sleep, these beverages can leave you feeling restless, increasing your chances of waking up throughout the night.
Drink water and low-sugar drinks regularly during the day, but not too much at night. About ½ pints before bed will be enough to keep you hydrated and prevent you from having to get up and go to the loo.