The summer heat wave can make it really tricky to get a good night’s sleep. Here’s a summary of the advice out there for staying cool enough to sleep if you don’t have air conditioning…
1. Cool off. A cold shower takes on a whole new significance come summertime. Rinsing off under a stream of tepid water brings down the core body temperature and rinses off sweat so you can hit the hay feeling cool and clean. A cold or cooler bath works just as well.
2. Go for cotton. Light-coloured bed linens made of lightweight cotton are breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow in the bedroom.
3. Get loose. Pick a loose, soft cotton shirt and shorts or undies. Getting naked during a heat wave is controversial. Some people believe it helps keep them cool, while others claim sleeping in the buff means sweat stays on the body instead of being wicked away by the fabric. Whatever works for you.
4. Cold water bottle. Buy an old-school hot water bottle. During summer, stick it in the freezer to create a bed-friendly ice pack. But don’t fill it too full – remember ice expands as it freezes.
5. Reverse the flow. If you thought fans are just for blowing the breeze at you, think different! Point fans out the windows so they push hot air out.
6. Sleep like an Egyptian. The so-called “Egyptian method” involves dampening a sheet or towel in cool water and using it as a blanket. Just damp not dripping.
7. Do it Yourself. Make a DIY air conditioner by positioning a shallow pan or bowl full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water vapour from the ice as it melts, creating a cooling mist.
8. Chill the pulses. To chill out super-quick, apply ice packs or cold compresses to pulse points on the wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees.
9. Go solo. Sleeping alone is way better than spooning for staying cool. Unromantic I know, but cuddling with a partner increases body heat, making the bed a sticky, sweaty pit of discomfort, instead of a cool, calm oasis. Sorry.
10. Hydrate. Drinking a glass of water before bed. Tossing, turning and sweating at night can result in dehydration, so get some water in the tank before drifting into the land of nod. Alcohol also dehydrates so better to stay off the sauce.
11. Get low. Hot air rises, so set up your bed or mattress as close to the ground as possible to beat the heat. That may mean hauling the mattress down from a high bed and putting it on the floor.
12. Turn off the lights. This tip is pretty self-explanatory. Light bulbs give off heat as well as light. And a dark well ventilated room is always going to be best for sleeping.
13. Cold feet. Toes and feet are pretty sensitive to temperature. Cool down the whole body by dunking feet in cold water before hitting the sack. Better yet, keep a bucket of water near the bed and dip feet whenever you’re feeling hot throughout the night. But be careful if you still use a potty!
14. Disconnect. Gadgets and other small appliances can give off heat, even when turned off. Unplug to reduce total heat in the house (and save energy!)
15. Go granary! Wheat bags can be used to cool off as well as heat up. Check out our wheat bags and body wraps here - just stick it in the freezer for an hour or so. The wheat bag will stay chilly for up to 30 minutes, definitely enough time to nod off.