7 Ways to Sleep Better in the Heat

Hot, humid nights do not have to spell disaster for your sleep.

To get deep, restorative sleep your body needs to cool down before bedtime and stay cool. But hot temperatures make this much harder, leaving you waking unrefreshed and irritable. Here are some simple tips to help you beat the heat.

1. Keep curtains and blinds closed. Stop your bedroom getting too hot during the day by closing your curtains or blinds when it is forecast to be hot.

2. Do not exercise close to bedtime.

Exercise during the morning or day can benefit your sleep, as it expends energy, which helps you feel more tired in the evening. But exercise too close to bedtime and it can cause your body temperature to spike, making it more difficult to fall asleep when you need to.

3. Take a shower. Cool your body with a cool or tepid shower before bed. If you wake in the night and cannot fall back asleep, have another cool shower.

4. Use a fan. The ideal sleeping temperature is around 17 to 19 degrees Celsius, says the Sleep Health Foundation. Unless you have air-conditioning, this is hard to achieve, so you will need to have air flowing over your skin to offload heat from your body. Ceiling fans are useful here, but any type of small or pedestal fan will make a difference.

5. Open a window. An open window can help circulate the air as it cools overnight, but unless you have a flyscreen it can also let in mosquitoes and flies. Hanging a wet sheet in front of an open window will cool the air entering your bedroom (and may prevent mozzies from entering too).

6. Reduce bedding and bed clothes. Expose as much of your skin to the air as possible with light clothing such as sleeveless tops, loose-fitting shorts, underwear or nothing at all if that is comfortable.

Invest in sheets and pillowcases made from natural fibres like cotton, linen or bamboo, which are more breathable than those made from synthetic fabric.

If you like sleeping with a sheet, have it loosely draped over the bed so you can stick your feet out in the middle of the night – this can actually cool you down!

Your temperature reaches a low point between 3am and 5am, so keep a light blanket close by.

7. Stay hydrated. If you cannot lower the temperature of your room your body will cool you down through sweating. Make sure you go to bed well hydrated, and keep some water near your bed to make sure you can replenish the liquid you are losing.