What effects our sleep?
Our core body temperature has its own day-night cycle, which means our temperature rises and falls over each 24 hours. At night, our core temperature slightly lowers to signal it’s time for sleep. When the weather is hot and indoor temperatures remain high, it’s more important than ever for our bodies to be able to lose heat effectively. We do this through our skin, with heat being lost through radiation, conduction and perspiration. How effectively we lose heat will depend on our surroundings, with hot, humid conditions making the process more difficult.
Simple steps for keeping cool at night
In the bedroom
When temperatures are high, it can significantly influence the duration and quality of your sleep. However, by adopting a few small changes you can make your bedroom a more comfortable place:
- If your bedroom is exposed to direct sunlight during the day, close curtains and blinds. The ideal room temperature for sleep is 16-17 celcius, so keeping the room in shade can help keep temperatures down.
- Open windows when the air is cooler and the house is in shade – this will encourage air flow. Electric fans can help to circulate the air and, if located close to the bed, may promote the evaporation of sweat from the body which cools you down. If the noise of a fan disturbs you, consider running it an hour or so before bedtime. Avoid the use of fans if any member of the household is unwell with an airborne illness.
- A hot water bottle filled with ice cold water is a great way of cooling the bed sheets before you climb in. Your skin temperature is influenced by its environment, so if you’re hot and clammy, this may help you feel a little more comfortable.
- Use thin cotton sheets which help to absorb sweat away from the body.
- Wear lightweight night clothes made of cotton or linen.