Only a few people truly understand how distressing trying to sleep in the heat can be: the constant tossing in a bed or hammock, waking up from sleep covered in sweat, tired and unable to focus or concentrate on things that are important.
Sleeping in the heat is a discomforting experience, so there is no such thing as too many tips for better sleep. Here’s 12 tips for sleeping comfortably in the heat.
- Go for light sheets
When trying to get some sleep in the heat, keep the bedding light and thin. Avoid thick woolen bed covers and substitute them for lightweight fabrics. Absorbent cotton sheets and linen soak the sweat on your skin and leave your skin feeling cool. Cotton sheets are breathable and promote ventilation.
- Lay the mattress low
The closer the mattress is to the floor, the colder it is. This means you can put your mattress directly on the floor and go to sleep for a cooler night’s sleep. There are beds that are already made this way, such as low to the ground wooden frames and classic futons. You can also invest in mattresses known to dissipate heat effectively. Avoid beds that sleep hot like memory foams.
- Buy a fan
This sounds like a no-brainer, but having a fan on while you sleep can be a huge help. It is easy to forget that there are many kinds: electric fans, battery-powered fans, and manual hand fans. A fan would hasten the evaporation of sweat from the skin and enable your body to regulate its temperature. Even the simple exercise of blowing yourself with a hand-fan can lead you to exhaustion and sleep.
- Cook outdoors
When you cook inside your home, especially in a small living space, the heat from the kitchen would spread and cause hot air to flow inside. If possible, as it gets closer to bedtime, cook outdoors so as to reduce the circulation of hot air indoors. If it’s not possible to do your cooking outdoors, then ensure you use a combination of the tools mentioned in this article to cool off the room faster.
- Declutter your room
When a room is tidy, the air flows better. Wiping dusty surfaces, packing items into boxes, and shelving them would increase airflow in the room. If the room is stuffy and piled with books, clothes, shoes, and personal effects, sleeping in the room during a heatwave would be unbearable.
- Open the windows at the right time of the day
During the day, when the sun is scorching, close the blinders, curtains, and windows on the sunny side of the room and open the windows away from the sun. This would keep the hot air out. During the evenings, and before retiring to bed, open all the windows to get a cool breeze inside. If you are living in a mosquito-infested area, make sure to put up the nets on the windows.
When you’re ready to sleep, take a cold shower. Get your head wet and don’t dry your body with a towel. Let your hair and body dry on its own. After the shower, put on a light and thin fabric and try to sleep as soon as you leave the shower. Or better still, sleep in the nude.
- Ice packs
When the cool of the shower dissipates, and you find yourself feeling hot again, placing ice packs on your body or cold clothing from the fridge, e.g., socks can help reduce your body temperature. You can also wrap your sheets in plastic bags, and put them in the freezer. When you are ready to sleep, lay them on the mattress. If there is no ice or fridge available, placing pails of water around the room would provide a more relaxed environment.
- Perform relaxation activities
Avoid looking at your phone, TV, or a computer screen when you are about to sleep. The blue light from these devices would disrupt your sleep pattern and make it difficult for you to fall asleep. If you can pick up a book; listen to an audio or journal before bed, these activities can help you relax before bed.
Eating light meals in small portions before bed would lead to your body generating less heat compared to when you consume heavy meals in large quantities. A plate of salad and fruits would generate less heat than a bowl of rice.
- Sleep alone
When feeling hot, sharing body heat with another person is a terrible idea. You can share the same space with another person but can sleep at an arm’s length to reduce both your discomforts.
12. Don’t stress and make the best use of the time
One or two nights of disturbed sleep will not affect overall health in the absence of a debilitating condition. Instead of using all your energy on trying to sleep, you can do something relaxing and worry less about sleeping. A long phone conversation with a friend or listening to a podcast or soft music would help. If you cannot fall asleep during the activity, at least your body will get some rest from relaxation.
Sleeping in the heat is stressful and requires a lot of creativity and effort. As sleep is essential to health and a useful life, a lack of adequate sleep is linked to various diseases. The recommended number of hours by the National Sleep Foundation is a good 7-9 hours of sleep every night. This has been linked to good health.
While you can employ these 12 tips for a few days to get some rest if the heat persists for a more extended period, you should consider more lasting alternatives such as ranking up the A.C and paying more electricity bills, staying with a friend in a more relaxed neighborhood or moving to a new location.