Hot weather isn’t especially common in the UK, but when it comes it usually takes us by surprise.
Unlike many countries, not many of our homes are equipped with air conditioning units and even if they are, energy-conscious homeowners will know that this consumes a lot of electricity, contributing towards your carbon footprint. What’s more, the heat can make sleeping more difficult. Either you can’t get comfortable or perhaps you sweat more in the night? Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep, so why not try these tricks for keeping cool in your bedroom during hot summer nights?
The first step is the most obvious – open your windows! Even just a small crack will generate some air flow, allowing warm air to move on. Open as many as you can and don’t forget to leave the doors open as well. You want the air to have free movement through your house! During the day, you should try to avoid letting the sun in too much, so keep your curtains closed or blinds down. Just remember to open them again when the sun is gone to get the cool air circulating.
If you have an attic, you might think about opening the hatch to it. Since we know hot air rises, letting it rise into the attic should give it a place to go that isn’t your bedroom.
Some people might think a fan is too loud – and that’s fair enough. But they’re also very good at keeping you cool. You can find quiet tower fans or innovative options like the Dyson fans. For best results, get a fan that’s on a timer so it will turn off when you don’t need it anymore and, if it gets especially hot, put a shallow bowl of iced water in front of the fan to cool the air.
If scientific solutions are up your alley, then perhaps you might consider a cooling mattress topper? While it isn’t full of electronics, it is made from a gel-infused memory foam that absorbs and disperses heat, while also offering the memory foam mattress experience (memory foam isn’t for everyone. Find out more in our Guide to Mattresses blog!).
Considering technology isn’t all about getting new gadgets, however. You should also keep in mind that all of your technology at home emits heat when it’s on, especially things like computers and lights. Be sure they’re all turned off before you go to sleep to stop the temperature rising too high.
If you’re looking to have a cooler night’s sleep, then it goes without saying that a large duvet won’t make things better. Ideally, you’ll have a cotton sheet or, at worst, a low tog-rating duvet. Togs tell you how warm you will be when sleeping under a duvet. During summer you want a low tog rating (4.5 tog), while during winter a high rating (13.5 tog) is best. Side note: make sure your children are on a low tog setting since they heat up much more quickly than adults. While we’re talking about bedding materials, check that your sheets are made from 100% cotton. Man-made material like polycotton and acrylic are basically a plastic and therefore can’t absorb heat or moisture.
You could also consider a more direct measure of cooling down your bedding: the fridge and freezer. Hot water bottles, for instance, are associated with keeping warm (the clue is in the name), but fill one with water, leave it in the freezer, and then put it in your bed before bedtime and you have yourself a cold water bottle! If that sounds a little too wet, perhaps you could try putting your pillowcases and sheets in the fridge a few hours before bedtime. There are also cooling pillows you can buy that are filled with a temperature-reactive gel, if you prefer.
Consider what you are wearing to bed. A common misconception is that wearing nothing is the coolest way to sleep, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Light cotton layers will absorb perspiration as well as keep you cool and allow heat to escape. Going back to the fridge, have you tried putting some (clean) socks in there a few hours before bed? They will cool the blood down in your feet while you’re in bed and then that blood will pump its way around your body, cooling the rest of you. You can use this same basic philosophy – i.e. placing something cold on a pulse point – by putting a cold wet flannel or ice cubes on your wrists or neck. This might mean a wet bed, however!
If your body’s core temperature is high when you go to bed, then you are likely to have more trouble sleeping. Try to bring that temperature down a few degrees, at least. Having a cold shower or bath before bed is a great way to cool down before sleep.
Make sure you stay hydrated, too. Having enough water is pretty important for keeping you cool, but many of us indulge in things that could dehydrate us. For instance, the water contained in caffeinated and alcoholic drinks is difficult for your body to absorb, which could make for a warm night’s sleep. You should also try to avoid eating too much just before bed. Your body keeps digesting food as you sleep, and this uses additional energy from your body, causing you to heat up.
Those are our top tips for keeping cool at night and encouraging a good night’s sleep! If you do find yourself waking up in the middle of the night due to the heat, keep your limbs out from under the duvet. Freeing your head, hands, and ankles is the quickest way to cool yourself down. Do you have any other ideas for how to cool down for a good night’s sleep? We’d love to hear them! Why not get in touch with us via Facebook or Twitter?