Karl Henry: Can't sleep in the heat? Here's how to keep cool in summertime
What a week of weather we have had! It's been sunny, humid, warm and almost tropical at times - which got me thinking that it's actually really important to figure out how to improve the way we sleep in the heat.
I moved house two years ago and our new home is A-rated. To say it has been like a sauna for the last week is an understatement!
But what can you actually do to improve your sleep with temperatures from 12° to 18° at night? Here are some tips I've found useful to stop you tossing and turning at all hours.
Watch what you eat:
Avoid hot foods and heavy meals in the evening time. Ideally you should be eating your larger meal in the middle of the day and then something lighter such as a salad at night time. It's easier to digest and means your body has less work to do during the night to break that meal down.
Ditch the duvet:
Trying to sleep with a heavy winter duvet is a definite no-no at the moment. Pick up a lighter tog duvet or ditch the duvet altogether for a couple of sheets. This will have a huge cooling effect on your body temperature during the night and will also help to reduce the amount you sweat, ensuring your body doesn't get too dehydrated.
Don't open the windows:
This may surprise you, but if it's warm outside, then opening the windows may not actually be that clever an idea - often you're just letting more warm air in. I love having windows open in the bedroom, especially in the winter when it's cold, but I have kept mine closed this week and have noticed what a difference it can make. Instead try to keep the room cool by having your blinds, curtains or shutters closed. Blackout blinds can also be great for keeping your room dark and helping you to get into a deep sleep too. Remember it's not always about quantity - the quality of your sleep is really important too.
Make it cold:
Your pillow is crucial to how you sleep, as we discussed last week, but the temperature of that pillow is key too. Reducing the temperature of the pillow can have a big impact.
Of course, you're not going to put your pillow in the fridge, but you could take a clean tea towel, place it in the fridge or freezer and lay it over your pillow 10 minutes before you go to bed. Try this and you will be pleasantly surprised!
Another really simple trick is to use a hot water bottle, but instead of filling it with boiled water, use cold water or stick it in the fridge for a bit beforehand. Place the cold water bottle in your bed around 30 minutes before you go to sleep, and it will dramatically cool the temperature of the bed.
Water, that is. Have a glass of water with ice before you go to bed and have a glass of water beside your bed in case you wake up during the night. Avoid alcohol and hot drinks before you go to bed too - especially any that have caffeine in them which will massively disrupt your sleep no matter what the temperature is.
Brave a cold shower:
Final tip of the day is a daring one, but one that is really good for your sleep, body and mind, and that is cold water. If you live near the sea you can jump in but, if not, then it's got to be a cold shower. As cold as you can stand, just get the water flowing and jump in for 30 seconds, a minute, whatever you can bear! It's invigorating plus it brings your body temperature right down, so be brave and give it a try.
Let's hope the postman in Donegal is right - he's predicting a long, hot summer, so these tips could transform your sleep.