As we get deeper into the summer season, many of us will be hoping for better weather, meaning plenty of blue skies and sunshine. While this is great for sunseekers, getting a good night's sleep during warmer weather can prove to be a complete nightmare. Higher temperatures at bedtime often spells disaster when trying to nod off and disrupts your sleep patterns across the night, limiting the amount of regenerative deep sleep you get.
So what can you do to help yourself sleep better on those warmer nights?
Whilst many of us won't have the luxury of air conditioning in our homes, not a necessity in our climate usually, there are simpler ways to keep your bedroom cooler. The optimum temperature recommended for your bedroom is between 16° C and 18° C. Often we will automatically open our windows in the summer to air our homes and attempt to reduce temperatures indoors. This isn't always the best approach however, if your windows are south-facing it's best to close your blinds or curtains and only open the integrated air vents should your windows have them. Whereas if your windows are north-facing, it's advised to keep them completely shut to avoid any hot air coming in. In essence, you should let the insulation in your home work to your advantage, keeping the hot air out and cooler air in.
Choose the right type of mattress.
Choosing the right type of mattress can also have a significant effect on the temperature of your sleep. Mattresses with natural fillings such as wool, cotton and bamboo tend to be cooler to sleep on than memory foam-based equivalents. New gel-infused memory foam mattresses are also a good option these days, if you need the memory foam feel and support.
Are my bed sheets important?
Your bedding is the next area to address for a more comfortable night's sleep in warmer weather. Don't underestimate the effect your sheets and duvet can have on this. Switching to pure cotton sheets, pillows cases and duvet covers will help massively, being naturally breathable where synthetic alternatives are often not. The Tog rating of your duvet is also important. Switch to a lighter more breathable duvet with a Tog rating between 4.5 and 10.5 for a cooler sleep during the summer months.
What about using a fan in your bedroom?
Whilst leaving a fan on at bedtime doesn't pose any serious risks, for some people it can lead to some mildly irritating symptoms. Air circulating from a fan can dry your mouth, nose and throat. This could lead to an overproduction of mucus, which may cause headaches, a stuffy nose, sore throat or even snoring. Drinking plenty of water before bed and using a humidifier alongside a fan could prevent these symptoms from occurring. Should you suffer from asthma or allergies a fan may best be avoided entirely.
I've heard that the noise of a fan helps you sleep?
Some studies do suggest however that the white noise or hum generated by a fan can in fact help people to get to sleep more quickly. In one study involving 40 newborn babies, researchers found that 80 percent fell asleep within 5 minutes of being exposed to white noise compared to 25 percent of the babies in the control group*. Just be sure not to point the fan directly at yourself, as although this may feel the best, it can cause your muscles to tense or cramp up, leading to aches and pains. Choose one with an oscillating function to vary the direction of the air.
Whilst most of us won't be able to justify the expense of installing and running an air conditioning system in our homes, using a combination of the suggestions above will help to lower the temperature of your bedroom and bed to help you sleep better during the warmer nights ahead.